On the Menu: Italian Luncheon

Craig Wallen At charming West Village newcomer Spasso (Italian for “amusement”), executive chef Craig Wallen has created a crowd-pleasing menu of traditional and contemporary regional dishes. A Michael White protégé who also cooked with Mario Batali at Lupa, Wallen knows his way around an Italian kitchen and delivers the seasonal, osteria-inspired fare to prove it. If you're looking for a leisurely way to spend this Friday's lunch hour, we invite you to join us at the Beard House for an Italian meal prepared by Wallen. Click here to make a reservation. Hors d’Oeuvre Chicken Liver Crostini Lardo Fried Oysters with Lemon–Caper Crema Stracciatella Cheese on Grilled Bread Pairings: Opera 02 Lambrusco Rosé 2009; Opera 02 Lambrusco Amabile 2009 Luncheon Rabbit

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Eat this Word: Kabayaki

Kabayaki WHAT? Slithery sustenance. The Japanese love kabayaki—grilled eel in a sweet, soy-based sauce—so much, they have even dedicated an entire day to eating it. On Ushinohi, which is celebrated in August, eel restaurants all over Japan do a booming business; politicians are sometimes photographed smiling as they dine on their kabayaki; and, according to Charmaine Solomon’s Encyclopedia of Asian Food, 900 tons of eel are consumed. The eel is served over rice and is thought to be restorative in the enervating August heat. A Dictionary of Japanese Food calls kabayaki "one of Japan’s great treats," and a Japanese friend confirms that Japanese people would consider it right up there with sushi and tempura as a representative food of their country. These days though, she confesses, not everybody eats kabayaki straight from the grill as a connoisseur would insist. "Nowadays you can buy it in the supermarket and microwave it." WHERE?

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On the Menu: Brooklyn Cooks

Brooklyn Cooks For the next installment of our Greens programming series, we're bringing the best of Brooklyn to the Beard House! Join us on September 18 for a special multi-course dinner prepared by the chefs, wine experts, and butchers that make Brooklyn the city's most creative food borough. Participating chefs include Saul Bolton of Saul and Vanderbilt, Jessica and Josh Applestone Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats, and George Weld of Egg. The full lineup and menu, including some recently added wine pairings, can be found

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Eat This Word: Pipikaula

The James Beard Foundation on pipikaula

WHAT? Hawaiian beef jerky. A traditional nibble at a Lu‘ au feast, pipikaula did, in fact, evolve from beef jerky. According to Time-Life’s Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking, islanders were introduced to the snack by Yankee whalers who plied the seas around Hawaii. Traditionally, strips of beef are marinated in salt, soy sauce, and garlic, then dried outdoors in a screened box that keeps flies away. Contemporary recipes often give instructions for cooking in a very low oven. "Pipi," by the way, is the Hawaiian word for beef or cow; "kaula" the word for rope. It’s neither here nor there, but we were interested to learn that Tibetans make their own version of jerky from yak meat.

WHERE? Darren Demaya, Colin Hazama, and Jon Matsubara's Beard House dinner

WHEN? September 14, 2011

HOW? Keahole Lobster... Read more >

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Eye Candy: A Top Chef's Tortellini

tortellini When Mike Isabella came to the Beard House last month, he swiftly dashed away any doubts that he could cook incredible food beyond the judges' table. His menu was stunning from start to finish, but we especially loved these delicate veal-sweetbread tortellini, which were surrounded by perfectly salted country ham broth, cauliflower purée, and pickled baby vegetables. You can see more photos of Mike Isabella's Beard House dinner on our Facebook page.

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Renovating the James Beard House Garden

James Beard House garden While summer in New York tends to encourage some kicking back, here at the James Beard Foundation we were rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on the renovation of our backyard garden. Beard House guests love to savor a cocktail and canapés in this intimate outdoor area during event receptions in the warmer months, so preserving its charming and cozy feel—including the beloved pig statue and bust of Beard that belonged to him—while also taking care of some much needed repairs and replanting, was our goal. Under the direction of the editors of Garden Design magazine, Paul Keyes of Paul Keyes Associates, and our manager of house operations and house events, Victoria Jordan, the garden slowly bloomed into a lush, efficiently redesigned space over the course of six weeks. Bluestone tiles were torn up and

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On the Menu: September 8 through September 9

Beard House Ease yourself back into the school year with a Beard House feast of contemporary American fare. Thursday, September 8, 7:00 P.M. Exquisite Oregon There are few spots in Oregon as astoundingly beautiful as Cannon Beach, where majestic mountains give way to a dramatic coastline. Enjoy a taste of this exquisite area’s local cuisine when John Newman returns to the Beard House with this gorgeous menu, complete with Willamette Valley wines. Friday, September 9, 7:00 P.M. Colorado Chophouse Cuisine In the Mile High City, chef Tyler Wiard does chophouse cuisine the Colorado way: thick chops, aged steaks, and interesting cuts, featured in bold preparations. Join Wiard and his team as he brings his inspired steakhouse fare to the Beard House with this

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Eat this Word: Culatello

Culatello WHAT? Hamming it up. Just about everyone knows that Parma is famous for its raw, cured ham called prosciutto di Parma. But real pork-product purists prefer the region’s rarer and more delectable culatello. The best, most traditional culatello is labeled with the D.O.P. “Culatello di Zibello,” and it is made according to strict regulations enforced by the Consorzio del Culatello di Zibello in and around the town of Zibello, about 20 miles outside of Parma. Only the large muscles of the pigs’s hind legs and inner thigh, off the bone, are used (culatello means “little backside”). The meat is cured with salt, seasoned with a mixture of black pepper, wine, and herbs, and aged for a minimum of 12 months before it is sold. The characteristic pear shape is enhanced by intricate tying that produces an attractive rosette pattern when the culatello is cut crosswise into paper-thin slices. WHERE?

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On the Menu: August 22 through August 24

From a Top Chef Italian dinner to market-driven, sustainable fare, there's a lot on the menu this week at the Beard House. Monday, August 22, 7:00 P.M. Toast of Tennessee The first certified green restaurant in Nashville, Tāyst impresses diners with its dedication to sustainability and local sourcing, but it’s chef Jeremy Barlow’s skillful, modern cooking that keeps them coming back. Join us for a, well, taste of the playful American cuisine and intriguing wine pairings for which Barlow is known. Tuesday, August 23, 7:00 P.M. Capital City Star Most people know him as a competitor on Top Chef (who could forget that pepperoni sauce?), but Mike Isabella earned his culinary chops the hard way, honing his craft under renowned chefs like José Andrés and Douglas Rodriguez

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On the Menu: Modern Taste of Madrid

Jesús Nuñez A former graffiti artist and the owner and head chef of celebrated Madrid restaurants Polenta and Flou, Jesús Núñez now performs his blend of street art sensibility and avant-garde technique at Gastroarte on the Upper West Side. Guests attending tomorrow night's Beard House dinner will get a sure-to-be-thrilling taste of Nuñez's intellectually stimulating and visually arresting cuisine. Seats are still available, so have a look at the menu below and click here to reserve your spot. Hors d’Oeuvre Melon with Jamón Ibérico Sardines with Olive Oil, Olives, and Piparra Peppers

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