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Food and Wine Notebook

Thursday, June 10, 1993

Great burgers turn up in the most unlikely places: The Imperial Burger (with cheese, please, and rare) at the Waterloo House is nearly as superb as the view of the harbour (assuming you aren’t facing the Esso station). The public rooms, always handsome, recently re-decorated, are inviting and in good taste.

And then there are not-so-great burgers turning up in even stranger places. Last month MacDonald’s opened a “branch” on the Avenue of Eternal Tranquillity in Beijing. Portraits of round-faced Chairman Mao face off with Clown-faced Ronald MacDonald’s. Is there is there a message here?

Something to wince about: Wanting to be thought of a source for fine wines as well as spirits, Gosling Brothers has decided to familiarize their patrons with their vast wine cellar and those in the organization that are wine-knowledgeable. Now you can get a recommendation on what goes with what for dinner from a number of friendly faces at Gosling’s. Liked iced sparkling wines just right for June picnics: Mumm’s Cuvee Napa, Codorniu Spanish Cava, or Jordon Vineyards Sonomoa Valley mehtode champenoise sparkler.

I have always liked Loquats and now that it has changed hands (David Harrington and partners) I’ll look forward to promised menu changes, hopefully shorter and more focused. I’ll keep you posted.

Eating your vegetables has never been so much fun thanks to a collaboration between veggie viscount, Henry Wainer in Massachusetts and Richard Shneider, produce buyer for the Marketplace, A-1, Modern Mart stores. You’ve probably noticed, over the last several months vegetables showing up from the cute to the unidentifiable. One of the first welcomed sightings was of a three-pack of mushrooms including cremini, shitake and oyster mushrooms (great for a salad, a mushroom sauce or soup); and miniature zucchini, acorn and patty-pan squash and Japanese eggplants. Well it’s all part of a programme to bring to Bermuda fresh exotics, many of which will put a smile on the faces of foodies and cooks.

Several years ago, Henry Wainer, son of Sid, took the family’s “Friendly Fruit” and produce business one logical step further. It all began on another island. Talking with Martha’s Vineyard chefs desperately seeking sustenance in the form of organically grown, hand-picked produce, an idea was born. While other Boston area produce dealers were getting bigger, thinking in terms of trainloads, Henry, anticipating the current trend to “down-sizing” thought-get small. So he set out to find small farms that were willing to grow specialty produce to sell to a growing market of dedicated food fans. It worked.

This month Richard will be stocking the store shelves with Henry’s tree-ripened cherries, peaches, and nectarines, tiny “cocktail” artichokes, quince and persimmons, red and yellow pears, and plums and passion fruit; look for assorted wild baby greens for a salad with a difference to which you may add slim French haricots vert, oriental Daikon, edible blossoms, and some fiddlehead fern (these must be steamed and, well, fiddled with--but a tasty, trendy, worthwhile conversation piece) ...mesclun, too (a word often confused with the acid-headed sixties it denotes a mixed salad of red mushroom greens, oak leaf lettuce, radicchio, shung-kai, arugula [rocket], a curly cress, and other diverse greens). Also look for wood ear, and tiny enoki mushrooms, and fresh fava beans (a.k.a. broad beans--been around for 3,000 years. Simply shelled, simmered and then combined with sauted tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic into a remarkable provencal “stew”). Blue, black and rosy red raspberries are also expected. It’s going to be a bountiful summer!!

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