Posts from May 2010

Danny Meyer, Peter Gordon and Carlo Cracco on Restaurants Recipes for Success

After private screening of The Restaurateur in New York on Thursday, Danny Meyer offered his 3 ingredients to what makes a successful eaterie: Location, Chef, Idea (Concept).

New kid on the block of food magazines Eat Me (London) interviews Carlo Cracco of Ristorante Cracco (Milan) who shares his 'inside the kitchen' perspective:

"I always say to my chefs in the kitchen that you must believe in what you are doing. You need to express yourself and express the passion within you, always keeping your integrity."


To conclude, I realized that a couple of questions from my chat with Peter Gordon in The World on Your Plate did not make it to the final cut.

One of them was about diners who walk into a restaurant and don't like anything on the menu, to which Peter replied: Would you go to a concert by an artist you don't like?

Recipes for success from 3 restaurateurs for Monday Work Etiquette # 142

Previously: Work, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Life is Ephemeral

All About Cheese, Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, July 25, Shelburne Farms

There has not been much cheese talk lately on 'Serge the Concierge'.

Is it due to the fact that I have not made discoveries that wowed me in that field lately?

Should I put cheese festivals on my to do list this summer?

Meeting the farmers and producers, getting their story first hand is fodder for writing.

I am considering at least trekking to Vermont for the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival in Shelburne on July 25th.

A few facts learned from the program notes:

Vermont is the premium artisanal cheese state with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita: over 40 of them!

Some of the activities offered along the shores of Lake Champlain in Shelburne Farms Coach Barn:

Some of the Big Cheeses present to enlighten us during the festival are Kate Arding, co-founder of Culture magazine ('the word on cheese'), Marc Druart from the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese and Janet Fletcher, master gardener, food writer and author of a number of books, most recently, Eating Local (Andrews McMeel).


Already have plans for the Sunday, Vermont Farm Tours will offer five cheese tours ($95 per person) on Saturday, July 24.

5 options are a southern tour based in Manchester, a central tour focused on the Brookfield area, an Addison County tour, a Hardwick-area tour, and a Shelburne-based wine tour.
This all day event includes lunch.

Say Cheese!

Generation Madiran, 20 Producers from Under the Radar French Appellation Join Forces

Is Madiran off the radar for most wine drinkers because they are in the shadow of their Bordeaux neighbors?

Small streams make big rivers. With that in mind 20 producers from the appellation decided to join forces and founded Generation Madiran reports Fabrice on VinSurVin (French Wine Blog).


Madiran wines are mostly made with Tannat, a varietal adopted by winemakers in Argentina and Uruguay.

This red wine is robust with strong tannins. To balance Tannat some producers blend it with Cabernet Franc or Fer Servadou.

Fabrice sampled a few wines from Madiran.

Esprit de baste

It seems his favorite was Clos Basté, l’Esprit de Basté, 2006 (label above).

Maybe I will follow Fabrice lead, try to put my hands on a bottle of Madiran and share my impressions with you.

If I inspired you to visit the area and spend a day or two there, Le Prielle run by Simon and Paulette Appleby offers rural accommodations ('Gites') right in Madiran.

Generation Madiran is a French language site

Apple's Hidden Side, Ice Cider by La Face Cachee de la Pomme

We all know about the dark side of the moon but I never heard of the hidden side of the apple until I wrote a piece on Vinoble 2010, a tasting event dedicated to all dessert and sweet wines.

The hidden side of the apple is a loose translation of La Face Cachee de la Pomme, proud parents of the Neige Ice Cider in Quebec.


Since I never tasted this 'Snow' (Neige), let me share their fact sheet

Autumn harvest  Blend of McIntosh (80%) and Spartan (20%) apples.

Golden yellow color with shimmering reflections.

Pure and crisp, the aromas of freshly picked ripe apples are vividly intense.

Tasty and softly sweet attack, persistent and tense.

A delicious balance between sugar and acidity.

Perfect as an aperitif or accompanied with sharp cheese (ex.: Chèvre Noir) or blue-veined cheese, and desserts.

C'est bon la Neige?

Don't eat the yellow snow!

Crazy Turkey, Dindes Folles Festival, Rivolet, France, May 28-30

I don't really known any of the artists playing there or where Rivolet is for that matter.

My hunch told me that a festival named Dindes Folles ('Crazy Turkey') must have a sense of playfulness.


Its founders started back in the 90's with the idea of bringing culture to the countryside.

In bucolic surroundings, a river runs through it, the Dindes Folles offer 3 days of Clowns, Music, Dance and Theater.

