The Skinny on Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs

frankfurters neonIt’s the 4th of July, the day thousands of New Yorkers celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by flocking to Coney Island and watching competitive eaters push an unspeakable quantity of hot dogs down their throats.  In the 2014 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Contest winner Joey “Jaws” Chestnut devoured 61 in 10 minutes.

I mean no disrespect to the eight-time champion by asserting his feat was not quite as impressive as it seems. [Read more…]

The 8 Best Words to Hear at a Fish & Chip Shop

Fish plus Chips

Are you a conscientious cook who will only buy fish from someone who can tell you where, when and how it was caught? If so the eight words you most want to see or hear at your chippy may be the same as those you expect from your fishmonger:

Our fish locally sourced from British Coastal Fisheries.

[Read more…]

The Curse of the Two-Euro Gelato

Le Strade della MozzarellaLe Strade della Mozzarella (#LSDM) stopped in London on Monday to spread the joy of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP and so did the master gelataio Simone Bonini.

[Read more…]

Top 5 Posts of 2014

top5collage 2

The Young&Foodish year ended on a high note, with my signing on with Phaidon, the prestigious publisher of books by Massimo BotturaFerran Adrià and René Redzepi, to compile a guide to the world’s best pizzerias.

This happy development should not come as too much of surprise if you’ve been following my posts here or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 2 of my top 5 posts of 2014 were about pizza. In the past year I posted 5 videos about Neapolitan pizza on my YouTube channel.

This preoccupation with pizza did not come at the expense of my burger obsession. Burgers, like pizza, claimed two slots among my top 5 posts of the year. Since early October I’ve working on a major Young&Foodish event for early 2015 that’s to be all about burgers – real burgers. The Real Burger Challenge launches in London on January 18th.

Best wishes to you for a Happy New Year and a deliciously foodish 2015.

 

Top Young&Foodish Posts of 2014

 

5. Why Pizza in Naples has to be Soft

Naples shared its love of pizza and dry pasta with the world many years ago but something got lost in translation. Rather than eat pasta al dente and pizza soft, in the Neapolitan way, foreigners learned to do the opposite.

Non-Italians at last discovered the pleasures of al dente pasta in the late 20th Century. But only recently have hardcore devotees in the pizza diaspora acquired a soft spot for pizza with a light, pliable crust.

In my video above the master pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia of Pizzaria La Notizia explains why Neapolitan pizza must be so soft and light.

READ MORE>>>
 

4. Meet the Burgers #LBBfinal

London Burger Bash Final – 6 April 2014
Jubilee Place at Borough Market
Fred's Bacon Cheeseburger
Piggy Rascal
Mangalitsa brioche bun, aged rib cap patty, Tallegio cheese, Mangalitsa belly bacon, confit pork shoulder, trotter & smoked pig dripping glaze, pickled cucumbers, smoked garlic mayo
Bleecker Black
beef, cheese, black pudding
Grizzly G&T
aged beef patty, wild sloe berry gin bacon jam, smoked bacon, smoked yuzu ketchup, American cheese, disco bun

 

3. Pizza Pilgrims Think out of Box & Into Pan

Pizza Pilgrims Frying Pan Pizza Pan
“I have something for you,” said Londoner James Elliot, one of the Pizza Pilgrims behind the pizza van and insanely popular pizzeria of that name. “I’d like to you take it home and test it.”

I assumed the white pizza box Elliot handed me contained a pizza, albeit a rather heavy one. But when I opened the lid I saw a chemistry set where the pizza ought to have been. Plastic containers containing various elements were slotted into the round openings in a square sheet of green cardboard.
I slid the box over to Elliot for an explanation of its contents. The printed text under the lid contained the step-by-step instructions (see their recipe) for the Pizza Pilgrims Neapolitan Frying Pan Pizza.

READ MORE>>>
 

2. My Salad Cream Days in the UK

SONY DSCAssimilating the young and foodish me into British life has proven more frustrating than expected. I assumed it would be easy for me to adapt to the London foodscape, given I was educated in New Yorkese, a language with vast similarities to English, and was already acquainted with orange marmalade.

Turns out there was more to mastering the British food curriculum than distinguishing crisps from chips, aubergines from eggplants, tomatoes from tomatoes. 10 years into my London education I discovered I hadn’t even heard of, much less tried, a beloved British condiment, Heinz Salad Cream.

READ MORE>>>
 

1. Bleecker Street Triumphs with Blood & Guts at London Burger Bash Final

bleecker black cut-throughphoto by Ian Sargent

Zan Kaufman of Bleecker St Burger won the Final of the London Burger Bash on April 5th at Borough Market with a combination of blood and guts.

