If fighting world hunger requires me to eat lamb burgers with foie gras and blueberry jam and bacon-wrapped scallops, then you know what? I’m willing to go that extra mile. There’s people out there that need me.

Kent Rathbun, Mark Haugen, Stephane Motir, Tim Love, and Bobby Flay (top); three ladies just there for the food (bottom)

As I stood in the back room holding an extra glass of red wine while my cohort snapped a photo in the kitchen, Taste of the NFL founder Wayne Kostroski noticed my momentary double-fisting and said, “I like your style.” Stupid me, I thought he was referring to my sport jacket (on sale at Macy’s, thank you), but I realized it was my humanitarian efforts. He’s the James Beard Foundation’s 2010 Humanitarian of the Year winner, so he must know what he’s talking about.

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Right up there with my record mile time sits an equally important record in my mind: the number of Buffalo wings consumed in one sitting. That would be 75. I still harbor some degree of bitterness from the closer inspection of my high school friend’s wing remains, as he excused himself to vomit in the T.G.I. Friday’s bathroom. Some of his 100 “eaten” wings still had meat on them, dammit. Not only did I not vomit, but I ate every last piece of meat and skin, thank you. But he paid his price and, well, I had the opportunity to eat several empty Coca-Cola pitchers’ full of Buffalo wings.

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Perhaps it should have been obvious that a dinner mostly flown in and prepared by visiting Icelandic chefs would necessarily end with a dessert consisting of an erupting volcano. The freeze-dried skyr and crowberries weren’t so obvious.

Nice place you got here, Mr. Savalas. Big Kelly's Heroes fan.

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Four hours of craft beer on a Sunday afternoon, two live bands, a cask tasting hosted by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver, beer cocktails, and endless food from Chef Daniel Humm. All that booze, and nobody even got topless. Had they done so, I could have definitely declared the 3rd Annual NY Craft Beer Week’s closing party the beer event to end all beer events.

The common man's four-star joint.

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Everybody wants to love Eataly. Some of my favorite restaurants are co-owned (and even used to be operated) by Mario Batali. The idea of Eataly, if not the goofy name, is amazing. Food-group-centric restaurants amidst Italian-centric shopping sounds great. A Dogfish Head Italian-themed beer garden, soon to come, is too good to be true. The problem is, regardless of how great the idea is, when I was sitting at the bar at Il Pesce, eating what in general amounted to an excellent dinner, I felt like I was at a food court inside a Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The Il Pesce kitchen: about 10 of Eataly's 50,000 square feet.

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Bio after bio of chef Eric Ripert tells of an elusive “Bon Appetit Dish of the Year”. The ingredients include lobster, tarragon (no surprises so far), and… champagne. It sounded like my kind of dish: something with a veneer of sophistication, but (if I’m lucky) sufficiently dummy-proof.  Of course, it should also taste good, but this was an Eric Ripert dish, so no worries there. The only question was how many hours or days was I going to be standing in the kitchen. And whether I could track down the recipe.

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Chopped: The Home Game – Round 2

August 31, 2010

Our first battle was close, or so I thought. The question was: how would I fare in the next home edition of Chopped, also known as Man v. Food. v. Wife? Our cooking skills were about a half-year better, but this time, there was a twist. Food shopping would be done at the local Chinese [...]

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Fishing in Freeport, Dining on the Results

August 15, 2010

A half-day fishing trip aboard a Freeport party boat is close enough to NYC that every New Yorker should do it once a summer.

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Staunton’s Irish/Peruvian Restaurant: Where the Chef Combines Ingredients Like the Owner Combines Cuisines

August 10, 2010

When you just can’t find a third-rate, Bolivian/Scottish karaoke joint, Staunton’s is a great alternative. The lady tending bar is very friendly, to be sure, and for all I know, so is the person responsible for the bowl of semi-flavorless heavy cream and side order of mashed potatoes (more formally known as World’s Worst Shepherd’s [...]

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A Pilgrimage to the Land of Foie Gras

August 6, 2010

I have a strong suspicion that many of the world’s foie gras critics are a lot like I was back in my anti-Brussels sprouts days.

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