Oysters, Chocolate, Beer, and Jewish Gastronomy


Oyster Dinner
Savoy restaurant (70 Prince Street) will kick off its spring dinner series on Monday, February 11, with an oyster tasting featuring Jon Rowley, oyster expert from the Pacific Northwest. The tasting of east and west coast oysters paired with wines will be followed by a three-course dinner. $95/person plus tax and tip (212.219.8570).


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Espresso Anywhere


The latest from the Department of Culinary Mashups (see also the Rossini Pie Server) is the Handpresso espresso maker, which looks like a bike pump on too much caffeine. For mobile baristas everywhere, the cordless gadget works by inserting an E.S.E. coffee pod, adding hot water, and pumping the device by hand to build enough pressure to pull a shot of espresso. €99 at Handpresso.com.


Agenda: Beer, Cheese, and Flavor


Ladies' Night
Jimmy's No. 43 (43 East 7th Street) will host a "Craft Beer Appreciation Class for Women" on Monday, January 28, at 7:00 p.m. Mary Izett, homebrewer and former president of the Malted Barley Appreciation Society of New York City, will lead a discussion on the basics of how beer is brewed, types and styles of beer, how to taste and evaluate beer, and proper methods of storing and serving beer. The evening includes a tasting of five different beers. $30/person (reservations should be made to [email protected]).


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Oven-Roasted Fries


The January issue of Bon Appétit declared that french fries were the "indulgence of the year." That claim is open to debate, of course (I'd give a lifetime achievement award to burrata). But, more useful was the accompanying article with recipes for french fries by chef Suzanne Tracht of Jar in Los Angeles.

The piece included a recipe for making twice-cooked (deep fried) french fries and oven-roasted fries. I took the easy way out and made the roasted fries, which are barely even a recipe: just combine potatoes, salt, and oil and bake for 45 minutes (I needed a little extra time for them to brown, but that may be due to the eccentricities of my oven). Could anything be easier? And, the result was fantastic -- crisp, golden brown wedges of potatoes that was perfect with a grilled skirt steak, but would go with any grilled or roasted fish or meat.

The recipe seems open to endless variations. Chef Tracht suggests mixing up purple and russet potatoes. But, why not improvise further? What about substituting extra virgin olive oil for (relatively flavorless) canola oil? Or, how about tossing some fresh herbs or lemon zest with the potatoes before serving?

»Oven-Roasted Fries [Bon Appetit]


Truffle Snuffle


Playing around with truffles is an expensive proposition, but how do you properly train children in the the art of hunting down the pricey tubers. HABA's Truffle Snuffle game offers a fun solution. Take turns strapping on the pig snout and race the clock to pick up the matching truffle cards. Before long, your kids will be ready to sniff around Provence like real truffle hogs. $18.99 at Oompa Toys.


Agenda: Cocktails, Wine, and Restaurant Week


Jerrythomas Liquid Legacy
Cocktail authority David Wondrich, author of Imbibe!, a history of the legendary bartender Jerry Thomas, will share recipes for the classic nineteenth century cocktails which became the basis for modern mixology. The class will take place on Friday, January 18, 6:30 p.m., at Astor Center, 23 East 4th Street, 2nd Floor. $75/person.

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Nerd Chic


Wine drinkers with a chemistry fetish no longer need to hunt down laboratory supply catalogues to bring a touch of scientific chic to their wine service now that CB2 has introduced Beaker Glass Decanters that duplicate the design of lab ware. The decanters come in two sizes: 34 oz. ($9.95) and 64 oz. ($14.95). A glass funnel ($2.50), for pouring wine into the flasks, is also available.


Agenda: Saké, TV Food, and Morality


The Elements of Saké
Astor Center will present a course on the basics of saké, from saké production to classification and flavor. The event, which includes a tasting of several saké varieties, will take place on Tuesday, January 15, 6:30 p.m., at 23 East 4th Street, 2nd Floor. $95/person.

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Precision Coffee


Perfectionist much? Suck UK's MyCuppa coffee and tea mugs help you mix your favorite brew with milk to precisely match a Pantone-esque color guide printed on the inside -- from "milky" to a super-dark "builder's brew." $25 each at Generate.

Image: Suck UK.


Napkin Notebook


How many big ideas have been scrawled on the back of a napkin? With the Napkin Notebook, a spiral-bound pad stack  of 20 cocktail napkins, you can find inspiration without even stepping foot into a bar or cafe. $6.50 exclusively at MoMA.

Image: MoMA.