Dorie Greenspan suggests a classic July 4th dessert: Atlantic Beach Pie

Photo courtesy of Mary Dodd

Cheryl Day’s take on the Bill Smith classic is a make-again (and again) recipe writes Dorie Greenspan in her July 1 bulletin. Here Dorie shares a great recipe from Day’s new cookbook for Atlantic Beach Pie that she describes as perfect for Fourth of July. I, for one, am definitely going to make this for the upcoming holiday.

Almost as enjoyable as the pie is Dorie’s background on the dish—and Dorie, you weren’t the only one who had never heard of this pie. I hadn’t either so at least there are two of us. Dorie also introduces us to a new cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. Now here’s one I am most likely the only one not to know about Day or her Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia as Dorie has long been a big fan.

Since July 4th is coming up, I’d better cut to Dorie’s bulletin and the recipe for the pie. Please let me know what you think. Also, be sure to subscribe to Dorie’s newsletter. It’s the best and it’s free. I mean, really, what’s there to lose? Well, of course, your waistline but hey, save your calories for all the good things Dorie has to offer.

Here we go.

From Dorie Greenspan:

We just wrapped up choux month in Playing Around // xoxo Dorie — look at what we baked together! If you’d like join the group before the next project launches, click here to subscribe.

Bonjour! Bonjour!

Am I the last person on the planet to discover the joys of the Atlantic Beach Pie made famous by Bill Smith at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a James Beard Foundation America’s Classic restaurant that featured fresh, seasonally-focused Southern cuisine. I’m thinking I might be. I’m also thinking I might not have ever come around to it had Mary Dodd not mentioned how much she loved the recipe for it that’s in Cheryl Day’s newest cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking.

I might be slow on the recipe front, but I’ve been a Cheryl Day fan for a long time. Cheryl, who founded and owns the Back in the Day Bakery with her husband, Griffith, in Savannah, Georgia, is one of the country’s most important voices in Southern foodways – one of its most beloved too. She is a bestselling author, the co-founder of Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice, a legacy baker and an inspiring speaker – it was marvelous to hear her at the Cherry Bombe Jubilee this year.

Photo courtesy of Mary Dodd

 It was funny that when Mary said the name of the pie, I thought that there was a Maida Heatter recipe for it – but I was wrong. Maida Heatter didn’t publish a version, but a million other people did. It’s cherished. And even if it weren’t as great as it is, it would be easy to have a soft spot for it because of the story that spins around it. I loved hearing Katie Workman on NPR/All Things Considered talk about the first time she had the pie – she called it an OMG, “When Harry Met Sally” experience.

THE SHORT SALTY BACK STORY

You can get a fuller telling of this story in a bunch of places – I love how Margaux Laskey wrote about it in The New York Times (subscription) – so I’m just going to tell you the part I like most.

While the name “Atlantic Beach Pie,” is Smith’s, he doesn’t claim the dessert as his own, saying that it’s served all over East and North Carolina, where it’s called Lemon Pie. Growing up, his mother – and evidently everyone else’s mom, too – was convinced that if you ate dessert after you’d eaten seafood, it would kill you. The one exception was citrus – life could go on after a citrusy sweet. And so, this lemon pie was the specialty at fish places along the coast.

And what a pie – it’s a quirky one.

Photo courtesy of Mary Dodd

SALTINES, LEMON JUICE AND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK – WHODDA THUNK?

Everything about this pie is beachy, especially it’s saltiness. The press-in crust – which could be made from graham crackers, and I read that it was in many places – is made from crushed saltines, butter and sugar. It’s thick and salty-sweet and fun. The filling, which was traditionally lemon, but which can be a mix of lemon and lime (or why not all lime?), is satiny and jiggly, slip-through-your-teeth smooth and reminiscent of lemon-meringue pie – gets its shimmy from egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. (Remember how Jessie Sheehan used sweetened condensed milk in that terrific recipe for potato-chip and pretzel fudge, and called the canned milk her BBF – her Baking Best Friend?)

As for the topping – as near as I can tell, it was meringue, until it wasn’t. (Meringue makes sense, since you’re using yolks for the filling and will have whites left over.) Bill Smith opted for whipped cream and Cheryl Day, (scroll down for her recipe), went for whipped cream tanged-up with buttermilk – a genius partner for the sweet filling. (Hold onto the recipe – it’s a nice way to get the flavor of crème fraîche when you can’t get crème fraîche.) In some recipes, the pie gets a grating of lemon or lime zest, and in many it gets a light shower of flaky sea salt. The constant is the see-saw sweet-salty balance. Oh, and the life-saving power of citrus.

PIE FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC

Maybe I could have searched all over Paris and nabbed Saltines, but when you want to bake a pie, you want to bake a pie. I was going to go with a graham-cracker base, but I found some crackers that did the trick. They weren’t salty enough, but that was an easy fix. And just because I could, I topped the pie with little meringue stars straight from the supermarket shelf. I love a country where you can buy meringue ready-to-go.

 Would this be a good Fourth of July dessert? Yes? Good for a picnic? Yes? Good for a weekend brunch? Also yes. It’s an over-again recipe – a dessert you’ll make over and over again.

Happy weekend to all. I’ll see the members of the Playing Around club back here on Tuesday – that’s when I’ll tell you what the project for July is (so excited) – and we’ll all be back here together on Friday. Sweet, sweet wishes to everyone.

 BILL SMITH’S FAMOUS ATLANTIC BEACH PIE

•            Adapted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day

•            Click here for printable recipe

Excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by Angie Mosier.

GOOD TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START

The crust: For the fun of it – the saltiness, too – you should try the pie with Saltines. But if you can’t find them or don’t think you’ll like them, jump on the graham-cracker-crust bandwagon. You can use a food processor to crumble the crackers, but it’s easily done by hand, and you won’t have a machine to clean when it’s over. Cheryl says: When you make your crumbs, be sure to leave a little texture, rather than making a fine dust. Make sure your butter is super-soft because you’re going to smush it with the crackers to get a pressable mixture. (Mary melted and cooled the butter. I smushed it. Good both ways.)

The citrus: Cheryl goes with all lemon juice and some others, including Food 52, suggest all lemon, all lime or a mix. Mary made hers with all lemon and I went with some of each. (I’m a well-known sucker for lime.)

The topping: The allure of Cheryl’s Buttermilk Whipped Cream is great – also it’s such a smart way to add some tang to a sweet dessert. But thrift suggests meringue (some history does, too). And no one would turn down straight-up whipped cream. Mary made the buttermilk cream and loved it. I used store-bought meringues because I could. You don’t need me to tell you that you should do what you’d like.

 My store-bought meringues

The finishing touches: Cheryl’s pie is gorgeously pristine – I love how she covers the top with beautifully piped little rounds of that ethereal cream. But grated zest is a possibility as is a few shiny pieces of flaky sea salt here and there.

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the piecrust

•            About 60 saltine crackers from about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 sleeves of crackers (190 grams) to make 2 1/2 cups crumbs (see above)

•            3 tablespoons granulated sugar

•            6 to 8 tablespoons (85 to 113 grams) very soft unsalted butter

For the pie filling

•            One 14-ounce (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk

•            4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

•            1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

•            1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice (or see above)

For the whipped cream

•            1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

•            2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

•            A pinch of fine sea salt

•            1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

To make the piecrust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Have a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan at hand.

In a medium bowl, blend together the cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter and mix with a fork (or your fingers or a combination of both) until the crumbs are moistened.

 Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.

Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes, just until golden brown and firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

To make the filling: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Place the baked piecrust on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk the condensed milk and egg yolks together until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice, whisking until combined.

 Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the filling is puffed up at the edges and the center no longer looks wet but still wobbles slightly when jiggled; it will continue to set as it cools.

Cool the pie on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours, or overnight.

To make the cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Add the buttermilk and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks. Use immediately.

STORING: The pie can be refrigerated, loosely covered, for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by Angie Mosier.

PLAYING AROUND: I’m guessing that you’ll find lots of ways to use the salty crust and the excellent sweet filling separately and together. I think the crust would be terrific with a chocolate pudding filling and I think the filling would be terrific as a pudding. Of course you could make the pie in a different shape or size, play around with different toppings or just go straight to the freezer and scoop some ice cream over it. I think you’ll have fun with this one.

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Making the Case for Macon

Macon, Georgia, which is just 90 minutes from Atlanta and 3.5 hours from both Birmingham and Chattanooga and four hours from Charleston and Jacksonville, is often an overlooked destination.  Located in the center to Georgia–or should we say the very heart and soul of the state–Macon is a fun-filled destination with both a fascinating history, an exciting present, and a bright future. Still need convincing? Here are four reasons among many to put Macon on your bucket list.

  • Makin’ Fun: Macon is the home of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, so sports-aholics can get their fix of every sport at every level of play. But for some what’s best about Macon’s athletic scene is that it’s home to the best-named baseball team in the whole game: the Macon Baco. Yes, really. That alone should prove that Macon is a fun place. As for the Macon Bacons, it’s part of a wood-bat collegiate summer league whose roster teams (pardon the pun) with top players from schools around the country. Not only does the team have a delicious name, but it also has a mascot that really sizzles: Kevin, a seven-foot-tall slice of bacon. Get it … Kevin Bacon? Our pal Kevin Bacon loves to dance particularly it’s one of the songs from the movie “Footloose.” A dancing strip of bacon imakes sense. After all Macon is a city that’s all about music. As an aside, the Bacons’ archrivals are the Savannah Bananas. We love that name but really, if it’s a contest between bacon and bananas, we’d choose bacon every time.
  • Makin’ Movies: The baseball team plays at historic Luther Williams Field, built in 1929 and recently refurbished. Even if you haven’t been to a game (yet), the field might look familiar to you because it’s starred on the screen in “The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings,” a 1976 movie starring Billy Dee Williams; “The Trouble with the Curve,” a 2012 film featuring Clint Eastwood; “42,” the 2013 biopic about baseball legend Jackie Robinson; and the Hank Azaria TV comedy “Brockmire.” Macon is the site of plenty of movie-making, most recently welcoming an all-star cast that was in town filming the remake of “The Color Purple,” which is set for release in 2023. The film is being produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones. (As an aside, if our mention of Kevin Bacon above has you playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” you might be interested in knowing that each of those producers has a Bacon Number of 2. The actor, we mean. Not the baseball mascot. The version wearing a frying pan as a cap is probably separated by a few additional degrees.)
  • Makin’ Music: This new version of “The Color Purple” is an adaptation of the Broadway musical, so Macon was the perfect location. This is a city with deep musical roots (fun fact: this is where the kazoo was invented, by a formerly enslaved man named Alabama Vest all the way back in 1840), and it lives up to its tagline, “Where Soul Lives.” It’s the hometown of Otis Redding, Little Richard and The Allman Brothers, all of whom left indelible marks on the place and its people. Today, visitors can learn more about Macon’s musical history by checking out live performances at an array of venues, visiting the Otis Redding Foundation Museum or the Allman Brothers Museum at the Big House, or taking a public or private Rock Candy Tour, which could focus on music alone or the delightful combo of music and food.
  • Makin’ Dinner: Macon has an incredible food scene, and some its top restaurants have ties to music. The Downtown Grill a fancy English steakhouse, is where Greg Allman proposed to Cher, but it’s H&H Soul Food where the band spent even more time … and then took its former owner, Mama Louise, on the road with them so they could have their favorite meals on the tour bus. Today you’ll find everything from upscale to down-home offerings, plus plenty of liquid refreshment to accompany all the amazing tastes.

Pro tip: For a great lunch option, hit The Rookery and order pretty much any sandwich or burger … and a milkshake chaser. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that many menu items feature bacon in a starring role. Because, as we know, it always comes back to bacon.

And there you have it … in just three degrees of separation from baseball to burger, Makin’ it in Macon is all about fun, food, sports, history, and so much more.

For more information or to begin planning a trip, start here

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List. https://www.grubstreet.com/2022/06/2022-james-beard-chef-and-restaurant-award-winners-full-list.html

Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes

I remember the first time I heard the word victuals. It was uttered by Jed Clampett—only he pronounced it as “vittles”–on that great TV series from The Beverly Hillbillies+ which ran from 1962-1971 and told the story of a family who had moved from Appalachia to, well, Beverly Hills, California.  The Beverly Hillbillies, now in syndication, is televised daily around the world and the word victual, which means “food or provisions, typically as prepared for consumption” has become a go-to-term in the food world with the rise of interest in the foods of the Mountain South region of our country. The joke at the time was that the Clampett were so out-of-step with all the wonders of Beverly Hills and that included their use of the word victuals. But the joke, it seems, may have been on us as we deal with the overabundance of processed foods and yearn for authenticity in our diets. You know, like victuals,

In her book, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes (Clarkson Potter 2016; $16.59 Amazon price) winner of James Beard Foundation Book of The Year and Best Book, American Cooking, author Ronni Lundy showcases both the heritage and present ways of southern cookery in this part of the United States and also shares the stories of the mountain. Lundy, a former restaurant reviewer and editor of Louisville Magazine, highlights such roadways as Warrior’s Path, the name given by English settlers to the route used by the Shawnee and Cherokee traveling for trade, hunting and, at times, to prepare for battle. Describing the towns, villages and hamlets along these routes, Lundy shows how an amalgam of immigrants some willing (Scots, Germans) and some not (African) brought with them foodways and how they merged with other ethnic groups and the foods available in the region.

The author of ten books on Southern food and culture, Lundy’s book, Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken, described as the first first regional American cookbook to offer a true taste of the Mountain South, was recognized by Gourmet magazine as one of six essential books on Southern cooking. Lundy also received the Southern Foodways Alliance Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.

To gather the stories, recipes, traditions, and foodways, Lundy traveled over 4000 miles through seven states. Along the way, she did a lot of stopping and eating. Each chapter in her book delves into an identifying food of a region or its heritage–think salt, corn, corn liquor, and beans. And, in many ways, reconnecting to her own roots. Born in Corbin, Kentucky, she remembers shucking beans on her aunt’s front porch.

“They taught me how to break the end and pull the string down and break the other end and pull the string back on the bean,” Lundy says. “I would watch them thread it up on a needle and thread, and they would hang that in a dry place in the house…We developed these things, like drying beans for shuck beans, or drying our apples so that we could through the winter make apple stack cakes and fried apple pies. We’d have dried beans on hand, cure every part of the hog.”

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Bacon & Orange Sorghum Vinegar

“Delicious root vegetables love the cool of both spring and fall in the mountains. Gardeners love the twin harvest,” Lundy writes in the introduction to this recipe. “The root cellar is where such vegeta­bles were stored in plenty of mountain homesteads, although some folks kept them in baskets and bins in a cool, dark place in the house. In fact, folks with larger houses might close off “the front room,” as the living room was more commonly called, to conserve on heat when the weather got cold. That room might then become an ad hoc fruit and vegetable cooler.

“My mother kept the Christmas fruit in the front room until company came, but not vegetables. We ate them too fast then—boiled, buttered, and salted or eaten raw with salt. Today I make this lovely salad first in the spring, then again as autumn splashes the hills with the colors of the carrots and beets.”

Serves 4

  • 3 medium yellow beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 3 medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked
  • Orange Sorghum Vinegar (see below), to taste
  • Drizzle of bacon grease, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Wrap up the yellow beets in a large piece of aluminum foil. Do the same with the red beets, and place both packets on a baking sheet. Roast until the beets are tender at the center when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, toss the carrot pieces with the oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt. Roast the carrots for about 25 minutes, until tender and caramelized.

When the beets come out of the oven, carefully open the packets to release the steam, and let the beets cool. Once the beets have cooled, gently rub the skins off and cut the beets into wedges.

To assemble the salad, lay the red beet wedges on the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Lay the roasted carrots on top, and then the yellow beet wedges. Throw in the sliced radishes and red onion. Break up the bacon slices and scatter the pieces on top. Season with salt and drizzle with the orange sorghum vinegar. Toss ever so gently. Give it a taste and determine if a drizzle of bacon grease is needed. Serve.

Orange Sorghum Vinegar

Makes ¾ cup

  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Pour the vinegar into a small glass jar with a lid. Add the sorghum and shake or stir until dissolved. Add the orange juice and shake or stir to combine. Use as directed in recipes, and store any that’s left over, covered, in the refrigerator.

Sumac Oil Flatbread with Country Ham & Pickled Ramps

makes two large flatbreads (serves 4 to 6)

“In early mountain communities, one farmer might own a valuable tool or piece of equipment that was made available to family and neighbors as needed,” writes Lundy in the introduction of this recipe. “There was often a trade involved, although more fre­quently implicit rather than directly bartered. If you were the man with the sorghum squeezer and mule, you could expect to get a couple of quarts from your neighbors’ run. If you loaned a plow, you could count on borrowing the chains for hanging a freshly slaugh­tered hog. Or when your huge cast-iron pot was returned, it might come with several quarts of apple butter.

“With a little of that same sense of sharing, Lora Smith and Joe Schroeder invested in a traveling wood-fired oven for their farm at Big Switch. In their first spring back in Kentucky, it rolled over to a cou­ple of weddings, as well as providing the main course for the Appalachian Spring feast. Joe says plans are to take it to a couple of music festivals down the line to both share and perhaps sell enough pizzas to pay the gate.

“Music makes a good metaphor for what happens in this recipe. Lora adapted a fine flatbread recipe from acclaimed chef and baker Nick Malgieri for the crust, then added some local color. In the way that European mandolins and violins were transformed by new rhythms and melodies into something purely mountain, the use of sumac-scented olive oil, tangy country ham, and pungent pickled ramps makes this a dish that tastes distinctly of its Kentucky place.

“If you have access to a wood-fired oven, bake away there according to how yours works. The direc­tions here are for a home oven.

“The flatbread slices are even better when topped with a handful of arugula, mâche, or another bright, bitter green that has been drizzled with Orange Sorghum Vinegar (see recipe above).”

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal, plus extra for rolling the dough
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 6 ounces country ham, sliced about ¼ inch thick and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ cup Will Dissen’s Pickled Ramps (page 000), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Sumac Oil (recipe follows)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to mix.

Combine the yeast with ¾ cup of the warm water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Add this mixture to the food processor and pulse to combine; then let the processor run continuously for about 10 seconds, or until the dough forms a ball. You may need to add up to another ¼ cup of the warm water at this point if your dough is not coming together.

Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Move the rested dough to a floured work surface and flatten into a thick disk, then fold the dough over on itself. Do this several times. Return the folded dough to the oiled mixing bowl (you might have to oil it again first). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350°F.

Sprinkle a floured work surface with a little cornmeal. Transfer the risen dough to the surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece of dough at a time, gently press it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough out as thin as possible, aiming for a roughly 10 × 15-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with second half of the dough.

Pierce the dough all over at 1-inch intervals with the tines of a fork. Divide the country ham evenly between the two portions of dough.

Bake the flatbreads until golden and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes, switching the baking sheets’ positions about halfway through cooking.

Remove to racks and let cool slightly. Divide the ramps and sumac oil evenly between the flatbreads, and serve.

sumac oil makes about ¹⁄³ cup

Native people gathered the crimson berries of the sumac plant (not the noxious, poisonous white-berried variety, of course) to dry and grind them into a powder that gave a delicious lemony flavor to fish cooked over an open fire. They and the settlers who followed also used the sumac to make a drink akin to lemonade. You don’t have to gather berries and make your own; you can buy good-quality ground sumac at almost any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern market and some natural foods stores.

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Use immediately.

Slow Cooker–Roasted Pork Shoulder

“Thrifty homesteaders knew how to cook all cuts of the hogs that were slaughtered in the winter,” writes Lundy. “The shoulder, slow-roasted with fat and bone, produced a richly textured, deeply flavored meat worth smack­ing your lips for. Modern mountain cooks use the slow cooker to create the same effect that roasting in a woodstove, kept going all day for heat as well as cooking, once provided.

