Nosh News: Olé! Edition

At the Greensboro Supermarket, you can get dried chiles, a game of pool, a flat-top hair cut and the most authentic tacos in the Tallahassee area.

This Saturday, May 5, encompasses two events traditionally celebrated with lots and lots of alcohol: The Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo. If you’re looking to shake up your mint julep for this weekend’s run for the roses, check out the Kitchn’s roundup of five non-basic julep recipes, including a Cherry Julep made by my favorite talking head, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. To put a spin on the traditional Cinco de Mayo margarita, try Rick Bayless’ Champagne Margarita or Hotel California Jamaica Margarita. While you’re over at Bayless’ site, take a look at his collection of recipes for salsas, appetizers, entrées and desserts, too. The Chicago chef is one of our country’s great masters of Mexican cuisine.

With a Mexican native in my casa, we won’t be doing anything too splashy for Cinco de Mayo, since the Professor likes to point out that the holiday isn’t widely celebrated in his ancestral land. (It’s more akin to Casimir Pulaski Day than the Fourth of July). We’re always up for eating authentic Mexican food, however, so this weekend we’re planning to visit our favorite taqueria in the Tallahassee area. We love the picadillo sopes, bistek tortas and barbacoa tacos served at the little dining counter in the back of the Greensboro Supermarket, 119 Green Ave., Greensboro. The taqueria’s housemade tomatillo salsa alone makes the 30-mile drive worth it. The Greensboro Supermarket carries a variety of Mexican packaged goods, including all kinds of dried chiles, that can be tough to find locally, and also houses a pool hall and a hair salon. (Yes, I said hair salon). Now that’s one-stop shopping.

Have you dined at any of the eateries on the just-released list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants? I haven’t yet visited the heavy hitters ranked by Restaurant magazine, but several of my friends have marveled over chef Grant Achatz’s masterpieces of molecular gastronomy at Alinea. The Chicago restaurant, which claimed the No. 7 slot, is one of eight American eateries on the list published annually by the London-based magazine. Noma, a restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, nabbed No. 1. Personally, I’d love to compare the two menus of traditional and creative dishes offered by Biko, the Basque-Mexican hybrid restaurant in Mexico City that landed at No. 38 this year.

Nosh News: The Best of Everything Edition

Anthony Bourdain vs. Paula Deen: Two celebrity chefs enter, one leaves (possibly slathered in butter).

’Tis the season for Top 10 lists. Here’s a rundown of 10 of the most entertaining best-of-the-year roundups I’ve found around the Web, in no particular order:

1. Top 10 Food Trends of 2011 by TIME. A wide-ranging overview of the year’s highs and lows. Thumbs up to #3: The New Vegetarians and #10: Regional Food, thumbs down to #9: Texting at the Table.

2. Top 10 New Foods at the 2011 State Fairs by Endless Simmer. Check out which state nabs the dubious honor of #1 fair-food innovation.

3. Top 10 Food-Related Lawsuits of 2011 by LA Weekly’s Squid Ink blog. A big thank you to the plaintiff behind lawsuit #3 for ruining late-night Taco Bell runs for the rest of us.

4. Travelers’ Choice 2011 Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations in the United States by TripAdvisor. I visited four of the 10 cities on this list in 2011 (and, in previous years, I’ve dined in three more). While #3 Chicago, will always be my favorite place on the planet to eat because it’s my hometown, my introduction this year to the dining scene in #1 New Orleans landed that city high on my own list of the most enticing food destinations.

5. The Best Cocktails of 2011 by Tasting Table. Blame it on Mad Men. In 2011, classic cocktails edged out other alcoholic beverages, prompting home mixologists to begin experimenting with bitters, shakers and garnishes. If you’ve already perfected your take on the French 75, this list offers 10 fresh recipes to test-drive.

6. Top 10 Food-World Spats of 2011 by CHOW. My personal favorite smackdown? Anthony Bourdain, who seems to despise everyone in the culinary world but himself (and his dudebro David Chang, of course), vs. the equally unctuous Paula Deen.

7. Ten Best Vegan Cookbooks of 2011 by VegNews. A great resource for everyone who wants to add more meatless dishes to their cooking and baking repertoires. As a lifelong diner devotee, I need to add a copy of “Vegan Diner: Classic Comfort Food for the Body & Soul” by Portland, Ore., chef Julie Hasson to my cookbook collection.

8. Top 10 Food-Related Apps by the Washington Post. Perfect for foodies who received a shiny new iPad or smartphone for the holidays. I’m eager to explore Chefs Feed, which features prominent chefs’ picks for great dining experiences in a handful of U.S. cities, with more locales to be added in 2012.

9. Top 10 Food Trends for 2012 by Epicurious (via Yahoo! Shine). An intriguing look ahead at the forces that will shape how we eat in 2012. I’ll be watching to see how these trends play out in Tallahassee in the coming year. We’re already got several excellent artisan cheesemakers in the area, and I hear that there’s a new churro purveyor in town, but I have yet to spot fennel pollen on a local menu.

10. Top 10 Simpsons Food Episodes by LA Weekly’s Squid Ink blog. OK, so this list isn’t limited to 2011 episodes, but it’s way too much fun to miss. Whether you’re fantasizing about a colossal donut or a mug filled with Skittlebrau — or perhaps something slightly less Homeric — here’s hoping that 2012 serves up an array of edible delights.

Best Bites: It’s All in All Saints Edition

Our weekly picks for the most enticing foodcentric events in the Tallahassee area.

Join this fellow at the Fermentation Lounge for drinks, food and live music at the Festical fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

If you love visiting All Saints as much as I do, then you’ll be thrilled by the slate of great events taking place in the neighborhood during the next several days. That’s in addition, of course, to the monthly First Friday festivities hosted by the galleries, shops and eateries in Railroad Square Art Park, set for 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.

Good news for fans of eating on the go: The number of mobile food trucks operating in the state of Florida jumped more than 10 percent this year, according to a report by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can grab a meal on wheels at the Food Truck Round Up, which begins at 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 at the All Saints Hop Yard, 453 All Saints Street. Participating trucks include Fired Up Pizza, Kool Beanz, Lasang Pinoy, Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery, MoBi and Street Chefs. Sounds like the perfect stop for a late snack. Admission is free. For more information, visit the All Saints Hop Yard website.

Bread and Roses Food Cooperative will hold its 3rd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-off at 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 at 915-2 Railroad Ave. Chili chefs will compete in one of three categories: traditional, fire alarm and innovative. If you’re going for the glory, plan to arrive at 2:45 p.m. and bring a notecard listing your dish’s ingredients. Chili aficionados who just want to eat can sample all the entries for a suggested donation of $3. For more information, call 425-8486 or email breadandrosesfoodcoop@gmail.com.

The folks at Fermentation Lounge will help out one of their own, bartender Trevor Bond, who incurred huge medical bills after a recent mountain biking accident, at the Festical fundraiser. The event, which features food, a silent auction and live music by the Stoned and Lonesome String Band, begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7 and runs into the wee hours at the lounge, 113 All Saints Street. Festical-goers also will get first crack at imbibing a new haus apple cider that’s spiked with cinnamon and cranberries. Twenty percent of the night’s sales will go to Trevor, and the lounge’s owners also will match the first $500 in donations made by attendees. Admission is free. For more information, call 727-4033 or visit the Fermentation Lounge website.

Nosh News: It’s Finally Fall Edition

Why, yes, it is decorative gourd season.

Since moving to Tallahassee from the Midwest last year, I’ve had to revise my definition of autumn. Since the thermometer no longer climbs past 85 degrees (at least most days), I’ve decided that it’s officially fall. And that means it’s time to pull out one of my favorite lazy-girl kitchen tools, the slow cooker. Since I’m always on the hunt for great meatless recipes, I’ve put this new cookbook at the top of my must-buy list: “The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour” by Kathy Hester.

Like many folks who celebrate Thanksgiving, I love the big dinner …  but I enjoy the leftovers even more. This week I’m seeking out fresh ways to use up all that extra turkey, stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce over the holiday weekend. Here’s a handful of recipes I want to try: Fetette’s Candied Yam Tartlettes, Three Cocktail Recipes That Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce from Mix Magazine —the Cranberry Jalapeño Margarita looks particularly enticing! — and Martha Stewart’s Turkey Banh Mi.

After you’ve made a visit to Dame Stewart’s corner of the Internet to check out that banh mi recipe, you may require an antidote to those maddeningly perfect visions of  gilded pumpkin placecard holders and crisply folded dinner napkins. (I know I do). Quick, read McSweeney’s deliciously irreverent take on seasonal decorating. (Caution: You might not want to click on this link if a small child or humorless coworker is looking over your shoulder).