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  • Craven Maven is about..

    ..experiencing food and all that goes with it.
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Gourmet Smack Talk

Chang Vs. Patterson

It’s no secret that it makes me chuckle when people talk smack. I don’t know what it is about it that gets me going, it just plain does. This past week the French movement, Le Grand Fooding 2010, took place at PS 1. An event where Chefs met up to create a veritable two days of gourmet eats and talks….in some cases smack talk.

This year it was New York Chef’s versus their San Francisco counterparts – with East Coast/West Coast alliances running deep in all industries you know there must have been some tension over the gas burner. But what caught my eye wasn’t the food on show, but the pre-interview smack talk on the le grand fooding site:

Laurence Jossel (Nopa, SF): “In all my eating trips to New York, nothing I have eaten has come close to the sensual perfection of a tree-ripened Northern California Black Mission fig – except maybe the pastrami at Katz’s Deli.”
Brian Leth (Vinegar Hill House, NY): “No comment.”
Mourad Lahlou (Aziza, SF): “The best thing I have ever eaten at any of David’s restaurants was the second dozen of fresh oysters I ordered at Ssam bar without the kimchi consommé.”
Daniel Patterson (Coi, SF): “David who?”
Robert Newton (Seersucker, NY): “I’ve been too busy these days to stay on top of the San Francisco food scene, but I am sure it’s great. Let’s face it though, New York is the center of the food world in America. And besides, it’s all about Brooklyn right now.”
James Syhabout (Commis, SF): “To keep it simple, best rhymes with West.”
Dan Barber (Blue Hill, NY): “Looking forward to learning how to wrap a great burrito.”
Nate Appleman (Pulino’s, NY): “The difference between New York and San Francisco is that SF is a food city and NY is a restaurant city.”
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone (Torrisi, NY): “When Sinatra said ‘if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,’ he wasn’t talking about San Fran !”
Jeremy Fox (Plum, SF): “So basically the argument is New York technique versus California ingredients; but oh shit…look who’s got both now. Watch out !”
Melissa Perello (Frances, SF): “NY cuisine versus San Francisco cuisine…it’s like comparing apples and oranges, they’re just different.”

LOVE IT!

image via le grand fooding 2010

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Guest Post: Chic Melbourne serves you up the good stuff

Melbourne - what a beautiful city

melbourne, australia

( Please welcome my Aussie mate Dave to this weeks pool of guest posters. A serious food lover, fantastic photographer and excellent writer ).

You don’t know me. My name is David and I am a friend of the famous and ever delightful Craven Maven. This is my first guest post for her, so I’d better give you the down low on myself before I waffle away.

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I love to travel, biking, photography, writing and cooking. I am also the guy who offers the last tasty morsel at a dinner party, but deep inside hopes that the other person will say “No thanks” so I can eat it myself (just being honest).

I met the Craven Maven through mutual friends in NYC in 2009. We quickly found that we both had a real love of all things tasty and creative.

Though I was born and bred in Australia, my decendancy has roots in Mauritius, Seychelles and Eastern Europe with a little German and French thrown in the mix. You can only imagine the culinary delights spread out on the table when the extended family gathered together. Add Melbourne’s melting pot of cultures, sports obsession and style and you find the source of my creative fascinations.

With this in mind, I thought it appropriate to give you a brief run down on my city as a gastronomical travel destination.

Melbourne is fashionable, eclectic and eccentric. It’s a multicultural city gifted with more than just a sampling of the world’s great cuisines. It is flooded with high quality cafes and restaurants, so you’re always guaranteed to find something appealing to your palate. In fact, there are more restaurants in Melbourne than days of the year!

Chinatown and New Quay
chinatown (top), new quay, (bottom)

If you travel a little out of the city you can further explore the variety of Melbourne’s specialist eating destinations. Richmond offers cheap and cheerful Vietnamese dishes, Lygon Street serves up Italian classics, Fitzroy is where you go for tantalising Spanish tapas and Indian, Chinatown prepares tasty dumplings, and New Quay‘s offers fusion cuisine by the water.

