There aren’t many reasons to go to Atlantic City, N.J., but give MGM Resorts some credit for trying. The company’s latest addition to the Borgata Resort is Chef Michael Symon’s Sicilian restaurant Angeline, opening May 6.

“This restaurant is so close to my heart, and takes me back to sitting around the family table as a kid, chowing down on my mom’s lasagna. Angeline’s menu is a modern version of the Italian comfort food I grew up with,” says Symon, who named the restaurant after his mother, Angel.

The menu is set to include traditional Italian-American dishes like meatballs and linguini with clams, and there will be a wood grill for lamb, swordfish and other items.

Symon joins other celebrity chefs at the Borgata, including Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, and Geoffrey Zakarian.

Annual visits to Atlantic City have steadily declined since 2006. There are seven casinos still open in the New Jersey beachside resort. For an interesting review of the city’s shuttered doors, visit this article on Curbed.

 

 

One of the bonuses of visiting the San Francisco area is a chance to go across the bay to Oakland or Berkeley for some of the best barbecue in the United States. I know that’s a tall order, but Everett & Jones, with locations in Berkeley, Oakland and Hayward, stands out from the crowded barbecue field for many reasons.

I first discovered Everett & Jones in 1980, when I was in college at nearby UC Berkeley. My friends and I would walk down to San Pablo Avenue where the family’s Berkeley location had opened. The ribs, links, or chicken are served with a scoop of potato salad – and back then, a couple of slices of Wonder bread. And a choice of hot, mixed or mild sauce. When one of us would ask for hot, the kind people behind the counter would question whether we knew what we were doing. Times have changed and so have my taste buds. I go with the hot sauce all the way. And there’s no more white bread: it’s wheat bread all the way.

But look at this serving of barbecue link sausage that I had a few days ago.

EJBBQ-2

Everett and Jones is one of the only places that I know of that has their own sausage for barbecue. There’s nothing like the texture of fresh sausage made from all kinds of meat that I don’t want to think about.

The ribs, beef and chicken are also quite credible. Each location has a brick smoker with plenty of hardwood to fuel the slow cooking that makes this authentic barbecue.

Especially when you add the sauce.

Everett & Jones’ barbecue sauce is hearty, and peppery, and filling. It is a moderately sweet tomato-based sauce, with hints of fruit for sweetness and plenty of crushed hot red pepper to get your attention. And, it is absolutely reminiscent of barbecue sauces from Alabama, which happens to be where the Everett family comes from.

Probably good that I’m usually 3,000 miles away, but it’s great to enjoy this classic American barbecue place every now and then.

Everett & Jones Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Few places in the world put food and dining on a level like New Orleans, where everyone has their own ways to make Cajun or Creole specialties like Gumbo, Jambalaya or “simple” red beans and rice.

Before I get into the serious eating, I warmed up my taste buds at P&G, a modest, almost nondescript, breakfast and lunch counter in the Central Business District. When I walked in, my eyes immediately gravitated towards the steam table where red beans were calling out to me. Simmered for hours, these beans were infused with flavors from sausage and chicken. Served over rice and topped with a poached egg, this was a perfect way to prepare for the culinary explorations awaiting me in the Crescent City over the next several days.

Red beans and rice as a breakfast centerpiece.
Red beans, rice, sausage, biscuit and poached egg at P&G in New Orleans

The accompanying link sausage had the texture and flavor of sausage made by someone, not a machine. Its ground pork with red pepper flavor proved perfect contrast with the mild spices of the red beans and rice.

And that biscuit. Fluffy, flaky, and buttery, I think I know now why this place is known for them.

Definitely a good warm up to the culinary adventures that await elsewhere in this food-obsessed city.

P & G Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Cochon Butcher restaurant, New Orleans Here’s a glimpse of one of the best meals I had in New Orleans recently. Cochon Butcher is the casual side of Chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant family. Cold cuts made on the spot, sausages hanging all around, and house-made pickles result in a terrific place to enjoy high-quality interpretations of New Orleans style cuisine. http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Posted by Doug Levy on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Here’s a glimpse of one of the best meals I had in New Orleans recently. Cochon Butcher is the casual side of Chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant family. Cold cuts made on the spot, sausages hanging all around, and house-made pickles result in a terrific place to enjoy high-quality interpretations of New Orleans style cuisine. http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Cochon Butcher on Urbanspoon

Homaro Cantu, 38, was found dead Tuesday.
Chef Homaro Cantu, 38, was found dead Tuesday.

The restaurant business is rife with emotional ups and downs, but there have been too many sad stories like this one. The Chicago Tribune reports on the suicide death of Homaro Cantu, 38. He rose to fame in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen and earned his own Michelin star in 2012. But notoriety in the kitchen does not always translate into business or personal success. Read more:

Famed chef Homaro Cantu, owner of Moto, found dead on Northwest Side – Chicago Tribune.

Star chef David Chang of Momofuku posted this gem to Facebook late last night, and I couldn’t resist sharing. His caption, “My cook thought he spelled it right.”

Not all chefs know how to spell.
Momofuku chef David Chang posted this gem of a misspelling from one of his kitchens.

Famed Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville is the apparent victim of a wine heist. Chef-owner Thomas Keller announced what happened on Facebook:

IMG_8312.PNG

The thieves clearly knew what they were picking from the restaurant’s esteemed wine cellar. DRC and Screaming Eagle each are among the world’s most highly prized wines. Each sells for over $3,000 per bottle at Keller’s flagship restaurant.

This video about a vegetarian’s first encounter with excellent meat by Takepart.com has it all: a great story, beautiful photography of food, and chefs explaining why they do what they do. The story is about a skilled chef and his mate, who is an experienced restaurant manager and has been vegetarian since childhood. They visit the new, hot, exciting barbecue restaurant in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles, Barrel and Ashes, where Katie discovers what fabulous barbecue tastes like. And, her partner loved the vegetables. It’s fun to watch:

Barrel and Ashes also sounds like a “must” for my next visit to the Los Angeles area. Run by a chef who cooked at the French Laundry and Bouchon, two of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, it has all the ingredients for a top quality yet home style place. The pictures alone are rather enticing.

Smoked meats at Barrel and Ashes, a new haute barbecue restaurant in Studio City, Calif.
Smoked meats at Barrel and Ashes, a new haute barbecue restaurant in Studio City, Calif.

Barrel & Ashes on Urbanspoon