We are living in the era of playlists, which makes me feel a bit old. I left my turntables and vinyl behind, when I moved to Los Angeles to chase Debi, but I shipped all of my CDs.
For many years Debi and I had one of the most-wonderful music libraries I have ever seen in my life: Her passion for old jazz, American classics and early hip-hop married well with my collection of Brazilian and Cuban albums. In our first house together, we had an entire library that showcased our music collection, and we lived the joy of popping a CD into the system until the very last breath of that music medium.
Continue Reading Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos’ Favorite Cooking Music
Me and the staff at Rye Roadhouse
New York state is home to far more than just Manhattan. Chefs are learning to love upstate New York as well as the boroughs, like Brooklyn and Queens. Even outside of the city you can find unique dining experiences. Hop on the Metro-North and explore the Hudson Valley.
In Harlem, Ayala’s desserts reign supreme. I had a great time in her tiny kitchen learning how to make what she calls a “pudgie.” I can see why she attracts so much attention from people throughout the city. It’s completely worth the trek. Get there early to get a seat at her communal table, or grab some dangerously delicious desserts to go.
Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel are no strangers to Brooklyn. They’re the masters of Southern comfort food and know just how to please the neighborhood and stay cutting-edge. Their ever-changing drink list can set up the evening for a culinary adventure in Brooklyn. You can’t go wrong with Grandma’s meatloaf!
Named after its location in Rye, New York, you would never expect to find such amazing Cajun food north of New York City. The guys at Rye Roadhouse took great care of me, as they do all of their patrons. This is a great spot to try some new dishes and hang out with the locals.
Continue Reading G. Garvin’s Best of New York Travel Guide
Here in the United States the definition of soul food is pretty straightforward: It indicates traditional Southern food that is representative of the African-American heritage and legacy. It is in every sense the result of the African diaspora and the necessity that displaced communities, during the dark ages of slavery, had to maintain their historical identity, using food as a medium.
It is not as easy, when referring to Italy, to define a similar way of cooking, mostly because of the peninsula’s much longer history. Italy always has been a point of access to Europe for many civilizations that lived on the Mediterranean Sea; it has been colonized and/or dominated through the centuries by foreigners such as Greeks, Byzantines, Spaniards, French and many North African populations, and those have made their way into our Southern regions since history can remember. Because of the access that the Italian peninsula offers to central Europe, in the past few decades our land has also become a real highway for many people migrating away from countries like Morocco, the Balkan regions and the Middle East, to more promising economies such as France and Germany.
As a result, many recipes and ingredients in the south of Italy carry memories of ancient times and modern migrations as well: Middle Eastern flatbreads, Moroccan couscous and Turkish capers are the first examples that come to mind as you explore the culinary offerings of Sicily and other southern regions.
Continue Reading Gabriele Corcos’ Italian Take on Soul Food
G. and the staff at Swine
Miami has a big reputation for being a party city because of South Beach, but there are plenty of wonderful things to see and restaurants to visit. When you’re in town, check out Coconut Grove and Coral Gables for shopping and different cuisines. Brickell is a new neighborhood in downtown Miami with great restaurants and free public transportation.
Crackers Casual Dining
I loved this place’s vibe — it’s a wonderful combination of Florida and the South. This spot can be found in the growing city of Miami Springs. At Crackers you’ll find a great family welcoming you with warm hospitality and awesome Southern dishes. Make sure you save room for dessert!
Swine Southern Table & Bar
Just like Yardbird, Swine takes all of the wonderful things about southern cooking and steps it up. The space, the smells and the whisky all create a fantastic experience that you’re going to have a hard time finding anywhere else in Miami. Swine is located in Coral Gables, right off of Miracle Mile, making it a great spot to visit after doing some shopping.
Continue Reading G. Garvin’s Miami Travel Tips
When you visit certain regions of Italy and get lost in the multitude of flavors that are so specific to the land, the simple thought of not bringing home some food is in general inadmissible. Parmigiano, lardo, salame, extra virgin olive oil, a couple bottles of wine you just need to have your friends try. How many times did I pack it all up in the dirty laundry secured in my luggage, then fly back home, hoping that the smell of a hot and humid summer on my tank tops would be enough to trick that brown beagle roaming the basement of JFK airport with a USDA agent on its leash?
As the world is shrinking, though, many of the ingredients you can savor while traveling through the bel paese are now somewhat available in the United States — and more so on the Internet. Once you have developed a taste for something Italian that you cannot live without, rest assured that with a little research, chances are you can relive your tasteful experience back home, wherever that might be.
Whenever we travel to Fiesole, Italy, one of our excuses for bouncing around villages like pinballs is to taste all the new batches of the wines we are fond of, make notes of new ones we discover along the way and occasionally buy a couple of cases.
