Chefs and growers jointly hail the versatile cranberry

Chefs and growers jointly hail the versatile cranberry

The motto of HungryTravelers is “bringing the taste of travel back home,” but sometimes we don't have to go very far for extraordinary flavor. The Ocean Spray Cooperative (oceanspray.com) is headquartered just 50 miles south-southeast from our home in Cambridge, Mass., but its 700-plus members in North and South America represent a world of flavor. They grow 80 percent of the globe's cranberries. Similarly, Puritan & Company restaurant is a 13-minute walk from home. Chef-owner Will Gilson champions New England cuisine, so it was logical that the restaurant host a debut dinner by the Cranberry Chef Collective last week. The CCC connects chefs to the member farmers of the cranberry cooperative. Ocean Spray estimates that more than 100 billion cranberries will be consumed this holiday...Read More
Château La Nerthe delivers warmth, finesse, and power

Château La Nerthe delivers warmth, finesse, and power

Châteauneuf-du-Pape might be the ultimate late autumn comfort wine. At its best, it's rich, nuanced, and warm. It has a gentle power that responds to those hormones that surge when the days get shorter. It also plays very well with food. The 2012 Château La Nerthe is the very model of what Hugh Johnson once called “a glowing, roast-chestnut warmth” characteristic of good Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Admittedly, good wines from this southernmost portion of the Rhone cost enough to be out of our league for everyday drinking. But this bottle comes in at a reasonable $65 suggested retail price—closer to $55 at discount wine shops. Just entering its drinking years (now through 2023, we're told), it blossoms when double-decanted and served at around 60° F. We opened...Read More

Grits with black truffle and poached eggs

As Pat and I developed ways to use black truffles, we generally opted for the simplest and most straightforward combinations. Keeping in mind that truffles pair well with corn—and that northern Italians sometimes eat truffles on polenta—we decided to try truffles with some of the best grits we've been able to lay hands on. We'll be writing shortly about our food and drink visit to central Kentucky, where we had the good fortune to drive from Lexington out to Midway to visit Weisenberger Mill. This is a truly old-fashioned mill that has been stone-grinding grain for six generations, starting in 1865. Living in Yankeeville, we have a hard time finding good white grits, but now know we can order them online from Weisenberger at www.weisenberger.com....Read More

It’s always Thanksgiving at Hart’s

The motto at Hart's Turkey Farm is that “every day is Thanksgiving” at this family-dining fixture. It sits in Meredith, New Hampshire, on the west side of Lake Winnipesaukee. Truth is, the busiest days of the fall season are already over. The place was jammed over Columbus Day weekend. But they're gearing up for the onslaught of diners (probably around 1,600) on Thanksgiving Day. On a busy day, Hart's serves more than a ton of turkey and 40 gallons of gravy. Most diners choose the turkey plate with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a choice of vegetable and potato. It is available in three serving sizes with either all white meat, or a mixture of white and dark meat. The jumbo plate can even be...Read More

Two favorite restaurants in Istanbul

Whether you prefer to go fancy or casual, we found great food in Istanbul. Shown above was our table at Ulus 29 (Adnan Saygun Caddesi, Ulus Parkı İçi No:71/1, tel: +90 212-358-2929, www.group-29.com), one of the city's top restaurants, where we met designer Zeynep Fadillioğlu and her husband Metin. He owns Ulus 29, and she designed it. Placed on a hillside overlooking the Bosphorus Strait, the restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows. It's worth dining here just for the view. The food is pretty spectacular as well, leaning toward contemporary fine European cuisine. While we made a point of eating a lot of Turkish meze and drinking Turkish wine, we also ordered some dishes that wouldn't have been out of place at an upscale restaurant in Paris....Read More

An Istanbul take on mideastern muhamarra

One pleasure of dining in Istanbul was getting reacquainted with muhamarra, the walnut and pomegranate spread found all around the Middle and Near East. We buy it at home from Samira's Homemade in Belmont, where Lebanon-born Samira Hamdoun fashions all sort of tasty spreads. But we found it on every mezze tray in Istanbul, and decided we had to learn to make it for ourselves. Fortunately, our friend Elif Aydar of the Marti hotel group gave us her own recipe. It was a bit of a challenge to adapt, since we can't pop into the grocery store for red pepper paste or sour pomegranate condiment. Moreover, colloquial kitchen measurements differ between Turkey and the U.S. and the breads have different textures. But with a little...Read More

What to bring home from a Turkish grocery store

When we were in Istanbul last week, we were surprised to discover that it's common for unmarried men and women to live with their families well into their 30s. So when we asked our first guide, who is 30-something, what to buy in a grocery store, he was utterly clueless. His mother does all the cooking, and apparently all the shopping too. He's not even sure what's in her recipes. But our second guide proved a more modern young Turk. Yusuf Kilig works in Istanbul, far from his family's village in the south, and shares a flat with roommates. He knows his way around the kitchen, and the supermarket aisles as well. Yusuf had also worked for a few months at Walt Disney World in...Read More