This Week: The New School Food Writing Forum

2 Apr

For anyone obsessed with food, food writing, cookbooks, and restaurant criticism, I hope you will consider attending this upcoming two-day Food Writing Forum at The New School.  Below are some of the incredible sessions and speakers. I hope to see you there! Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/food-writing-forum-tickets-58162060288

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Food Writing Forum: Opportunities and Challenges in a Digital Age

The food writing craft is in transition from the traditional world of magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks in print, to the digital world of food blogs, digital books, websites, online restaurant reviewing, memoirs, recipes, food photography and the influence of social networks. If observers and technologists are to be believed, many more changes are soon to come. Top food writers will examine the positive and negative food writing trends in the digital age.

FRIDAY, April 5th

Social Media and Online Media

Fabio Parasecoli, Scott Barton, Aaron Hutcherson, Rosie Nelson, Marion Nestle, Stephen Schmidt

How to Write a Cookbook Florence Fabricant, Rozanne Gold, Dorie Greenspan, June Hersh, Priya Krishna, Pino Luongo, Julia Turshen

Blogs and Websites: Framing and Maintaining Purpose

Anne Mendelson, Ken Albala, Dave Cook, Deb Perelman, Joanna Sciarrino

2:15pm-2:25pm

Newspaper and Magazines in the Digital Age

Ariel Lauren Wilson, Andy Baraghani, Kate Cox, Erica Marcus, Emily Weinstein, Gabriella Gershenson

Today’s Cookbook Publishing Process: Digital Brass Tacks and Editorial Skills Anne Mendelson, Sara Eagle, Suzanne Fass, Rux Martin, Michael Szczerban

Restaurant Criticism in a New Age Andrew Friedman, Hannah Goldfield, Adam Platt, Hanna Raskin, Chris Stang

Whose Recipe Is It? Intellectual Property & Provenance

Cathy Kaufman,Rozanne Gold, Sara Moulton, Peter E. Nussbaum, Kara Rota, Tanya Steel

5:00pm-6:00 pm


SATURDAY, April 6th

Food Memoir and Biography (Cara De Silva, Elissa Altman, Mark Federman, Madhur Jaffrey, Anne Mendelson, Laura Shapiro)

Cultivating Diversity on Pages and Screens (Scott Barton, Daniela Galarza, Von Diaz, Peter J. Kim, Eric Kim, Korsha Wilson)

11:30am-12:45pm

What Do Book Publishers Want? (Cathy K. Kaufman, Ken Albala, Andrew Friedman, Bruce Kraig, Andrew F. Smith)

Women’s Words and Words About Women (Bettina Makalintal, Ramin Ghanesram, Sarah Khan, Elle Simone Scott)

1:00pm-2:15pm

The Dark Side of the Internet (Cara De Silva, Rebecca Federman, Stephen Schmidt, Andrew Smith, Lauren Swann)

Behind the Bite: The Art of Good Food Photography (Allie Wist, Victoria Granof, Justin Walker, Jamie Tiampo, Maggie Ruggiero)

 

A Few Upcoming Poetry Events

27 Nov

Hello All!

It’s been some time since my last post and I will soon be sharing some updates with you. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and want to share a few upcoming events that I’ve been curating/producing. I hope to see you there!

There are a few spaces left at the beautiful Garrison Institute Nov. 30-Dec. 2nd to study and workshop with celebrated writers and teachers — Robert Polito and Adam Fitzgerald.  Fabulous food and a Saturday night performance by superstar composer/poet/songstress Meredith Monk.  A few scholarships are still available.  You won’t want to miss “Along the Margins of Voice: Writing, Reading & Performance in the 21st Century.” See you there! (www.garrisoninstitute.org/poetry)  Tel: 845-424-4800 

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Winter Soulstice

Join us at this wonderful celebrationg with poet & performance artist Annie Finch + Urban Word NYC Mentors & Youth Poets with Shanelle Gabriel/original music by Matthew Harris

Celebrate the turning of the year with an earth-centered performance of “Winter Solstice Dreams,” spiraling together Solstice ceremony, goddess mythology, and poetic incantation. NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassadors kick off the evening with a prologue of “spoken word’ soul and sparkle. Renowned poet Annie Finch performs the fertile gifts of darkness and the cauldron of light in a theatrical staging of pageantry, music, song and ritual.

