New Favorite Cocktail: The ‘D.C. Flower Delivery’ at Cherry @ the W Washington D.C. Hotel

 

 

When we hit the reopening party for the W Washington D.C. hotel in July, there were a few really good take aways from the festivities. First, that they have one of the best room service burgers in the world, something which we happened upon via a conversation with Queer Eye‘s Antoni Porowski, who was also in attendance, enlightening us that, “You can tell a good hotel by the quality of a room service burger and fries. They have wedge fries, steak style cut, crispy AF – and you can get a raclette burger. I love a good raclette, it just oozes right off.”

We were also reminded that if you ask in the right way, you can get celebrities to do really strange/hilarious things (though we pretty much always knew that).

“[The W] had the brilliant, weird, quirky but awesome idea to do a [room service] mukbang video,” Porowski told us – and the decadent results are forever parked on the hotel’s YouTube channel.

 

Cherry restaurant

 

Perhaps more importantly, Chef de Cuisine William Morris’ of the W’s stylish new Cherry restaurant, makes a cherry pie (he gave us the recipe) that you would possibly sell your soul for. As Porowski described it, “Crispy, beautiful lattice, vanilla bean ice cream. It’s perfect, I was genuinely excited to eat it.”

But we also discovered a new favorite cocktail for fall, the extravagantly titled DC Flower Delivery. Its festival of flavors, from elderflower to peach to fennel, certainly make it a singular creation in terms of taste. But it was the presentation that ultimately seduced us – with its edible flower garnish, and elegant tissue paper wrapping.

We highly recommend sipping it in situ. But should you not have plans to make it to D.C. any time soon, we at lat convinced the Cherry team to give up the secret formula behind this ethereal creation, so you might significantly dazzle your guests at your next dinner party.

 

DC Flower Delivery

1 oz Civic Vodka
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
0.75 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
0.75 oz Don Ciccio & Figli Finocchietto Fennel Liqueur
2 dashes peach bitters
Method: Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass.
Add edible flowers as garnish, and tissue paper to the outside of the glass to look like a flower
bouquet.

 

BlackBook Exclusive: Modern Médi Recipes From Terrance Brennan’s Chefs Club Residency

Chefs Club

 

Multiple James Beard Award winning chef Terrance Brennan opened Picholine to instant acclaim in 1995 – but it now almost seems like a whole other lifetime ago. In the interim, his beloved E. 32nd St. restaurant Artisanal (closed in 2017) was the first in the US to have its own cheese aging cave inside.

But 2019 finds him the current resident at the epicurean temple that is Chefs Club, where he’s created the refined but approachable Côte Médi. The malleable space has been transformed into a seafood lovers paradise, filled with sizzling pans and open flames that result in exquisite char grilled langoustines and seared jumbo scallops with sabayon and black truffle.

 

Chefs Club

 

Considering he’s practically a New York culinary icon, it’s funny to see him back on the line working night after night in the kitchen. But Brennan is lit up with new vitality, practically buzzing – and working side by side with his talented sous chefs and cooks he says, “fills [him] with energy. And the sophisticated clientele invigorates me!” It’s all a prep for his next big move, which is a permanent location for Côte Médi in the city.

He maintains, “it’s all about the ingredients.” But of course, locally sourced sea urchin for fondue or tender tentacles of grilled octopus don’t come easily. He boasts relationships with local fisherman, farms and artisans, which provide the freshest products possible.

 

Chefs Club

 

So other than a new home, what’s next for him and the Côte Médi team?

“In terms of specific ingredients,” he enthuses, “I’ve been really excited about a few dishes I’m working on with various kinds of plankton. It’s the foundation of the ocean’s ecosystem, producing fifty-percent of the world’s oxygen! It’s a unique ingredient.”

Chef Brennan’s team is at Chefs Club through September 28th. But should you not be planning to be in Gotham between now and then, he was gracious enough to share a few of his most coveted recipes with BlackBook.