The blood refers not to the oozy redness of her aged beef patties, cooked south of medium rare, but to the dried blood in the Clonakilty beef black pudding she added to her #LBBfinal entry – the Bleecker Black.


The guts alludes not to any beef innards in that Irish black pudding, however essential they may be, but rather to the audacity of using an ingredient that could repulse a thick slice of the voting pool.

READ MORE>>>

The Pleasure of “Semplice: Real Italian food” is half good ingredients & half Dino Joannides

semplice“As with any recipe,” writes Dino Joannides in his headnote introducing Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil, “success lies 75 percent in good-quality ingredients and 25 percent in execution.”

The maths may be problematic, leaving no room to credit the know-how, clarity and passion Dino puts into his recipes, but the point is clear: In Semplice: Real Italian Food, Dino’s newly published labour of love, ingredients come first. For Italians good food is made with good foods, it’s as simple as that.

But what are these good-quality ingredients? Who are the best producers? Where do you find them? It’s Dino’s informed answers to these questions that distinguish his work. Although I own some 35 books on Italian food Semplice nevertheless fills a big gap on my cookbook shelf. [Read more…]

My Salad Cream Days in the UK

SONY DSC

Assimilating the young and foodish me into British life has proven more frustrating than expected. I assumed it would be easy for me to adapt to the London foodscape, given I was educated in New Yorkese, a language with vast similarities to English, and was already acquainted with orange marmalade.

Turns out there was more to mastering the British food curriculum than distinguishing crisps from chips, aubergines from eggplants, tomatoes from tomatoes. 10 years into my London education I discovered I hadn’t even heard of, much less tried, a beloved British condiment, Heinz Salad Cream. [Read more…]

Maestro Pizzaiolo Franco Pepe Thinks Back Looks Forward


 
On the Wednesday morning following PizzaTuesday Naples, my insider’s tour of the pizza heartland, the group met with the great Franco Pepe on the sunny rooftop of Pepe in Grani, his pizzeria in the town of Caiazzo.

PizzaTuesday NaplesRecalling the prior night’s tasting of 10 exceptional Pepe pizzas I put the third-generation pizzaiolo on the spot:

How, I asked, does your pizza compare to that of your father and grandfather?

Pepe smiled uneasily, took a breath, then delivered the response heard in the video above. [Read more…]

Take the #RealBurgerChallenge

Real Burger ChallengeAs creator of BurgerMonday I’ve staged some pretty outrageous burgers, from the UmamiBurger MNO Burger, topped with Port-braised short ribs, truffle cheese, foie gras and truffles, to the Disco Bistro Original Disco Burger, layered with smoked dry-aged short rib, marrow and trotter sauce, Cheddar, pickled onions and bone broth.

Much as I look forward to showcasing still more obscene burgers piled with wild things I do fear we may be losing our way. In the race to out-top one another burger chefs and their fans risk forgetting two burger basics:

– A burger is only as good as its beef patty.

– Get the meat part right and the burger can stand on its own, with little embellishment.

To help put the meat of the matter back in focus I urge home cooks, restaurant chefs and burger dudes everywhere to take the @BurgerMonday #RealBurgerChallenge:

Create a great burger with 1 bun, 1 patty, 1 sauce and 1 topping. [Read more…]

Why Pizza in Naples Has to be So Soft


 

Enzo Coccia with Bendable MargheritaNaples shared its love of pizza and dry pasta with the world many years ago but something got lost in translation. Rather than eat pasta al dente and pizza soft, in the Neapolitan way, foreigners learned to do the opposite.

Non-Italians at last discovered the pleasures of al dente pasta in the late 20th Century. But only recently have hardcore devotees in the pizza diaspora acquired a soft spot for pizza with a light, pliable crust.

In my video above, “Pizza in Naples is Strictly Softcore”, the master pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia of Pizzaria La Notizia explains why Neapolitan pizza must be so soft and light. [Read more…]

A Pox on the Pizza Polka Dots

pizza polka dots
 
Until this week I assumed the appearance of mozzarella polka dots on Neapolitan-style pizzas was an unintended consequence of using the wrong cheese or handling the right cheese improperly.

But groundbreaking London pizza merchants like Franco Manca and Pizza Pilgrims may be convincing a new wave of pizza bakers and eaters that the dots are desirable.

“They’re becoming quite the fashion, aren’t they?” observed Nick Buckland of Yard Sale Pizza, a new pizzeria on Lower Clapton Road in the heart of hipster East London. [Read more…]