Tag: restaurants

Hometown Hungers: New Orleans Beignets

by in Restaurants, October 22nd, 2016

Cafe Beignet

When the sun rises in New Orleans, so do the beignets. Traditionally served for breakfast in the Crescent City, these signature pastries are much like NOLA itself: a touch indulgent, yet totally irresistible.

Beignet is French for “fritter,” but here in the United States these airy pillows of fried dough are known as the official doughnut of Louisiana. The pastry arrived from France by way of Canada back in the 18th century. That’s when French colonists were forced to leave Canada’s eastern coast (then known as Acadia) in the years following Britain’s conquest of the region. They brought with them the recipe for this simple pastry that has since become synonymous with Louisiana — and New Orleans in particular.

Such has the demand for beignets grown through the decades that they’ve made their way onto many a NOLA menu, with tourists and locals alike flocking to places such as Café Du Monde and the Morning Call Coffee Stand, which have been churning out the sugar-topped treats in the Crescent City since the 1800s.

“The best traditional beignets are freshly hand-rolled, cut and fried to doughy perfection. They are then dusted with powdered sugar and served hot,” said Gordon Stevens, who is part owner of Café Beignet, where fans like Alton Brown stop in to get their fix of the city’s signature sweet dish. A popular pairing for the pastry is a cup of the distinctively bitter and full-bodied chicory coffee, another NOLA staple served at many spots that offer the delicate, fried-dough squares.

For those who want a sweet bite of beignet but can’t catch a ride to the Crescent City, check out Food Network’s gallery of top spots outside of Louisiana turning out classic takes on the deep-fried delight.

3 of a Kind: Corn Dogs Reimagined

by in Restaurants, October 19th, 2016

Huitlacoche Corn Dog from Hogs & Rocks
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

The corn dog, which has been around since the 1920s, has long been thought of as an inexpensive festival food … until now. Today’s chefs are giving this carnival snack a gourmet spin at restaurants around the country. They’re taking the everyday and turning it into something extraordinary by using luxurious ingredients including lobster, shrimp and even huitlacoche. Food on a stick never had it so good.

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Chefs’ Picks: Pumpkin Spice

by in Restaurants, October 16th, 2016

Spice Baked Apples from Kripalu
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

With the arrival of autumn comes the annual craze for the PSL (pumpkin spice latte), whose avid fan base just can’t seem to get enough of the seasonal beverage. Its star ingredient is much more versatile than many people realize, however. Innovative chefs around the country are elevating the status of pumpkin spice by taking it out of the paper cup and incorporating it into dishes that are far from basic. Read on to find out the surprising ways the pros are using the flavor of the season.

Jeremy Rock Smith, Executive Chef, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
In addition to filling your home with that distinctive autumnal scent, pumpkin spice actually has many health benefits. Though the ingredient inevitably conjures up images of overly sweet beverages and treats, Smith weighs in on how he brings pumpkin spice together with better-for-you ingredients at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Mass. “Pumpkin spice has really become synonymous with being unhealthy — [because] it’s often paired with a ton of white sugar,” Smith explains. “My favorite way to use pumpkin spice is by pairing it with healthy fall items, such as apples. When used this way, its flavor takes center stage and is highlighted, rather than smothered, without canceling out any of the benefits by adding the processed sweeteners.”


Pumpkin Spice Churros from Sons and Daughters
Jon Bignelli, Executive Chef, Sons & Daughters
For some people, fall is their favorite season — be it for the food or nostalgia. It’s a scientific fact that certain aromas can trigger the deepest memories, and Bignelli taps into this idea via pumpkin spice at newcomer Sons & Daughters in New York City. “I love pumpkin spice. It triggers all of those familiar fall feelings and nostalgic embraces,” says Bignelli. He incorporates the ingredient into the restaurant’s dessert menu by way of a seasonal spin on churros that features pumpkin spice. “It draws out the recollections of corn mazes, haunted houses, tricks, treats, misfit Thanksgivings, foliage and homecomings,” Bignelli says of the autumnal ingredient. “It makes you want more — and helps you to never forget those memories.”


Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns from Amy's Bread
Amy Scherber, Owner, Amy’s Bread
When it comes to baked goods and pumpkin spice, Scherber is churning out a new favorite — Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns — at her popular New York City bakery. “Chewy and crusty, our Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Bun is made with white and whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, spices, toasted pecans, and plenty of butter to make it rich and decadent,” Scherber says, noting that her sweet creation can be enjoyed in more than one way. “Depending on your mood, you can have it with a smear of cream cheese frosting or just plain, so you can savor all that wonderful pumpkin and spice.”


Rebecca Weitzman
Rebecca Weitzman, Executive Chef, Chalk Point Kitchen
There’s farm-to-table, there’s sustainable, and there’s multicultural; Chalk Point Kitchen in New York City is known for the trifecta. The restaurant’s global influence comes into play in Weitzman’s spin on pumpkin spice that takes it in a different direction than pie or sweets. “I think that fall pumpkin spices, if you remove the maple sweet factor, are very similar to madras curry seasonings with the ginger, allspice and cinnamon,” she says. “I really like to use them with lentils, as well as other legumes like chickpeas, during this time of year. Look … for a spiced heirloom pumpkin hummus coming to our new fall menu at Chalk Point!”


