Serious New Year's Food Sources
Serious Eats made its network television debut on Good Morning America Tuesday morning December 26. I talked about great New Year’s mail-order foods that we think serious eaters would love. But since the nice folks at Good Morning America limited me to four ideas, I thought I would share what else we would recommend if they had just given us another half hour of airtime.
A great New Year's mail-order food lineup should take into account a few factors. People have already made their way through Thanksgiving and Christmas, eating traditional family foods and receiving gifts of foods they really don't want, like fruitcake or bad steaks. The food focus during Thanksgiving and Christmas is on doing what's expected, doing things for other people, and doing what's always been done before.
So New Year's is a time to clear the decks, to indulge yourself and a few loved ones with foods we all love to eat. With our selections, people can stay home, invite a few friends over, and enjoy a great New Year's Eve or New Year's Day meal. Let's face it: A lot of people don't want to go out on New Year's Eve and grapple with drivers who have had too much to drink, restaurants that jack up their prices for the occasion, and sharing the celebration somewhere with unfamiliar faces. In terms of New Year's Day, people like to get up late, eat a big breakfast or brunch, and lounge around the house.
So here are a bunch of great ideas for how to do up New Year's in true Serious Eats style.
PARTICULARLY APPETIZING APPETIZERS
On the show I talk about the delicious crostini from Dufour Pastry Kitchens (pictured, left) sold by Williams-Sonoma. Just as good are the gougères made by Jean-Yves Charon in northern California. These perfect little cheese puffs are also sold by Williams-Sonoma.
'CUE IS ALWAYS IN SEASON
Barbecue is a wonderful, relatively inexpensive (even with shipping), and fun food to serve on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Here are three of the best mail-order barbecue sources.
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue: Amazing burnt ends and ribs from this Kansas City favorite (pictured, left). jackstackbbq.com
Southside Market & Barbecue: Fantastic, juicy beef sausage from Elgin, Texas. southsidemarket.com
The Salt Lick: Killer brisket from this legendary Texas joint. saltlickbbq.com
GREAT STEAK IS HARD TO FIND
There’s a lot of bad mail-order meat to be had, but if you have a craving for great prime, dry-aged steak and you’re willing to spend big bucks, there are two terrific sources:
Lobel's: Prime, dry-aged American wagyu steak here (pictured, left) is absurdly expensive but worth every penny. You won’t find a richer, better-tasting carnivore’s eating experience anywhere. lobels.com
Peter Luger: The finest porterhouse steak money can buy, dry-aged for six weeks (sometimes in the basement of the famed Peter Luger in Brooklyn). peterluger.com
Or you could go in another direction and order superb, meaty, smoky, country ham or bacon from Benton's Country Ham. bentonshams.com
Finally, if you want to order a whole breakfast, you could do a lot worse than the breakfast basket from the Loveless Cafe (pictured, left). You get biscuit mix, pancake mix, bacon, sausage, country ham, grits, and three kinds of preserves. lovelesscafe.com
YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG WITH ICE CREAM
There are three terrific, distinctive ice creams (or custard) that go way beyond Häagen-Dazs, and I love Häagen-Dazs.
Graeter's: Cincinnati's (and perhaps the nation's) finest ice cream, made in two-gallon batches. I am extremely partial to the black raspberry chip. graeters.com
Kopp's: Frozen custard aficionados know that Milwaukee should be more famous for frozen custard than for beer or brats. Kopp’s will send you ten pints overnight, and a few seconds in the microwave will bring your custard back to life. kopps.com
Capogiro Gelato Artisans: Intense, vividly flavored gelato (pictured, left) from the streets of Philadelphia. And, oh yeah, the sorbettos are just as good. capogirogelato.com
EVERY TOAST NEEDS SOME CHOCOLATE
You don’t have to spend big money on a fancy-pants Champagne to have a proper toast with your friends. Some cava or prosecco from Best Cellars will do you up just fine. And, of course, you need some chocolate to go with your bubbly. On Good Morning America, I partake of the caramels with fleur de sel from Fran's Chocolates, but I would be just as happy with some chocolate mice (pictured, left) from L. A. Burdick, or an assortment from John & Kiras.
I know this list is too long, but I just couldn’t help it. There are so many delicious foods that I want my fellow serious eaters to experience.