“I buy pork from one of several producers in my neck of the Blue Ridge who pasture their pigs and process them humanely. They also tend to raise her­itage pigs that naturally come with more fat, and the cuts I favor reflect that. The last roast I cooked like this weighed about 3½ pounds at the market with a top fat layer about an inch deep. I trimmed that fat to ½ inch and the roast was then about 3 pounds.”

Serves 4

  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-pound pork shoulder or butt, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Rub the salt and pepper into all sides of the roast, including the top fat. Place a heavy skillet over high heat and as it is warming up, place the roast in the skillet, fat side down. The heat will render enough fat for browning the rest of the roast without sticking. When there is enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan well and the fat on the roast is turning golden brown, flip the roast over and brown the next side.

Brown all sides of the roast. This may entail using tongs to hold the roast to brown the short edges, but it only takes a minute or so and is worth it since it will intensify the flavor. You may also need to spoon some of the rendered fat out of the skillet as you are browning—the point is to sear the meat, not deep-fry it.

When the roast is browned all over, place it in a slow cooker. Carefully pour off the grease from the skillet. Add ½ cup of water to the skillet and deglaze it. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar and sorghum, stirring to dissolve the syrup. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker.

Peel the onion, quarter it, and break apart the sections. Scatter the pieces around the edge of the roast in the pot. Cover, and cook on the high setting for 30 minutes. Then turn to low and cook for 4 hours.

The pork roast will be well done but meltingly tender when the inner temperature is 165°F. Remove it from the pot and allow it to rest under a tent of foil while you make the sauce.

Strain the pan juices to remove the onion pieces. Degrease the juices and pour them into a small pot set over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with ½ cup of water to form a slurry. When the juices in the pot begin to bubble, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to whisk as the mixture bubbles for about a minute and thickens. Remove from the heat.

To carve the roast, begin on the side away from the bone to yield larger, uniform pieces. Pass the sauce on the side.

Buttermilk–Brown Sugar Pie

“Pies were the Mother of Invention because neces­sity required that they be made from whatever was on hand. In the summer there was no dearth of fruit that could be gathered—often by small children who would eagerly do the work for just reward later.,” writes Lundy. “In the winter dried apples, peaches, and squash could be simmered into a filling for the hand or fried pies beloved in the region. Vinegar pie was as tasty as, and easier to come by, than one made with lemon, and apple cider could be boiled to make a tart and tangy filling. Buttermilk was enough to turn a simple cus­tard filling into a more complex delight. And using cornmeal as the thickener in these simple pies added character as well as flavor.

“My cousin Michael Fuson introduced me to brown sugar pie. It was his favorite, he told my mother when his family moved from Corbin to Louisville and he began spending time in her kitchen. “Well, honey, then I’ll make you one,” she said. That my mother could make brown sugar pie was news to me. Mike was as generous as a homesick teenaged boy could be and allowed me an ample slice before consuming the rest on his own. It was, I thought, one of the loveliest things I’d ever eaten. But then I made a version of my own with buttermilk instead of cream, and the sum of these two pie parts was greater than the whole of all pies put together.”

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • Single unbaked pie crust (use your favorite recipe or 1/4 batch of Emily Hilliard’s Pie Crust below)
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup very finely ground cornmeal*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the crust in a 9-inch pie pan and refrigerate it while making the filling.

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Beat in the melted butter. Add the dry mixture and stir vigorously until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. When all is well combined, pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is set (no longer liquid, but still tender to the touch).

Allow the pie to cool until just barely warm before slicing. I like to drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of buttermilk over my slice.

Emily Hilliard’s Pie Crust

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork and knife, cut in the butter. Make sure pea-sized butter chunks remain to help keep the crust flaky.

Lightly beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the ice-cold water and the vinegar.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour-butter mixture and combine using a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Be careful not to overmix. Use floured hands to divide the dough in half and then form into 2 balls. Wrap each ball tightly in plastic wrap. Let them chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling out.

Note: if you cut this recipe in half, it will work for a two-crust pie.

The above recipes are reprinted from Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes. Copyright © 2016 by Ronni Lundy. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

THE 2022 JAMES BEARD AWARD RESTAURANT AND CHEF SEMIFINALISTS

The James Beard Award Semifinalists today announced their 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists in advance of the returning James Beard Awards® presented by Capital One. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Restaurant and Chef Awards nominees, in addition to honorees for Leadership, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Humanitarian of the Year Awards will be revealed on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Scottsdale, AZ. Nominees for the James Beard Foundation Media Awards will be released on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in New York City.

Mabel Gray

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards were established in 1991 and is one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards. James Beard Awards policies and procedures can be viewed at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies

Check out the 2022 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists below.

Outstanding Restaurateur  

  • Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (Rasika, Bindaas, Annabelle, and others), Washington, D.C. 
  • Kim Bartmann, Bartmann Group, Minneapolis 
  • Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix 
  • Jason and Sue Chin, Good Salt Restaurant Group, Orlando, FL 
  • Brandon Chrostowski, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, Cleveland 
  • Larry and Jessica Delgado, Delgado Collective, McAllen, TX 
  • Ravi DeRossi, Overthrow Hospitality, NYC 
  • Greg Dulan, Dulan’s Soul Food Restaurant, Los Angeles 
  • Kevin Gillespie, Red Beard Restaurants (Gunshow, Ole Reliable, and Revival), Atlanta 
  • Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady and Piggy Smalls, Honolulu 
  • Marc Meyer, Vicki Freeman, and Chris Paraskevaides, Bowery Group (Shuka, Shukette, Vic’s, and others) NYC 
  • Joe Muench, Black Shoe Hospitality, Milwaukee 
  • Willy Ng, Koi Palace, Dragon Beaux, and Palette Tea House, San Francisco 
  • Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, Langbaan, Hat Yai, Eem, and others, Portland, OR 
  • Todd Richards and Joshua Lee, The Soulful Company (Lake & Oak), Atlanta 
  • J.D. Simpson and Roger Yopp, SavannahBlue, Detroit 
  • Deborah Snow and Barbara White, Blue Heron Restaurant & Catering, Sunderland, MA 
  • Chris Williams, Lucille’s Hospitality Group, Houston 
  • Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street Philly, and others), Philadelphia 
  • Edwin Zoe, Zoe Ma Ma and Chimera Ramen, Boulder and Denver, CO 

Outstanding Chef  

  • Reem Assil, Reem’s, Oakland and San Francisco, CA 
  • Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, GA 
  • Andrew Black, Grey Sweater, Oklahoma City 
  • Peter Chang, Peter Chang, VA and MD 
  • Austin Covert, Rosewild, Fargo, ND 
  • Christopher Gross, Christopher’s, Phoenix 
  • Stephen Jones, The Larder + The Delta, Phoenix 
  • Ji Hye Kim, Miss Kim, Ann Arbor, MI 
  • Kyle Knall, Birch, Milwaukee 
  • Emiliano Marentes, ELEMI, El Paso, TX 
  • Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles 
  • Keiji Nakazawa, Sushi Sho, Honolulu 
  • Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction, CO 
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, La Vara, NYC 
  • Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie, NYC 
  • Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami 
  • Douglass Williams, MIDA, Boston 
  • Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore 
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle 

 Outstanding Restaurant 

Parachute
  • Brennan’s, New Orleans 
  • Butcher & Bee, Charleston, SC 
  • Chai Pani, Asheville, NC 
  • Cora Cora, West Hartford, CT 
  • Di Fara Pizza, NYC 
  • El Burén de Lula, Loíza, PR 
  • Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia 
  • Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT 
  • La Morada, NYC 
  • Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy, Depew, OK 
  • Métier, Washington, D.C. 
  • Mixtli, San Antonio, TX 
  • Parachute, Chicago 
  • Paragary’s, Sacramento, CA 
  • Post & Beam, Los Angeles 
  • Odd Duck, Milwaukee 
  • Oriole, Chicago 
  • ShinBay, Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Honolulu 
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle 

 

Emerging Chef

  • Manuel “Manny” Barella, Bellota, Denver 
  • Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C. 
  • Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle 
  • Rochelle Daniel, Atria, Flagstaff, AZ 
  • Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s, NYC 
  • Casey Felton, Bahn Oui, Los Angeles 
  • Shenarri Freeman, Cadence, NYC 
  • Ben Grupe, Tempus, St. Louis 
  • Donald Hawk, Valentine, Phoenix 
  • Cleophus Hethington, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC 
  • Brian Hirata, Na‘’au, Hilo, HI 
  • Serigne Mbaye, Dakar Nola, New Orleans 
  • Thuy Pham, Mama Đút, Portland, OR 
  • Mia Orino and Carlo Gan, Kamayan ATL, Atlanta 
  • Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin 
  • Amanda Shulman, Her Place Supper Club, Philadelphia 
  • Amanda Turner, Olamaie, Austin 
  • Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Milford, NH 
  • Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Oakland, CA 
  • David Yoshimura, Nisei, San Francisco 

Best New Restaurant 

Café Mamajuana, Burlington, VT 
  • ABACÁ, San Francisco 
  • Angry Egret Dinette, Los Angeles 
  • Bacanora, Phoenix 
  • BARDA, Detroit 
  • Café Mamajuana, Burlington, VT 
  • Casian Seafood, Lafayette, CO 
  • Dhamaka, NYC 
  • Fritai, New Orleans 
  • Gage & Tollner, NYC 
  • Horn BBQ, Oakland, CA 
  • Kasama, Chicago 
  • Kimika, NYC 
  • Laser Wolf, Philadelphia 
  • Leeward, Portland, ME 
  • Lengua Madre, New Orleans 
  • MACHETE, Greensboro, NC 
  • Matia Kitchen & Bar, Orcas Island, WA 
  • The Marble Table, Billings, MT 
  • Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken, Asheville, NC 
  • NiHao, Baltimore 
  • Owamni, Minneapolis 
  • Oyster Oyster, Washington, D.C. 
  • Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, San Leon, TX 
  • República, Portland, OR 
  • Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch, TX 
  • Sooper Secret Izakaya, Honolulu 
  • Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis 
  • Ursula, NYC 
  • Zacatlán Restaurant, Santa Fe 
  • Zitz Sum, Coral Gables, FL 