 

Melon Granite with Lime Espuma

Ingredients
2c cantaloupe juice, from one small melon
¾ of sweet desert wine
Juice of limes, about 1/4c
Zest of 1 lime
1c heavy cream
1Tbs sugar
Procedure
1) Mix the melon juice, wine and half the lemon juice and place it in a shallow not reactive
plan and place in the freezer. Using a fork scrap the granite every half hour until the
granite is frozen, about 2 hours
2) Bring the lime juice and sugar to a boil and mix until the sugar is dissolved, chill
3) Add lime sugar mixture and zest to the heavy cream and place in a isi canister and
charge two times
4) Divide the granite into 4 small bowls and top off with lime espuma, serve immediately
**If one does not have an isi canister you can whip the cream using a whisk or machine

 

 

Cucumber Gazpacho with Crab Salad

Ingredients
3c peeled medium diced cucumber
1c white grapes
¼ Greek yogurt
1/2c cashews, raw
2ea garlic cloves
1/4c olive oil
Salt
Cayenne pepper
Procedure
1) Place cashews in pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 min, drain
and chill
2) Place all the ingredients in a blender and process for 1 minute, strain through a fine
mesh chinois and chill
3) Divide soup into 4 soup plates, place crab in center of bowl and pour soup around

 

Crab Salad

Ingredients
6oz lump crab meat
3tbs Greek yogurt
2tsp sumac
1tbs lemon juice
1tbs shallots, finely diced
2tbs dill finely chopped
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
Procedure
1) Gently mix all the ingredients together, being careful not to break up the crabmeat,
refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Amaro Trending: A Connoisseur’s Guide w/ D.C.’s Secretive ‘Society’ Bar

 

 

 

Washington, D.C. is having a hospitality moment. Multi-million dollar investments are the order of the way for a plethora of downtown hotels; and one of the newest, and most impressive, is the makeover of the Hamilton Hotel at 14th and K.

The grand Art Deco lobby, complete with towering columns has been restored, as have the marble adorned dining rooms. And just on the other side of the many-Emmy-winning HBO show’s finale, a Veep themed oval office suite just begs for a scandalous political tryst. And the Hamilton’s Via Sophia restaurant has already made the Eater “15 Hottest Restaurants in D.C.” list.

 

 

However, we were most excited for relatively hush hush (and sexy) Society, an intimate, fourteen seat cocktail lounge. Tucked away in a hidden hallway near the main lobby, and full of snogging-friendly nooks, the space is modeled after the Yale’s notorious Skull and Bones meeting hall, The Tomb.

Part social space and part library, with wood-paneled walls and carefully handcrafted moldings, the décor serves as a nod to the renowned French-born architect Jules-Henrí de Sibour, who originally designed the Hamilton in 1922, and who (wink wink) happened to be a member of Yale’s secret society.

 

 

The cocktail program, helmed by beverage “Majordomo” Maurizio Arberi is more glorious than notorious, with creative takes on Italian classics and regional spirits trends. To wit, a pair of rums from local distiller Cotton & Reed (at Union Market) are a standout feature. But, nodding to the influence of Italia, amaro is treated as the star here. Arberi, who hails from Southern Italy, explains, that “in traditional Italian culture, amaro is considered an everyday drink, typically consumed after a meal, and mainly after coffee, on the rocks or neat accompanied by orange or lemon zest.”

The inherent complexity of amaro, which can be flavored using herbs, flowers, or fruit peels, lends itself to a variety of complex and surprising cocktails. And global trend chasing has led to amaro becoming, as Arberi states it, “a go-to spirit for curated craft cocktails all over the world.”

So, which ones do we drink and how should we drink them?

“I personally love to work with the six below,” Arberi enthuses. “Each are quite unique, produced in the motherland or right here in D.C.”

 

Amaro Delle Sirene

Don Ciccio e Figli / Washington, D.C.

Eucalyptus, Chicory, Passion flower, Chamomile
I found this Amaro here in D.C. through the owner Francesco, and this is probably my favorite. The smoothness and elegance the barrel gives to this amaro, makes it easy to combine with most of all spirits and liquor. This is great with nocino (Walnut) or in a Negroni, but is also fantastic on the rocks.

