I was in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend for the AAA Travel Expo and got a chance to eat some of the best ice cream ever from Jeni’s. Amazing, especially the smoked chocolate ice cream with homemade marshmallows. You can order some online here. I also had some killer hot sauces, courtesy of one of the true hot-food masters in the world, John Hard. Check out cajohns.com for the scoop. I met some other local foodies who all came from their stands in the North Market public market, one of the best in the Midwest. Check them out. Anyway, I did the local morning show on NBC, and I was amazed that there were no camera operators, floor directors, or anyone other than one producer and the two anchors on the set. Everyone else was in the booth, and the cameras were all robotic. Now this is the sixteenth largest market in the country, not some sleepy little backwater. Welcome to the future of unemployment in the TV world, and the future is now.
According to chef Steven Brown, the food at Porter & Frye is better than ever (which is saying a lot), and the kitchen is producing food that, in SB’s words, “is more like what we envisioned. The latest experiments are on whole chicken presse that is basically a ballontine with breast, leg, and thigh, all in one piece. It is prepared sous vide, pressed, and chilled, then portioned into perfect rectangles. We are serving it with smoked pork belly—cured and smoked like bacon, then sous vide for twenty-four hours—along with chestnuts, honey, and endive.”
Holy sh*t, does that sound awesome? That is why Steven is one of the best chefs in the Upper Midwest, and his team reflects his dedication to his craft and his ‘daring do.’ Steven was kind enough to send me some pictures of the work, with credits to his entire staff, past and present, as some of the people who have had a hand in this photo gallery. The online file he turned me on to is Bradstreet-bound Josh Habiger’s (formerly of Alinea and P&F) micro site. It contains some beautiful snaps of plates that Josh, Doug Flicker, Steven, Eric Andersen, et. al have been creating the past year. Just looking at the photos made me hungry and appreciative of the immense talent level of the young chefs in this town. Josh, if you read this, shoot me an e-mail at the magazine, and I will happily put the link here next week so everyone can check out some of this stuff. I don’t want to post without you’re A-OK.
Check out Heidi’s new website and be sure to stop by there to book a meal at the new chef’s table, located just off the kitchen proper. Special menus and superb access to a wonderful food experience are just two of the reasons to check it out. Nice one, Stewart!
Urban Spoon is a great site, and I love seeing the monthly “most popular” restaurants change in cities around the country, especially ours. The biggest trend in the last three months is that expensive restaurants are disappearing from every user/reader poll. Critics and food freaks will always want to eat at the better restaurants in town and will save up for a splurge meal, but the casual diner who might have checked out LBV is now dead set against spending the dough. They love the idea of going but can’t see dropping big coin for food. Check out the list of the best 100 local joints, and notice how far down the list the more costly restaurants are. Then check out the ten most popular this week, and notice that Cossetta’s is number one. Good news is that 112 is number five, and the reason it is still as user-friendly as ever is the price point. Which is why all the margarita money at Barrio will keep LBV open until the recession peels back. See our top 100 restaurants on Urbanspoon.