5@5 - Why it's different in the South
February 14th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

It's no secret that Eatocracy loves to put some South in its mouth. We dig the panoply of dishes, the sense of living history it brings, the close ties between chefs and farmers and the fact that it plain old tastes like heaven on earth. This also tends to be food for thought - whether it's Hugh Acheson and Paula Deen's philosophical differences, ruminations on the future of Southern food, or meditations on the Southern mindset.

While Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson have done their tours of duty through prestigious kitchens such as Fat Duck, Alinea, Noma and French Laundry, they've found a new home to Nashville. There as co-chefs at The Catbird Seat, the duo's ever-changing seven-course tasting menu takes inspiration from influences as diverse as a Moroccan cookbook, a Pixies song or the memory of a grey day in Copenhagen and takes root in the fresh, abundant produce and ingredients of their adopted South.

Five ways the South is different from the rest of the country

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Filed under: 5@5 • Southern • Think

Love bites - Valentine's Day dining advice
February 14th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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Whether you're coupled-up for the long haul, feeling the first flush of love or rolling footloose and fancy-free, you've still gotta eat on February 14, right? Here's our best advice for satisfying appetites of all sorts.

Tales from the Trenches

  • Of romantic meals, fibbers and fish knives - Our most romantic meal of all time
  • Eat This List: 5 meals for single people on Valentine’s Day - Hip hop star Jean Grae pens a love letter to cheese, Malbec and artful self-indulgence
  • Dining and dating: The food of love - Cooking up a lasting love
  • Scattered, smothered, covered, cuddled, kissed - Would you take your date to Waffle House? How about White Castle?
  • Rules for eating on a first date - Eat what you dig, skip what you don't.
  • In defense of the restaurant dress code - Step up your game, dude!
  • Party of one at a table for two - Ouch! The dreaded stand-up! How to handle?

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    Filed under: Culture • Dating • Holidays • Valentine's Day

    February 14th, 2012
    09:45 AM ET
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    Is it hot in here, or is it just the peppercorns? We asked José Andrés, Michel Nischan, Gail Simmons, Michael Chiarello, Sang Yoon, John Besh, Richard Blais and Andrew Zimmern to deliver some serious sweet talk to their favorite ingredients and kitchen tools in the video above.

    Hungry for more?

    Of romantic meals, fibbers and fish knives
    February 14th, 2012
    09:15 AM ET
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    Once upon a time, I had a perfect romantic meal. It was ten years ago, but that doesn't much matter. The restaurant, by design, existed outside of time – mid-century French fanciness, untouched by fad or fashion. It seemed not outside the realm of possibility that the same tuxedoed waiters had been escorting the same fresh-faced and helium-bosomed young ladies (and their uncomfortably collared "uncles") to starched and sumptuous banquettes since the restaurant's opening in 1960, and that the maitre d' had air-kissed the same doyenne's surgically-taut cheek with the exact vim and deference he had since the year her Chanel suit was new.

    It was Valentine's Day, and for a girl who frequently sported combat boots and a battle-scarred heart, this was as close to Hollywood l'amour as I'd ever gotten. In previous Februaries, I'd poured my heart into handmade cards, meticulously-chosen poetry volumes (and the occasional glass of single malt for myself), and had received, on various occasions a power drill, "I dunno - where do you wanna eat?", "Oh shoot...we're doing this?" and inevitably the bill for whatever entertainment ensued.

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