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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
‘Tis the season for temptations. And for gift giving. So if you’re looking for the perfect holiday present, treat your family and friends to some festive handmade candy. As easy to make as they are impressive, these luscious Bourbon–Sea Salt Caramels can make a thoughtful hostess gift and are sure to delight all the sweets lovers on your list.
Special Equipment: A candy thermometer
Lightly coat an 8×8” baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2” overhang on 2 sides; spray parchment.
Bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in sweetened condensed milk and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth. Fit pan with thermometer and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thermometer registers 240°. Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon and kosher salt. Pour into prepared pan; let cool. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt, cut into ¾” pieces, and wrap individually in parchment paper.
Do Ahead: Caramels can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store wrapped tightly in plastic in airtight container at room temperature. Image courtesy of Bon Appétit
Bring on the bubbly! Last year, my friend and CitySip founder, Blaine Ashley, organized New York’s first-ever Champagne Week—and now it’s back. Bigger, better and bubblier than ever. From November 3-7, exciting events will be taking place all over the city including a Champagne and spirits cocktail competition, exclusive tastings and sparkling happy hours.
Experience boutique bubbly brands to world-class favorites during the ultimate, multi-day Champagne celebration. Get your tickets here so you can sip away and uncork all the indulgent fun! Here’s a list of NYC Champagne Week festivities you can attend:
A Complimentary Taste of Champagne Drappier
Monday, November 3rd | 8-10 pm | Vin Sur Vingt NoMad
Kick off the Second Annual New York Champagne Week in high-style with Founder, Blaine Ashley, and Champagne Drappier. Enjoy a complimentary glass of Champagne Drappier’s impressive 15-liter, $4500 bottle of bubbly! Various Champagne Week specials will also be available.
Flight Night at The Bubble Lounge
Thursday, November 6th | 7-10pm | The Bubble Lounge
Join the iconic Bubble Lounge in Tribeca for a special New York Champagne Week Flight Night. For just $50, guests will enjoy Champagne Cocktails paired perfectly with an appetizer, a flute of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve with a small plate pairing, and a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte’s Demi-Sec Rose with dessert.
The Bubble Bash at The Hotel Americano
Friday, November 7th | 9pm-12am | The Hotel Americano’s El Privado Lounge
At this ultimate closing bash, enjoy Aperitif-style Champagne Cocktails featuring Lillet and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, unlimited Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve and Brut Rose by the magnum bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a sultry soundtrack. In a second room, guests will find a Hudson Whiskey Champagne Punch and Cocktail den with more food and fun times. Tickets are $65/person, get them here.
Stay connected to all the bubble-filled happenings on Facebook and Twitter. Hope to see you there. Sante!
Image courtesy of real-champagne.com
It’s time to get into the holiday spirit. And there’s no better way than to set sail for The Village Voice Holiday Spirits 2nd Annual Tasting Event on November 20th.
During this three-hour booze cruise, partygoers can sip spirits, wine, and specialty holiday cocktails from more than 30 distilleries and wineries in New York City and beyond—including Brooklyn Gin, Tanteo Tequila, Brooklyn Winery, Cooperstown Distillery, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Owney’s Original, Breuckelen Distilling, Catskill Distilling Company, and many more.
This festive fête also includes a voyage around New York Harbor, complete with dazzling skyline views, tasty hors d’oeuvres, and a soundtrack from DJ Tim Martell along with a live jazz quartet.
VIP and General Admission tickets on sale now! Don’t miss your chance to join the fun-filled festivities. Holiday Spirits will take over the Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship from 6-9pm (boarding begins at 5:30pm at Pier 40 @ West Houston Street).
Purchase your tickets here and use promo code EAT for $10 off!
Image courtesy of The Village Voice
That menu in your hand? Throw it on the ground. Some of the best burgers around the country are off-the-menu orders that only restaurant regulars or industry folks know about.
Welcome to the wonderful world of secret restaurant burgers. Here’s where to get the best of the bunch:
Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta
It’s 10 p.m. For chef Linton Hopkins, “It’s burger time!” His wife, Gina, threw out the idea of having a late-night, off-the-menu cheeseburger. “It’s not a gimmick,” Hopkins explains. “A handcrafted burger takes a lot of time to prepare correctly.” Every night, he dishes out exactly 24 of them, which you can reserve ahead of time. Your reward for planning: a double-patty burger topped with American cheese, griddled red onions, house-made mustard and bread and butter pickles, all stacked on a house-made bun.
