Seasoned restaurant vet Leigh Jones takes the cozy bent of her joints Jonsey's EatBar and the Horseshoe Lounge to heart. "It's about the comfort food of who you are and where you've been."
Kitchen Cred: Leigh Jones, 39, hails from the small town of New Concord, Ohio. After opening a string of restaurant hotspots in Nashville, Austin, and Denver, she relocated here to co-open B-52 Billiards in 2000. Brasserie Rouge followed in 2003, and Atomic Cowboy in 2004. She co-opened the Horseshoe Lounge in 2006 and her own place, Jonesy's EatBar, in June.
Best Bites Jones recreates bruschetta from Alfredo Positano, her favorite restaurant in Paris. "I'll take cherry tomatoes and mix them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and a dash of sugar. I mash them up, then put half of them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 250°, then put them all back together, and serve it on crusty bread."
Sweet Tart "I love vinegar," states Jones. "It's one of my favorite flavors. I'll use this fig-lemon balsamic vinegar with a little stone-ground mustard and olive oil to make a really tart salad dressing." California Harvest Fig Lemon balsamic vinegar, $6.29 for 8.45 oz. at Blue Spruce Market in Bergen Park.
Think Pink When seeking out the perfect wine, Jones suggests a dry rosé. "There are so many beautiful pink wines," she says. "This one is actually a Colorado wine. It's a Pinot Gris from Sutcliffe Vineyards in Cortez. And I love this Pinot Noir cava from Cordoniu. It's really dry and crisp, but it's bigger than a white." 2006 Sutcliffe Vineyard Pinot Gris, $40, and Cordoniu Pinot Noir Cava, $35
Cool Sips "I do not believe in spending too much on glasses," Jones says. She picks up colorful, vintage-inspired juice glasses from Anthropologie, and etched wine glasses and Champagne flutes from Crate and Barrel. Hobnail juice glass, $8 each at www.anthropologie.com.
Corn Fed "Being from Ohio, sweet corn is the big thing," says Jones. "Look for Silver Queen—that's the best strain. Usually what you see around here is Bread and Butter."
Strawberry Shortcake with Homemade Ice Cream
For the Shortcake:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar (plus a little more to sprinkle on top)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1/3; cup shortening
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
Mix together first four dry ingredients and then cut in shortening with two forks. Whisk together milk and egg, add to dry mixture, and stir until just combined (dough will be sticky and clumpy). Pat into a greased 8-inch round pan and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake at 450° for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly golden. Serve with macerated strawberries and homemade ice cream.
Mom's Homemade Ice Cream
First order of business: Get an old-fashioned, White Mountain hand-crank ice cream maker. "I cheat with the same model in electric," says Jones. "But I swear my Uncle John's tastes better after it's hand-churned." Jones also says it's wise to double the recipe.
- 2-3 beaten eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon really good vanilla
- 2 cups milk (Jones uses 1 cup whole, 1 cup 2 percent or skim)
- 1 cup half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until hot, but don't boil mixture or let the milk scald. Cool completely. Freeze in ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions.