For years I’ve seen this traditional deli featured on travel and food shows and I couldn’t believe I was there in person, ordering the classic lunch of smoked meat on rye with mustard and a side of fries. The Cherry Coke was thrown in for good measure. If you’re expecting a New York style sandwich though, you’ll be surprised by what is actually brought to the table. At their roots, the Montreal smoked meat and NYC pastrami are similar; both are kosher deli meats made by salting and curing beef brisket with a variety of spices. The Montreal version though isn’t as sweet as the New York version and uses more aromatic spices than they do in the Five Boroughs. The presentation is pretty similar with the Montreal meat having a slightly thicker cut. So what about the taste? The Montreal smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s was delicious, but shouldn’t be compared with cured meat in other...
Poutine is the stuff of legends, much to the chagrin of many Canadians. It is the one food non-Canadians seem to know the most about and a snack of this heavy dish is at the top of the list for most visitors to Montreal. Even though it can be found throughout Canada, poutine got its start in Quebec back in the 1950s and truly is a collage, some would say train wreck, of ingredients. The classic recipe is simple really: french fries topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. But this simple explanation really doesn’t do it justice. Like many other comfort foods poutine may not be the healthiest dish but there is just something satisfying about the experience. I love sharing a big bowl amongst friends, each armed with a fork scouting out the best fries and melty cheese curds as the gravy drips drop by drop into the bowl below. There are a thousand varieties of poutine, including BBQ,...
It was a crisp, sunny June day in Portland when I discovered this cozy open-air waffle haven. A quintessential Portland dig, Flavour Spot is an outdoor cafe set upon playground-like gravel with picnic tables, good jams and bikes lined up against the fence that surrounds it.
Get the waffle, ice cream or beverage of your choice—I chose a waffle with banana, peanut butter and Nutella..with a marshmellow creme dip, naturally (how can one go wrong with such a combo?). Wear your stretchy pants, take a seat, and enjoy Portland's summer sunshine.
Brasserie Les Halles is owned by famous chef Anthony Bourdain (which is the reason I wanted to go), and the food did not disappoint. I loved my moules et frites. They also have a great wine selection and a good bar, and the ambiance has that old Paris charm. Les Halles has another location in lower Manhattan, too.
No phone, no reservations. Things might seem strict and serious at Top Chef finalist Pierre Sang's first restaurant in Paris but it's all creative flavor pairings and playful presentations in the kitchen.
On the inside - warm, exposed stone walls, the communal counter (seats 14) and the magnificent natural light that suffuses the polished open kitchen from large accordion glass doors are all striking features without removing focus from the plate. And it certainly deserves your attention.
The chirpy sommelier begins by explaining the ‘informal’ dining concept, which forgoes formalities like menus and cloth napkins but includes a terrific wine pairing (30), and asks guests to stipulate any food allergies. From there, Sang-Boyer’s adroit team prepares the first sequence in a series of small plates. It’s in the subtle kitchen theatrics that follows that the experience truly shines....
Housed in the old meat market is an innovative shop and cafe, the Het Groot Vleeshuis. Here visitors can sample a variety of Ghent and Flemish foods, learning about the region along the way. One of the highlights of the restaurant is the famous Ganda Ham. Ganda (an archaic term for Ghent) hams are dry cured and aged for anywhere from nine to fourteen months. The taste is a little salty but otherwise mild. I was surprised at the distinct differences between the longer aged hams and found a little bit of perfection when they were paired with a spicy Ghent mustard.
Bologna is well known for its culinary expertise, and one of the best restaurants in town to taste authentic Bolognese cuisine is at the Trattoria Anna Maria. This little restaurant serves only the best food from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, in which Bologna is found. Hand made tagliatella, savory lasagna and a melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu are just some of the highlights at this traditional but delicious restaurant.
I’m not a big fan of seafood but one of my culinary weaknesses is the Bahamian conch fritter. Perhaps it is because anything fried is therefore good, but I love conch fritters. I enjoyed them several times during my brief stay in the islands and couldn’t get enough of them. While fried, they are also light and when served with the right sauce, make for an amazing appetizer. What I liked best is that they didn’t taste like seafood, which means that they tasted good.
This past weekend I had one of the best brunches of my life at La Macarena. I ordered the Vegetarian Spanish Breakfast: sweet corn tamale, cheese pupusa, refried beans, sweet fried plantains & avocado. It was like, a little bit of heaven dropped down from the sky, turned itself into Spanish food, and landed in my mouth.The place was seat yourself and cash only (atm on location though!) The service was quick and friendly and I can see why it’s a local favorite. That pupusa will visit me again in my dreams, often.
