July 10th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: In the midst of a record-breaking heat wave, we could all probably use a cold drink. Here to help us are Karl Injex and Navarro Carr, the owner and bar manager respectively of the Sound Table in Atlanta.Visual aids provided by Mark Hill, the Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting.

You are probably acquainted with the mint julep, made with Kentucky bourbon and often enjoyed while sporting an elaborate chapeau at the Churchill Downs Racetrack.

The Genever julep is its lighter-spirited relative; substituting gin for the brown water. (Genever, sometimes referred to as Holland or Dutch gin, is oak-aged and less dry than the later styles like Old Tom gin.)

A heap of crushed ice keeps the drink frigid, while the mint adds a tongue-tingling sensation.  Fun fact: Menthol, the organic compound in mint, stimulates the same nerve receptors in your mouth that cold temperatures do - hence the cooling sensation.

Despite the urge to gulp down anything cold in a glistening arm's reach, sipping is advised.
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June 7th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: It's Friday, and it's been a long week – we could all probably use a drink. Here to help us are Karl Injex and Navarro Carr, the owner and bar manager respectively of the Sound Table in Atlanta.Visual aids provided by Mark Hill, the Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting.

The first rule of Pegu Club? Don't talk, drink.

In "The Savoy Cocktail Book," famed mixologist Harry Craddock wrote of the gin-based libation: "The favourite cocktail of the Pegu Club, Burma, and one that has traveled, and is asked for, around the world."

Rudyard Kipling also patronized the popular gentleman's social club in British colonial Rangoon. In his collection of travel letters entitled "From Sea to Sea," he wrote: "The Pegu Club seemed to be full of men on their way up or down, and the conversation was but an echo of the murmur of conquest far away to the north."

Now that the club is deserted and a derelict reminder of colonial rule, the only way to visit the Far East watering hole is by making its namesake cocktail at home.
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April 26th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: It's Friday, and it's been a long week - we could all probably use a drink. Here to help us is Greg Best, the mixologist and partner in Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House and H&F Bottle Shop in Atlanta. Visual aids provided by Mark Hill, the Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting.

This drink was conceived in an effort to be contrarian to the contrarians. It’s no secret that there are many affiliated to bar culture who can’t help but cringe when the word "vodka" is mentioned in their presence. I’ve never understood this, because it’s the first thing most drinking folks ask for. Sure, I understand that it’s not the most expressive or exciting spirit to play with, but let’s face it, it’s not going anywhere.

Enter the Punch Wagon. Delightfully refreshing, bright and snappy, this is a perfect example of what I’d call a "gateway cocktail," or "trust-building drink." Using well-known ingredients in a playful recipe allows for the feel of a user-friendly cocktail experience without some of the more eccentric trappings that we drink geeks are prone to.
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Take pictures of your food without being a jerk about it
January 28th, 2013
07:15 PM ET
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Editor's Note: Mark Hill is Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. He's very worth following on Instagram @photomark16

I read an article in the New York Times Dining section last week that filled me with dismay. Helene Stapinski wrote an intriguing piece discussing restaurants that ban photography because it’s a disruption of the dining experience.

But wait, am I really a bummer just because I love shooting my beautifully prepared food before digging in?
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Filed under: Etiquette • Photography • Restaurants


January 4th, 2013
07:00 PM ET
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While you were scribbling down your 2013 resolutions, is there any chance you thought to include "Get really good at making cocktails"? Nope?

Well, the year is young and we're here to help: "we" being Turner's photography director Mark Hill and Greg Best, mixologist and partner in Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House and H&F Bottle Shop in Atlanta.

In a 62-33 vote, Louisiana House of Representatives declared the Sazerac to be New Orleans' official cocktail. It's a potent blend of rye whiskey, sugar, two kinds of bitters (including the city's native Peychaud's), lemon peel and a little hint of absinthe. For many years, that last one got in the way because it was banned in the United States. New Orleanians made do with Herbsaint - a kindred licorice-tasting pastis - until absinthe's legality was reinstated in 2007.
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December 5th, 2012
08:00 AM ET
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Editor's Note: Mark Hill is Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Although I have been in love with photography since I was 12, my first serious relationship with the subject began as a wide-eyed intern in New York City. A well-regarded food photographer took me under his wing and taught me all aspects of the craft, starting with a respect for the food that nourishes us.

For me, the key to good food photography is that whatever you are shooting needs to looks fresh from the kitchen. Not all food is inherently beautiful - a rack of ribs, for example - but if it appears fresh and hot out of the smoker, it will look appetizing.

The plate needs to be composed in the kitchen as carefully as you frame your camera. Look at how the food is plated. Ask yourself if the most important element is highlighted. If not, rotate the plate to make it more prominent. Does the garnish enhance the plate or distract? If it distracts, reduce or eliminate it all together. Don’t be afraid to move things around.

Here are a few tips that will really make food images their best. They all apply if using the fanciest digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or mobile phone camera.
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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Photography • Think • Travel


That first cone is king
June 9th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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Mark Hill is Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. He really loves coffee.

I know it is hot outside. Really hot. But what can you do? It's still technically spring, but the heat isn't likely to break for another day or two.

We all search for relief in sterile, air-conditioned homes and offices, but is that really the solution that will bring a true smile to your face? I have an idea: have an ice cream cone.

Close your eyes and try to remember the first time someone handed you an ice cream cone on a really hot day. You walked out of the store and the heat of the afternoon sun blasted your face. You held the cone tightly, but gently so as not to crush the delicate waffle that held your scoop. As you gently licked, your tongue burned with the cold and then succumbed to the creamy goodness that is unique to ice cream - and you were happy. Really happy.
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Filed under: Dishes • Ice Cream


Mourning coffee
August 12th, 2010
09:30 AM ET
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Mark Hill is Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. He travels a LOT.

Nothing sets the tone for the day like my morning coffee. Dark and bitter, with a hint of creamy half-and-half, that first cup of coffee is my ritual of calm transition between sleep and activity. The smell wafting through the house is like a switch that turns on my brain; coaxing me gently - yet firmly - awake. This quiet time helps me mentally organize my day, prep my body for a shower and (hopefully) a healthy breakfast.

At times, I'm forced to substitute inferior, hot brown dishwater that is sold under the "hot coffee" moniker, usually in quick food establishments, airport concessions, or truck stops. These peddlers of cheap, weakly brewed "coffee" are oblivious of their negative impact on me. Rather than bold taste, I'm slapped by blandness and the realization that settling for less is just fine for many.
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Filed under: Coffee • Sip


Food in the Field – Abu Dhabi
June 18th, 2010
04:00 PM ET
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Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating as they travel the globe. Today's contributor, Mark Hill, is the Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

In May of this year, CNN International asked me to go to the United Arab Emirates to shoot some photography for their news bureau. Since I haven’t been to that region in ages, I jumped at the chance. Two long international flights later - one detouring around Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud - I was in Abu Dhabi.

The next morning was a quiet one filled with meetings and location scouting. I hired a driver so I could get some generic shots of key sites in the city. But first, I wanted a good meal. The driver assured me he knew the perfect spot and after a hot drive through the congested city I found myself at the entrance of a Subway sandwich shop. Once I stopped laughing, I explained I wanted authentic food: local grub, real regional fare. “Oh, Arabic food is what you want,” he exclaimed, as if to say, “why didn't you just say so?”

Off we went.

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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • Food in the Field • Travel • We're Eating


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