Our who-cares-about-carbs Italian bread taste test; area chefs’ fast food fetishes; where to enjoy churrascaria or steak on a stick, and more.
By John Bruno Turiano
All-Veg Cooking Classes
Viviane Bauquet Farre
Butternut squash soup with apple confit. Polenta with spicy mushrooms. These light vegetable dishes are the type you’ll learn to make at one of Viviane Bauquet Farre’s cooking classes. The private chef, who writes for the Nyack Villager and www.showcook.com, runs her classes out of her home in Piermont, New York. Farre, a vegetarian, never refers to her cooking style as vegetarian, however. “I prefer Southern French and Tuscan dishes with a focus on fresh vegetables,” says the 44-year-old who learned to cook from one grandmother and to bake from the other. She has been teaching others what she’s learned for the past three years. “There is a negative connotation to the word ‘vegetarian’ for many, as if it means ‘tasteless.’”
You can learn how to make linguini fini with pan-roasted beets and fresh tarragon at Viviane Farre’s cooking class
Farre, who also offers a “no bones!” dinner club (at which members enjoy a six-course meatless dinner with wine) shops locally
for organic foodstuffs. “Eating close to home is the healthiest,” she says.
Her upcoming classes include Tapas & Antipasti (Thursday, January 24, 6 to 10 pm, $105); Fast, Easy & Gourmet (Friday, February 1, 6 to 10 pm, $105); and Cooking with Winter Squash (Thursday, February 7, 6 to 10 pm, $105).
Cooking classes: $85 to $125/pp
No bones! dinner club: $150/pp for six courses paired with wines; minimum of six attendees and maximum of 12
Food & Style, Piermont, New York; www.foodandstyle.com; (845) 365-1599 or email@example.com
Steak on a Stick!
Churrascaria, or churrasqueria, is South American-style barbecue. The term refers to the burning hot coals of the brazier or barbecue. Argentinians love smoky grilled meat as much as we do and Brazilians add terrific drama with rodizio, a rotating selections of meats-lots of ‘em-which a server slides off a three-foot sword onto your plate, just like the South American cowboys did for their guests on the plains.
Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse (29 N Main St, Port Chester 914-939-6894) Get in a tropical mood with dark, sweet Xingu, a Brazilian beer, or a Caipirinha. Then turn up your go-ahead green signal card (an indicator to the server you’re requesting more meat) and choose off the swords: top sirloin, flank, or skirt steaks; prime rib; beef ribs; chicken; turkey; lamb; pork loin; or Brazilian sausage. Dinner also includes rice, broccoli, fried bananas, black beans, farofa (a standard Brazilian side dish), and a buffet-salad bar. $29.95 plus $5 for dessert.
Churrasqueira Ribatejo (39 Spring St, Ossining, 914-941-5928) No swords here, but this family-style restaurant serves wonderful grilled octopus as well as meats. You can order a platter piled with barbecued chicken, chorizo, spicy shrimp, fluffy rice, and fresh vegetables. Or savor continental Portuguese specialties, such as a fragrant pot of clams in garlic broth, a couple of homemade cod cakes, and daily fish specials, such as cod or trout. Dinner can often total under $25.
Braseiro Churrascaria (784 Central Ave, Scarsdale 914-472-3344; www.braseirony.com) A vast buffet precedes an all-you-can-eat parade of skewered meats: pork, chicken, and beef of all cuts (turn up the red stop card until they get to the fancier ones). And they add down-home Southern-style items too, such as ribs and brisket. $24.95
Samba Na’ Brasa (42 W Broad St, Mount Vernon 914-668-1112) Loosen your belt and start with more than 30 hot and cold buffet appetizer items: seafood salad, Portuguese-style codfish, Brazilian potato salad, fresh green salads, sopressata, grilled portabella, eggplant parmigiana, Brazilian squash, marinated mushrooms, seafood paella, oxtail and yucca stew, osso buco, and risotto. Then pick and choose from 12 selections of freshly grilled meat, chicken, and fish, presented on the sword at your table. $28.95
Tango Grill (128 E Post Rd, White Plains 914-946-6222 www.tangogrillny.com) This Italian-Argentinian steakhouse doesn’t live by the sword, but a platter of grilled meats, the parillada Argentina, gives you the same carnivore’s high in a somewhat more comfortable, white-tablecloth setting. Garlicky chimichurri is the perfect condiment for the skirt steak, hanger steak, Spanish sausage, and filet mignon. Lunch: $32; dinner: $45
Driving to the grocery store is so 2007. Spare yourself the $3.50 a gallon and have all the produce, packaged goods, and perishables you need brought directly to your door.
By W. Dyer Halpern
Grocery shopping—who needs it (other than for sustenance of course)? All those kids screaming, impulse buys lurking, and lines growing longer and longer. And you can never find that darn saver’s club card. Well, stress no more. A bushel of local supermarkets now offer grocery delivery services that will put someone else in charge of the shopping, driving, and delivering. All you need is a credit card and a computer. Here are some of your options:
Italian Bread That Rises Above
A glass of Chianti, a bowl of fresh farfalle, a ladle of homemade tomato sauce—what’s missing? A crusty loaf of Italian bread to sop up the sauce. But where to find the best one? We enlisted three chefs to taste-test six loaves of Italian bread for the top loaf.