Kelly Liken
Kelly Liken, Executive Chef and Owner, Harvest by Kelly Liken
In Edwards, Colo., just down the street from Vail, Harvest by Kelly Liken is known for its unique yet approachable menu. You can count on Liken, then, to incorporate pumpkin spice into her seasonal fare in a rather creative and unexpected way: “I love to use pumpkin spice in pickling,” says Liken. “I’ll pickle pumpkin with a sweet and tangy liquid infused with pumpkin spice. The pickled pumpkin makes a great addition to an arugula salad dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil.”

Photography courtesy of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Sons & Daughters, Amy’s Bread, Chalk Point Kitchen and Harvest by Kelly Liken

Hometown Hungers: Baja Fish Tacos

by in Restaurants, October 15th, 2016

Rubio's Original Fish Taco

The beaches of northern Mexico have long been synonymous with surf, sand … and fish tacos.

Though no one can be certain exactly where or how this seemingly multicultural creation came about, one widely held theory is that Japanese fisherman working along the Pacific shores introduced the art of tempura to the local denizens of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, which eventually led to the birth of the beloved fish taco.

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3 of a Kind: Sushi Burritos

by in Restaurants, October 12th, 2016

3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

As it turns out, one plus one sometimes equals one — one exceptional dish, that is. Innovative chefs across the country are teaching that delicious lesson by marrying two menu classics to create one indulgent mash-up. There is the Cronut, the kimchi taco and even the turducken, which tweaks the traditional Thanksgiving turkey in a big way by stuffing it with a chicken inside a duck. One of the newest mash-ups to take the culinary world by storm is the sushi burrito, which brings together sushi and burritos, of course. Admittedly more giant sushi hand roll than burrito, the creation is still a tantalizing concept, with fresh fish and sticky rice rolled up in a seaweed wrapper. Here are a few places featuring this mash-up on their menus.
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Chefs’ Picks: Workout Fuel

by in Restaurants, October 9th, 2016

POW POW POWER Smoothie from Harvest
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

Whether you’re gearing up for a spin class or a bike race, a jog around the block or a marathon, getting the right nutrients can make all the difference when it comes to actually going the distance. Your pre-workout fuel doesn’t have to be flavorless, though, as the following chefs prove. Read on to find out which of their power-packed dishes are perfect to devour before any sweat session.

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Hometown Hungers: Philly Cheesesteak

by in Restaurants, October 8th, 2016

Cheesesteak from Pat's King of Steaks

Few cities are as synonymous with their sandwiches as Philadelphia. After all, one of its most-famous dishes features a shoutout to the city right in its name: the Philly cheesesteak.

The first version of the sandwich was invented by enterprising hot-dog vendor Pat Olivieri in 1930. He heaped grilled meat and onions onto an Italian roll, creating a Philadelphia classic that’s still sold at Pat’s King of Steaks, the shop that he opened on Passyunk Avenue decades ago. The sandwich has evolved through the years, with the addition of provolone cheese and later Cheez Whiz earning it the cheesesteak moniker — and cementing its status as a Philadelphia icon.

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3 of a Kind: Ube Desserts

by in Restaurants, October 5th, 2016

Ube Ice Cream from 2nd City
By Patty Lee

3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

With its striking color, a unique flavor and a texture that works in cookies, cakes and other confections, ube — a purple yam native to the Philippines — was destined to become the next dessert sensation. While lavender-hued sweets have recently caught the eye of Instagrammers, the ingredient is more than just a buzzy trend for Filipino chefs. “In any Filipino party, ube would be present at the dessert table alongside leche flan and fruit salad,” says Ginger Lim-Dimapasok, owner of Cafe 86 in Pasadena, Calif. “To those of us who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines, being able to eat ube and to have it be so easily accessible really brings us back to our roots.” As Filipino cuisine rises in popularity, more ube-centric eats are popping up on menus, sometimes in unexpected forms. “It’s inspirational to see how other chefs transform this ingredient very differently from how we’ve always known to eat it growing up,” says Nomad Donuts’ Kristianna Zabala. Here’s how three chefs are currently shining a spotlight on ube.

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Chefs’ Picks: Chicago Pizza

by in Restaurants, October 2nd, 2016

Pizza from Lou Malnati's
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

Pizza lovers who are partial to Chicago’s signature pie are very particular about where to indulge their devotion to this thick-crust tradition. Loyalties run as deep as the rich layers of sauce, cheese and toppings that compose the pies themselves, which are so filling that just a slice or two is enough to satisfy. Even the most high-end chefs have been known to give in to their cravings for this comforting dish that has a cult-like following. Here some chefs from Chicago and elsewhere share their favorite spots for a slice of deep-dish in the Windy City.

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Hometown Hungers: Wisconsin Frozen Custard

by in Restaurants, October 1st, 2016

Frozen Custard
Leave it to Wisconsin, a state with more than 1 million dairy cows, to take its frozen desserts seriously. Wisconsin custard, which is silkier and denser than ice cream, lures thousands of fans anytime the weather warms.

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