We're smitten by this book
Jeanne Kelley's Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes (Running Press, 2008) wins our praise as the most beautiful cookbook of the year. Even though the year is only half over, we can't imagine another book enchanting us more.
Kelley writes about the way we'd like to live and cook with her recipes from the "modern kitchen garden." But darn it, we can't grow veggies the way she can in her Southern California garden.
If she were our best friend, we'd ask her to make Hummus with
Jalapeno-Cilantro Pesto, and Fig and Blue Cheese Crostini. Until she becomes equally smitten with us, we have her recipes and book with the gorgeous cover. Get to your big-box bookstore and flip through the pages. Take along $35; we know you'll want to own it.
Ooze and Schmooze sites find taker
The downtown St. Petersburg space that celebrity chef Robert Irvine had his eye on before a resume-padding scandal chased him away, has a new tenant.
Steve Westphal, owner of Parkshore Grill just a few blocks away, and his chef, Tyson Grant, have signed a lease for the space at Fifth Avenue N and Beach Drive. With what he's tentatively calling 400 Beach, Coastal Cuisine, Westphal aims to be open by the end of the year. The new restaurant will feature organic produce and sustainable seafood from the four corners of the country.
"We'll touch on the Pacific Northwest with wild salmon, and some pan-Asian touches, then drop down into Baja and Southern California, maybe with fish tacos," says Westphal. "Then up into Boston with Maine lobsters and a clam bake theme, and then down here into the Gulf Coast."
The restaurant space is a whopping 8,000 square feet. It's unclear whether he will be occupying the entire space, but there will be ample private dining space and a tap room with 24 draft beers.
• The restaurant search site Urbanspoon.com has recently started covering the Tampa Bay area. It pulls together restaurant reviews from critics from the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Bay Metro and Tampa Tribune, as well as reviews from local food bloggers (Matt at FloridaFoodHound.com and Urbaneater.com).
• InYourKitchen.com is the first of its kind all-video cooking-and-lifestyle Web site. It taps top chefs and food and wine authorities for their signature recipes, cooking tips and techniques, offering home cooks easy-to-follow video recipes. Most of the videos are less than six minutes and follow recipes step-by-step in clear, up-close shots. The site is aimed at what they're calling the "anti-apron generation," those cooks who want to forgo the fussiness and formality of traditional cooking.
Stick a fork in
We are flummoxed by the disappearance of the spoon in restaurant table settings. The fork is right there where you expect it, as is the knife. Just no spoon. The Zagat.com blog got to the bottom of it. As it turns out, there is something to the spoonless place setting.
Researchers at Cornell University have found that place settings affect the way people perceive a restaurant. They conducted a study of business diners "who don't blink at spending $30 on an entree," in which they asked participants to look at dozens of settings and rate them by features like how expensive that restaurant would be. "Settings without spoons were seen as more 'European' and were rated as slightly more elegant than most settings that had spoons," Brian Wansink of Cornell said.
Janet K. Keeler and Laura Reiley