I considered posting a wider frame of the interior of this place. Then I looked at this photo, and thought of the burger... and I figured that you wouldn't mind a tighter take on the food. Besides, most people bitch and moan about the wallpaper here - why, I don't know.
25 Degrees, located in the swanky Roosevelt Hotel, is one of LA's most popular burger joints, and not just because the people coming down from the suites next door are famous (alright, maybe that's part of the reason). The food is good. Terrible for the California body you planned on strutting through town, no doubt, but good. The Guinness milkshakes are fantastic, even if the asking price is a little silly. But if you're eating in this place, you're not coming for a bargain.
Open 24/7 - things get loud and obnoxious at night, but sometimes that can be fun.
Fresh fish and pisco sours are the common cuisine in Chile and Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island, but Kaimana Inn and Restaurant provides fresh, local meals by helpful and friendly staff along with guidance and travel organization. They organized a night for us to watch traditional dance, which was by far the highlight of our few days on the island, aside from the Moai and ATVs.
I LOVE crepes. In these times of gluten free this and no carb that and sugar free and dairy free…….well, a girl’s got to have a little fun! And these are my idea of fun! There are the savories, like the best selling Smoked Marlin Crêpe w/ Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly which is outrageously delicious - even though I am usually turned off by cream cheese as an ingredient in anything other than cheesecake and atop my bagel with smoked salmon – good thing I left myself open! But lets cut to the chase, the sweet……. the lemon meringue crepe drizzled with white chocolate is utterly to die for! And as you lose yourself in that sweet sugar haze be sure to have a glass of their frozen mint lemonade in hand……..you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
( Photo: Cookie Kinkead )
Hot dogs aren't normally what come to mind when you think of a healthy snack, but Hop Dog is trying to change that perception. This little take-away, nestled in one of the pedestrian streets near Grand Place in central Brussels is bringing new life to 'meat in tube form.'
A Hop Dog is an 100% chicken sausage. It is served with home-made sauces and buns and features all fresh ingredients. If you want to be even more virtuous, there are organic and veggie Hop Dogs on offer.
My favourite is the Spicy, with barbecue sauce and crispy fried onions, but offerings also include pesto, mustard and a monthly special. It's a great stop for a quick break from sight-seeing or shopping in the city centre.
Le Crocodile has been in Vancouver for an impressive 26 years and is the result of chef Michel Jacob wanting to create a memorable dining experience for foodies such as myself. The traditional plates in this small bistro call 1930s Paris to mind, and Le Crocodile has catered to various celebrities, including Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Jean Chretien, and Cindy Crawford (as noted on the restaurant's website).
However, I didn’t know of the famed guests before making a reservation. What drew me in was the menu. I am a sucker for foie gras, quail, rich butter sauces, fresh seafood, and all things French. Oh, and chocolate! At Le Crocodile all these can be found in ways that I had yet to experience, perhaps because I have yet to go to my dream destination: Paris. For now, Le Crocodile will do.
You can find the old-fashioned classics such as Dover sole with butter sauce, foie...
One of western Canada's most celebrated chefs, Ned Bell, oversees the kitchen at Yew Restaurant and Bar located within the downtown Four Seasons Hotel and is connected to the Pacific Centre Mall.
The dinning room gives the ere of being inside a tree with high ceilings and cuts of wood hung on the walls exposing the unique grains of each tree. It is bright and cozy with an inviting bar on one side and an open view of the kitchen and chefs on the opposite side. If you’re lucky you’ll be in when Bell is.
Upon entry there is fresh seafood displayed in full view. One day I saw a gigantic halibut, the next day there were spot prawns frozen in clear ice.
With one of the most expensive Cobb salads (with lobster) you'll encounter and delicious crab tacos the menu not only contains the freshest seafood but unique takes on old classics such as pasta alla carbonara, deep fried pickles, and an array...
Upon first entering the famed blue doors of Per Se, located inside the Time Warner Center overlooking Central Park, the dining room has the air of a wake, filled stiff collars and hushed tones. But no matter the attitude, the fact is that everyone in the dining room waited at least a month for this moment. At Per Se, you can only make a reservation one month in advance (maximum), and, if you procrastinate a day or two (say 28 or days or less before your desired date) you've likely missed your chance.
(Do take note that you cannot cancel a reservation within seven days without being charged $175 per seat reserved.) This is an experience that will last up to four hours, where you are served from five to nine courses (depending on the menu you select), with many surprises in between, including personalized menus with your name and event (if you're celebrating anything) on each.
There's simply no better place to get Caribbean spiny lobster on Barbados than Lobster Alive. Fact. Why? Because practically every lobster sold in every restaurant on the island comes through this one unassuming location.
The problem is that due to Barbados' natural shoreline topography, there are no quality lobster habitats – the waters surrounding the island are too deep to support lobsters in large enough quantities to meet the tastes and demands of locals and visitors.