Vecchio Amaro del Capo 

Caffo / Calabria, Italy

Bitter Orange, Licorice, Tangerine, Cinnamon
Amaro del capo is an icon. From Calabria, where my mother is from, this used to be one of the most popular. For a while, it disappeared from the bar scene, and now it can be found virtually everywhere. It’s very easy to finish a bottle of this, it’s like a nectar. Best kept in the freezer and served straight,

 

 

 

 

Santa Maria al Monte 

Santa Maria al Monte, Genova, Italy

Aloe Ferox, Angelica Root, Myrrh, Ginseng
This amaro is very different from the others, high in proof (80) like a liquor, as the sirene is aged in barrel for a year. Very full and intense flavor, I love to drink this after dinner on the rocks with a slice of lemon; but it is also good with sodas.

 

Ramazzotti 

Pernod Ricard / Canelli, Italy

Galangal, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Kola Nut
Amaro Ramazzotti, not to be confused with the famous Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti, is an iconic amaro in Italy, and now all over the world. This one is also nice with tonic water and a slice of lemon.

 

 

 

Zucca Rabarbaro 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II / Milan, Italy

Cardamom, Chinese Rhubarb, Orange, Angelica Root
This Amaro is more of an aperitivo and less after dinner drink. I still remember the commercial was everywhere when I was growing up in Italy. Over there, it’s as popular as Campari. This is an overall well balanced amaro with a flavor of rhubarb. As with many amaros, you can combine the Zucca Rabarbaro perfectly with soda water, tonic and ginger ale or sprite, and some even like it with coke. I like it on the rocks simple.

 

Amaro Cerasum 

Don Ciccio e Figli / Washington, D.C.

Three types of Cherries, Sakura Blossoms, Gentian, Orange
This one is a revolutionary amaro with a very interesting complexity, between the bitter hint you can find in Campari and the sweetness of the cherry. It was presented a few years ago in honor of the cherry blossoms here in D.C. This is great in a negroni instead of Campari, and I personally like it with mezcal. 

 

Aquatic Opulence: NYC’s Lavish New Lamia’s Fish Market Redefines Nautical Style

 

 

 

One generally doesn’t associate fish with opulence. But the lavish new Lamia’s Fish Market, named for owner and restaurateur Lamia Funti (who was named for a Greek goddess) was actually conceived as an artistic showcase for her artfully presented coastal Mediterranean cuisine.

She says the concept behind LFM was to devise a menu “that’s just as fun and sexy as the environment. It was my long-time dream to create a restaurant with a seductive setting, designed with women in mind.”

 

 

The centerpiece is a fantastical mural by Michela Martello, depicting the tale of the mythological sea goddess Lamia, adorning an original brick wall. The space is lit by Sailor Jerry tattooed lighting fixtures, handed painted by artists Bryan Farrell and Elle Gregg. The walls also hold thematically appropriate artworks by Will Kurtz, John Coca, Dave Vasquez and Michael Delfino.

A self dubbed “seafood-centric eatery,” this plush Poseidon’s lair feels like a deep dive under the blue. Even the ceiling, an undulating incoming wave, incorporates a suspended coral reef installation, layering starfish with slabs of wood from Indonesia and Japanese fishing float lights. Conceived by former costume designer Dara Young, founder of Aviva Collective and 4FRONT Hospitality Development – who brought with her a unique background in costume design – it features a prodigious raw bar at its heart.

 

 

Mother of pearl displays, a living moss wall and a hand painted barnacle sculpture give you an idea of the commitment to theme here. While statues of water nymphs keep watch over guests enjoying a daily rotating selection of oysters and ceviches.

Even the bar, thoughtfully sourced from recessed salvaged portholes, deck lights, and steel, is the perfect nautical setting for sipping the specialty Mermaid Sangria, made with seasonal berries and cinnamon.

