MICHELLE NORRIS, host:
In many ways, the people who work for the food and travel magazine Saveur are like culinary detectives. As they travel the globe, they're always on the hunt for new edible delights. Since they can't include every treasure they find in the magazine, they save the best of the rest for the Saveur 100, an annual list of favorite restaurants, food, drink, people, places and things. Coleman Andrews is editor-in-chief of Saveur, and he joined us to share some standouts.
We begin with item number 54, described as the Lena Horne of the egg world.
Mr. COLEMAN ANDREWS (Editor-in-Chief, Saveur): Well, those are duck eggs and, you know, chickens are not the only animals that produce edible eggs for us. And duck eggs are a little richer. They're actually higher in fat and cholesterol, which is a naughty thing today to be, but it makes them more delicious. And they really are very similar to chicken eggs, but they really have another level of flavor and richness to them.
NORRIS: Where would you find a duck egg? You don't see duck eggs at the grocery store.
ANDREWS: You actually have them at some grocery stores. You see them at farmer's markets a lot and generally specialty stores, your kind of "gourmet markets", a lot of them do carry duck eggs. It's not the kind of thing, needless to say, you want to mail order.
NORRIS: No, definitely not. Let's move down the list to the West Alabama Icehouse, which despite the name, is actually in Texas.
ANDREWS: That's in Houston, Texas, and, you know, icehouses, as anyone who's spent anytime in Texas knows, are a great old tradition in Texas. They were mostly, literally, icehouses to begin with. They're big concrete block buildings where people used to go and pick up their ice, and they'd, of course, have a cold beer while they were there. And these grew into being places that people just come for a beer. It's a tavern. It's not really a place you go to eat, although some icehouses do have food. It's really a place to go and relax and chill out, literally. They have music, typically, too, a lot of them do.
NORRIS: Now, you usually include chocolate on your list. What's so special about item number 22, the most popular chocolate in Paris.
ANDREWS: Well, the oldest chocolate shop in Paris is Debauve and Gallais. They're now, they now have recently opened a shop in New York City, but they make, among other things, these little tiny squares -they're really almost postage stamp size, a little bit thicker of course - of 99 percent pure cacao candies or chocolates, which means they are not sweet at all, the faintest, faintest little taste of sweetness. And as you know, chocolate without sugar is fairly bitter.
If you take a handful of these, or even one of these, and just eat it by itself, you have to be a real chocolate lover to enjoy it, but we found - and what they recommend - is if you take a bite of one of these or put a whole onE in your mouth because it's so small, and have a little sip of good scotch whiskey, of good cognac, it's a wonderful combination.
NORRIS: You also, at number 48, include a wine called a Dry Austrian Golden Muscat, and you say will impress your wine snob friends who perhaps like chardonnay but have not yet discovered this.
ANDREWS: This is something, I can tell you, that most people have not discovered, and I've talked to people who are professional wine writers, wine critics, and very few of them have heard of it, or they've vaguely heard of it, but they've never had it. It's really obscure, and it's a fun little thing to throw in here just because it's not something, you won't be recommended this wine by your local wine shop, probably. You won't read about it in a book on wine and recommended wines. But it's very, very good, a little unusual, not terribly expensive and, you know, very distinctive.
NORRIS: So if you like white wine, but you don't want to order a chardonnay, there's another alternative.
ANDREWS: If you're tired of chardonnay.
NORRIS: As many people are.
ANDREWS: If you're tired of chardonnay, this is something, yeah.
NORRIS: Screw-top bottles are on this list.
ANDREWS: Wave of the future. Actually, it's specified for wine. The people that we're talking about here is a producer of Chablis named Michel Laoche. He makes, like a lot of wine makers, he makes an ordinary everyday line of wine, and then he makes these individual vineyard ones, these Grande and Premier cru wines. His ordinary everyday wines, he's left in cork-finished bottles for now, and it's his expensive wines, his fancy wines, his best wines that he's putting in screw caps. And screw caps maintain the freshness and the flavor of the wine. And of course, it's very easy.
NORRIS: Coleman, what's your favorite item on this list?
ANDREWS: Well, you know, every food writer, I think, has these guilty pleasures, these things that he or she eats that you wouldn't want to brag about eating in public, but I'm going to brag about saying that I love flavored corn chips and potato chips. That's my junk food jones that I always enjoy. So I found these new, there's a brand called Kettle Chips, which are pretty well known.
NORRIS: Oh, know it well.
ANDREWS: And they have a new flavor called Spicy Thai Kettle Chips, which have a little chili flavor and a little ginger. And I just went crazy for them, so I'd have to say that's about my favorite item. And you know, a bag of those and a bottle of Austrian Golden Muscat...
NORRIS: Followed with a little bit of chocolate?
ANDREWS: Exactly right.
NORRIS: Sounds like a nice lunch. Coleman, thanks for coming in to talk to us.
ANDREWS: Thank you very much.
NORRIS: Coleman Andrews is the editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. You can read the Saveur 100 and sample a recipe from the list at our website, npr.org.