Annie Finch is an award-winning poet, writer, translator, verse playwright, critic, editor, and a performer of poetry and ritual. She holds a Ph.D from Stanford University, is an initiated Green Witch in the Dianic Tradition, and descends from witches imprisoned in the Salem Witch Hunts. Annie’s twenty books include Calendars, Eve, Among the Goddesses, A Poet’s Craft, and Spells: New and Selected Poems.

Urban Word NYC is a nationally acclaimed literary arts organization that champions the voices of New York City youth, providing critical literacy, college preparation, and performance opportunities.

Conceived and curated by writer/producer Rozanne Gold. Directed by Vera Beren. Introduction by singer & poet Shanelle Gabriel, program director of Urban Word NYC.

Register here and enter code ONLYLOVE upon checkout for $5 off: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/winter-soulstice-with-poet-annie-finch-urban-word-nyc-youth-poets-tickets-52318257316

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Restaurants to Watch: Burger & Lobster and Tramonti Pizzeria

29 Jul

tamontiHere they are: Two New York dining spots heralding three of America’s most-revered things to eat: Burgers, lobster, pizza. As someone aching for simpler food these days, I find the casual, straightforward, ingredient-driven approach to the British-born Burger & Lobster, and the decidedly southern Italian Tramonti, refreshingly satisfying. Many thanks to food trends guru Michael Whiteman — a most affable dining companion and critic.

Burger & Lobster

London’s fabulously successful Burger & Lobster chain has just opened its second New York location, this time adjacent to Times Square. As you might surmise from its name, this restaurant venture is built are just two types of food: live lobsters of varying size, lobster rolls, and a roster of inventive hamburgers … with varying combinations of the two.

The basic deal is for $20 you can get a one-pound Canadian lobster, or a 10-oz hamburger with bacon, cheese and onions, or a lobster roll, all with excellent skinny fries and salad. At the other extreme, you might select a 14.5-pound lobster from one of numerous tanks right at the restaurant’s entrance; it is large enough to walk on a leash, costs $377, and comes with unlimited fries and salad. Their top-of-the-line $33 London Burger is topped with freshly-steamed lobster meat and truffle mayonnaise. Lobsters are expertly steamed or grilled and served with drawn butter or a most-addictive lemon-chive sauce. (You’ll want to dunk your fries in it, too.)

More modestly, we ordered a 1.5 pound lobster ($28), their standard burger, and a corn-meal crusted lobster roll with spicy remoulade, and can proclaim them all to be well worth the money. And since lobster rolls in this city’s self-service food halls cost around $20, the roll here is a deal. This is especially true for large families on-the-splurge who fill up their tables for not a lot of money, or for people seeking a pre-theater dinner that is gentler on the wallet than most other places.

People who just can’t decide may order a grand combination called The Tower – any two burgers, any two lobster rolls, two whole one pound lobsters, any three sauces, unlimited fries, unlimited salad and any four specialty cocktails or a bottle of Cava – presented on a two tiered tray. Desserts are served in trendy jars – fabulous chocolate mousse or strawberry “cheesecake,” and the wine list falls into the category of pretty good. There are great beers on draft.

The 160-seat restaurant is located mid-block on 43rd Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway next to the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, and you enter via a theatrical arcade of lobster traps. In addition to a cluster of these restaurants in London, there are Burger & Lobster franchises in Dubai, Bangkok, Kuwait, Stockholm and Jeddah, and we’ll probably have more in the US as well. It is, after all, a refreshingly satisfying place to go. Say hi to the brilliant Vladimir, the operating partner who is spearheading the U.S. expansion of B&L and other concepts, or to the terrific executive chef, Danny Lee, who has cooked in some of the best fish restaurants in town. (132 West 43 St., 917-565-9044)

Tramonti Ristorante Pizzeria

You’ve probably never heard about ‘ndunderi. Or re fiascone tomatoes. Or past’ e patane. Or melanzane al cioccolato. Except for the melanzane al cioccolato — a chocolate eggplant dessert that I wrote about several years ago — all these dishes are new to me, too.

They have two things in common: they’re ancient foods from the Amalfi area of Italy; and you can find them at the East Village pizzeria called Tramonti. New York is full of Italian restaurants calling themselves “authentic,” but the recently- opened Tramonti is the real thing.