Little creatures and spice market
little creatures, (top and middle images), spice market (bottom)

“Coffee anyone?” Drinking coffee is more than a ritual for Melbournians. Rooted in European heritage, cafes line the cobblestone laneways, filling with air with the aroma of roasting coffee beans. You can also people watch in the lively laneway cafés and bars, handpick a bottle wine at the latest über-chic hangout like Spice Market or enjoy tea in the calm and rustic surroundings of a nineteenth-century hotel. If a more casual affair is to your liking, you can sink a few beers with friends, listen to live music or play some pool in one of Melbourne’s pubs like Little Creatures.

Koko Black
Koko Black’s sweet treats

For the sweet tooth, you can’t pass on KokoBlack. Watch the chocolatiers as they work with couverture to create an array of decadent creations, from hand-crafted chocolates to jewel coloured lollies. Alternatively sink your teeth into some gelato or a delightful pastry from Brunetti‘s.

Here are some of my favourite hot spots:

Gingerboy and emerald peacock
ginger boy (top), emerald peacock (bottom)

Gingerboy – Singaporean, Cantonese and Thai cuisine served in a darkly sexy and very cool environment
Brunetti – A truly authentic roman pasticceria
Emerald Peacock – A retro dining, cocktail bar and sophisticated rooftop lounge

Movida and meccah
moVida (top), meccah bar (bottom)

KokoBlack – An intense chocolate expereince
MoVida – Tapas and wine bar
Meccah Bar – Stylish Middle Eastern cuisine

As you can see, with all these options, it can be hard to make a choice. If you find yourself in Oz, come and experience Melbourne. You won’t be disapointed.

In the future I plan to share reflections on food and travel that will leave you salivating and ready to pack your bags. So until next time, bon apetit and hooroo (Australian for goodbye).

all images via establishments listed

cm note: This is great stuff! It makes me want to do a gastro-tour of melbourne!

What’s cooking my *blogships?

What a week that was. Especially if, like most of the world you are watching the World Cup. Being a Brit in America and having an inate interest in the Footy is ..well.. interesting. Every bodega and gas station has the game running on their tv’s as the employees are inevitably not from the US – and for a brief moment I have bonded with every gas station attendant and Bodega owner I encountered through this past week. But enough about the football, and more on what my fave blogs have been talking about this past week. (oh, you might notice that there are a few new blogs added to my blog roll – I do add them very slowly – but only because I choose those which are the best imo.).

Gnocchi at Beretta

blogroll category: foodie
blog name/url: pork and chocolate
blogger: Sherry
post i loved: Beretta

You can always count on Sherry for some honest to goodness drool worthy food shots and ‘real’ restaurant reviews. The gnocchi pictured above is just one of the many drool worthy offerings in last weeks review of restaurant Beretta (just have a look at her shot of the chocolate gelato).
If you are planning to be in San Franscisco anytime soon, check out Sherry’s review and plan a trip to Beretta.

choo choo

blogroll category: designy
blog name/url: beci orpins blog
blogger: Designer-aire (as in extraordinaire), Beci Orpin
post i loved: perfect saturday night

I wish I could go on an eating tour of Australia – seriously. The eats out there are so good, fresh, yummy with a great pop of flavour. I make an effort to bookmark any and every eatery there that I come across – because one day that gastro road trip will become a reality. Case in point, Cookie mentioned on Beci Orpins blog last week. Cookie has the same head chef as choo choo – for whom Beci designed a logo – and one quick look at the menu had me salivating. ‘Honey Cashews with coconut and chili’ and ‘bean curd rolls filled with daikon..’ and more. Check them out if you are or will be going to Melbourne anytime soon!

perfect dress

blogroll category: fashiony
blog name/url: dear golden
blogger: Lauren
post i loved: seeing some red…

Simply put the perfect dress for summer al fresco dining – all you need is a floppy at some big shades and a pair of red sandals! As of now its still available to buy!

