Despite a spate of recent snowstorms and cold temperatures across much of the country, spring officially sprung first thing this morning. With the new season comes not only good weather and a reprieve from winter but a breath of fresh air and the promise of rebirth and renewal. In that spirit, there is a slew of new restaurants to eat in, drinks to try, and books to read. (Your cabin fever has officially broken.) Here are my favorites, so you can get the most out of spring.
RESTAURANTS TO EAT IN
Tavernetta, 1889 16th Street, Denver
Frasca Food and Wine helped put Boulder, Colorado, on the culinary map. It’s founders, Bobby Stuckey, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Peter Hoglund, are opening their first restaurant outside Boulder in nearby Denver this spring. It will be located near Union Station and have 125 seats.
Jackrabbit, 545 SW Taylor Street, Portland, Oregon
The latest project from celebrity chef Chris Cosentino will feature a raw bar, shared dinner plates, and an extensive gin cocktail menu. Many of the ingredients will be locally sourced, including its whole fried hot chicken with chicken Scotch eggs and pickled vegetables.
Bien Cuit, Grand Central Market, New York
One of New York’s top bakers, Zachary Golper, is opening a new location inside iconic Grand Central Terminal this week. It will not only feature his signature bread but also several new items, including a dark chocolate mousse cake, a honey whole wheat éclair, and a pecan granola cookie.
Bellecour, 739 Lake Street East, Wayzata, Minneapolis
Over the last 10 years, Minneapolis has developed a thriving restaurant scene and one of its stars is chef Gavin Kaysen. His first restaurant Spoon and Stable has quickly become one of the city’s best and his latest establishment, Bellecour, which features traditional French food just opened right outside the city.
Proxi, 565 W. Randolph Street, Chicago
Fans of the Michelin-starred Sepia will be excited for Proxi’s opening this June, which is the second restaurant from the same group. (The two establishments will also be right near each other.) Its menu will center on street foods from around the world and chef Andrew Zimmerman’s travels.
BOOKS TO READ
Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me by Rafe Bartholomew ($27)
Few bars in America are as storied as New York’s McSorley’s Old Ale House, which dates back to 1854. No matter if you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a pint of its signature dark beer or not, you’ll enjoy Rafe Bartholomew’s memoir of his experience working at the establishment alongside his father. It comes out on May 9.
A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand by Jim Harrison ($26)
The world lost one of its most unique and gifted food writers when Jim Harrison passed away last March. (He also wrote essays, poetry, and novels, including Legends of the Fall, which was later turned into a movie.) This collection, which goes on sale March 24, brings together his culinary writing from across his career and includes an introduction by celebrity chef Mario Batali. It’s a must buy for any Harrison fans.
Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories by Randy Garutti, Mark Rosati, & Dorothy Kalins ($26)
It’s hard to believe that the international hamburger sensation, Shake Shack, started as a hot dog cart in New York’s Madison Square Park but the rest is, of course, history. If you’re a Shack fanatic you’ll soon get access to the chain’s recipes and stories in its new book, which will be available on May 16.
At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World by Reggie Nadelson ($27)
Anybody who is anybody eats at legendary restaurateur Keith McNally’s upscale New York bistro, Balthazar. Journalist Reggie Nadelson was able to get unfettered access to chronicle the inner workings of this enduringly popular establishment and produced a detailed and fascinating study that even includes recipes. Look out for it on April 4.
On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox with Noah Galuten ($50)
Just a few pages into the new book, On Vegetables, and acclaimed California chef Jeremy Fox makes a startling admission: “I am not a vegetarian.” Not only is he a proud meat eater but he insists that the work is more of a tutorial on “cooking plants” than a vegetarian cookbook. What you do with that knowledge is up to you, even if you plan to serve your veggies with a steak. The lavishly illustrated tome comes out on April 17.
ALCOHOL TO DRINK
Grgich Hills Estate 40th Anniversary Chardonnay ($55)
The name Grgich strikes fear in the heart of French wine makers. Miljenko “Mike” Grgich created one of the winning American wines in a 1976 tasting with French rivals that has become to be known as the Judgement of Paris. In celebration of the founding of his own eponymous winery this spring he is releasing a special 40th anniversary chardonnay, which should be hitting shelves now.
Champagne Taittinger Brut Millésimé 2009 ($84)
Start your spring on a sparkling note with this new vintage Champagne from famed producer Taittinger. The special bubbly, which was just released, contains an equal amount of chardonnay wine from the Côte des Blancs region and pinot noir wine from the Montagne de Reims and the Marne Valley.
Michter’s 10 Year Kentucky Straight Rye ($150)
When legendary American whiskey master distiller Willie Pratt stepped down from his post in the fall of 2015 he was succeeded at Michter’s by the talented Pam Heilmann. The 10-year-old straight rye that is now hitting shelves is Heilmann’s first special release.
Hochstadter’s Family Reserve 16 Year Straight Rye Whiskey ($200)
Celebrate the new season with the latest release from Cooper Spirits. There are just 7,500 bottles of this 16-year-old straight whiskey made from 100-percent rye. It’s high-octane, 123.8-proof, and will no doubt be snapped up quickly. It should be on sale shortly.