First, I must tell you about the pizza. The dough incorporates millet, barley, rye and whole wheat — all traditional to the ancient mountain town of Tramonti from which this restaurant derives its name. It starts with a pinch of yeast and is left to rise for 48 hours, which accounts for its deep flavor and lightness of texture. This restaurant’s classic pizza marinara, topped with intense re fiascone tomatoes (see below), oregano, tiny slivers of garlic and olive oil was a revelation. Tramonti’s calzone was another stunner filled with some of that same tomato pulp, smoked provola, fresh mozzarella imported from Tramonti (of course) and hot soppressata (from a small producer in New Jersey); it tasted “Italian” in a manner that few restaurants here can muster.

The place is run by Chef Vittorio (Giovanni Vittorio Tagliafierro) and the food I’m describing was his everyday fare in Tramonti. His mother, grandmother and great-grandmother made ‘ndunderi from a recipe left behind by the Romans who established the town. They are large dumplings made of ricotta and flour, served in an intense sauce of those tomatoes and braised beef, topped with his amazingly creamy mozzarella. UNESCO says ‘ndunderi is one of the earliest forms of pasta.

Past’e patane consists of broken spaghetti cooked al dente with small bits of Idaho potatoes and then quickly sauteed with garlic, basil and olive oil. The potato’s starch subtly coats the pasta and adds body to the sauce it is served in. You may have it with a dollop of tomato sauce but it isn’t really necessary.

Re Fiascone reportedly were the original tomatoes on pizza margherita. Cultivated in the 1900s around Tramonti, they went into decline and only recently have been replanted in the area, the successful result of a crowd-funding effort. They are pulpy and intense, and Chef Vittorio exclusively imports vast quantities — no sugar, salt, herbs, or even olive oil are added.

And now for the chocolate eggplant dessert, found in many of the towns abutting Tramonti: I went hunting for it in 2011 near Ravello and finally found two versions in a small town on the coast, neither of which compare to what’s offered here. Theirs look like pancakes. Chef Vittorio’s consists of thin layers of fried eggplant that are sugared and spiced, separated by layers of ricotta, and then enrobed in bittersweet chocolate — as if it were a decadent square of lasagna. Melanzane al cioccolato originated in the Franciscan Convent de Polvica in Tramonti, spread to other religious orders and thence to local housewives. It often is spiked with concerto — an heady ancient liqueur originally made by local nuns but now concocted in various domestic versions. You might find some in Tramonti’s rendition of this dish.

Chef Vittorio, who has worked in New York’s most upscale pizzeria (including Mezzaluna) is a hearty raconteur and it doesn’t take much encouragement to launch him into the food history of his childhood, all of which rounds out a most delicious evening. (130 Saint Marks Place, 212-260-1441)

Festive Fourth of July Food

3 Jul

While these sparkling recipes are designed for July 4th fireworks, they are perfect for entertaining all summer long. Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! Hope you have a festive holiday.

COOL BLUE MARTINIStumblr_nr2lhnfhXP1rsdtszo1_500

This recipe is for each drink but they can be made by the pitcher. These are really “light martinis” as there is more bubbly and less vodka or gin than in standard martinis.

– 5 ounces chilled Prosecco

– ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) gin or vodka

– ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) blue Curacao

– 1 tablespoon (or more) simple syrup

Stir everything into a shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake away! Strain into a chilled martini glass.

MAKES 1 DRINK

BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS with HURRY-CURRY SAUCEtumblr_mp2it2CMwI1rsdtszo1_1280

These are a cinch to put together and both the sauce and the sliders can be prepped early in the day.

HURRY-CURRY SAUCE

– ½ cup light mayonnaise
– ⅔ cup plain yogurt
– 4 teaspoons curry powder
– 2 tablespoons ketchup
– 1 small clove garlic, finely minced

BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS

– 1¼ pounds ground turkey
– 2 teaspoons curry powder
– 1 teaspoons ground cumin
– Large pinch chipotle chili powder
– 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or basil
– 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
– 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 12 little dinner rolls, split and toasted
– 12 thin slices Kirby cucumber
– 12 thin slices plum tomato

Stir together ingredients for sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Put turkey in a large bowl. Add the curry, cumin, chili powder, scallions, cilantro or basil, ginger and mayonnaise, plus 1 teaspoon salt. Mix until blended. Form into 12 small (2 ounce) burgers. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook burgers over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, turn over and cook 2 minutes longer. Place the burgers on the buns and slather with curry sauce. Top with a slice of cucumber and tomato. MAKES 12 SLIDERS.

RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKEStumblr_mp4dvrL0St1rsdtszo1_1280

This luxurious dessert is worthy of fireworks. Wonderful if you can get tiny ripe strawberries from your local farmer’s market. The light touch of lemon zest in the biscuits and thin layer of lemon curd makes these truly memorable. Garnish with edible flowers.

LEMON-BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

– 1½ cups flour
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ½ teaspoon baking soda
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
– Grated rind of 1 lemon
– ⅔ cup buttermilk

SHORTCAKES

– 1½ cups heavy cream
– 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– ½ cup lemon curd
– 3 cups fresh berries: raspberries, tiny strawberries, blueberries
– Edible flowers for garnishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and incorporate into flour mixture. Add lemon zest and buttermilk and mix lightly. Turn dough out onto floured board. Roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch round and place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake 16 to 18 minutes until golden. Let cool.

Whip heavy cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla until very thick.

Cut biscuits in half. Spread lemon curd on bottom half of each biscuit. Spoon whipped on top and add fruit. Top with biscuit “hat” and add more berries and whipped cream. Garnish with edible flowers. SERVES 6.

New Website Launch

9 Jan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                             January 9, 2017

 

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-5-49-51-pmROZANNE GOLD LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

Website Represents the Past, Present, and Future from “The Food Expert’s Expert”

NEW YORK, NY — Celebrated chef, journalist, author, and four-time winner of the James Beard award, Rozanne Gold announces the launch of her website (www.rozannegold.com) as a resource to home cooks and professional chefs alike. This new site acts a mini-archive of Rozanne’s forty years in the food world— as a woman chef, an innovator of trends, mentor, teacher, and advocate for culinary change.

Here, visitors can access dozens of original recipes and photographs from an assortment of her award-winning books and browse her newspaper articles from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and become up-to-date on her trendsetting blogs from the Huffington Post.  Hundreds of articles from a variety of lifestyle magazines are also featured, from Gourmet to Cooking Light, as well as from her five-year stint as entertaining columnist for Bon Appétit. 

A revolving photo gallery of noteworthy images from Rozanne’s culinary life will also be featured: with Julia Child at the 1996 opening of Windows on the World – Rozanne was head of the culinary team who helped “win back” Windows in 1996; with her boss, Mayor Ed Koch; Rozanne with Prime Minister and Aliza Begin in front of Gracie Mansion – where she lived for a year as chef to the Mayor; in the kitchen at the Rainbow Room (where Rozanne was consulting chef for thirteen years); with Mimi Sheraton, Dr. Marion Nestle, and Amanda Hesser as moderator of Les Dames d’Escoffier’s recent forum, The Next Big Bite.

Website guests will find links to Rozanne’s television appearances and tune-in to National Public Radio to listen to her award-winning “1-2-3 Recipe Challenge” with Leonard Lopate.

Rozanne helped shape America’s culinary landscape as a pioneer in the food revolution that began in the 1970s. A recipient of the Julia Child/IACP award, she started her remarkable career at the age of twenty-three as first chef to New York Mayor Ed Koch. As Chef-Director of the renowned hospitality consultants, Baum + Whiteman, Ms. Gold helped re-create the magical Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center (where she was co-owner and consulting chef for fifteen years), Windows on the World, and three of New York’s three-star restaurants, including the Hudson River Club, where she helped launch today’s locavore movement.

Known for her philanthropic efforts, Rozanne established a satellite kitchen called CBE Feeds in Brooklyn to respond to the victims of Hurricane Sandy (more than 185,000 meals have been prepared); “rescued” Gourmet magazine’s library by purchasing it and donating more than 6,000 books, brochures and ephemera to Fales Library at NYU; mentors many young women and men in the industry; and is a Trustee of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, where she continues her work as an end-of-life doula. A recent graduate with a MFA in poetry, Rozanne teaches “The Language of Food” at the New School.

Come visit. New recipes, photos, articles, and appearances will be posted regularly. For more information contact:   evan.nisenson@gmail.com or rozannegold@mindspring.com

Restaurants Without Seats? Big Trends In 2017

4 Jan

Food trends are fascinating; we are obsessed with what we eat. But more importantly, these trends tell larger stories about who we are. Looked at yearly, they depict the shifting sands of consumer behavior.

For example, I’ve just learned that ordering food delivered from restaurants surges, improbably, on … Valentine’s Day! It’s not because of the death of romanticism in America or because restaurants are heavily booked. Just the opposite: Lured by the ease of Internet ordering and speedy delivery by Uber or Amazon, people increasingly are “eating out” at home and abandoning restaurant dining rooms.

