Christmas

Mary & Tito’s: the hottest red and green you’ll ever love

Mary & Tito’s: the hottest red and green you’ll ever love

We have one piece of advice for you when you visit Mary & Tito's (2711 4th St. NW, 505-344-6266) in Albuquerque. Bring plenty of Kleenex. The red and green chile sauces that accompany most dishes are so hot that they will make your eyes water and your nose run. We don't mean to scare you off. You just need to be prepared. The food is so good that you will want to eat every bite. Order a soda to accompany your meal and the server will bring you a big glass full of ice and a can of your choice. When you've downed it all, she will bring you another. The refill is free. That is a distinct kindness. Mary & Tito's is located in...Read More

Commander’s Palace lives up to the legend

Enjoying a leisurely four-course Reveillon dinner (see previous post) is probably the best way to revel in the holiday spirit in New Orleans. But a fine meal is by no means limited to dinner—or to the historic French Quarter. For office parties and ladies who lunch, many restaurants also offer midday holiday menus. Among them is Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221, commanderspalace.com). This dining institution is housed in a bright blue building in the Garden District, where American interlopers shunned by French Creole society built their own grand mansions in the 19th century. The St. Charles streetcar carries passengers from the edge of the French Quarter to the Garden District in trolleys decked with garlands. Emile Commander opened Commander's Palace in the 1880s. It...Read More

Eat, drink, and be merry in New Orleans at the holidays

As a New Englander, I always secretly pitied people who had to celebrate Christmas in a warm climate. But after one day in New Orleans, I realized the error of my ways. Even in December, potted trees and ferns flourish on wrought iron balconies and poinsettias and camellias bloom profusely. All it takes are a few red bows and some twinkling white lights to deck the city for the holidays. With decorating out of the way, New Orleanians can spend more time at the table. Great food is a city birthright and I can't think of another place where you can eat better—or at a more reasonable price—than New Orleans at Christmas. Until the Civil War, Creole families enjoyed lavish feasts after Mass on Christmas...Read More

Find homey holiday tastes in these New England stores

As the Eating Season approaches, we start craving certain flavors that we associate with the winter holidays spent with family. We want the taste of home—whether that's a cuisine from the country where our ancestors originated or something forged by Norman Rockwell and Betty Crocker. Truth is, we love to forage for festive foodstuffs. As a service to our New England readers, here are five essential shops around the region where we find special holiday foods. This post is adapted from a piece we wrote last year in the Boston Globe travel section. BRITISH AISLES Denise and Gerry Pressinger founded British Aisles more than two decades ago so that ex-pats like themselves could get everyday British foods such as HP Sauce and the pickled onions...Read More

And the winning Champagne is…

What was our best bubbly of 2015? We've been fortunate this year to enjoy some spectacular sparkling wines, from a range of proseccos to an elegant pink Franciacorta to several cavas and crémants that we simply drank without taking notes or photographs. (Even wine and food writers are entitled to a day off.) But the champagnes of Barons de Rothschild (www.champagne-bdr.com) really took us through the seasons. We started off in warm weather with the non-vintage brut, which is the company's anchor champagne. It's blended with 60 percent chardonnay (mainly grand crus in the Côte des Blancs) and 40 percent pinot noir (principally from the villages of Verzenay, Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay, and Bouzy). It has a Rumpelstiltskin straw-gold color, a faintly yeasty aroma, and fine and...Read More

Spanish orange & almond tart for Christmas

Last year for the holiday season we made saffron shortbread cookies, and we were feeling bad that we didn't have a new holiday cookie this year. We got to thinking about winter sweets and some of our all-time favorite flavors, and the two sort of came together. Some of the quintessential tastes of Spain are almonds, saffron, and bitter oranges. Why not adapt our standard linzer tart recipe to reflect that different range of flavors? Instead of hazelnuts in the dough, we could use almonds. Instead of vanilla, we could use saffron. And in place of raspberry jam, we could use Seville orange marmalade. (OK, we know that the marmalade is more a Scottish than Spanish flavor, but it does use the bitter oranges of...Read More

Pimento Cheese for holiday South in your mouth

Chef Matthew Bell hails from Montana, but after about a decade in the South, he felt confident to head the kitchen at South on Main restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas. It's a collaboration with the Oxford American, the magazine that chronicles the literary and cultural life of the South and is often called the ''New Yorker of the South.'' ''We are taking our cue from the magazine and keying in on the cuisine from all regions,'' Bell told a gathering of writers who previewed the restaurant and performance place while it was still under construction. ''Arkansas cuisine is a microcosm of the whole South with influence from the Ozarks and the Smokies,'' he said. ''We have a long growing season and close access to the...Read More