Food + Drinks

Why Winter Is the Best Time to Order Seafood

Right about now, there's not much for chefs in most parts of the country to get excited about (how thrilling are turnips, really?). But lower temperatures do get cooks geeking out on seafood—shellfish, in particular, some varieties of which are at their prime in colder waters because of where they are in their life cycle. Take oysters from the Gulf of Mexico. They spawn in summer, which makes them milky and flabby before they turn clear and firm as winter approaches, says Ryan Prewitt, chef at Peche Seafood Grill in New Orleans. "In October, they get a lot better, in see more
Food + Drinks

Wine Swirling: Snobby Affectation or Necessary Ritual?

For some oenophiles, opening a bottle of wine is one swift pull of the corkscrew, followed by a quick pour and an immediate flooding of the senses. For others, there are rituals, beginning with the slow, careful extraction of the cork, gently inspected for durability, followed by the deliberate, steady pour. The swirling—which is ultimately an act of aerating and oxygenating—starts slowly at first, builds momentum, and then stops suddenly to allow for that moment of aroma intake, followed perhaps by an exhale and a re-swirl. Then, and only then, does the glass engage with lips to sip. In other see more
Food + Drinks

What Is Spatchcocking, and Should You Do It This Thanksgiving?

Besides being a cool word to say, spatchcocking is an actual culinary technique. To spatchcock is to cut out the backbone of your bird and splay it open so you get a flat fowl. In other words, it's a fancy way of saying "butterfly." The benefits of the method are myriad: For starters, says Oliver Ridgeway, executive chef at Sacramento's Grange, "spatchcocking allows you to cook a whole bird a lot faster than any other way. By cutting out the spine, the breasts, legs, and thighs lie flat against your heat source." In other words, expect to halve your cooking see more
Food + Drinks

The 8 Best Radically Alternative Thanksgiving Dishes

As we head toward the one holiday where every American eats pretty much the same damn meal, some clever chefs are ditching the familiar recipes and offering instead imaginative spins that borrow, wildly, from foreign cuisines. Below are 8 noteworthy takes on the traditional Thanksgiving meal. (Contact restaurants directly for menu availability and holiday hours.) • • • see more
Health

An All-Natural Alternative to Coffee That's Actually Good for You

Caffeine addiction is a very real problem for me. I start my coffeemaker before I get in the shower. Two cups are downed before I head out the door. I try to avoid a third before lunch but am almost never able to resist the lure of a RedEye as my own start to loll around 3:30 p.m. Needless to say, it might be time to cut back. Trouble is, I don't want to. I like the ritual of preparing each cup, feeling the steam on my face, the warmth between my hands. (Okay, I'll stop waxing poetic before you see more
Health

7 Performance-Enhancing Snacks Created for Athletes, by Athletes

When it comes to nutrition, no one knows how to properly fuel and hydrate before, during, and after your workouts better than the pros. And conveniently, a handful of elite athletes also happen to have science and nutrition backgrounds. Put these brains-plus-brawn busybodies in the kitchen and a host of new nutrition products emerge. Here are just some of the latest products that were created by athletes, for athletes. see more
Food + Drinks

6 Foolproof Wines That Pair With Any Thanksgiving Dish

No wine matches perfectly with every imaginable food, but a few are versatile enough to make it from apps to dessert with nary a raised eyebrow—party-planning heaven. And yes, this means you can eat turkey, goose, salmon, or vegetarian casserole, with or without sauces and sides, and not worry about tannins or oak obliterating your palate. Below are six wines structured around different types of meals. see more
Health

Coffee: Wellness Elixir or Health Hazard?

For a beverage whose devotees are called junkies, coffee has managed to earn a reputation as a veritable health food: In recent years, studies have found that coffee can do everything from boost your mood and sharpen your brain to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and certain cancers. A new Boston University study even found that drinking coffee can help protect your teeth from periodontal disease. see more
Food + Drinks

Why It's Time to Reclaim the Hot Toddy

The Nellie Fer' Toddy starts with a base of Black Grouse scotch. Traditionally, a hot toddy is the drink you make when you're flu-ridden or, you know, just really old. It doesn't exactly conjure up good times. But the toddy's versatility makes it "a great vehicle for experimentation," says Robert Krueger, bar director at Extra Fancy in Brooklyn, where you can order a Nellie Fer' Toddy (pictured above—and yes, it's named after the singer). All a beverage needs to qualify as a toddy is a base spirit cut with hot water, something sweet or citrusy to round it out, plus see more
Food + Drinks

The 6 Weirdest Rules in Professional Barbecue

No matter how tender and juicy your pork ribs are, you'll never win a world-class barbecue contest if you don't know the rules. Over the weekend, I spent a full day in a Tennessee classroom learning the dos and don'ts of professional 'cue competitions, as set down in the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) regulation book—which is given to every certified judge. And on Saturday, I got the chance to apply my new skills, feasting on approximately 40 portions of chicken, pork, and beef at the Jack Daniel's World Invitational Barbeque Championship in Lynchburg (pop. 6,362). see more
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