But for all the dazzle, the food easily rises to match it. There’s an intriguing selection of ceviches and crudos, as well as Madagascar prawns and red snapper taquitos. For the main event, diners are encouraged to pick their own fish from the ice laden bar and decide how they would like it prepared (just don’t be clever and ask for branzino wellington).

The kitchen was kind enough to share a couple of its signature recipes with us. But, really, you just have to go and see the place.

 

Salt Baked Fish

  • a whole fish at least 2lbs (preferably a branzino or red snapper)
  • lemons
  • garlic cloves
  • rosemary & thyme
  • 1lbs kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
Stuff fish with sliced lemons, smashed whole garlic cloves, rosemary and thyme
Set it aside
Beat 3 egg white until stiff
Add one pound of kosher salt to the egg whites, fold slowly
Put a layer of the mixture on a pan large enough to cover the bottom of the fish
Place the whole fish on top
Cover the fish with the mixture until fish is completely covered
Set the over to 400 degrees
Bake the fish for 20 minutes
Take it out
Let it sit for a couple of minutes
Smash the hard salt cover
Enjoy with your favorite side

 

Spicy Mignonette

  • 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon la-yu chili oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pickle diced red onions and Persian cucumbers on the aide
Mix all ingredients together (but the onions and cucumbers)
Let it sit for an hour
Pour the mignonette on top of oysters
Dress with picked onions and cucumbers

 

 

Tiki Trending: Exclusive Summer Cocktail Recipes From Brooklyn’s New ‘Yaki Tiki’ Pop-Up

 

 

Confirming a fairly reliable but welcome cycle, tiki drinks are one of this season’s hottest imbibing trends; and no surprise, as temps continue to soar, the crushed ice and rum begins to flow. But leave it to the impressively creative team behind Sunday in Brooklyn to combine their love of both tiki and yakitori to conceive Yaki Tiki, which will surely be an insanely popular pop-up at the A/D/O building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn every weekend this summer.

Here, their award winning cocktail magic highlights whimsical takes on classics – to wit, using shochu, a classic Japanese liquor, as well as traditional rum. Kitschy tipples are served in hollowed out pineapples, empty honey bears or even frozen into boozy popsicle form. And JT Vuong, one of the masterminds behind the Yaki Tiki concept enthuses of the inspirations, “one of the most beautiful aspects of living in New York is being situated at a cultural crossroads.”

 

 

 

And of course, the yaki portion of the menu is a selection of Japanese yakitori: assorted meats and vegetables that are skewered and grilled to order.

It’s all a warm up for when the Sunday Hospitality Group opens Rule of Thirds later this year. There, Brian Evans, Director of Bars, plans on featuring, “American classics that draw on Japanese influence for techniques and flavor.” Chef George Padilla (Okonomi / Yuji Ramen) calls it, “a dream project for me that connects the dots between so many talented people.”

Should you have no plans to be anywhere near Greenpoint between now and September, we asked Evans to turn us on to the secrets behind some of his grooviest Yaki Tiki drink creations.

 

Umami Grog

1.25 oz Tequila Reposado
0.75 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
0.5 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz miso-honey syrup*
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup**
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
MOP: Whip ingredients with a few pellets of pebble ice until combined. Pour contents into plastic Honeybear bottle and pack with pebble ice. To garnish, wrap a long pineapple frond around the neck of the Honeybear bottle and pin with umbrella skewer to hold in place.
*For the Miso-Honey Syrup:
200g honey
100g yellow miso
200g very hot water
MOP: Stir miso and hot water until combined, then add honey and continue to stir until combined.
**For the Cinnamon Syrup:
400g very hot water
400g caster sugar
50 grams crushed cinnamon sticks
MOP: Bring crushed cinnamon sticks and hot water to medium heat and let steep for 10 minutes, then stir in sugar until combined. Keep in the refrigerator overnight unstrained until ready to use.

