Hi, there! Welcome to Magazine Club -- so glad you could make it! Was traffic awful? Your hair looks really cute like that, by the way. Here, we'll take your coat. You just grab your magazine, have a seat and pour yourself a glass of wine (or, if you're reading this during work hours, white wine).
Okay, now. Bon Appétit, 2015. What did we love? What did we not enjoy?
We'll kick things off by sharing some of the bigger items and themes that jumped out to us from this issue. We hope that serves as a good starting point for you to share your own reactions to the magazine.
-- Cover story: Cook Like a Pro. Bon Appétit has done this Cook Like a Pro issue for a number of years now. We're fans, and we're impressed that they're able to come up with fresh new pro-tips from food experts every year. (This feature was the best part of this entire issue, in our opinion.) Of course we've already talked about that crazy steak on the cover, but there were other good tips in here, too. For one, we really love the simple idea of layering salad dressing instead of tossing it all together. It's mentioned in the sidebar to that gorgeous Little Gem Salad with Lemon Cream and Hazelnuts, from Joshua McFadden, the chef at Portland, Ore.'s Ava Gene's restaurant:
McFadden doesn't believe in vinaigrettes -- at least not the whisk-together-and-dump-all-at-once kind. Instead, he layers dressing components onto the salad in parts so no flavors get lost.... You should be able to taste both acid and fat separately.
Of the recipes in Cook LIke a Pro, which is most appealing to you?
-- CatererGate: Though it's somewhat out-of-character for the magazine, we really enjoyed the wedding feature near the front. It first came to our attention because we saw the magazine issued an apology via their Facebook page, in reaction to their advice about why you shouldn't hire a caterer. It's not frequently that food magazines issue apologies. Do you think an apology was warranted here?
-- What Happens in Vegas, Ends Up in this Magazine? Let's talk about that weird, random feature where The Mindy Project actor Ike Barinholtz eats his way around Las Vegas. It seemed ill-fitted for Bon Appétit (Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar? Really, Bon App?). But then we saw the sidebar at the end promoting the upcoming Vegas Uncork'd food and wine event, of which Bon Appétit is a major partner along with -- hey! -- all the hotels and locales mentioned in this entire feature. So it turns out the whole thing was maybe just product placement? Hmm.
-- Let's All Go to London: We loved -- loved -- the Lauren Collins feature on eating in London right now. She's a terrific writer; we love reading her in The New Yorker. This feature made us want to bop around London drinking Regent's Punch with Lauren, or share a languid, boozy lunch gossiping about Pippa. Seriously, let's take a moment to appreciate Collins' writing style:
The stripped-down set menu [at Lyle's], at £39 ($60) for dinner, is like an ambitious Ph.D. student’s acknowledgment to his beloved advisor: Smoked Eel & Horseradish, Blood Cake & Damson, Mutton & Turnip Broth, served in a gorgeously spare room. You want to applaud [chef James] Lowe’s seriousness, but when Asparagus & Walnut Mayonnaise turns out to be four spears to be shared between two people, you’re left hungry enough to eat an ampersand.
-- We Want All The Lamb: We also really enjoyed the feature on spring lamb dishes, "On the Lamb." That Olive-Stuffed Leg of Lamb? Woah. Those Chile-Cumin Lamb Meatballs?? Yes. Those Lamb Ribs with Rhubarb and Radish Salad? YUM.
-- Bravo, Marcus Nilsson: Our favorite photos from this issue were definitely in the feature on composed salads called "Compose Yourself." Each one of those three photos is a work of art. You can see more of photographer Marcus Nilsson's work on his website.
-- (Ending with) Starters: Okay, now let's back up to the Starters section at the front. It's always a fun hodgepodge of foods, restaurants, recipes, and more. Our two favorite things from this month: The idea of swapping cot wine for Malbec (apparently it's the same grape, just grown in France instead of Argentina). And that insanely delicious-looking Croissant Loaf from Buerrage bakery in Chicago. Holy. Moly.
-- Our Top 3: The 3 things we'd most like to cook from this issue (other than the steak we already made):
- Chile-Cumin Lamb Meatballs
- Steakhouse Salad with Red Chile Dressing and Peanuts
- The Ultimate Bolognese Sauce
Now it's time to hear from you.
What did you love? What didn't you care for? Favorite recipes? Favorite photos? Maybe you disagree with something we said?
Let Magazine Club begin!