funny pot

blogroll category: mags
blog name/url: dwell
blogger: none
post i loved: Josephine Ceramic Watering Pot

Many times I have praised the kitchen garden – a little herb pot or so here or there to keep the air fresh and be on hand to season whatever dish you are making – but when it comes to watering your kitchen herb garden – why use an old glass or mug when you can use this super funky watering can?! Designed by Giorgia Ricci this pot comes with three different colored lids that correspond and contrast with the color of the piece itself. Adorable!

wooden pestle and mortar

blogroll category: vintage housewares
blog name/url: p.o.s.h chicago
blogger/owner: Jen
post/email/item i loved: Vintage Hand-Turned Wooden Mortar And Pestle from Spain

There is almost never a time when it is appropriate to cook without spices or herbs. At least in my opinion there isn’t. I’ve been on the prowl for a good mortar for a while and have narrowed down my list. Now POSH Chicago gives me reason to increase that list with the above offering. More so for its aesthetic value than perhaps practicality I am in love with this thing!

*blogships is a rip on an email I got that opened with ‘ what’s cooking my friendships?’

all images from the respective blogs mentioned

What’s cooking my *blogships?

One thing about living in a popular city is the influx of visitors all year round. I love to tour friends and family around this crazy place I live, and especially love it when they like the food places I recommend (you should’ve seen my brothers face when he tried RICE’s rice and peas!). So last week, my posts were not the usual fare. Not to worry, for I am back for the most part anyways.

I’m not a fancy or fussy eater, but I like what I like. So last week, nieces in tow we ate in the Bronx Zoo restaurant, RICE, Le Pain Quotidien, COSI among others. Good nice light eats – except for the extortionate Bronx Zoo cafe! My favourite part had to be when my 10 year old niece read through the Le Pain menu and quizzed out loud ‘Where’s the Kids menu?!’ haha! Priceless.

Balthazar Bakery

blogroll category: foodie
blog name/url: pork and chocolate
blogger:
post i loved: balthazar bakery

It’s a little known fact that I don’t actually like eating out at restaurants much. I am a huge huge fan of home cooking and literally squeal like a school girl when I get invited over for a home cooked meal. That being said, the restaurants I like, I LOVE and Balthazar is one such place. I remember the first time I went to Balthazar with a friend, we scoffed a decent chunk of goodness from the menu, giggling in a gastro haze the whole time much to the amusement of our lovely waiter. The ever so dear Sherry of Pork and Chocolate wrote a lovely post last week about a special soup from Balthazar Bakery: chilled cucumber melon with a touch of goat cheese. It looks so delicious..I can’t wait to try it and giggle after each and every sip.

anchor cake

blogroll category: designy
blog name/url: dwellstudio
blogger: christiane lemieux
post i loved: cool cakes

There was a lovely post on the dwellstudio blog about aussie based Cake Occasions. They are the makers of a rather nifty looking Dwell Inspired cake – see it here. But what caught my eye was the above ‘bold wedding cake’ with a ships anchor from top to toe. I LOVE ship anchors and have done since I was a child..this is by far one of the kewlest cakes I’ve ever feasted my eyes on.

baddest damn outfit to go to dinner in

blogroll category: fashiony
blog name/url: coquette and dove
blogger: the lovely kate.
post i loved: { notes on style } window shopping…

Simply put. One day I will go out to dinner dressed like this. Tough, feminine and quite possibly dangerous..

Melbourne Lovin

blogroll category: mags
blog name/url: frankie
blogger: holly mccauley
post i loved: make me iconic

Last week Frankie mag, featured a lovely little Victoria, Australia venture called ‘make me iconic‘ their mission is to bring the unsung icons of the city to life and into people’s homes. At the same time aim to enlighten consumers by providing facts about the icons of the city and what makes them so special and unique. Check out their site for nice vintage icons on mugs, tea towels and other home goods.

Majollica at POSH Chicago

blogroll category: vintage housewares
blog name/url: tales of a junkaholic
blogger/owner: artemis
post/email/item i loved: sparkly japan!