 

 

 

Blue Kawaii (pictured top)

0.75 oz Plantation 3-star Rum
0.5 oz Wray and Nephew Overproof Jamaican Rum
0.5 oz Giffard Blue Curacao
0.5 oz Jokigen Yuzu Sake
0.25 oz Coconut Milk
0.25 oz Coco Lopez
0.25 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Mango-Pandan Shrub*
MOP: Whip ingredients with a few pellets of pebbled ice until combined. Pour into tiki mug, top with more pebble ice, and garnish lavishly.
*For the Mango-Pandan Shrub:
2 pandan leaves
300g mango, cut in small pieces
300g rice wine vinegar
300g caster sugar
MOP: Combine pandan leaves and rice wine vinegar into a medium-sized pot and heat on medium for 15 minutes, then stir in sugar until dissolved. Reduce to medium-low heat and let mango chunks cook down for an additional 15 minutes. Let ingredients steep in the refrigerator overnight, then strain.

 

Watermelon Popsicles (Boozy)

Makes 20 3oz popsicles
6 cups strawberries, tops removed
6 cups watermelon, rind removed and cut into cubes
2 cups kiwi, skin removed
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 cup white rum
1/2 cup water
1 cup chocolate crisps pearls
MOP:
  1. Cook strawberries, sugar, and salt in a pot on medium heat until strawberries begin to break down.
  2. Transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth.
  3. Add cubed watermelon and rum, and continue to blend until fully incorporated.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until fully cooled.
  5. Mix in the chocolate pearls.
  6. Fill popsicle molds leaving approximately 1cm unfilled at the top. Freeze for 1 hour.
  7. While the watermelon mix is freezing, blend kiwis and water until smooth.
  8. Once watermelon mix is frozen to the touch, fill the remaining space in each mold with the kiwi mix.
  9. Now that the popsicles are firm enough, you can insert the popsicle sticks and they won’t move around.
  10. Continue to freeze for at least 4 hours.
*To make this non-boozy, just add an additional 1.5 cups of watermelon.

A Mezcal Union Guide to Authentic Mexico City Nightspots

 

 

Despite the speed of liquor fads these days, still trending high in the spirits world this season is smokey, sultry mezcal – with its roots in Oaxaca and generations of tradition. And one of our favorites is Mexico’s Mezcal Union, whose Alejandro Champion we had the chance to chat with about their overall philosophy.

Of course, with popularity comes demand, and with that, the fear of lost quality for quantity is always a concern – something that Mezcal Unión has actively addressed. How? Their mission of “uniting Oaxaca’s farmers and producers.” Which has made it possible for agave, which is a finicky plant, to thrive. All with the end goal of improving their palenques (distilleries) and ensuring more top quality mezcal production for years to come.

As Champion puts it, he and his partners “decided to come together to make a product they and their country could be proud of, by creating a ‘union’ meant to benefit the indigenous families of Oaxaca.”

 

 

Is their plan working? The numbers speak for themselves. At least 255,000 brand new agave have been replanted in the the past three years alone.

The company has also expanded to a series of restaurants, bars and events, spreading across the globe. They refer to it as the “Archipélago” because “it is a large company made of up of many smaller projects.” One such new partnership for this summer will be Cafe Paraíso, an offshoot of the Mexico City nightspot, this one located in the backyard at Roberta’s in Bushwick. It will be a season-long homage to the intense but elegant spirit.

And though we’re planning to spend quite a bit of time at the Brooklyn Paraíso in the coming months, we took the opportunity to actually ask Champion about the best places to drink mezcal in his beloved Mexico City. Here are his five recommendations, and what to drink at each.

 

Cicatriz Cafe

Cocktail: Yoko (Mezcal Union El Joven, Grapefruit Juice, Aperol, Sparkling wine) / Bartender: Jake Lindeman

Cicatriz is a place created by five authentic persons, whose personalities, taste and spirit are represented in every detail of this cafe. It is a very unique place in Mexico City, a casual cafe, restaurant and cocktail bar, all in one. In my opinion it brought a very different vibe to the city. Very simple menu, but everything on it is simply delicious. And the atmosphere is very international. You see people from different countries, cultures, but all enjoying and creating one great scene.

