2012 James Beard Award Nominees, Part Two

A second helping of the year's best food writing—because readers were hungry for more.
5 stories

When it comes to a great meal, most aren’t shy about asking for seconds. Same with exceptional food writing. After publishing a spotlight on the 2012 James Beard Award Nominees readers clearly wanted us to serve up some more mouth-watering stories.

In "The Hangover Part III," Brett Martin headed to Tokyo (which many consider the food capital of the world) with top chef David Chang, LCD Soundsytem’s James Murphy, and comedian Aziz Ansari. The range of restaurants is so alluring that the group spent a whole day arguing over what kind of ramen place to try. “Eventually we were all seated in front of steaming bowls of thick, almost gravy like broth," Martin wrote. "Pieces of cabbage and ragged chunks of pork protruded here and there, like half-submerged bog creatures. The taste bore the look out — deep, swampy, and warming to the core. After one sip, we all straightened an looked at each other, goofy smiles slippery with grease. Gnarly.”

The same word could easily describe the experience Adam Sachs had in Sweden, at “the world’s most daring restaurant,” where’s he’s offered duck-egg liqueur. That’s right. Duck-egg liqueur. “The caramely nectar is sweetened with honey and made with the plum orange yolks of duck eggs he gets from that man he met down the road…” Sachs recalled, vividly describing the the experience. “Some foods you eat with your eyes. Some dishes you smell before you see them. This one we heard.”

For a different kind of taste explosion, Jason Sheehan wrote about the burger joint that fed the scientists who built the atom bomb. “Every night at the Owl’s bar," Sheehan wrote, "some of the smartest men in the world sat through the huge New Mexico nights, drinking cold beer and eating burgers, burning their tongues on sweet-hot New World chiles while talking about implosion triggers, explosive lensing and, among themselves, laying bets on what would happen when 'The Gadget' was finally detonated.”

And that's how a cheeseburger altered history.

From the Web

The Big Stir

We’re becoming a nation of food fanatics, signing up for cooking classes, turning into gourmets in the kitchen, and making dining in or out the equivalent of a cultural event. Is America the new France?

From the Web

The Hangover Part III

It started as a challenge. A patently absurd challenge. Could one writer keep up with a real-life Wolf Pack—comic star Aziz Ansari, top chef David Chang, and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy—as the hipster trinity partied through Tokyo, arguably the food capital of the world? (It’s definitely the drunk-karaoke capital.) Brett Martin remembers what happened next. Most of it.

Dec 2011
From the Web

The Birth of the Atomic Cheeseburger

The untold story of the burger that fed the sunburned men who built the atom bomb.
Oct 2011
From the Web

Fäviken Rising

The world’s most daring restaurant isn’t in some pulsing metropolis but deep in the hinterlands of Sweden. Adam Sachs treks (and treks, and treks) to Fäviken Magasinet to savor the smoking juniper embers, diced beef heart, and duck-egg liqueur—and to wonder if he has just tasted the future of food.

Sep 2011
From the Web

The Other Side of the Valley

The future of dairying and orchard farming in central California.
Apr 2011