Outstanding Pastry Chef 

Chacónne Patisserie
  • Antonio Bachour, Bachour, Coral Gables and Doral, FL 
  • Nicolas Blouin, Destination Kohler, Kohler, WI 
  • Warda Bouguettaya, Warda Pâtisserie, Detroit 
  • Mark Chacón, Chacónne Patisserie, Phoenix 
  • Angela Cicala, Cicala at the Divine Lorraine, Philadelphia 
  • Kate Fisher Hamm, Leeward, Portland, ME 
  • Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant, Honolulu 
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles 
  • Claudia Martinez, Miller Union, Atlanta 
  • Elise Mensing, Brasserie by Niche, St. Louis 
  • Camari Mick, The Musket Room, NYC 
  • Ruben Ortega, Xochi, Houston 
  • Shannah Primiano, Porto, Chicago 
  • Rabii Saber, Four Seasons, Orlando, FL 
  • Caroline Schiff, Gage & Tollner, NYC  
  • Anne Specker, Kinship, Washington, D.C. 
  • Krystle Swenson, The Social Haus, Greenough, MT 
  • Sofia Tejeda, Mixtli, San Antonio, TX 
  • Jen Yee, Hopkins and Company, Atlanta 

Outstanding Baker 

  • David Cáceres, La Panadería, San Antonio, TX 
  • Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies, Chicago 
  • Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME 
  • Susannah Gebhart, Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery, Asheville, NC 
  • Marissa and Mark Gencarelli, Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO 
  • Joseph, Archalous, and Caroline Geragosian, Old Sasoon Bakery, Pasadena, CA 
  • Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ 
  • Aaron Hall, The Local Crumb, Mount Vernon, IA 
  • Mike Hirao, Nisshodo Candy Store, Honolulu 
  • Clement Hsu, Katherine Campecino-Wong, and James Wong, Breadbelly, San Francisco 
  • Nobutoshi “Nobu” Mizushima and Yuko Kawashiwo, Ihatov Bread and Coffee, Albuquerque, NM 
  • Evette Rahman, Sister Honey’s, Orlando, FL 
  • Rhonda Saltzman and Mercedes Brooks, Second Daughter Baking Co., Philadelphia 
  • Caroline Schweitzer and Lauren Heemstra, Wild Crumb, Bozeman, MT 
  • Khatera Shams, Sunshine Spice Bakery & Cafe, Boise, ID 
  • Zak Stern, Zak the Baker, Miami 
  • Elaine Townsend, Café Mochiko, Cincinnati, OH 
  • Maricsa Trejo, La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson, TX 
  • Louis Volle, Lodi, NYC 
  • Pamela Vuong, The Flour Box, Seattle 

Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)

  • BaoBao Dumpling House, Portland, ME 
  • Bar del Corso, Seattle 
  • Binkley’s, Phoenix 
  • Coquine, Portland, OR 
  • Cúrate, Asheville, NC 
  • House of Prime Rib, San Francisco 
  • Hugo’s, Houston 
  • Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL 
  • José, Dallas 
  • Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Hudson, NY 
  • Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop, Detroit 
  • Phoenicia, Birmingham, MI 
  • The Preacher’s Son, Bentonville, AR 
  • Sanford, Milwaukee 
  • Spuntino, Denver 
  • Steve and Cookie’s, Margate, NJ 
  • Sylvia’s Restaurant, NYC 
  • Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta 
  • Tutka Bay Lodge, Homer, AK 
  • Valter’s Osteria, Salt Lake City 

 

Outstanding Wine Program

Kai
  • a.kitchen + bar, Philadelphia 
  • The Four Horsemen, NYC 
  • Frenchette, NYC 
  • Golden Age Wine, Mountain Brook, AL 
  • High Street Wine Co., San Antonio, TX 
  • Hiyu Wine Farm, Hood River, OR 
  • Kai, Phoenix 
  • L’Etoile, Madison, WI 
  • The Little Nell, Aspen, CO 
  • Lucky Palace, Bossier City, LA 
  • Lyla Lila, Atlanta 
  • Madam, Birmingham, MI 
  • Maydan, Washington, D.C. 
  • Polo Grill, Tulsa, OK 
  • The Punchdown, Oakland, CA 
  • Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Gallatin Gateway, MT 
  • Rebel Rebel, Somerville, MA 
  • Sachet, Dallas 
  • Tomo, Seattle 
  • Vicia, St. Louis 

Outstanding Bar Program

Nobody’s Darling

  • Alley Twenty Six, Durham, NC 
  • Attaboy, Nashville 
  • Avenue Pub, New Orleans 
  • Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu 
  • barmini by José Andrés, Washington, D.C. 
  • Cafe La Trova, Miami 
  • Chapel Tavern, Reno, NV 
  • Friends and Family, Oakland, CA 
  • Genever, Los Angeles 
  • Goodkind, Milwaukee 
  • The Jewel Box, Portland, ME 
  • Julep, Houston 
  • La Factoría, San Juan, PR 
  • Las Almas Rotas, Dallas 
  • Llama San, NYC 
  • Nobody’s Darling, Chicago 
  • Shelby, Detroit 
  • Valkyrie, Tulsa, OK 
  • Vicia, St. Louis 
  • Water Witch, Salt Lake City

Best Chefs (Presented by Capital One):

Best Chef: California 

Mr. Jui’s

  • Chris Barnum-Dann, Localis, Sacramento, CA 
  • Sylvan Mishima Brackett, Rintaro, San Francisco 
  • Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco 
  • Keith Corbin, Alta Adams, Los Angeles 
  • Srijith Gopinathan, Ettan, Palo Alto, CA 
  • Tony Ho, Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant, Rosemead, CA 
  • Judept Irra, Tamales Elena y Antojitos, Bell Gardens, CA 
  • Nobody’s Darling, Chicago San Francisco 
  • Matthew Kammerer, The Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA 
  • Bryant Ng, Cassia, Santa Monica, CA 
  • Heena Patel, Besharam, San Francisco 
  • Natalia Pereira, Woodspoon, Los Angeles 
  • Melissa Perello, Octavia, San Francisco 
  • Minh Phan, Phenakite, Los Angeles 
  • Justin Pichetrungsi, Anajak Thai, Los Angeles 
  • Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, CA 
  • Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong, Jitlada, Los Angeles 
  • James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA 
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Nari, San Francisco 
  • Anthony Wells, Juniper and Ivy, San Diego

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH) 

  • Omar Anani, Saffron De Twah, Detroit 
  • Rodolfo Cuadros, Amaru and Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, Chicago 
  • Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago 
  • Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago 
  • Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe, Chicago 
  • Anthony Lombardo, SheWolf, Detroit 
  • Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit 
  • Thomas Melvin, Vida, Indianapolis 
  • Dave Park, Jeong, Chicago 
  • Michael Ransom, ima, Detroit 
  • Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, Chicago 
  • James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, MI 
  • Jose Salazar, Salazar, Cincinnati, OH 
  • Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago 
  • Ahmad Sanji, AlTayeb, Dearborn, MI 
  • John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, Chicago 
  • Jill Vedaa, Salt+, Lakewood, OH 
  • Sarah Welch, Marrow, Detroit 
  • Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar, Chicago 
  • Kate Williams, Karl’s, Detroit 

  

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

  • Anthony Andiario, Andiario, West Chester, PA 
  • Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, NJ 
  • Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C. 
  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C. 
  • Adam Diltz, Elwood, Philadelphia 
  • Antimo DiMeo, Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington, DE 
  • Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, Canal House Station, Milford, NJ 
  • Matt Hill, Ruthie’s All-Day, Arlington, VA 
  • Bill Hoffman, The House of William & Merry, Hockessin, DE 
  • Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia 
  • Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, Apteka, Pittsburgh 
  • Wei Lu, China Chalet, Florham Park, NJ 
  • Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia 
  • Peter Prime, Cane, Washington, D.C. 
  • Carlos Raba, Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore 
  • Michael Rafidi, Albi, Washington, D.C. 
  • Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya Thai Kitchen, Philadelphia 
  • Yuan Tang, Rooster & Owl, Washington, D.C. 
  • Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Pittsburgh 
  • Bethany Zozula, 40 North at Alphabet City, Pittsburgh 

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)  

  • Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat, Milwaukee 
  • Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee 
  • Daniel Bonanno, A Pig in a Fur Coat, Madison, WI 
  • Rob Connoley, Bulrush, St. Louis 
  • Jorge Guzmán, Petite León, Minneapolis 
  • Michael Haskett, M.B. Haskett Delicatessen, Sioux Falls, SD 
  • Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee 
  • Mary Kastman, Driftless Cafe, Viroqua, WI 
  • Anthony Kueper, Dolce, Omaha, NE 
  • Gregory León, Amilinda, Milwaukee 
  • Rachel McGill, DISH Restaurant, Lincoln, NE 
  • Ryan Nitschke, Luna Fargo, Fargo, ND 
  • Craig Rivard, Little Fox, St. Louis 
  • Kevin Scharpf, Brazen Open Kitchen | Bar, Dubuque, IA 
  • Sean Sherman, Owamni, Minneapolis 
  • Erik Skaar, Vann, Spring Park, MN 
  • Evy Swoboda, Brasserie by Niche, St. Louis 
  • Carl Thorne-Thomsen, Story., Prairie Village, KS 
  • Yia Vang, Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis 
  • Ben Welch, Botanica, Wildwood, MO 

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY) 