 

 

Café Paraíso

Cocktail: Maurito (Mezcal Unión El Joven, Lemon juice, Guava pure, Tonic water) / Bartender: Edsel

A fun, tropical dance bar, it’s located in the heart of Colonia Roma. If you feel like dancing and sweating away the stress, having some good tiki vibe cocktails and mezcal, in a very casual, non pretentious atmosphere, this is the place. The music program is one of my favorites, very eclectic:  cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, hip hop. Transports you to a crazy party on an island, when in fact you are in the middle of Mexico City.

 

 

Páramo

Cocktail: Pepino (Mezcal Union El Joven, Macerated Cucumber, Lemon juice, Ginger Syrup, Rosemary and Sparkling water)

Páramo is a family business, which is what I love the most about it. There are not many times you get to see mom and sons running the show. It exemplifies the core of Mexican culture in a very contemporary way, yet it is authentic to the bone. A place where you can sit down, drink mezcal, and eat the best antojos Mexicanos. It’s a cantina vibe, but very comfortable, the architectural design and details transport you to the most mystical aspects of Mexican Prehispánica culture. A place to hang, laugh and have a good time.

 

 

Contramar

Drink: Straight Mezcal Union El Viejo with oranges and worm salt / Chef: Gaby Cámara

Gaby Cámara is one of the persons that I admire the most. A young woman who has represented the values of Mexico from an early age, through her kitchen and hard work. Contramar exemplifies the core of Mexican hospitality, and Mexican cuisine. A place that proves that Mexico is warm hearted culture, with extraordinarily good food. A must to visit when in CDMX.

 

 

Limantour

Cocktail: Mezcal Stalk (Mezcal Union El Joven, Pineapple juice, Agave syrup, Worm salt) / Bartender: José Luis León

Limantour happens to be the first relevant cocktail bar in CDMX, a pioneering place that has represented Mexico throughout the world, and an institution for the industry. It is a Mexican cocktail bar, which defied all odds by venturing into a category when no one was really looking for it. A cradle of the new world bartender culture.

 

 

 

21c Museum Hotels Joins MGallery, Three New Properties on the Way

21c Durham

 

You may have noticed a curious 24-hour installation earlier this month just outside Penn Station, NYC, courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels. Indeed, acclaimed muralist Aaron De La Cruz transformed a glass hotel room in the middle of packed Penn Plaza into a ‘Masterpiece Suite’ to celebrate their joining forces with Accor’s MGallery collection. The hotel groups are set to highlight their mission to “push the boundaries of both the museum and hotel worlds to create a new kind of travel experience.”

The founders of 21c, contemporary art collectors and preservationists Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, opened their first property in Louisville, KY in 2006 – with the goal of being an active part of the revitalization of the city’s downtown. Thirteen years later, they have eight properties, and can be found making the rounds of Art Basel (the one that’s actually in Basel, Switzerland) to fill out their collection with new and emerging art and artists. The brand’s Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites plans on using the pieces in their newest properties, including 21c Chicago opening late 2019, 21c St. Louis in late 2020, and 21c Des Moines in 2021.

 

21c Masterpiece Suite at Penn Plaza

 

The partnership with MGallery isn’t surprising. Among their top properties are some of the most unique and chic around the globe: Hotel Molitor Paris, INK Hotel Amsterdam, Queens Hotel Cheltenham in England, Santa Teresa Hotel Rio de Janeiro, Hotel Lindrum Melbourne in Australia, Muse Bangkok Langsuan in Thailand, and Hotel des Arts Saigon in Vietnam. All share a vision and capture the essence of “bespoke design and sensorial mixology.”

The mission remains the same for 21c, of course – engaging guests with immersive and thought provoking art. And two exhibitions we’re particularly looking forward to are: 21c Kansas City is hosting OFF-SPRING: New Generations’, themed around rituals – religious and cultural, institutional and domestic, June 2019 to April 2020; and ‘Refuge’, exploring how, why, and where people need, seek, and create shelter – at 21c Bentonville from October 2019 to September 2020.

