Say all you want about bacon being the most overused ingredient on the planet, this is another reason why it got that way in the first place. Check out my pal Stephanie’s recipe for Bacon Jam. Heavenly, don’t you think?
Marcus Samuelsson, who has done nothing but blow up into a mega-force since exiting Minnesota and shuttering Aquavit, one of the best restaurants to ever exist in our neck of the woods, just re-packed this list on his website. “In case you are craving a pizza this weekend, here's the 25 best pizza places in the nation.” Nice tweet big fella. Gotta say I am shocked that HuffPo has some of these places in the top 25 and Punch Pizza didn’t rank at all? (Easy Jim Norton, settle down.) I haven’t been to all the places on the list but I have been to about 21 of them and Burts, Picco, Kens, and Buddy’s are not as good as Punch on its worst day. Just had to speak up for my boys John and John. And btw, Marcus’s new restaurant Red Rooster is one of the hottest tables in NYC, and he has become one of the major thought leaders on global food issues in the last year or two. He is an amazing individual. He’s even designing chef shoes with Aaron Sanchez and Chris Cosentino.
Erik Anderson, the chef from Sea Change in Minneapolis, took second place in the Midwest division of the Food and Wine Magazine People’s Choice award. Landon Schoenfeld took 10th. I think that’s a great accomplishment and congrats are in order both for Erik and Landon, their teams, and the city’s dining scene. The rising tide floats all boats. Jamie Bissonette from Coppa in Boston won the whole shebang. The guy from Ashley’s in Little Rock won the Midwest division and results are here. I think a People’s Choice division for the F&W Best Chef ‘awards’ is a great thing. Plenty of room for expansion here and frankly as long as it doesn’t dilute that awesome award I am all for it. It also allows for young chefs who might not otherwise get the attention they deserve.
I was reading a Bayless tweet last week and was reminded that in 1988 when he won, his other co-winners were Boulud, Hammersley, Killeen (al forno), and Keller. Portale, Trotter, and Vongerichten did not make the list. That’s a crazy thought today, isn’t it? But remember, in the early ’80s many of these chefs toiled in obscurity. No one followed chefs back then, you followed restaurants, but those last years in the ’80s is when it all changed That’s why spreading out the awards is so important, because the public wants to know who’s hot and who’s not and where you should eat and limiting the recommenders to just a few is something that F&W wanted to change. I applaud them.
When I shot an episode of Bizarre Foods in Montreal last week I got some great advice on where to eat from local Twin Cities Quebecois transplants such as Stewart Woodman (Fairmount Bagels, Atwater Market, Schwartz’s, Au Pied de Cochon, DNA, Joe Beef, etc.). I also checked out Martin Picard’s winter only eatery Cabane Sucre, Abu Elias, and Brome Lake Canard. All were amazing. More on that when we air the program, but my pal Gail Simmons sent me another killer list as well. Turns out half her family is from Montreal (the other half from Toronto), and she went to McGill. Who knew? Anyway her list includes the following additions to what we already were onto:
Lunch at Mckiernan
Salle a manger
Clube chasse et peche
Beauty's for breakfast
So now you are set for your next few trips to one of the world’s best eating towns. Anyone who has a picture of Wild defenseman Cam Barker jumping into the hole in the lake on Saturday afternoon at the big plunge needs to send me a copy. Please.