The ever so lovely Artemis of tales of a junkaholic got engaged while on her trip to Japan! She is such a dear heart with great taste – I can’t wait to see how the wedding turns out. Congrats again Artemis!

*blogships is a rip on an email I got that opened with ‘ what’s cooking my friendships?’

all images from the respective blogs and sites mentioned

A totally English Tea time..

Tea scones

My friends remind me that I am from England a few too many times than are necessary. You think they would’ve got used to it by now but alas. My palette, however, reminds me every day where I am from. I don’t really feel like cooking this weekend, I dunno, it’s just one of those weekend where i just feel like lazing in someones sitting room, window open, music playing and chit chatting. It’s been a while since I’ve done that…so we shall see.

In the meantime, this post on Kuidaore had got me going…scones my dear readers, SCONES! The one pictured above is filled with clotted cream and passionfruit curd – be still my gastric-craven heart!!! The lovely Joycelyn of Kuidaore will be teaching The Ultimate Afternoon Tea Party, a demo class, on 10 April 2010 ,11 April 2010 , 24 April 2010 and 25 April 2010. Oh how I wish I lived in Singapore to join in the fun! If you do – be sure to check out the details on her site.

If however, you just wan to ogle at suggestions for a typical english tea snack…follow this link..yum! Have a good weekend everyone, and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter the Liberty of London for Target giveaway!!

images from kuidaore

What’s cooking my *blogships?

I have a host of blogs that I read on a daily or weekly basis of which some of my favourites are listed on my blog roll. They vary from vintage housewares, to design to personal blogs. I find them all inspiring and thought provoking and occasionally tasty.

So I thought I would provide you dear readers, with a summary of some of the foodie based posts I enjoyed reading last week from some of my favourite bloggers.

Brinkley's Brunch

blogroll category: foodie
blog name/url: pork and chocolate
blogger: Sherry
post i loved: Brinkley’s Brunch

I think what made it for me was the wonderful post and description for the Eggs Benedict. After I read the post I immediately emailled my sister saying we need to make plans to hit up Brinkley’s. Per Sherry: The eggs benedict were great, with a thin and crunchy english muffin, perfectly poached eggs, thin slices of ham, roasted tomato, kale and a delicate hollandaise sauce served with a side of thick, oval sliced potatoes. Yum!

Herb Garden Kit

blogroll category: designy
blog name/url: hearblack
blogger: A lovely young couple recently married and living in Hawaii
post i loved: 03.20.10

Hearblack announced the opening of a new Etsy store called ‘hearblack market’! I was so excited to see what goods they would be selling and of course, was not disappointed. Handmade driftwood wreathes, postcards of shots Nate had made (perfect from framed kitchen art vignettes) and a herb garden kit for $5! Everyone who has, even so much as a windowsill should have a herb garden. There are few greater gratifications than eating and seasoning food for which you have nurtured the ingredients. The set includes: Basil, Dark Green Italian Parsley, Rosemary and Scarlet Carrot.

hot cross buns

blogroll category: fashiony
blog name/url: coquette and dove
blogger: The lovely Kate.
post i loved: { lessons I will never learn } lesson No.1…

Kate runs a fantabulous, droolworthy and witty blog called ‘Coquette and Dove‘. If you haven’t already got her on your google reader, then make haste! I predict that this blog is going to be huger than huge in 2010.. you heard it here first. So this past week, I had to have a good giggle as our dear Coquette & Dove learned a vital yet often overlooked life lesson. Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. Trust me, the danger of this should be classified next to WMD’s and mum telling you to step away from the ‘hot stove’. I’ve now got into the practice of whipping up a quick omlette before a food shopping spree in order to avoid a spree that turns into a massacre…of cash that is. Especially if a certain Mr. Trader Joe is involved…So C&D’s shopping spree resulted in the following:

One dozen hot cross buns (3 down 9 to go!)
A Cadbury’s Mini Eggs Easter egg
A bag of bagels
A multipack bag of crisps
more Peanut butter
A huge tub of full fat yoghurt
And a bar of Cadbury’s Plentiful with roasted hazelnuts & honey roasted cashews!

