This year’s South by Southwest festival is more food-centric than ever. The SouthBites lineup is back for its second year, now encompassing dozens of programs on the growing intersection of food and tech. There’s a pop-up food trailer park of the same name where you can refuel with kimchi fries and fish tacos between panels. But Austin is always good to food lovers, no matter when you visit. The Texas town is home to epic barbecue, world-class Tex-Mex (breakfast tacos galore!) and pioneering chefs. If you’re heading to SXSW, here are some must-try spots. And if you’re not lucky enough to attend this year, consider these just a few tasty reasons to book a trip. Read more
By Alia Akkam
A tower of pancakes — hotcakes or flapjacks, if you prefer — glistening under a sheen of sticky syrup is as much a comforting symbol of weekend mornings as the diner’s roving coffee pot. Whether strewn with blueberries, made with tangy sourdough or served in their naked buttermilk state, here are some of the country’s tastiest iterations of the carb-laden breakfast favorite. Check out the full gallery for all 12 wake-up-worthy spots. Read more
On most special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, my husband and I look forward to splurging on dinners out at new or favorite restaurants. But not on Valentine’s Day. One too many overpriced set menus with boring choices (“free” glass of sparkling wine included!) ruined that for us. We usually plan an elaborate menu to cook at home, but enough people have wised up to staying in on Valentine’s Day that the scene in Whole Foods can be just as bad as a “romantic restaurant.” So this year, let’s try a new game plan. Maybe a romantic dinner doesn’t have to mean an expensive fixed-price menu or hours spent toiling in the kitchen. Maybe it’s just splurging (calorically) on a favorite comfort food together, something fun that satisfies at a low price, without a reservation made weeks or months in advance — and nobody has to wash dishes. Here are five ideas for nontraditional Valentine’s Day date nights. Read more
The correct, dictionary-approved spelling for these treats is “doughnut,” though the shorter “donut” has been around since the late 1800s. No matter how you spell it or which variety you favor (cake, yeast or old fashioned), one thing is certain: Doughnuts have broken out of breakfast and become more than just a pair-with-coffee staple. The lines often stretch around the block for these popular doughnut shops, and once you’re biting into a decadent, deep-fried ring of dough, you’ll understand the reason why.
Washington, D.C.: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (pictured above)
You may recognize co-founder Jeff Halpern’s name: He’s a professional hockey player who played for the Washington Capitals, among other NHL teams. He and co-founder Elliot Spaisman grew up playing hockey together and doughnuts were their reward of choice after games. Grab fried chicken or Sriracha wings before choosing your dessert. You might find a new favorite day of the week based on Astro’s rotating doughnut calendar. Beat a case of the Mondays with Coconut Cake or enjoy the weekend with Elvis (think peanut butter-banana filling). No matter what day of the week you stop by, though, there are some pretty awesome daily flavors that include Vanilla Glazed, Creme Brulee and even Maple Bacon.
Dim sum dumplings — once the sole province of Chinese restaurants — are having their breakthrough moment. From a fifth-generation chef folding traditional xiao long bao to a food truck steaming up bacon cheeseburger dumplings for passersby, chefs across the country are delighting diners with dim sum and then some. Whether you like your shumai from a Chinatown dive or in a glitzy nightclub, we’ve tracked down some of the best dumplings to fit your taste and budget. Check out a sampler below and head over to the gallery for the full list.
Meatballs are culinary ambassadors, offering diners a taste of Italy, Sweden, Japan and beyond. Whether bite-sized or massive, appetizer or entree, served with sauce or spaghetti, paired with mashed potatoes, or even served on top of a pizza, meatballs are savory and satisfying — and loved by kids and adults alike. Check out the full gallery for a sampler of 17 delectable meatball dishes across the country.
In Denver’s River North district is an eclectic, contemporary American bar and grill with a menu of mostly shared plates that range from a foie gras “PB&J” to wood-fired mussels and oak grilled octopus with gnocchi. Diners rave about the tomato-braised meatballs served over Anson Mills stone-ground grits with Burrata and basil (pictured above), which are on the lunch, midday and dinner menus.
Ramen has established its place on the list of ultimate comfort foods. Forget about those packets of instant noodles you ate in college — these craveworthy bowls are the real deal. You’ll now find this slippery noodle dish all across the country, not just in dorms and Japanese enclaves. Chefs are putting their spin on it, creating their own mash-up versions with everything from coconut curry broth to toppings like matzo balls or cheese. Check out the full gallery for all 12 steaming bowls that are sure to beat your winter blues.
A heaping platter of crunchy, gooey nachos might be simple, yet its power to satisfy and comfort is undeniable. Whether flaunting pork, brisket or pickled onions, this cheese-shellacked blanket of tortilla chips is especially cherished during football season. To satisfy your cravings during these football-free weeks before the big game, check out 10 of of the country’s best takes on this humble staple of Tex-Mex joints in our full gallery.
Los Angeles: Border Grill (pictured above)
Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, the dames behind modern Mexican institution Border Grill, are known for their Skillet Nachos. At the downtown Los Angeles location — as well as in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay and the Forum Shops at Caesars — the dish arrives piled high with housemade tortilla chips, from-scratch cheese sauce, organic black beans and tender morsels of carne asada.
by Cindy Augustine
One of the busiest pizza nights of the year is — wait for it — the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. It makes perfect sense: With most Americans prepping turkeys, chopping veggies and baking pies, who has time to make dinner? Fortunately, a hot and tasty meal is only a phone call, and sometimes just a delivery, away. Here are some of the best independent pizza spots across the country — no reservations required. Check out the full gallery to find the best pies near your Thanksgiving destination. Read more
Certainly, Food Network chefs do a mighty fine job of sharing their culinary adventures and personal lives in 140 characters on Twitter. So much so that we’re proud to feature them right over here. But just in case you’d like to expand your following, here’s a handy list of top food-world personalities to add to your Twitter roll.