  • Saibeen Acord, Saibeen’s Kitchen, Great Falls, MT 
  • Salvador Alamilla, Amano, Caldwell, ID 
  • Dan Ansotegui, Ansots, Boise, ID 
  • Jose Avila, El Borrego Negro, Denver 
  • Mike Blocher, Nick Fahs, and David Barboza, Table X, Salt Lake City 
  • Cody Cheetham, Tavernetta, Denver 
  • Logen Crew and Paul Chamberlain, SLC Eatery, Salt Lake City 
  • Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO 
  • Briar Handly, Handle, Park City, UT 
  • Suchada Johnson, Teton Thai, Teton Village, WY 
  • Kris Komori, KIN, Boise, ID 
  • Chris Lockhart, PREROGATIvE Kitchen, Red Lodge, MT 
  • Chris McDonald, Cowfish, Lander, WY 
  • Mawa McQueen, Mawa’s Kitchen, Aspen, CO 
  • Brian Menges, The 2nd Street Bistro, Livingston, MT 
  • Paul Naugle, Izakaya Three Fish, Bozeman, MT 
  • Dana Rodriguez, Work & Class, Denver 
  • Eric Skokan, Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, Boulder, CO 
  • Luis Young, Penrose Room, Colorado Springs, CO 
  • Dave Wells, The Tasting Room at Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa, Pray, MT 

Best Chef: New York State  

Under the Volcano
  • Einat Admony, Balaboosta, NYC 
  • Mary Attea, The Musket Room, NYC 
  • Albert and Malenda Bartley, Top Taste, Kingston, NY 
  • Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy, NYC 
  • Nick Curtola, The Four Horsemen, NYC  
  • Eric Gao, O Mandarin, Hartsdale and Hicksville, NY 
  • JJ Johnson, FIELDTRIP, NYC 
  • Gabe McMackin, Troutbeck, Amenia, NY 
  • Helen Nguyen, Saigon Social, NYC 
  • Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shuka, NYC 
  • Chintan Pandya, Dhamaka, NYC 
  • Kyo Pang, Kopitiam, NYC 
  • Junghyun Park, Atomix, NYC 
  • Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Hudson, NY 
  • Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn, NYC 
  • Romeo Regalli, Ras Plant Based, NYC 
  • Irwin Sánchez, Under the Volcano, NYC 
  • Bryce Shuman, Sweetbriar, NYC 
  • Hillary Sterling, Ci Siamo, NYC 
  • Dale Talde, Goosefeather, Tarrytown, NY 

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) 

Annette

  • Bowman Brown, Elda, Biddeford, ME 
  • Vien Dobui, CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Portland, ME 
  • Patricia Estorino, Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, Waltham and Cambridge, MA 
  • Tiffani Faison, Orfano, Boston 
  • Jeff Fournier, Thompson House Eatery, Jackson, NH 
  • Daniel Gursha, Ledger, Salem, MA 
  • Tico Huynh, Yvonne’s, Cambridge, MA 
  • Ben Jackson, Magnus on Water, Biddeford, ME 
  • Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta, Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, Boston 
  • Christian Kruse, Black Flannel Brewing Company, Essex Junction, VT 
  • Brian Lewis, The Cottage, Westport, CT 
  • Courtney Loreg, Woodford Food and Beverage, Portland, ME 
  • Macarena Ludena, Cora Cora, West Hartford, CT 
  • Nisachon Morgan, Saap, Randolph, VT 
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA 
  • William Rietzel, COAST, Watch Hill, RI 
  • Damian Sansonetti, Chaval, Portland, ME 
  • John DaSilva, Chickadee, Boston 
  • David Schrier, Jessica Pollard and David Clegg, Daily Operation, Easthampton, MA 
  • David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, NH

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)  

  • Nathan Bentley, Altura Bistro, Anchorage, AK 
  • Nick Coffey, Ursa Minor, Lopez Island, WA 
  • Erasto Jackson, Lil Red’s Takeout and Catering, Seattle 
  • Jonathan Jones, Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails, Salem, OR 
  • Liz Kenyon, Rupee Bar, Seattle 
  • Carlo Lamagna, Magna Kusina, Portland, OR 
  • Robynne Maii, Fête, Honolulu 
  • Melissa Miranda, Musang, Seattle 
  • David Nichols, Eight Row, Seattle 
  • Vince Nguyen, Berlu, Portland, OR 
  • Brandon Pettit, Delancey, Seattle 
  • Thomas Pisha-Duffly, Oma’s Hideaway, Portland, OR 
  • Mark Pomaski, Moon & Turtle, Hilo, HI 
  • Beau Schooler, In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, AK 
  • Sheldon Simeon, Tin Roof, Kahului, HI 
  • Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle 
  • Robert Urquidi, Ethel’s Grill, Honolulu 
  • Jojo Vasquez, Fond, Lahaina, HI 
  • Aaron Verzosa, Archipelago, Seattle 
  • Chad White, Zona Blanca, Spokane, WA 

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV) 

Curate
  • Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC 
  • Greg Collier, Leah & Louise, Charlotte, NC 
  • Mike Costello and Amy Dawson, Lost Creek Farm, Lost Creek, WV 
  • Oscar Diaz, The Cortez, Raleigh, NC 
  • Sunny Gerhart, St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar, Raleigh, NC 
  • Jake Howell, Peninsula, Nashville 
  • Philip Krajeck, Rolf and Daughters, Nashville 
  • Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC 
  • Anthony Lamas, Seviche, Louisville, KY 
  • Jason Liang, Brush Sushi Izakaya, Decatur, GA 
  • Ouita Michel, Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Lexington, and Versailles, KY 
  • Ricky Moore, SALTBOX Seafood Joint, Durham, NC 
  • Orlando Pagán, Wild Common, Charleston, SC 
  • Craig Richards, Lyla Lila, Atlanta 
  • Alison Settle, Barn8, Goshen, KY 
  • Peyton Smith, Mission Pizza Napoletana, Winston-Salem, NC 
  • Stephanie Tyson, Sweet Potatoes, Winston-Salem, NC 
  • Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC 
  • Joey Ward, Southern Belle and Georgia Boy, Atlanta 
  • Mailea Weger, Lou, Nashville 

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)  

  • Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith, Saint-Germain, New Orleans 
  • Michael Beltran, Ariete, Coconut Grove, FL 
  • Valerie, Nando, and Fernando Chang, Itamae, Miami 
  • Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, FL 
  • Adam Evans, Automatic Seafood and Oysters, Birmingham, AL 
  • Jeremy Ford, Stubborn Seed, Miami 
  • Hao Gong, LUVI Restaurant, New Orleans 
  • Francis Guzmán, Vianda, San Juan, PR 
  • Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL 
  • Melissa M. Martin, Mosquito Supper Club, New Orleans 
  • Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, AR 
  • Abel Mendoza, Estela, Rincón, PR 
  • Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando, FL 
  • Michael Nelson, GW Fins, New Orleans 
  • Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Kendall, FL 
  • Alex Perry, Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS 
  • Michael Pirolo, Macchialina, Miami 
  • Allison Richard, High Hat Cafe, New Orleans 
  • Rafael Rios, Yeyo’s, Bentonville, AR 
  • Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans 

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)  

  • Matthew Amberg, Oren, Tulsa, OK 
  • Wanda J. Armstrong, Evelyn’s, Tulsa, OK 
  • Indri Bahar, Rendang & Co. Indonesian Bistro, Tulsa, OK 
  • Troy Cannan, LuLou’s Restaurant, Reno, NV 
  • Kwok Chen, Kwok’s Bistro, Reno, NV 
  • Andrew Donovan, Basque, Tulsa, OK 
  • Lori Hashimoto, Hana Japanese Eatery, Phoenix 
  • Zach Hutton, Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails, Oklahoma City, OK 
  • Gina Marinelli, La Strega and Harlo, Las Vegas 
  • John Martinez, Tito & Pep, Tucson, AZ 
  • Maria Mazon, BOCA Tacos y Tequila, Tuscon, AZ 
  • Ahmed Obo, Jambo Cafe, Santa Fe 
  • Fernando Olea, Sazón, Santa Fe 
  • Martín Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe 
  • Salazar Brothers, La Guelaguetza, Albuquerque, NM 
  • Giovanni Scorzo, Andreoli Italian Grocer, Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Eben Shillingford, Sisserou’s, Tulsa, OK 
  • Jamie Tran, The Black Sheep, Las Vegas 
  • Hongrui Xin, Big Dan Shanxi Taste, Las Vegas 
  • Marie Yniguez, Bocadillos, Albuquerque, NM 

Best Chef: Texas 

Cured
  • Alex Au-Yeung, Phat Eatery, Katy, TX 
  • Damien Brockway, Distant Relatives, Austin 
  • Aaron Bludorn, Bludorn, Houston 
  • Sylvia Casares, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, Houston 
  • Tiffany Derry, Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch, TX 
  • Christine Ha and Tony J. Nguyen, Xin Chào, Houston 
  • Quy Hoang, Blood Bros. BBQ, Bellaire, TX 
  • Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya Restaurant, Houston 
  • Matt McCallister, Homewood, Dallas 
  • Steven McHugh, Cured, San Antonio, TX 
  • Misti Norris, Petra & the Beast, Dallas 
  • Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, José, Dallas 
  • Esaul Ramos Jr., 2M Smokehouse, San Antonio, TX 
  • Felipe Riccio, MARCH, Houston 
  • Regino Rojas, Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas 
  • John Russ, Clementine, San Antonio, TX 
  • Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland, Burnt Bean Co., Seguin, TX 
  • Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin 
  • Finn Walter, The Nicolett, Lubbock, TX 
  • Koji Yoshida, EBESU Robata & Sushi, Plano, TX 

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2022

Even if you can’t make it down for Mardi Gras this year, there’s no reason to miss out on the fun. Here are our options for celebrating the holiday in person or from home. So start planning so you don’t miss out on the fun.

Mobile, Alabama

Mobile is THE birthplace of Mardi Gras in the United States, with the American celebration dating back to 1703. In this city, where MoonPies are the most coveted parade “throw” and beads hang from trees year-round, Mardi Gras is truly a way of life.

Planned Events:

A full listing of planned events can be found at Mobile.org. All events are subject to change.

  • The 2022 parade schedule extends from January 29 to March 1.
  • A tradition that started in 2021 is continuing to roll into the 2022 Carnival season. The Mobile Porch Parade is a socially distanced way for Mobilians to join in the fun by decorating their homes and registering to be on the official parade map. Everyone is invited to follow the “parade routes” – by way of foot, car or bike – at their leisure.