 

21c Oklahoma City 

21c Louisville

 

 

Epicurean Nashville: Three Hotels, Two Restaurants, One Market

 

You may have heard, Nashville is hot these days – and not just because of its infamous and ubiquitous inferno hot chicken recipe.

To wit, cool new hotels have been popping up in historic buildings all over the city, with correspondingly cool restaurants. And the once ground level scene is rising up to the sky, as Music City at last catches on to the particular thrills of rooftop indulgences. The restaurants are mostly helmed by emerging chefs, whose goal it is to showcase the new wave of elevated southern fare, with a focus on local and seasonally driven produce and meats.

On our most recent visit, we hit three of the city’s most stylish boutique sleeps – and their not-just-good, but genuinely exceptional in-house dining options.

 

Holston House

A 1930’s Art Deco stunner, this is a new addition to the Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Infused with a hint of New York chic from the design team at Stonehill Taylor, it’s a bastion of elegance amidst the honky-tonk mayhem. And Executive Chef Andrew Rodriguez heads up its southern-infused restaurant TENN, which Eater included with its most recent list of essential Nashville dining hotspots.
Rodriguez incorporates ingredients from the likes of Peach Truck, Athena’s Harvest, Micro Pastures, Beaverdam Creek Farm, and 12 South Farmers Market – which is a collection of vendors – into TENN’s signature dishes and specialty cocktails. For instance, the shrimp and grits with pan sauce uses sustainable seafood and locally grown and milled corn. While an updated take on the classic seared skin on salmon paired with spring favas and pea shoots is not to be missed.

 

 

Noelle

In a town with no shortage of new openings, the 18-month-old Noelle – part of the Tribute Portfolio for Marriott – genuinely stands apart, focusing on hyperlocal experiences for adventurous souls. And the location could not be better: on the same block as the infamous/historic Printer’s Alley in Downtown Nashville. The original building is an original 1929 Art Deco structure called Noel Place; and they’ve retained the grand spaces, adding some uniquely stylish design features. A curated collection of local art is on rotation.
Rare Bird, the rooftop bar, offers modern southern classics like mint juleps with locally made Dickel 12 whiskey – plus a spicy strawberry tequila version. A caramelized onion dip with paper thin housemade chips pairs perfectly as a light bite, and gives a new life to the picnic classic; or try the shaved ham plates made with locally  sourced pork. It all comes, of course, with show-stealing view of the rapidly changing Nashville skyline.

 

 

Bode Nashville

Bode Nashville isn’t just another designer hotel. With a recent opening in Chattanooga and Palm Springs soon to open, the brand is setting out to revolutionize group travel. To wit, their concept focuses on communal traveling, with two, three and four room shared living spaces. Each has hand crafted artisan lights and fixtures from Southern Lights Electric, as well as fully outfitted chef’s kitchens – perfect for happy hour gatherings after a day of sights and culture.
The onsite café, The Hub, is a market stocked with locally made Tennessee whisky, wine and cheese, which can be enjoyed around the outdoor fire pits. They have rotating food specials like peanut butter & banana toasts for Elvis Presley’s birthday, and vegan granola and baked goods from local bakeries. With “friendscationing” on the rise, it would seem Bode is genuinely on to something.

 

 

 

BlackBook Exclusive: Savory Summer Recipes From Santa Monica’s FIG Restaurant

 

Image by Christian Horan 

 

 

Summer has almost sprung in the east but, of course, it’s perpetually sunny and bright on the California Coast. And soaking up as much of that sun as possible is FIG, in the plush Fairmont Miramar hotel in Santa Monica. Known by those in the know for their locally sourced farm-to-table fare and seasonally rotating menus, their approach to food is as personal as it gets.

Helmed by Exec Chef Jason Prendergast, he was trained in the classic French tradition, but his presentation is pure SoCal. According to the chef himself, what makes FIG so special is the years he has personally spent “cultivating relationships with local farmers, ranchers and fishermen.”

 

 

And it’s true. Much like the the infamous Portlandia episode, where Fred and Carrie are escorted to a local farm, chef Prendergast can, “tell you where livestock was raised and what their diet consisted of, name the fisherman, and tell you where his catch was.”