Heirloom Cafe in San Francisco
Sometimes stoned conversations with your roommate can lead to great ideas. “Great” meaning grinding deliciously pungent, unpasteurized, brandy-washed Époisses cheese into your beef patty. That’s the story behind owner (and celebrated sommelier) Matt Straus’s cheeseburger. He eschews the usual ketchup and mustard for onion jam, lettuce for wild arugula, and buns for a locally baked English muffin. And of course, it doesn’t come with fries–pickled carrots, all the way.
Gramercy Tavern in New York
And you thought chef Michael Anthony took his Japanese cooking seriously. He makes everything in-house for his lunch-only burger, from the freshly ground Adirondacks Grazer beef patty to the buns made from German butterball potatoes. Anthony sends out only about 25 burgers a day, so listen to your waiter: That verbal rundown of the specials is your ticket to bacon-topped, clothbound cheddar crowned goodness. And, the greenmarket-loving chef has a very of-the-moment rotation of condiments, including mushroom-caramelized onion jam and pickled and raw onions.
Quinn’s Pub in Seattle
The foie gras- and duck egg-topped Ultraburger “takes extravagance to the extreme on the ultimate everyman’s food,” says chef Jeremy Ravetz. “It’s a little too decadent to order every day.” Simply ask for the burger and Ravetz goes to town: He takes a typical burger on the menu–Painted Hills beef with bacon, white cheddar and horseradish-Dijon mayo–and adds the aforementioned accoutrements and a few changing flourishes, like pork sausage, braised cabbage and apple butter. Bonus: The Ultraburger comes covered in Bordelaise-infused fonduta sprinkled with shaved or seared foie gras.
Alden & Harlow in Boston
You need a secret code word to order chef Michael Scelfo’s off-the-menu burger. Well, as secret as a Tweet can be. “It started off as a way to interact with people via social media–something just for fun,” Scelfo says. Every Friday, Scelfo tweets out the secret burger code word. The current Secret Burger is a blend of freshly ground Creekstone Farms brisket, short rib and beef plate, grilled then crowned with little gem lettuce, a Cabot cheese tuille, and salted onions (“Salting draws out the acidic qualities and gives it a nice savory crunch,” says Scelfo). It’s dressed with his famed No-Name sauce, his grandma’s hybrid sauce of Caesar and Thousand Island dressing. Stay tuned: Scelfo most recently teased a peanut butter and pancetta “stoner” burger for loyal Twitter followers last week.
Original feature on TastingTable.com. Image courtesy of Esquire.com
This weekend, September 26–28, marks the seventh annual Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet—one of the nation’s premier culinary festivals. To help guide event-goers through the weekend-long epicurean experience in Millennium Park, Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport shares his expert advice on tackling the weekend like a pro.
This year, Adam will be leading the Hamburger Hop burger battle, the official Chicago Gourmet kick-off event, and serve as emcee of three interactive seminars over the weekend: The Mexican Takeover with Rick Bayless; The Whole Fish with Masaharu Morimoto; and Carla’s Comfort Foods with Carla Hall from ABC’s The Chew.
Pack Your Sunscreen. You’re going to be eating, drinking and hanging out in the sun (yes, it’s going to be sunny) all day. Play it safe with SPF.
Explore. Reach beyond your boundaries, meet different chefs and try foods you haven’t tasted before. One of the great things about Chicago Gourmet is that the festival features restaurants from all across the country. So use your afternoon in Millennium Park to try all those restaurants you normally don’t get to.
Be Punctual. Be the nerd who gets there early. That way you can eat everything before everyone arrives, then hit your favorites for a second time.
Learn Something New. Take your wine, beer and spirits cred up a notch by attending the interactive seminars. Your knowledge will dazzle all at your next dinner party.
Hungry for more advice? Follow Adam’s exciting culinary adventures on Twitter and Instagram.
Image and video courtesy of Bon Appétit
Did you know that one in five children struggles with hunger in America? No child should ever grow up hungry. This September, you can help the cause just by dining out.
The average person eats 90 meals during one month, and that means 90 chances to help end childhood hunger in America. All month long, you can dine at participating restaurants nationwide supporting No Kid Hungry, make a contribution, and take advantage of promotions and rewards in return for doing good.
And if you can’t dine out, you can still make a donation here. Every dollar raised feeds a child in need up to 10 nutritious meals, including the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Please join me in raising a fork for the initiative and let’s help end childhood hunger once and for all!
For more information and to find participating restaurants, visit NoKidHungry.org. Share your experience with your social network, follow @NoKidHungry on Facebook and Twitter, and join the #90Meals conversation to end childhood hunger, one meal at a time.
Image courtesy of NoKidHungry.org.