Celebrate at Home

  • To help get you in the spirit of the season, Toomey’s Mardi Gras features one of the largest inventories of Mardi Gras supplies anywhere in the world. Headquartered in a 70,000-square-foot facility is overflowing with beads, costumes, masks, and decorations. And that’s just the start. They even have MoonPies.
  • Local women-owned business ellenJAY offers a seasonal Mardi Gras Combo Box, Inside are four beautifully decorated mask sugar cookies, four chocolate chip sammies with vanilla buttercream and Mardi Gras sprinkles, and four cinnamon teacakes. The 12-count combo box is $59.95.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Head to  Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and celebrate Mardi Gras on the beach.

Planned Events:

A full listing of planned events can be found at gulfshores.com

. All events are subject to change.

  • Don’t miss the Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade. Organized each year by the City of Orange Beach, this year’s parade is scheduled for Saturday, February 26.
  • They all love a parade. That’s why the city of Gulf Shores offers both land and sea parades on Mardi Gras With the oldest parading order in Baldwin County, the Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade will take place at 10 a.m. on March 1. Later that day, the Mardi Gras Boat Parade, organized by Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, sets sail. 

Celebrate at Home

  • Possibly the most famous of all Mardi Gras dishes is gumbo, and we’ve got a great recipe to share. Excerpted from Lucy Buffet’s “Gumbo Love” recipe book, Summer Seafood Gumbo. Ignore the name, this gumbo is good year round.

Coastal Louisiana

Coastal Louisiana epitomes the Cajun French expression “Laissez les bon temps roulez,” or as we would say “Let the good times roll.” Historically, New Year’s celebrations overlap the Carnival season kickoff starting on the Epiphany (January 6) and continuing on through Mardi Gras beginning this year on Tuesday, March 1.

Planned Events:

A full listing of planned events can be found on each destination’s website. All events are subject to change.

  • Lafourche Parish is recovering from the impact of Hurricane Ida last summer, but Mardi Gras is giving residents of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou some reasons to celebrate. Here’s a complete list of the festivities scheduled for this year.
  • Located a short 40 minutes from the French Quarter, St. Tammany Parish is home to such quirky and unforgettable Mardi Gras parades as the Carnival in Covington Parade on March 1.
  • In Southwest Louisiana, the famed Iowa Chicken Run, an event that winds its way through the small town of Iowa to collect ingredients for a celebratory gumbo, is scheduled for March 1.

Celebrate at Home:

Mindy’s Meat Plus Three: Serious Eating Southern Style

It must be a Southern thing because I’d never heard of Meat Plus Three, aka M&3, until my friend Mindy Bianca shared with me six restaurants–three in Mobile, Alabama and three in Spartanburg, South Carolina where a meat-centered meal (think fried chicken, catfish, or ribs) comes with three sides.

“By my calculations, that’s six meats and 18 sides,” says Mindy, who used what she calls Mindy Math to come up with that number. “And goodness knows how many gallons of iced tea.”

Nothing Fancy

Now don’t go looking up M&3 because Google will take you to either an ad for a very fancy BMW or a bunch of three-star Michelin restaurants. Now as wonderful as M&3s are, you’re not going to find serious looking people taking little bites of fancy looking food, chewing slowly and then writing notes in leather bound notebooks. If you see that, you’re not in a M&3 restaurant. How do you know? Because anyone at a M&3 is going to be chowing down big time. And if they have to write something down, they do it on a napkin. I mean, we’re talking seriously down-home cooking and just as seriously delicious.

Alabama

MOBILE, ALABAMA

Mama’s on Dauphin

22o Dauphin Street

            Mama’s is a fixture in downtown Mobile, a popular spot for local businesspeople on their lunch breaks and visitors checking out the nearby attractions. The restaurant truly believes in supporting other small businesses, so they source their produce from local farmers markets and gear their menus to the seasons. If you want to get real serious about all this, Mindy says that technically, Mama’s is a meat and two, as each entrée comes with just two sides. But she’s giving Mama’s a pass because  a lot of those proteins automatically get mashed potatoes and gravy with them/

            “That’s why Mama’s makes it to my list of M&3’s,” she says, noting that her pick here is their Meatloaf Monday with  mashed taters as part of the entrée. “I suggest adding squash casserole and fried okra as the other sides.

Mindy’s Pro Tip: Order an entrée that comes with mashed potatoes … because you still get two other sides!

The Noble South

203 Dauphin Street

            Right down the street from Mama’s, The Noble South is an upscale meat and three, which is an entirely new concept. Afterall, part of the charm of a M&3 are uneven legs on your table or chair (that’s easily fixable by slipping in some sugar packets under the too short leg and yes, sugar packets are another sign of M&3s), cracked linoleum floors—those aren’t fixable with sugar packets so just go with the ambience, or flatware and glassware that doesn’t match. Yelling from the kitchen also counts. So seeing white tablecloths at The Noble South at dinner time was a little off. Could it really be an M&3?

            Turns out that  Chef/Owner Chris Rainosek has the concept down pat. He offers a “lunch plate” with a changing selection of proteins comes with a choice of one, two or three sides. Of course, all is fresh whether it’s from local farms or the Gulf of Mexico. You do know that Mobile is on the Gulf, right?

            Chris changes the menu all the time and everything is good but if fried catfish with sides of heirloom tomatoes, cucumber salad and creamer peas are being offered when you stop by, go for it.

Meat Boss

5401 Cottage Hill Road

            This meat and three is a bit unconventional, as it’s a mashup of the standard M&3 and a BBQ joint. But don’t judge. You can still do a meat and three … just know that all the meat is smoked in-house and totally cuttable with just a fork. Or, better yet, pulled apart with your fingers.

             There’s a six-step process here which can be a little complicated, but you can figure it out. After all, I did and I’m really bad at math.

            First you pick your meat, followed by your bread, sauce, basic toppings, the amazing sides, and your drink. Here’s an example: beef brisket with that Alabama specialty–white BBQ sauce—recipe follows), cheddar cheese,  sides of slaw, Boss beans, and potato salad; and sweet tea to drink.

            It’s really worth the work of figuring out.

South Carolina

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA

Wade’s Restaurant

1000 N. Pine Street, Spartanburg

            This is the quintessential meat and three and an absolute legend in South Carolina’s Upstate. Wade and Betty Lindsay opened a small grocery store on this site in 1947 and by the 1970s it had become a full-fledged meat and three. Wade’s is known far and wide for its fried chicken but the chicken pot pie is wonderful and not something you typically find at a M&3. Whether you go for the pot pie or the chicken, you definitely have to order the sweet potato souffle. And since carbs don’t count when you’re on the road, go with the navy beans and creamed corn. Then comes another hard choice—corn bread or yeast rolls. I know, it’s tough. But keep in mind that Wade’s serves some 3500 yeast rolls a day. That’s how good there are.

Mustard Seed BBQ

2000 S.J. Workman Highway, Woodruff

            When you get  outside of Spartanburg, don’t bother with a map. Just follow the aroma of a wood burning smoker coming from the direction of tiny Woodruff. There’s not much to see at Mustard Seed BBQ—it’s just a little  building with a big parking lot. But it’s home to a BBQ/Meat and Many (think Meat Boss in Mobile). The restaurant hosts their famous Soul Food Sunday Buffet. There’s no limit to the number of sides you can get or how many refills you can ask for. and the standard BBQ menu expands to include fried chicken and fish as well as such favorites as mac and cheese, collards, and banana pudding.

 Just don’t be shy. No one’s really counting and if they are, well—you’re just passing through, they won’t see you again.

Charlene’s Home Cooking

1136 E. Blackstock, Moore

            On your world tour of meat and threes, stop by Charlene’s on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. But don’t mix up the days,  because she’s not open the other three days of the week. All in all, that’s probably good news as otherwise we’d have to hit the gym even more often. Charlene and Mike Davis use recipes from Charlene’s family headed by matriarch Ma Bessie. You just got to know she knows how to cook. The restaurant claims, “soul food just like Grandma’s” and I’m totally into that. But just for the record—and honesty’s sake–MY grandma, after raising six kids, never cooked again so what do I know about Grandma’s cooking but  she did take up drinking and the occasional cigarette but you get the idea). If Charlene were my grandma, though, I certainly would want seconds, no make that thirds of heaping helpings of her fried seafood platter along with sides of fried green tomatoes, black-eyed peas and yum-yippity yams.

Duke’s Mayonnaise

Lolly’s Alabama White BBQ Sauce–Alabama White Sauce

Still made using Eugenia Duke’s original recipe dating back to 1917, Duke’s is the Southern king of mayonnaise. Eugenia, who lived in Greenville, South Carolina, made sandwiches in her home kitchen and sold them to army canteens during World War I. They were such a hit that even years later soldiers were still writing to Eugenia asking for her sandwich recipes and jars of her mayonnaise. So in 1923, she started putting it in a bottle and it remains a favorite to this day. Note to Northerners who can’t find Duke’s at the grocery store. You can order it or substitute Hellmann’s. The tastes are slightly different but it works.

  • 1 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Additional pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together to combine.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pour over grilled or smoked chicken or use as a dip or dressing.

Hummingbird Lounge: Appalachia cooking Meets New American Cuisine on Michigan’s Sunset Coast.

         Raised in Southern Appalachia in Stagg Creek, a slip of a town tucked in a corner of North Carolina hills and hollows near the Tennessee state line, Shane Graybeal describes the region as “food heaven” and the beginning of his fascination with food.

         “Both my grandparents had farms,” says Graybeal, who after graduating from culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina worked in France, Italy, Washington D.C. and spent seven years in Chicago working at such well known restaurants as  Bin 36 and Sable Kitchen & Bar. Along the way he was inducted into Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest, largest and most prestigious food and wine society.

         But he missed small town living and being close to the farms where he sourced his foods.

          “I’ve been a fan of Southwest Michigan for many years,” says Graybeal who now is executive chef at the recently opened Hummingbird Lounge in New Buffalo. “When I was living and working in Chicago, I  sourced a lot from Southwest Michigan.”

