travel: field and stream… (2018)

•January 10, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Lord of the flies.

Some of my happiest moments in 2018 were spent waist-high in cold water.  On especially good days, the sun glinted off the rushing stream, and glistened at the seams of the slow-moving eddies and pools into which my mind swirled.  In those peaceful afternoons, tiny flies hung in the air like a thousand points of light, stirring hope from the deep.

I pulled trout from the crisp, mountain streams of Utah, and beautiful cod from the inky abyss of Greenlandic fjords.  In the mauvey glow of morning, with San Francisco twinkling in the distance, sea bass fought my line, only to be swiped clean off the hook by a seal waiting opportunistically nearby.

Mauvey morning.

But those were the highlights.  As any fisherman knows, with the good, there is plenty of bad: long days in the pouring rain, or set against gust and gale, casting into sound and fury.  I had plenty of those in 2018 too.

A seemingly endless day spent tracing the icy banks in the snowy expanse of Nevada yielded nothing.  The second day was just as hopeless. As the sun disappeared behind the mountains, we shrugged.  And, turning to each other to call the day, I watched the slack line suddenly go taught.  You just never know.

But the tally never mattered. What endure are the many scenes from 2018 set amidst field and stream, all of them spectacular. Despite the excruciatingly early mornings, creaky cots, mosquitos nets, and the sweaty miles squishing along in waders, the adventure was great. And I am grateful for every minute of it.

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12 days of christmas: kostow… (2018)

•December 31, 2018 • 1 Comment

5th Course: Salt-Baked Prime Rib

All of the guest chefs have left.  On the last night of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood – the 120th dinner, and my 72nd – the kitchen returned to the hosting chef Christopher Kostow and his team.

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12 days of christmas: atsumi… (2018)

•December 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

6th Course: Beet Ice Cream

I’ve had two excellent meals at Clown Bar, and my enthusiasm for that restaurant has been recorded on this blog (here, and here, and here again). This beautifully preserved bistro is in the 11eme of Paris, just next to the Cirque d’Hiver.  I regret not having gone earlier, as I’m sure I missed many great meals there.

The chef was Sota Atsumi, and this year, he is the answer to the question that I was asked so often: Which of this year’s guest chefs at the Twelve Days of Christmas are you most excited to see cooking at The Restaurant at Meadowood?  Atsumi was the eleventh chef to cook with hosting chef Christopher Kostow in this year’s series.

Late last year, the Japanese-born chef announced that he was leaving Clown Bar to open his own restaurant.  Maison, expected to open by mid-2019, will be near the Clown Bar, also in the 11eme of Paris.

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12 days of christmas: ros… (2018)

•December 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Day 10: Ros

Slovenia is a small country, she told me. You can go from the beach to skiing in less than an hour. Wedged between Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungry, it’s a dynamic crossroad for wildly different cultures and culinary traditions.  And Ana Ros, chef of the Hiša Franko in Kobarid near the Italian border, is excited by this diversity of her homeland.

Ros was the tenth guest chef to cook at this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas with hosting chef Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: tusk… (2018)

•December 29, 2018 • Leave a Comment

In the garden.

There are few chefs I know who can and will hand-make pasta on-the-road at events.  Michael Tusk is one of them.  He’s the chef and owner of the wildly popular Cotogna and three Michelin-starred restaurant Quince, both in the Jackson Square neighborhood of San Francisco.  He’s about to open a cave à vin and specialty food market – Verjus – also nearby.

At this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood, he was the ninth chef to cook with Christopher Kostow.

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12 days of christmas: cogley & moran… (2018)

•December 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Canapé: Uni, Rice Milk, Herbs.

I first attended the Twelve Days of Christmas in 2012.  A few months later, in March of 2013, Justin Cogley, chef of Aubergine at the l’Auberge Carmel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, asked me to photograph an event he called Rediscovering Coastal Cuisine.

In the years since, I have returned annually to photograph both events.

In February of this year (2018), Justin Cogley invited Christopher Kostow to cook at Rediscovering Coastal Cuisine.  Also invited to the event was Trevor Moran, formerly the chef at The Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tennessee.

To complete the circle among them, and especially for me, who has witnessed and recorded so much of their work apart, Christopher Kostow invited both Cogley and Moran to cook together with him on Day 8 of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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12 days of christmas: amaro… (2018)

•December 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

2nd Course: Coal-Roasted Cabbage

Everything was gigantic in Warsaw.  The buildings were gigantic – enormous concrete structures that stretched as far as I could see.  Those city blocks were gigantic too. What looked like a short walk on a map, to my surprise, took three or four times as long as I estimated.

But amidst all of the grey I found an idyllic patch of green, the famous Łazienki Park (pronounced WHY-zhyen-kee). Formerly the grounds of a complex of royal residences, it is now the city’s largest public park, where wild peacocks scuttle about the tree-lined trails and the city’s hero Frédéric Chopin is breathtakingly immortalized under a windswept willow.  I loved Łazienki Park so much that I returned every day that I was in Warsaw in the fall of 2005.

It is on the edge of this park that Wojciech Modest Amaro opened his restaurant Atelier Amaro in 2012, which earned a Michelin star a year later.  And now, on the eve of moving his restaurant to a new location, chef Amaro traveled to Napa Valley to be the seventh chef to cook with Christopher Kostow at the Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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