Tut tut. That aside, it wasn’t THAT bad a spree…I am sure there is some calcium in those mini eggs…and peanut butter IS a good source of protein..and yoghurt..well…erm..hmm.. Anyways, it was a post that made me chuckle and I hope it makes you do likewise.

Smores tart

blogroll category: mags
blog name/url: dwell blog
blogger: Miyoko Ohtake
post i loved: Chelsea Jackson’s S’Mores Tart

Funnily enough, the main image from this blog post was the source of last week’s Unhappy Hipsters foodie joke. But all kidding aside, the post was about Pastry Chef Chelsea Jackson’s lovely looking (and tasting i’m sure), S’more tart. S’mores is a ‘flavour’ I am growing accustomed to in this country. It’s a little sweet though and I am going to hope that the tart has tempered the sweetness somewhat. The ingredients and instructions are listed in the post, and include Chelsea’s own recipe for chocolate ganache..yum! I’m adding this to my ‘must make’ list.

Majollica at POSH Chicago

blogroll category: vintage housewares
blog name/url: p.o.s.h chicago
blogger/owner: Jen
post/email/item i loved: Majolica abounds and The “Dish Ran Away with the Spoon Sale”!

I love love love the annual POSH Chicago sale. The items they sell are very nice vintage and vintage inspired housewares with next to no imperfections. Paired with fantastic customer service you can’t go wrong with this store! So last week I got an email that their annual sale will be titled ‘the dish ran away with the spoon’. Remember that from your childhood? I do; love it! There are some seriously good looking pieces of Majolica on sale, such as the pitcher above, which is only $28.90. I have been in love with Majolica ever since my addiction to the Antiques Roadshow developed..lol. So if you are in the mood for some flea market inspired houseware goods, check out the sale at POSH, but hurry it ends soon!

*blogships is a rip on an email I got that opened with ‘ what’s cooking my friendships?’

all images from the respective blogs mentioned

Tabletop Voyeur..

I think being a people watcher is a New York sport..There are so many colourful characters here that I know many who revel in the ability to sit outside a cafe or restaurant in the summer time and just…watch. It’s great for getting wardrobe ideas, reorganising the wearers wardrobe or just be stunned by the sheer…I will call it creativeness of the wearer.

One thing that I love to do though, being the craven little wretch that I am, is to peek at peoples food, table decor and whatnot. Thankfully, so many bloggers incoporate food shots from their daily lives that my nosiness is satiated. Below are a few of my faves from some great creative couples:

VD Brekkie with Her+Him

V-Day Brekkie by Luke and Natalie of Him and Her

First of all, they are an incredibly lovely couple and I have major respect for their efforts to eat locally and sustainable and to make it a way of life. Here Luke made blueberry pancakes topped with mixed berries and whipped cream and fried eggs over-medium. YUM! Ooh and some Green&Blacks dark choocie.
Not only is it a yummy brekkie full of good stuff (protein, fruit..hehe the blueberries!!), but its also presented so warmly with a nice floral patterened table cloth..You can just feel the love in this meal.

From Hearblack
From Hearblack

Fresh Bruschetta, Pesto Pasta and classic raybans. All served up on a gridpaper-esque table cloth, the logic side of me loves this very very much.

Eggs in a muffin tin!
Eggs in a muffin tin, by Stephen and Shauna of SHIH

Another couple I love reading about. There is so much about them to list I could never do it justice so suggest you just go check out their site. First off, I love the eggs in this pic, reminds me a bit of emeril’s ‘egg in a cup‘ that I love to make. The brekkie plate is a big white leaf – how gorgeous is that, and the simple blue mug looks like it was whipped up on a local kiln by a friend. (maybe not, but one can dream..).

images by him+her, hearblack and somethings hiding in here.