Butter tart: the apogee of Canadian pastry

Butter tart: the apogee of Canadian pastry

We're just back from a few days of boating on the Rideau Canal in Ontario aboard one of the new cruisers offered by Le Boat (www.leboat.com). Stops on the waterway are at villages where the men and women of Parks Canada operate the mostly hand-cranked 19th century locks so boats can pass. We spent a couple of days docked next to the locks at Merrickville, a town that couldn't have been cuter if Disney had invented it (and wouldn't be so historic if Disney had). Several people had told us that we really shouldn't miss the butter tarts at Nana B's (318 Main Street West, Merrickville, ON; 613-454-1380; www.nanabbakery.ca). When we walked up to the bakery from the village center on a Sunday afternoon, Nana...Read More
Getting a handle on premium Chilean wines

Getting a handle on premium Chilean wines

My understanding of Chilean wine has been minimal. Exposed largely to inexpensive Cabernets and Sauvignon Blanc, I've long associated Chile with good bargains. Oh, the occasional eye-opening bottle of Carignan found its way to our table—and we rejoiced when one did and marveled at both the price—roughly six times the cost of a bargain Chilean red—and the great quality even at that price. If the Wines of Chile marketing consortium has its way, we'll all be having more of those aha! moments over glasses of Chilean wine. The group just barnstormed through Boston, Chicago, and D.C. with 15 wineries in tow for trade tastings of what they call “site specific artisan wines.” More important, they brought along one of the most genial and knowledgeable interpreters...Read More
Luce wines turn toward the future

Luce wines turn toward the future

As one of the first super Tuscan wines, Luce was the joint vision of the Marchesi de' Frescobaldi and the late Robert Mondavi. Blending the Montalcino clone of Sangiovese with Merlot, they created a red with supple vigor and friendly tannins that was immediately met with popular and critical success. More than two decades have passed, and Luce remains a powerful alternative to the best Brunello di Montalcino. In recent years, however, the Tenuta Luce delle Vite estate has branched out with a more approachable and affordable second level wine called Lucente. They are also changing the way they age their Brunello. When Luce's technical director, Stefano Ruini, passed through Boston recently, we sat down to taste the latest releases and discuss changes at the...Read More
Tipperary’s first releases hint of great things to come

Tipperary’s first releases hint of great things to come

With clear spirits grabbing most of the attention these days, it's great to see that whiskey, too, is having its moment. Kentucky's big distilling companies are spawning specialty offspring almost daily, it seems. New Scotch whiskies are proliferating at such a rate that we wonder if the turf-cutters can keep up. And now we have an intriguing offering from an Irish boutique distillery that launched in March 2016. Tipperary Boutique Distillery (Newtownadam, Cahir, County Tipperary; tipperarydistillery.ie) is a joint project of three talents. Jennifer Nickerson, who grew up in the Scotch whisky industry, manages the company. Stuart Nickerson, a 35-year veteran of Irish and Scottish distilleries, advises on the technical issues. Liam Ahearn, Jennifer's fiance, grows the barley on his family's Ballindoney Farm outside Clonmel....Read More
Tart, picante, and salty—Tajín hits the Mexican spot

Tart, picante, and salty—Tajín hits the Mexican spot

A bartender at the Occidental Cozumel resort in Mexico (occidentalgrandcozumel.com) introduced us to Tajín, the blend of lime, chile peppers, and sea salt that seems to be one of the country's favorite seasonings. It's produced in Zapopan from mild chiles grown in the region. The company aims for a mix with a lot of flavor and just enough heat to keep the taste buds alert. Tajín certainly did the trick rimming the glass of a cucumber habañero margarita. The manufacturer suggests sprinkling Tajín on everything from marinated beef and vegetable skewers to chicken salad sandwiches and avocado ice cream. The web site (tajin.com) offers a recipe for the popular street food esquites. The concoction of corn kernels, cheese, chiles, cotija cheese, and mayonnaise is served...Read More
‘L.A. Cookbook’ surveys top tastes of La La Land