So a big trend for 2017 will be companies opening experimental kitchen-only restaurants whose sole purpose is to send prepared meals to your home. They are called “phantom restaurants” (also known as ghost restaurants) because no one ever visits them. They’re located in low-rent locations but staffed by real chefs and cooks. Even Olive Garden, just last week, said that it was considering building kitchens in warehouse districts that could deliver to a major city, an idea earlier floated by the fast-growing Panera Bread company.

I’ve attached an article on this very subject by Financial Times’s restaurant critic Nicholas Lander as reprinted in last week’s blog by Jancis Robinson, one of the world’s premier wine experts (and someone I’ve adored for decades). Expansion of delivery-only kitchens is reshaping the restaurant business — and perhaps also our waistlines. Or it may simply satisfy an innate desire to nest.

Every year I write about food trends as gleaned from the best in the business, and there are many exciting ones on the horizon. Is seaweed the next kale? Are wildly creative sandwiches reshaping how we think about breakfast? Will congee be the next new thing? (I am crazy about it; any time of the day.) There’s all this and lots more in the 2017 food and beverage forecast from Baum+Whiteman International Restaurant Consultants, which you can read about here. Most intriguing in this report is an analysis of why vegetables are becoming the new “comfort food,” and whether that means we’re saying goodbye to mac-and-cheese.

What are some other trends on the horizon? Well, gentrification of the $4 “chopped cheese” for one. A sandwich, made famous in the bodegas of Harlem and the South Bronx, went viral this year, causing a stampede to the upper reaches of the city. This mélange of ground beef, American cheese and condiments, all piled on a hero bucks the trend of highly contrived, super-creative, attention-getting food served elsewhere at more like $4 a bite.

Another trend? Chef magicians turning food-waste into delectable things to eat. I am one of them and among the first to fry carrot tops to use as a garnish, and definitely the first to boil the peelings of fresh asparagus to resemble fettuccine. I also make “compost soup,” and transform leftover bits of iceberg lettuce into a wondrous vegetable by simply sautéing with olive oil and lemony sumac. I pulverize old gnarly carrots into “nibs” and toss them with couscous. So good. And essential to creating a sustainable planet.

Other trends? Chefs who use menu language in new ways and intentionally break from traditional forms. I now teach a class at the New School for Social Research (in New York City) called “The Language of Food,” which looks at menus as a form of literature. And chefs, like poets, use the fewest possible words to express desire and hunger, getting to the essence of a dish quickly, like good haiku. More? Specialty drinks with LED lights inside the ice cubes has a certain poetry of its own, as does “candy floss” (the British word for cotton candy) used in brand new ways.

More? It’s time to click on Whiteman’s forecast for 2017 – sporting the 13 hottest food & beverage trends in restaurant & hotel dining, not to mention 23 prescient buzzwords. According to Nick Lander’s in December’s Financial Times, “Michael Whiteman is a striking example of a lifetime well spent in the American hospitality business.” As the guy who (with his partner Joe Baum) created the world’s first food courts and five of New York’s three-star restaurants, including the legendary Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, he knows a thing or two about what’s happening.

London Now: Restaurants to Watch

26 Nov

candles-aboveOn a recent trip to London with trends guru Michael Whiteman, I had the luxury of drinking the world’s best martini – made with Cotswolds Gin. The distillery, located 1-1/2 hours outside London (in charming Shipston-on-Stour) is an alluring introduction to the idyllic landscape, known for lush patches of lavender and gentle hills. Ask proprietor Daniel Szor to give you a tour. Eat at the nearby gastropub, “The Kingham Plough” (20 minutes from the distillery), and then head on to bustling London, a world-eats destination, and stay a few days. Giving thanks, here, to MW (husband) for succinctly mapping the brilliance of three of London’s best new dining spots.

Without a great city street map you’d be pressed to find Beast, but every London cabbie knows the location. Beast comes from the creators of the sizzling Burger & Lobster chain but this time the menu focuses on humongous king crabs and great steaks from several countries. You pass massive tanks holding angry, prehistoric-looking crabs and lobsters with claws almost the size of your shoe before entering a bustling underground room full of wooden communal tables with candelabra. There’s a festive roar, mostly from men spending more than your last paycheck. A short assortment of starters (shrimp tempura with Cajun mayonnaise and avocado is sold by the piece but everyone seems to order a platter) leads you to “The Beasts”, all sold by the gram.