Continue Reading Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos’ Favorite Wines
Me and Double Wide's Christen Hagan
There are plenty of reasons to visit the Big Apple, the food scene being just one of them. There are thousands of restaurants in New York City. Obviously, you can’t visit them all, so my advice is to pick a few in different neighborhoods; that way you can explore the city and have different dining experiences.
Bell Book & Candle
Chef John Mooney’s created something special in Bell Book & Candle. The West Village is filled with romantic places perfect for a date, and his restaurant is no exception. The rooftop garden guarantees you’re getting the freshest produce possible, and the space is as imaginative as the menu.
Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque
If a New Yorker waits in line, you know it’s worth it! Hugh Mangum brings Texas–style barbecue to the East Village in a modern space. As soon as you step in, the smell from the smoker hits you and makes your mouth water. Sides like the sweet potato casserole are a must when digging into the brisket.
Owner Christen Hagan has created a Southern getaway in the East Village at Double Wide. The drinks are creative and nostalgic, and the tasty bar food pairs perfectly with them. Double Wide doesn’t take itself too seriously, making it a great bar for a fun night.
Continue Reading G. Garvin’s New York City Travel Guide
Me and Natalie Duplessy, the pastry chef at Mama's Boy
Connecticut is the southernmost state in New England and a neighbor of New York and Massachusetts, making it a great state for a quick vacation. The restaurant scene is alive and growing, thanks to local purveyors. During the warmer months the farms are open to visitors and are an awesome place to bring the family to pick fresh fruits.
Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge
Greer Fredericks showed me a great time at her restaurant with every meal. South Norwalk has some wonderful spots, especially this one. Southern hospitality is the top priority at Mama’s Boy. You’ll feel the warm welcome as soon as you walk in, and you won’t want to leave, because of the amazing cakes!
Sandra’s Next Generation
What I love about Sandra’s Next Generation is how much they treat you like family. Sandra, her husband and their children do a magnificent job making truly soulful cooking and giving you a great experience. It’s also a nice spot to meet some of New Haven’s locals.
Continue Reading G. Garvin’s Connecticut Travel Guide
There are things in life we just cannot resist; it’s as simple as that.
I remember working in the gigantic kitchen of the Loews Hotel during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival a few years back, with multiple chefs preparing a menu for a 3,000-person tented event. It was a pleasurable mayhem of cooks, ingredients and loud jokes, and nobody yet was taking selfies. One of my chef friends was preparing chowder in a gigantic cooker; he climbed up on a short step stool and poured a bucket full of corn into the soup. He started laughing as a member of his crew passed him a second bucket, filled with what looked, at least from my station, like some sort of meat. My interest in the ongoing chowder preparation did not go unnoticed. My friend looked at me and said, “Everything tastes better with corn and bacon!”
In all honesty I really could not reply to that, as I did not agree at all. I did not grow up with a taste for either corn or bacon, simply because in Italy they are not popular ingredients. I like them both, but there’s no emotional attachment there. But the thought gave me pause, especially since my friend was sporting an ear-to-ear smile; he clearly was truly in love with his recipe, already longing for the first taste of what to him was going to be delicious.
Continue Reading Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos’ Guilty-Pleasure Foods
I spent the first two decades of my life patiently waiting for some sort of “total emancipation”; I always thought that freedom needed to be earned with age, and that once it happened I would finally find myself living the life I wanted. In the end, I believe only a few things are as pleasurable and powerful in life as being able to make decisions for yourself.
I found true freedom on the day I met my wife, Debi, about 13 years ago. I decided to follow her to Los Angeles, clearly inspired and motivated to build a family and grow old with her by my side. Always an incredible romantic, I made that decision impulsively. There were no questions or doubts in my mind, and it took me less than a month to leave everything behind and move to the U.S. It was a very happy decision: “I have finally found THE LOVE! I can feel it in each and every fiber of my body. THIS IS THE ONE!” I told myself, and my mom and the rest of my family, and all my friends.
Continue Reading Why Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar Go All Out for His Nonna’s Birthday
There is no doubt that while in Italy, truffles might be one of the most-precious ingredients you can come across. However, as you travel through the Bel Paese, you might also discover that many items can tickle your palate in the most-luxurious way without necessarily being as expensive as truffles.
Every region, province, village or piece of farmland has something special to offer, from the most vibrant produce down south to the most-amazing cheeses on top of the Alps, the fresh, cheap sardines you can buy on the docks in Livorno, and the best (and only) Prosecco in the northeast.
You might argue that hunting for tomatoes is not half as exciting as hunting for truffles, but have you ever scored 2 pounds of ripe San Marzano tomatoes in the middle of August at a roadside stand in Calabria? The moment you bite into that warm fruit you are reminded of your place on Earth!
Continue Reading Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Ingredient Hunting in Italy