No Glastonbury here, no stars, just talented people letting their creative juices flow.


I was told that another French festival with a human face is La Renverse in my native Morbihan, (August 13 and 14) not far from the ocean, 10 artists and bands, 5 per day... plus local beers, crepes, mussels, no junk food it seems.

Neither Dindes Folles nor La Renverse will bust your budget.

(*Note that the sites for both Festivals are in French only)

Kristin Hersh Live, Solo and Acoustic, June 4, Naked Soul Series at Rubin Museum, NY

For those of you wondering who Kristin Hersh is, if I mention founder of Throwing Muses maybe it helps.

Anyway, Kristin got back on my radar when I heard about an interesting project of hers, Hardcover Music I call it . She will release her next record as a book titled Crooked in July 2010.

She is playing an Acoustic Solo Show in New York on June 4 at 7PM.


It is part of the Naked Soul Concert Series at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Tickets are $30 in Advance.

I will talk with Kristin about Crooked, life on the road, a musician's diet and a few other things prior to the show.

The interview will be published the following Wednesday.

Mother and Child Art Piece, Where From Asks French Museum for Fete des Meres, May 30

Let me count the ways to start a conversation.


France celebrates Mothers Day on May 30, 2010 and Reunion des Museums Nationaux offers a quiz.


Can you name the country, place of origin of the Mother and Child Art Piece above?

It comes from the Louvre Museum collection.

Reunion des Museums Nationaux is an umbrella organization for some 35 French Museums, helping them with promotion, ticketing, renovations as well as publishing books and selling gifts like the Degas Soap Box from Musee d'Orsay (below) which I think my mother in France would like.


Joyeuse Fete des Meres, Maman!

Up on the Roof, Tom's Terrace, Grab a Bite, Sip Some Wine Under The Stars in London

You might associate Al Fresco dining more with Spain or Provence yet London has been getting hotter in the past few years.

With that in mind and relishing a new challenge, chef Tom Aikens has opened Tom’s Terrace up on the roof at Somerset House.


River Thames is in full view.

I think it's a great place to meet friends ans sip wine while eating a few bites.

Chicken Liver Foie Gras Parfait, Dill and Beetroot Salmon, Charcuterie or Cheese Selection and Tom's Tasting Board (below) would be my picks.


15 wines by the glass are offered.

Feeling bubbly, sip some Lanson Brut or Prosecco

Whites, on warm days I would go with the Sancerre or Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch.

Reds, the Chianti or the Cotes du Rhone.

A relaxing moment under the stars.

Vinoble 2010, Vins Nobles, A World of Dessert and Sweet Wines in Andalucia, May 30-June 2

On one of my visits to Catavino, I noticed Vinoble 2010 taking place in Jerez de la Frontera.

Not just any event as it focuses on one small section of the wine world, Vins Nobles, in plain English Dessert and Sweet Wines...

If you tasted Late Harvest Riesling or Vino Santo for example, you know what I am talking about.

In Alsace, they might be called Sélection de Grains Nobles while in Jura it will be Vin de Paille (Straw Wine).

In some cases grapes will be left to dry in order to get more concentrated flavors.


Amongst the wines presented at Vinoble 2010 you will find Tokaj from Hungary, Fondillons and Moscatels from Alicante, Sherries, Vins Doux Naturel from Roussillon and Sweet Wines from the Canary Islands, Ports, Ice Wines and more...


Note the historic settings.

Vinoble 2010 is opened to trade and media only.

Japan Through French Lenses, Love and Misconceptions, Sketched by Kristian

As a counterpoint to last week's heady topic, I felt that a light note would be good for this Tokyo Thursdays.

Cartoonists and their humorous take on events and people have the ability to make us smile and think at the same time.

There has been a long love affair between France and Japan and misconceptions as well.

In his sketches, Kristian, a French cartoonist and press illustrator who frequently visits Japan offers vignettes of Life in Japan as seen through French lenses.


For those of you who are not fluent French readers, the story above translates to:

"There are Europeans who think Japanese live in the Past"

"Others that they live in the future"

"Fortunately , the Present is a mix of both"

I discovered Kristian by way of Nature Capitale. He contributed a few illustrations on the event.

One of his cartoons gets published weekly in Japanese magazine Shincho and a veterinary clinic in Tokyo is decorated with Kristian's drawings.

Tokyo-Paris connection for Tokyo Thursdays # 141

Toyo's Camera, Documenting Japanese-Americans Life in Camps, Free Screening, NY, May 28