         Among the local food producers they use are the Mick Klug Farm in St. Joseph and Kaminski Farms Meats in Three Oaks.

         Another plus for Graybeal was being back in a small town.

         “Though compared to Stagg’s Creek, which has a population of about 300, New Buffalo seems like a big city,” Graybeal adds with a laugh.

         Graybeal describes his food as a “cheffy take on American classics, comfortable food all dressed up.” I loved the description but was surprised to learn that “cheffy” is an actual word meaning relating to or characteristic of a chef.

         His take on food matches the overall philosophy of Hummingbird’s owner and operator Ben Smock who wanted to create a cocktail bar and restaurant that was comfortable and “served food you want to eat.” The lounge opened in April and is located in what had been a grand home built in 1901 that once housed a creperie in  New Buffalo.

         Smock has an extensive background in the food industry starting when he worked at his grandfather’s bowling alley in Davison, Michigan where he grew up. He graduated from Michigan State University’s hospitality program, worked at McCormick Place, Levy Restaurant group and the Ravinia Music Festival and started his own consulting business where he provided food service planning and events. He’s also opened a number of venues.

         The menu changes frequently, depending on what’s in season. Graybeal was excited because the first peaches were hitting the market along with blueberries and raspberries.

         “I’m thinking fruit cobblers,” he says.

         He also brings a bit of Appalachia to the menu.

         “Food is very important there,” he says, making one want to jump in a car and head south to see what he’s talking about. “And I think in the right context—pickling, charcuterie, foraging–it comes across very well.”

Earlier in the season, he took ramps, cut them into a tiny matchstick size and flash fried the garlicky wild greens to add to an asparagus dish. We’re guessing that the round super thin pickled with cherry Kool-Aid hails from the mountains as well—and they’re delicious.

Graybeal also made ramp vinegar which he now uses in some of his dishes. Now with fresh Michigan peaches available, he makes a jam to pair with pork, but kicks it up a notch with the addition of jalapeno peppers.

But, he notes, the food is a side note to the cocktails and what’s on the menu are more like a tapas bar—nibbles that are share,able. The Lounge’s cocktail team takes what Graybeal is preparing in the kitchen and concocts drinks to accent his flavors.

The cocktails—which also change frequently—have in the past included a Smoked Pineapple Margarita, a tequila based drink with seasoned and smoked pineapple and salted foam, The HRG Manhattan using Traverse City Whisky Company blend along with sweet Vermouth, Angostura bitters and a fancy cherry and A Real Dandy Old Fashioned with rum, demerara syrup, bitters and expressed orange. For those who don’t drink, there are spirit-free cocktails. There’s also a small wine list offering by the glass or bottle and local brews.

         Why did they name the place Hummingbird? Smock says they chose it because hummingbirds drink all day and it just fit because they are open throughout the season. For warm weather dining, there’s a large back porch and garden area. The garage has been redone and is now an inviting event space. The interior of the restaurant itself is very cozy with a curated antiquated feel to go with the history of the home including a fireplace flanked by columns, its mantel topped with a large mirror and coach lanterns, cozy rooms, polished wood floors, and the deep gray walls are accented with lots of white woodwork. The bar is sleek—less Victorian and more urban trendy which makes for a nice contrast.

Chef Graybeal’ s Pork and Peaches

Rub pork belly with salt, sugar, and vanilla powder. Place in pot. Cover and marinate overnight. The next day cover with lard and cook on low heat for three to four hours. Cool and then crisp up in a hot pan until golden brown and tender.

Peach Jam

Cook together for two hours, them finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Puree in blend until smooth and cool.

To serve—crisp the pork belly, put two ounces of jam on a warmed plate, top with the pork belly, slice a peach and toss with aged sherry vinegar, basil, parsley and mint and a little olive oil. Place on top of the pork.

Beef Skewers with Whipped Feta

For the Beef Skewers:

Grind the brisket, combine with the other ingredients and whip with the paddle attachment. Form into balls and then into long rolls, place each roll on a skewer.  Grill for six minutes on both sides.

For the Whipped Feta:

Combine in the mixer, whip using the the whip attachment until light and fluffy-like similar to icing.

Just for fun, I thought I’d include a recipe for Kook-Aid brined veggies.

Trish Yearwood’s Fruit Drink Pickles

Drain the brine from the pickles into a bowl. Add the fruit drink packet and sugar into the brine and stir until dissolved. Pour the brine back to the jar, discarding any that’s leftover. Refrigerate at least 2 days and up to 1 month.     

FOR THOSE LIKE ME WHO THOUGHT SIRACHA WAS HOT

My friend Sophie Clinton, Sophie Clinton, Senior Digital PR Executive at The JBH: The Digital PR Agency sent me a fascinating research study from money.co.uk titled Searching for the Sauce

For those of us who like hot sauce, it a scientific study of the hottest chillis, their Scoville Hotness Units (SHUs), what foods go well with the heat and the peppers and other interesting facts. So before you add sprinkle any of the following on your food, read up.

1. Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 – 9,000,000 SHU
 

  • Plutonium Pepper Extract
  • 5,300
  • Do not consume directly, strictly a food additive only. 

The world’s hottest sauce is Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 and comes in at 9 million Scoville Hotness Units (SHUs).

To put that in perspective, pepper spray, the substance used to stop criminals, clocks in at around 5.3 million SHUs – 3,700,000 SHUs less than Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9. 

Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 is also 60% pure capsicum, and comes in a solid form. In order to consume the fiery substance, you have to heat the sauce to 140 degrees Fahrenheit just to get it out of the bottle. 

2. El Yucateco Green Chile Habanero – 8,910 SHU

  • 8,910
  • Green habanero peppers
  • 11,000
  • Chicken, fries, eggs, pizza

El Yucateco is made with fresh habanero peppers, garlic, select spices and seasonings. This special mix of ingredients adds a homely and fresh flavor to dishes.

It is ideal to accompany any kind of food, but especially meat and cold dishes. You can even mix up your own spicy Guacamole with a few drops of this popular hot sauce.

The study revealed that hot sauce fans in the US were searching for the brand more than any other country, with 8,300 searches made each month by American foodies. Texas preferred El Yucateco over any other, and the sauce scored a respectable 8,910 SHUs.

3. Crystal Hot Sauce – 4,000 SHU


  • 4,000
  • cayenne peppers
  • 11,000
  • Sandwiches, eggs, chicken

The cayenne peppers in Crystal Hot Sauce have a Scoville rating of between 30,000 and 50,000, which makes them four to twenty times hotter than a jalapeño pepper. However, the sauce itself offers a comparatively mild heat of 2,000 to 4,000 SHUs. 

Aside from the peppers, Crystal Hot Sauce also contains distilled white vinegar that serves as a complement to the heat of the peppers. The last ingredient that makes up Crystal Hot Sauce is salt.

Hot sauce lovers in the US search for the brand around 10,000 times each month, with Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi all searching for the hot sauce the most. Louisiana topped the list with 646 monthly searches. 

4. Tapatío Hot Sauce – 3,000 SHU

    

  • red peppers
  • 1,200
  • Tacos, breakfast dishes, eggs

Tacos, breakfast dishes, eggs

Tapatio Hot Sauce entered the business world in 1971, and the condiment has come a long way since. A robust habanero sauce with great flavour that’s good for all round use.

Tapatío can be found in sizes ranging from individual packets to gallon-sized bottles and provides hot sauce fans with a kick at 3,000 SHUs. 

5. Sriracha Sauce – 2,200 SHU

Base Chilli: red jalapeño chili peppers

Pairs well with: Eggs, pizza, burgers, fries, hot dogs, sushi, chicken

Sriracha is arguably one of the most common varieties of hot sauces found in pantries the world over. The condiment is tasty, garlicky, and ultra versatile. 

Sriracha emerged as the most popular hot sauce in the world, according to the study by money.co.uk, with 77% of the countries included in the report searching for the spicy condiment more than any other. 

The US is searching for Sriracha the most, with 151,000 monthly searches being made for the condiment. That’s 5,033 London bus passengers worth each month.

This is followed by spice lovers in both the UK and Australia, searching for Sriracha 55,000 and 23,000 times per month, respectively.

6. Cholula Hot Sauce – 1,000 SHU

Arbol and piquin peppers

Pizza, sandwiches, tacos, burgers

The product is packaged in a glass bottle with a distinctive round wooden cap. Six varieties of Cholula are widely marketed in North America and the brand can be found in almost every Mexican restaurant. The sauce is satisfyingly hot with ingredients such as pequins (which are seven times hotter than a jalapeño) and arbol peppers, which lends its unique flavour to the brand, setting it apart from Louisiana hot sauces.

The study found that Cholula Hot Sauce was the most popular sauce in the US, with 32,000 searches for the condiment being made each month by spice loving foodies. 

In fact, the condiment took the top spot in 40 states, with 15,248 searches each month, including New York, Florida and Illinois. Cholula is widely available in the US and scores between 1,000 and 2,000 on the Scoville heat scale.

7. Texas Pete

  • red cayenne peppers
  • 10,000
  • Breakfast dishes, burgers, fries

Everyone’s got some Texas Pete sitting around in their pantry. The condiment is a great option for when you want something a little hotter than normal but you also don’t want to burn your mouth out. 

Texas Pete was founded in 1929 in North Carolina by the TW Garner Food Company. The sauce first originated after customers at the Dixie Pig BBQ stand in Winston-Salem asked for a spicier sauce to accompany their food, leading to the creation of the popular brand.

When first developing the brand name, a marketing adviser suggested “Mexican Joe” to connote the spicy cuisine of Mexico. However, this was opposed due to the creators wanting the name to be American. Therefore, as Texas is known for its spicy food; this was combined with Pete. 

8. Tabasco – 700 SHU

  • Tabasco pepper
  • 190,000
  • Sandwiches, salads, burgers, pasta, French fries, cheese fries, pizza, and even mashed potatoes

Tabasco is an American brand of hot sauce made from vinegar, tabasco peppers, and salt. It is produced by the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, southern Louisiana. 