“Lots of holes,” is what Jay Lippin, executive chef of Mighty Joe Young’s in White Plains, says he looks for in Italian bread. “Holes mean the bread was raised properly. Also, a nice color on the bottom is a good sign.” And the winner is… The Kneaded Bread (Port Chester). [Click on the Loaf of Bread below to see the chefs thoughts about each bakery]
Head up to one of the four student-run restaurants at the Culinary Institute of America (1946 Campus Dr, Hyde Park, New York 845-471-6608; www.ciachef.edu) to take advantage of the new winter prix-fixe menus. From January 3rd to April 30th, Mondays through Thursdays, each restaurant will offer three-course lunches ($22) and dinners ($32). Reservations are a must.
Roasted Garlic Dip from Cool Beans, Inc.
What’s in It: Great Northern beans, water, extra-virgin olive oil, roasted garlic, lemon juice concentrate, sea salt, spices, citric acid.
Why We Like It: It’s versatile, creamy, and a healthier alternative to mayo and sour cream.
Best Uses: With Gorgonzola cheese on warm pita, on scrambled eggs, atop bruschetta, with raw veggies or chips, sandwich or wrap spread.
Cost: $5.99-$6.99 for 16-oz jar
Made by: Cool Foods, Inc., Scarborough (914) 762-2454; www.coolbeansdip.com
Found at: Thirty gourmet markets around the county including A&S Fine Foods, Millwood; Auray Cheese Shop, Larchmont; Bedford Gourmet, Bedford; Whole Foods Market, White Plains; and Zeytinia, Croton
John-Michael Hamlet, previously chef at Peter Pratt’s Inn in Yorktown, has bought Charles and Maureen Steppes’ venerable Purdys Homestead. The new John-Michael’s (100 Titicus Rd, North Salem 914-
277-2301; www.visionrestaurantny.com) offers New European dishes, including wild line-caught striped bass with cranberry bean purée and a brandied smoked bacon sauce; Black Angus beef tenderloin with baby Yukon potatoes, eggplant ragout, and red-wine veal sauce; and John-Michael’s signature dish, “foiejitas”—Hudson Valley foie gras with candied shallots, marinated red peppers, and nutmeg crêpes. Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, and Sunday for brunch; cost of dinner entrées range between $18 and $34. The Steppes have moved to Arizona.
➥Yona Hsieh, the former owner of Koo in Rye, has opened Bambou (above) Asian Tapas & Bar (328 Pemberwick Rd, Greenwich, CT 203-531-3322), a Southeast Asian and sushi restaurant. Miso-marinated sablefish topped with sweet forbidden rice and sautéed vegetables, sake-braised short ribs and filet mignon, and seafood pineapple fried rice with pineapple salsa are some of the dinner entrées ($14-$30) to sample. A wine list is offered with prices ranging from $28 to $230. Lunch is served Monday to Saturday; dinner every day.
➥In the spirit of do-it-yourself-cooking restaurants, Thomas Stone Restaurant (106 Main St, Tuckahoe 914-779-0012; www.thomasstonerestaurant.com), which opened in October, is “the first stone-cooking restaurant in the state,” according to co-owner Shannon Manges. Patrons prepare dishes on granite stones heated to more than 500°F. The benefits? “Stone cooking locks in flavor,” says Manges, a Pleasantville resident. Entrées, which include “steak on a stone” and a 32-ounce prime rib aged and marinated for two weeks, cost from $15 to $42. Closed on Mondays, Thomas Stone serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 4 pm until midnight, and Sunday until 7 pm. Sunday brunch and lunch will be offered starting this month.
➥Twenty (20 Summer St, Stamford, CT 203-967-2020; www.twentyofstamford.com) is a New American restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Executive Chef Frank Whittaker, formerly of Moda in Manhattan, offers a menu that includes pumpkin seed-crusted salmon, sun-dried tomato risotto, and tea-smoked duck with cranberry glaze. Non-pasta entrées range from $24 to $45, while pasta and risotto main courses cost $16 to $20. Try the fried Twinkie with strawberry and orange syrup for dessert.
Want to bake like a professional? Master Pastry Chef Maarten Steenman of La Tulipe Desserts (456 Lexington Ave, Mount Kisco 914-242-4555; www.latulipe
desserts.com) is now holding month-long sets of weekly classes ($500 for four classes). The first set starts Tuesday, January 15th, and continues the following three Tuesday evenings (1/22; 1/29; 2/5). Other class sets begin January 16th and 17th.
SOUTHERN SOUL: At the new Twenty in Stamford, CT, enjoy double dipped fried chicken and waffles with country gravy and pickled vegetables