by Guest Blogger in Restaurants, July 26th, 2015
by Sara Levine in Restaurants, July 20th, 2015
By Sara Ventiera
New York may be the greatest food city in the world. Yet, no matter how many high-end steakhouses, sushi bars and tony trattorias move in, the Big Apple is still a hot dog town at heart. The love affair started in the mid-19th century, when German immigrants began proffering sausages on Bowery street corners. Now the official food of baseball games and summer cookouts, the hot dog has become a national obsession. Though street carts abound, enterprising chefs and entrepreneurs are also in on the hot dog game, selling everything from fancy Kobe beef franks to old reliable ballpark dogs with mustard and onions. Here’s where to sink your teeth into the city’s best frankfurters.
Check out the full gallery for all 10 great hot dogs.
by Guest Blogger in Restaurants, July 19th, 2015
On vacation, normal breakfast routines go out the window — as they should, because your much-deserved days off should start with craveworthy morning meals. Whether you’re sightseeing, relaxing near the beach or enjoying a staycation at home, we’ve got the lowdown on breakfast destinations that are worth a special trip.
The lines often stretch around the block for these popular doughnut shops across the country, and once you’re biting into a decadent, deep-fried ring of dough, you’ll understand the reason why. Start the day with a maple-bacon doughnut in Washington, D.C., a birthday cake variation in Chicago or a Cointreau creme brulee confection in Portland, Ore. Check out Food Network-approved doughnut shops from coast to coast.
by Erin Hartigan in Drinks, July 11th, 2015
By Drew Lazor
Who’s got the best cheesesteak? It is a question that nags many a native Philadelphian, particularly when out-of-towners visit. After all, the elemental combo of griddle-cooked beef, gooey cheese and onions (gotta get onions), stuffed into a long roll, is our most-famous culinary export. Attempting to answer, beyond a shadow of a grease-dripping doubt, is a good way to drive yourself crazy, to say nothing of the damage to your waistline. Instead, let’s look at 10 of the area’s most-distinctive cheesesteak makers, all of whom provide a serious napkins-so-necessary experience.
(Note: For the purposes of this feature, we’ve decided to relegate Pat’s and Geno’s, South Philly’s world-famous dueling cheesesteak specialists, to “Hall of Fame” status. Sure, you should try them — but try these, too.)
Check out the full gallery for all 10 ’steak-savvy spots.
by Amy Reiter in News, Restaurants, July 4th, 2015
If a beach escape isn’t in the cards this summer, ramp up the tropical factor with some island-themed snacks and perhaps a tiki cocktail, to take advantage of the warm weather. The tiki masters behind Chicago’s popular Three Dots and a Dash shake up to 2,000 rum-centric drinks on a typical night.
Beverage director Diane Corcoran oversees the menu of fruity, potent and often flaming combinations, including the classic Mai Tai, the coconut-based Painkiller and the smoky-sweet, summer-ready Bikinis After Dark (recipe below).
“The key to great tiki cocktails is keeping it balanced,” she says. “Use fresh juices — pineapple, lemon and lime — and get flavors from things that aren’t syrup. You can use a lot of fresh fruit and purees without added sugar to get that fruit flavor.”
by Amy Reiter in News, Restaurants, July 2nd, 2015
There are two kinds of Americans: those who like ranch dressing (like, on everything!) and those who frankly fail to understand the appeal. A new St. Louis restaurant is designed exclusively for those who fall into the first category, taking the ubiquitous creamy condiment and rendering it even more so.
Twisted Ranch restaurant will soon swing open its doors in St. Louis’ historic Soulard neighborhood, offering diners a menu that includes 18 different flavors of ranch dressing — including garlic, horseradish, smoked paprika, tzatziki, cheesy bacon, chipotle and Thai — and features ranch dressing as an ingredient in essentially every single thing on the menu (except dessert, thank goodness).
by Amy Reiter in News, Restaurants, June 28th, 2015
Would you name your kid Quinoa? How about in exchange for $10,000 worth of bar food and booze?
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a casual-restaurant chain with 163 restaurants in 20 states, has announced that it will award $10,000 in BJ’s gift cards to the first parents in the United States to name their child after the healthy high-protein grain, which it is featuring in two new dishes on its light-fare menu: Roasted Chicken with Spinach Quinoa Bowl and Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowl.
by Amy Reiter in News, Restaurants, June 15th, 2015
Back in 2009, The New York Times ran a two-part list, written by restaurateur Bruce Buschel, of “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.” Included on it were these three instructive items:
17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.
75. Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course.
76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.
by Foodlets in Family, Restaurants, June 9th, 2015
Ready to salivate? Three words: burrata ice cream. The Italian-cheese-inspired soft serve is one of two flavors just introduced by mash-up master Dominique Ansel at the walk-up ice cream window of Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York’s West Village.
The creamy Burrata Soft Serve — which Ansel calls “a new alternative to vanilla” — comes in a homemade “honey tuile cone” with a whole-strawberry confit inside and is topped with balsamic caramel and fresh micro basil. “The flavors are simple and subtle, but so, so good,” DAK’s Instagram page boasts.
by Amy Reiter in News, Restaurants, May 24th, 2015
Three of our four small kids were born in Italy, where eating out is practically the national pastime. That meant toting our tots to a lot of restaurants. Here are the tricks we learned along the way — and still use for our group that now includes one baby, a toddler, a preschooler and even a kindergartener.
1. Take a “Fun Pack.” Our oldest daughter was a toddler when she started filling up a bag she called her “Fun Pack” for restaurants. Whatever she could fit in, went: toys, dolls, sunglasses. I also brought crayons and a coloring book, which weren’t automatically handed out in Rome. She may spend only a few minutes with each thing, but she’ll have enough stuff to explore during the meal to stay occupied.
2. Go early. This was a bit of a moot point in Europe, where dinner typically isn’t served until 8 p.m., but boy have we used it ever since we moved to the U.S. We are out the door by 4:30 p.m., trying to arrive at 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. The kids don’t get overly hungry, and the restaurant will likely be less busy.
3. Practice restaurant manners. For toddlers and preschoolers, role-playing ahead of time makes all the difference. (We did this before flying on planes too.) We physically sit at the table and explain what will happen at the restaurant. We tell them that a waiter will arrive to ask questions, there are menus, there is no getting up from the table unless you need to go potty — tell them whatever your family rules are. And we ask silly questions: “Any climbing under the table?” Which gives the kids a chance to yell, “No!” Yelling at home? Good. Yelling at the restaurant? Bad. Hence the dry run.
Lots of diners do it: make an advance reservation to eat at a well-regarded restaurant and then, when the date rolls around, opt not to go. Maybe they decide to eat somewhere else. Maybe they have multiple reservations, figuring they’ll go where they feel when the moment hits. Maybe something unavoidable comes up. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to cancel.
But if you make a reservation at the Hong Kong restaurant Sushi Shikon, a three-Michelin-star establishment, you’ll probably want to show up to eat there. If you cancel on the day of your reservation, try to change the date, don’t show up, show up with someone missing from your party or arrive more than an hour late, the restaurant will charge you 3,500 Hong Kong dollars ($452). Even if you give the restaurant a little notice, but cancel less than 72 hours of your seating time, Sushi Shikon will charge you HK $1,250 ($161). In fact, even if you wait just 24 hours from the time you confirm your reservation to cancel, but do so more than 72 hours before your seating time, you’ll still owe a fee of HK $500 ($65), although, according to the South China Morning Post, you are allowed to change the date of your reservation without penalty within that time frame.