There are even specialty foragers who comb the forest and coastline for those especially hard to track down items like seasonal morels or edible flowers. And fromager extraordinaire Eric Brazel is so knowledgable as to be known as “The Cheese Guru”; he leads tastings at FIG, when he’s not stocking the menu.

We especially recommend popping out for a breezy, seasonal summer brunch. Until then, chef Prendergast has been kind enough to share these special recipes with BlackBook, so that you might try them at home.

 

Organic Eggs on Toast

Ingredients

4 Slices of Best Quality Rustic Country Loaf Bread8 Organic Farmers’ Market Eggs4 Ounces Normandie Butter or Best Available2 Ounces Crème Fraiche1 Ounce Finely Chopped ChivesCoarse Sea SaltBlack Pepper

Method

1. Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk well. 2. In a medium deep sided pot over low to medium heat, add butter and allow to foam. 3. While butter is foaming, toast country bread to a deep golden brown, still leaving a chewy crumb in the center.
4. Add eggs to the pot and continue whisking the entire time until eggs begin to cook and start forming scrambled eggs, about 6-8 minutes. Once the eggs begin to scramble, add in crème fraiche and place back over heat. Continue cooking until soft scrambled egg stage is reached. 5. Remove from heat, season with sea salt and black pepper. 6. Place country bread on individual plates, top with soft scrambled egg mixture and finish with a generous pinch of chives. Enjoy immediately

 

 

Diver Scallops

Ingredients

12 Jumbo Dry Packed Diver Scallops
½ Pound Best Quality Salted
Butter
1 Pound Morel Mushrooms
2 
Sprigs Fresh Thyme
4 
Ounces
Canola oil
2 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
5 Pound
s
Whole Fava Beans
5 
Ounces Wild Ramps, washed, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 
Quarts Chicken Stock 
Reduced by half
5 
Ounces 
Finely 
Chopped 
Chives
Sea Salt as needed

Method: Fava Bean Preparation 

1.
 Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add enough salt to 
create a flavor of the ocean
 2.
 Remove fava beans from first rough outer pod and place into a bowl. Once water comes up to a boil, add 
fava beans and blanch for 30 seconds.
 3.
 Remove fava beans from boiling water and place into a bowl of ice water, shock for 3
 t
o 
4 minutes. 
4.
 Once beans are cool, drain and carefully remove from second shell using the tiny “tab” at the top of the 
bean. Store fava beans in a container until ready to assemble final dish.

Method: Morel Mushroom

1. 
Split morels directly in half and wash morels 
in cold water. Once washed, place on a cookie sheet lined 
with paper towels.
 2.
 In a large sauté pan over medium heat add 1 ounce of canola oil and ¾ of the salted butter. Swirl the 
butter in the pan until foaming, add garlic and thyme, swirl until fragrant.
 3.
 Add morel mushrooms and allow to braise for 12
to 
15 minutes until very tender. If morels seem to be 
cooking too quickly, 
lower the heat
. Once morels have been glazed with butter, remove from the heat and 
place in a container until ready to assemble final 
dish.

Method: Scallops & Finishing the Dish

1.
 Place a cast iron pan or heavy bottomed pan over high heat, add remaining oil and get hot enough to see 
ripples of the oil in the pan.
 2.
 While pan is heating, season scallops with a small amount of sea salt and add to t
he pan. Allow the 
scallops to get a nice crust on the first side, approximately 1 to 1
½ 
minutes. 3.
 Once scallops have formed a nice crust flip over and cook other side for 30 seconds. Remove scallops from 
the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
4.
 R
emove all but a tablespoon of the oil from the pan, return to heat, add the ramps and sauté just until 
ramps are wilted. 
5.
 Add reduced chicken stock, bring to a simmer and add the morels until just warmed. Once morels are 
warmed add remaining butter along 
with fava beans, swirl to combine. 
6.
 Remove pan from heat and add in chopped chives. 
7.
 Divide ragout amongst four warmed bowls, top with 3 scallops and a pinch of sea salt on each scallop