Next to us, four petit women from Paris shared some starters and a king crab beast that arrived on a silver platter; they then collapsed into a caloric stupor and gasped “fini.” Three of us, on the other hand, hoovered up a miraculously sweet crab and then carved into a great slab of corn-finished double sirloin from Nebraska grilled over charcoal. We’re partial to grass-fed Basque Holstein, but they were out that night and our other choices were beef from Scotland, Australia and Finland.

Our meal was rounded out by thrice-fired potato wedges and a green salad topped with juicy smoked tomatoes, which were infinitely better than expected. Do not request bread to sop up the salad juices or meat drippings because there is none.

The knowing wine list is full of big bruisers and first growths and, as befits a steakhouse, Beast is rightfully expensive. Don’t be surprised if this celebratory restaurant migrates to New York or Dubai where there already are busy outposts of Burger & Lobster.

Beast

3 Chapel Pl, Marylebone

+44 20 7495 1816

beastrestaurant.co.uk

Portland is the ideal neighborhood restaurant: smallish, warmly lit, gastronomically ambitious, acoustically sensible and fairly priced. For this reason, most people take taxis to this restaurant in the Fitzrovia neighborhood. Portland is one of three admirable London places run by Will Lander (the others being Quality Chop House and nearby Clipstone). The menu appears concise but then you’re struck with the “I want everything” dilemma. A recently bestowed Michelin star is so well deserved.

A smooth chicken liver parfait is offset by crisp chicken skin, candied walnuts and pickled grapes, and Devonshire crab is rolled with lovage into a thin slice of kohlrabi — both exercises of texture as well as taste. Evidently not one for gastronomical grandstanding, chef Merlin Labron-Johnson, who previously worked at Belgium’s famed In De Wulf, transforms complexities of ingredients into watercolors of flavors, as in foie gras with endive, clementine and raisins soaked in Alsace muscat — bitter flavors balanced by sweet. Roasted heritage carrots get the same attention with brown butter, aged nutty comté and toasted buckwheat. Cornish cod with green cauliflower, sorrel and smoked cream, and hay-baked guinea fowl with chestnuts and mushrooms were sublime and comforting on a rainy London evening.

Our waitress, fresh from Gramercy Tavern in New York, provided flawless service and there was nothing she didn’t know about the food.

The wine list is an endless work-in-progress since it changes almost every week, and is full of thrilling things you’ve never heard of — which is no surprise since Lander’s mother is the estimable wine writer Jancis Robinson (his father is food writer and critic Nicholas Lander).

Portland

113 Great Portland St.

+44 20 7436 3261

portlandrestaurant.co.uk

StreetXO is a rollicking transplant to London of a tapas bar in Madrid. That statement is akin to saying that Audi is an automobile. StreetXO is an underground, wackadoodle fusion restaurant where Michelin-starred chef David Muñoz layers Asian flavors onto traditional Spanish tapas, with occasional detours to Mexico. The resulting food erupts with umami and spices. A croquette that in Spain would be bound with a simple béchamel here is filled with sheep milk, XO sauce, lapsang souchong and kimchi, then topped with a slice of toro. If you fancy crunchy pig’s ear dumplings and pickles spattered, Jackson Pollack stye, with strawberry hoisin sauce, this place is for you.

There’s a long, brightly lit open kitchen “counter” where a gaggle of chefs— dressed puzzlingly in strait jackets — prepare these over-the-top inventions and serve you directly, each dish accompanied by an explanatory recitation. This is where you want to sit since the remaining space is night-clubby black, dark red and rather gloomy, but probably appropriate for date nights.

We particularly enjoyed a show-stopper of octopus, tomatillo and green apple mole (a faux guacamole) with “fake Chinese wok noodles” that turned out to be an amazing umami-laden tangle of enoki mushrooms. Muñoz’s steamed club sandwich is a pillow-soft bao with suckling pig, ricotta, quail egg and chili cream. And so it goes — tandoori chicken wings with pickled onion, trout roe and bonito flakes; Iberian pork belly with mussels in escabeche and sriracha; paella with sea urchin, chicken, bergamot and yellow aji — a carnival of animals and seafood.

StreetXO had opened only a few days before we dropped in and London’s trendoids already were clamoring for reservations.

StreetXO

15 Old Burlington St, Mayfair

+44 20 3096 7555

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