"Like chicken with taste" is the way Rheal Cayer of specialty poultry supplier Grimauld Farms describes guinea fowl, a game bird native to Africa we're seeing with increasing frequency on restaurant menus. In San Francisco, we've munched guinea hen "hot pockets" (turnovers) at Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara's Sweet Woodruff. Across the bay in Oakland, we loved a recent special of guinea hen in spicy Thai red curry at James Syhabout's Hawker Fare. Also in Oakland, Oliveto chef Jonah Rhodehamel was offering a guinea hen special in March, a breast stuffed with the bird's leg, dried cherries, and sage sausage, roasted in its own skin and served with a brandy and duck liver sauce. Oliveto's guinea hens, by the way, were from a flock the restaurant received after the birds did some insect-control work at a Napa winery. READ MORE
Used to be that if you ate beef tongue at all—in deli sandwiches or lengua tacos from a truck—it was because it was cheap. But lately, chefs in upscale restaurants across America's cities have reconsidered tongue, putting its velvet texture and concentrated beef flavor to work in a variety of dishes. READ MORE
Hibiscus has a beautiful color and a fruity/floral flavor with an addictive bitter edge, much like a cranberry. As befits its traditional use as a cooling beverage, it's usually found in iced tea, punch, or Mexican aguas frescas. But it's been creeping onto cocktail menus too, like at Manhattan's Apothéke, which serves a Five Points with hibiscus, bitters, grape juice, and sugarcane-infused rum, and at D.C.'s Café Atlántico, where the Old Man & the Sea blends hibiscus-infused rum with lime and is served with um, hibiscus air. Look, I didn't write the cocktail menu.
Ashes from burnt food, wood, or hay are being put on food (and food is being cooked directly in hot ashes) at upscale restaurants around the country, but this trend is not some last-ditch attempt to salvage burnt food. The chefs who are using it—mostly inspired by René Redzepi of Denmark's Noma (a.k.a. "the best restaurant in the world")—say it adds bitter and smoky flavors to their dishes. READ MORE
Bao buns. Tiki drinks. Red velvet cake doughnuts. Milk. Milk?
Yeah, you heard right. The second most elemental beverage known to man—that thing that formerly only kids drank—has taken a star turn. Suddenly, milk is an "it" food.
Making the viral rounds this week in the food nerd landscape: Inside insides, a blog of MRIs of fruit and vegetables, such as dragon fruit, corn, and cantaloupe. Fun stuff. Interesting to note: COI restaurant in San Francisco has MRIs of vegetables up in its dining room for decor. Next big trend?
I guess it was inevitable: After lardo pizza became ubiquitous, thanks to its inclusion on almost every Mario Batali menu, bone marrow pizza would follow. So far, bone marrow (extracted from the bones, duh) has been spotted as a pizza topping at Boston's Coppa Enoteca and San Francisco's Flour + Water. Both are paired with freshly grated horseradish. So what does it taste like? I've tried the Flour + Water one, and it was tasty, although truth be told, you can't tell you're eating bone marrow per se, because it melts down into a pool of really rich grease that mixes with the cheese.
The days of freezer-burned Bomb Pops are over. Creative food people have turned their full attention to popsicles, and the results are herbal, weird, and fresh. New York has several exciting options, including People’s Pops (pictured here), which offers seasonal fruit flavors like cantaloupe with tarragon.
Pichet Ong is making Ovaltine milkshakes at Spot Dessert bar in NYC, there are beets with malt on the menu at Portland, Oregon's Castagna Restaurant, and lots of places, including Fond restaurant in Philadelphia, are serving malted milk ice cream.
What is malt, and is it the same stuff in malted milk balls, you may ask? Why, yes! It's a sweetish syrup or powder made from barley that's been sprouted, then dried. Barley that's gone through that process is known as "malted" barley, and it's used to make beer. So when you're eating something that has malt in it, it's kind of like you're eating beer.