Although the regular Tabasco sauce only ranks at 400 SHU, Tabasco Green Sauce hits the scale at 1,000 SHU, Tabasco Pepper Sauce reaches 3,500, and the Tabasco brand ‘Habanero Sauce’ gets up to a tingling 8,000 SHU. Meaning that the brand knows how to cater for all spice levels. 

9. ‘Louisiana’ Hot Sauce – 450 SHU

  • Cayenne peppers
  • 13,000
  • Chicken wings

Louisiana hot sauce is also a very popular and common condiment that will most likely feature in many kitchen cupboards around the world. 

With over a 90-year history of great taste and quality, the brand of hot sauces continues to use the time-honored techniques of Louisiana style cooking. The sauces are produced using simple ingredients, including carefully selected and hand-picked, authentic sun-ripened peppers.

The low Scoville units demonstrates why this condiment is such a crowd pleaser, with the sauce adding a slight kick to any dish without burning your tongue. 

10. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

  • Cayenne
  • 1,100
  • buffalo wings 

Frank’s RedHot was actually the main ingredient used in the first buffalo wing sauce created in 1964 at the Anchor Bar and Grill in Buffalo. 

Frank’s RedHot sauce might not be the spiciest- with a Scoville score of just 450 – but it’s certainly popular in America. Californian foodies are the biggest fans of the hot sauce with 3,033 monthly searches being made for the hot sauce. 

Frank’s RedHot is made from a variety of cayenne peppers, and was first launched in 1920 by McCormick.

Hot Sauce Popularity Around the World

Hot sauce lovers, we know you’re a dedicated bunch when it comes to those fiery condiments. After all, what would Moroccan food be without a dash of Harissa? Or Thai food without the added Sriracha heat?

Many home cooks are utilising the expansion of their local supermarkets world cuisine aisles and discovering new and exotic condiments along the way. 

By experimenting and adding previously undiscovered sauces to dishes, added depths of flavour are instantly released that help bring food to life. The global hot sauce market reached a value of $4.5bn in 2020, highlighting just how addictively popular hot sauce has become. 

But why do so many of us have such a deep love of chili, spice and all things nice?

Well, when you consume foods containing chili peppers, certain receptors in your mouth react extremely powerfully, and that tricks your brain into thinking that your mouth is on fire. 

As part of the body’s response to this stress, you will produce endorphins to help stem the pain. These endorphins subsequently make you feel joyful. 

Art Immersion at 21c Museum Hotel: The Place for Penguins, Bourbon, Southern Cuisine, and Cotton Candy

Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

Much more than a place to lay your head, 21c Museum Hotel with locations in Louisville, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Chicago, St. Louis, Lexington, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Durham, and Bentonville, Arkansas, is a total immersion into art or, maybe better put, it’s a night in the art museum.

Penguin Love. Photo of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

In Louisville, it started when I spied a 4-foot penguin at the end of the hall as I headed to my room but 30 minutes later when I opened my door, the rotund red bird was there in front of me. “Don’t worry,” said a man walking by. “They’re always on the move.”

Proof on Main. Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

The migratory birds, sculptures first exhibited at the 2005 Venice Biennale and now part of the collection of 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville add a touch of whimsy. But with 9,000 square feet of gallery space and art in all corridors and rooms, three-fourths coming from the owners’ private collection valued at $10 million, 21c is a serious museum.

Proof on Main. Photo of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

Carved out of five former 19th-century bourbon and tobacco warehouses, 21c is both part of the revitalization of Louisville’s delightful downtown and a transformation of art from backdrop into upfront and thought-provoking.

The sleek, minimalist interior — uber-urbanism with linear white walls dividing the main lobby and downstairs gallery into cozy conversational and exhibit spaces — is softened with touches of the buildings’ past using exposed red brick walls and original timber and iron support beams as part of the decor. Named by Travel + Leisure as one of the 500 Best Hotels in the World, 21c is also the first North American museum of 21st-century contemporary art.

Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

I find more whimsy on a plate at Proof on Main, the hotel’s restaurant, when the waiter plops down my bill and a fluff of pink cotton candy — no after-dinner mints here. For more about the cotton candy, see the sidebar below. But the food, a delicious melange of contemporary, American South, and locally grown, will please even the most serious foodinista. It’s all creative without being too over the top. Menu items include charred snap peas tossed with red chermoula on a bed of creamy jalapeno whipped feta,

Bison Burger. Photo and recipe courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

And, of course, the Proof on Main staple since first opening. 8 ounce patty, char grilled to your preferred temp (chef recommended medium rare), served with smoky bacon, extra sharp cheddar and sweet onion jam to compliment the game of the meat nicely. Local Bluegrass bakery makes our delicious brioche buns. The burger comes house hand cut fries. For the ending (but it’s okay if you want to skip everything else and get down to the Butterscotch Pot De Créme, so very luxuriously smooth and rich pot de creme with soft whipped cream and crunchy, salty pecan cookies.

Mangonada at Proof on Main. Photo and recipe courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

House-cured pancetta seasons the baby Brussels sprouts, grown on the restaurant’s 1,000-acre farm. Local is on the drink menu as well with more than 50 regional and seasonal Kentucky bourbons.

A meal like this demands a walk, so I step outside (more art here) on Main, a street of 19th-century cast-iron facades, the second largest collection in the U.S. Once known as Whiskey Row, it’s refined now as Museum Row on Main. To my left, a 120-foot bat leans on the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, across the street is the Louisville Science Center, and nearby are several more including the Muhammad Ali Center.

Heading east, I take a 15-minute stroll to NuLu, an emerging neighborhood of galleries, restaurants and shops. I’ve come for the Modjeskas, caramel-covered marshmallows created in 1888 in honor of a visiting Polish actress and still made from the original recipe at Muth’s Candies. On the way back to 21c, I detour through Waterfront Park, a vast expanse of greenway on the Ohio River, taking time to bite into a Modjeska and watch boats pass by.

21C MUSEUM HOTEL700 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky., 502-217-6300, 21chotel.com

Pink Cotton Candy for Dessert. Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

As an aside, the idea for the cotton candy originated with co-founder Steve Wilson. Here’s the story, from the restaurant’s blog, Details Matter.
“A memory that sticks with Steve from his younger years is the circus coming to town.  Steve grew up in a small town in far Western Kentucky along the Mississippi River called Wickliffe He distinctly remembers the year the one striped tent was erected on the high school baseball field. Certainly not the large three ringed circus many others may remember, but the elephants, the handsome people in beautiful costumes…they were all there.  When Steve sat through the show he got a glimpse into a fantasy world he didn’t know existed. A departure from reality.  Oftentimes, after his trip to the circus, when he was sad or frustrated, he would daydream about running away to the circus. In fact, he’ll tell you he used to pull the sheets of his bed over his head, prop them up in the middle and pretend to be the ringmaster in his own crazy circus tent!  In his eyes, the circus was where everything was beautiful, and no one would cry.

There’s that darn penguin again. Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

“Fast forward many years later, Steve met Laura Lee Brown at a dinner party in Louisville.  He was immediately smitten and wanted to impress her.  SO naturally one of his first dates was a trip to the circus at the KY Expo Center.  Whether she was impressed or not, it seems to have worked.

“Years later, as Steve and Laura Lee were working on the development of 21c Louisville, they took a trip to Mexico City.  At the end of one particularly memorable dinner, the server ended the meal with pink cotton candy served on a green grass plate.  It was sticky, messy, and immediately brought back memories from Steve’s childhood.  It was a feel good memory he wanted to last.

“Steve often says 21c makes him actually FEEL like the ringmaster in his own circus, so as the restaurant plans were getting finalized, he wanted to incorporate cotton candy as an homage to that feeling.  As we opened up each new restaurant, the cotton candy continued, each time with a color and flavor to match the color of the hotel’s resident penguins.  Eight operating restaurants later, the hope is that each and every diner ends their meal a little sticky, a little messy, and feeling nostalgic about good childhood memories.”

And again! Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

Recipes courtesy of Proof on Main

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour

½ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

¼ heavy cream

6 tbsp butter

2 tbsp Crisco

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grate butter on the coarse side of the grater and put butter in the freezer along with the Crisco. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix cream and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Once butter is very cold combine with the dry ingredients with hands until a coarse meal is made. Add the cold dairy to the mixture and fold until just combined. Roll out dough on a floured clean surface and cut biscuits with a ring mold cutter. Layout on sheet trays 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes and rotate set timer for 8 more minutes. Once out of the oven brush with melted butter.

SMOKED CATFISH DIP

Smoked Catfish Dip. Photo and recipe courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

This recipe makes a lot, but you can easily divide it—or put the extra in a mason jar and give to a friend as a holiday gift.

YIELD: 1 QUART

1 lb. Smoked catfish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons small diced celery
3 Tablespoons small diced white onion
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper to taste

TO SERVE

Lemon wedges
Hot sauce
Pretzel crackers
Fresh dill for garnish

Flake the fish with your hands until it is fluffy. Combine the mustard, sour cream, celery, onion, parsley, lemon juice and zest and the mayonnaise together. Combine with the catfish and mix until it is well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve cold with fresh dill and lemon wedges, your favorite hot sauce and pretzel crackers.

Mangonada

“This is a slightly complex variation of a margarita, adding smoky mezcal, bright cilantro and tangy mango-tamarind syrup. It was created as a play on the Mexican sweet treat, the Mangonada, with mango, a tamarind candy stick, and Tajin seasoning.” – Proof on Main Beverage Director, Jeff Swoboda.

3/4 oz Banhez
3/4 El Jimador Blanco
1/4 oz Cynar 70
1 oz mango-tamarind syrup
3/4 oz lime juice
big pinch of cilantro

Shake together with ice, strain over fresh ice and garnish with a Tamarrico candy straw.

Proof on Main’s Mint Julep

1 cup mint leaves, plus a sprig or two for garnish

1 ounce sugar syrup

2 ounces bourbon

Crushed ice to fill glass

In a rocks glass, lightly press on mint with a muddler or back of a spoon. Add the sugar syrup. Pack the glass with crushed ice and pour the bourbon over the ice. Garnish with an extra mint sprig.