The semifinalists of the James Beard Foundation awards were announced this week. These are the most prestigious restaurant awards in the United States and interesting as such, but the nominations also provide a useful list of interesting restaurants to try, handily largely organized by region.
Though I sometimes feel I’ve read many pieces about pairing wine with food, I still always gravitate toward these articles, perhaps because I imagine reading about wine pairing will magically cure me of what is often a somewhat halfhearted approach at home. Reading this column by Meg Houston Maker, whose blog I also like very much, gave me new impetus. So, heeding the first recommendation that “what grows together goes together” to honor a ragù alla Bolognese I had watched gently simmer for over four hours, yesterday I perused my local wine store for a good choice from Northern Italy, preferably Emilia Romagna, the region of Bologna. We drank this 2008 Gradizzolo Negrettino. The wine was a discovery, and a perfect complement.
Ten days ago I had dinner at Allswell in Williamsburg, and as it happens, Pete Wells, the restaurant critic of the NY Times, wrote a short piece about it just this week. To me the food that night was somewhat underwhelming and I was ready to dismiss it. In light of this piece I will take a second look.
And one last link for the pleasure of a fun, well written article about the Eastern European plum brandy slivovitz. Although my sister brought bottles back from Bulgaria and Thomas claims to know it, I lack the emotional connection. It made me laugh nonetheless.