‘L.A. Cookbook’ surveys top tastes of La La Land

Reading Alison Clare Steingold's new book, The L.A. Cookbook , makes us want to eat our way through Los Angeles. Her compilation of 100 recipes from some of the city's best restaurants, bakeries, and bars includes everything from whitefish salad to black cod in miso, from adobo chicken with mole sauce to black-eyed pea falafel tacos. Of course, you'll also find a great burger, fluffy pancakes, and a rhubarb-berry pie with a lattice crust. But the book is primarily a celebration of the international flavor of the L.A. dining scene. We don't have a California trip in the works right now, but we were happy to find new uses for a couple of culinary ingredients that we've brought home from recent travels. Earlier this year,...Read More
‘New Spanish’ gives NYC accent to Iberian food

‘New Spanish’ gives NYC accent to Iberian food

Chef Jonah Miller and restaurateur Nate Adler are the combined force behind Huertas (huertasnyc.com) in New York's East Village. The restaurant skews Basque in its inspiration, but the pair's cookbook, The New Spanish, is a playful take on contemporary Spanish cooking with a pronounced NYC accent. Case in point: “Arroz al Chino” is a mashup of paella and Chinese fried rice inspired by Zhou Yulong, the Chinese restaurant in the parking garage beneath Plaza de España in Madrid. It's saffron fried rice with lots of bacon, shrimp, and pea tendrils. Covered with zigzag tracks of aioli, it's not far from the fried paella balls that many Spaniards make at home with leftovers. It's pretty clear that Miller and Adler are most at home in “Green...Read More
Cock-a-leekie soup inspires a Scottish pie

Cock-a-leekie soup inspires a Scottish pie

Our mission with HungryTravelers is to bring the taste of travel back home. That means trying the characteristic and traditional dishes of a place and trying to re-create them in our home kitchen. One of the signatures of Scottish cuisine—sometime called Scotland's national soup—is a bowl of leeks and peppery chicken stock. It's been going under the name of cock-a-leekie soup since the 18th century, though there are printed examples of the recipe from two centuries earlier. Food historians suggest that it was originally a French chicken and onion soup that made its way to Scotland through the Bourbon connections to the Scottish throne. Weather and soil being what they are in Scotland, hardy leeks soon superseded fussy-to-grow onions. The traditional version of the dish...Read More
Tea with a Scottish burr in the Balmoral’s Palm Court

Tea with a Scottish burr in the Balmoral’s Palm Court

Any visitor who relishes the Scottish baronial architectural style of Edinburgh's central core has imagined a night at The Balmoral Hotel (1 Princes Street, Edinburgh; + 44 (0)131-556-2414; roccofortehotels.com/the-balmoral-hotel). The grand railway hotel opened in 1902 to complement Waverly Station and remains the most storied hotel in the city. With rooms starting around $325 and quickly rising, its elegant comforts are out of reach for many. But the hotel offers one sweet, not quite so dear indulgence. Book afternoon tea in the Palm Court, one of the classiest, most elegant rooms in Edinburgh. You can take in the surroundings as you linger over a tiered tray of sandwiches and savories, hot scones with clotted cream and preserves, a seasonal selection of pastries, and a choice...Read More
Sweet surrender at Mrs. Mitchell’s Sweetie Shop

Sweet surrender at Mrs. Mitchell’s Sweetie Shop

Sweet nostalgia is the stock-in-trade of Mrs. Mitchell's Sweetie Shop in Glasgow's Trongate neighborhood (117 Trongate). Out front, a giant swirled lollipop on the sidewalk lures in Glaswegians eager for a taste of their childhoods. “Everyone asks for the old-fashioned candies,” said Mercedes Thompson, niece of proprietor Beverly Mitchell. She gestured to shelves filled with jars of chocolate lime satins, barley sugar, rhubarb rock, butternuts, and rum and butter toffees. The wrapped candies are great to stuff in a pocket for a quick pick-me-up during a meeting or a ride on the subway. But some of the favorites are good for sharing. Beverly told us that MB Originals (chocolate-covered white fondant) and Chelsea Whoopers (chocolate- covered soft fudge) are among the most requested candy bars....Read More