This means that all the islands lobsters need to be imported and that's all done by one man: Art Taylor, an Australian with an airplane who realized long ago that the best way to get fresh lobster in Barbados was to go off-island and get it himself.
Each week, he flies twice to Bequia in the Grenadines and loads his small single-engine Cherokee airplane with a good 700 pounds of the spiny treats.
Crispy, thin and buttery served with a side of homemade whipped cream and lingonberry jam, that's how the Swedish do waffles. You can find these almost anywhere in the country where they serve fika– a word, no, institution involving coffee, friends and sweets. The best ones are found at little cafes. Try them and I guarantee you'll never crave a Belgian waffle again.
*If you become obsessed like me and want to enjoy these at home, pickup a Swedish waffle iron before you leave at Class Olsson for about $40.
Last September, Union Market opened as a year-round indoor food hall in Northeast Washington, D.C. The market showcases more than 40 local vendors including Neopol Smokery, Peregrine Espresso, and Righteous Cheese.
Photo courtesy of Union Market. This appeared in the March/April 2013 issue.
Having the best Thai joint in Portland so close to home is a blessing and a curse. Thai Chili Jam always serves fresh, authentic meals with comfortable surroundings that make me feel at home, even when I "eat in." Start with the fresh salad rolls; the peanut sauce they're served with has a special flair. Move to the mains and don't hesitate to try the specialty curry and Choo Chee in the seafood department. Jam loves to talk about her journeys home—making this a must stop if Thailand figures into your travel plans and you're looking for advice. Her staff are friendly and fast, always ready to make your visit pleasant.
Having such a wonderful food stop on my commute is the blessing. I am cursed with having to keep my foot on the gas as I drive by; trying to avoid wearing out my welcome. I'm thinking maybe I need to call my order in right now. There is no time like the present when it...
At the ground-floor wine bar, take in the view of the Grand Canal while enjoying such cicchetti as salumi and cheese. In the upstairs dining room, choose from a menu that features intriguing dishes, including cocoa fusilli with boar ragù.
Campo San Giacometto, San Polo 122 39/041-523-2061. Photo by Sabine Lubenow/Jai Corbis. This appeared in the March/April 2013 issue.
Vietnam has a coffee culture all to its own and in Hanoi, this includes a few cafes that serve it with egg. Whipped with sweetened condensed milk, the egg sits atop the slow roasted coffee, providing you with a hot afternoon treat that you'll think about for days.
URL below is a recipe for how to make it, but Cafe Giang in Hanoi was the one I enjoyed the most. If you're too warm for egg coffee, try the yoghurt coffee on their menu instead.
The best thing about this chicken and crawfish pie, filled with creamy peas and shrooms and covered in a buttery, toasty pie crust? I got to order and eat it from a table for one. And just one.
As a solo traveler, I'm so often relegated to letting the waiter know that "No, I'm not waiting for someone" and "No, I don't need another menu or that second place setting." But not here at The Albion in hip Shoreditch. On a Tuesday night, this cool new spot was packed, but when I joined the line and said I was "just one" I was whisked to a lovely little table just along the wall. No second chair. No second setting. And there were others in similar tables, too! I didn't have to wait; didn't have to worry about people giving me the odd look; and didn't have to answer any of those annoying Qs that always re-enforce my alone-ness. I pulled out a magazine and dined in delight. The food was...
Stroopwafels are ridiculously delicious and addictive. This Dutch treat consists of two thin, firm waffles sandwiching a layer of lush caramel.
Apparently, the average Dutch person eats 20 stroopwafels each year. Somehow, I must have easily eaten 20 in my week-long visit. Good thing Amsterdam is such a beautiful walking city.
Most days in Belgium are a little dreary — ever more the reason to huddle with strangers over some of the best seafood in the city.
Noordzee/Mer du Nord (depending on your language of choice) is a fish market turned outdoor bar, where you stand with an obligatory glass of white wine or champagne and feast on whatever's fresh that day. The photographed Belgian specialty: shrimp croquettes, were little grey shrimp and bundled and fried up to perfection.
Call it what you will—KoMex, Mexicorean, Korexican, Asian Fusion—it's gaining a foothold in the Desert Southwest. In addition to the Tucson food truck scene, you can now get sit-down fare at Umi Star, just five minutes north of the University of Arizona. And it's more than just tacos.
Tortas are the logical next step in marrying northeast Asian and south-of-the-border tastes, now that galbi (Korean beef short-rib) tacos and kimchi quesadillas are becoming mainstream in several cities around the country. Here at Umi Star, bulgogi (tender marinated beef) topped with a fried egg are at the translated heart of this Mexican sandwich standard.
"Tater Todd's" (rice wrapped with red snapper, garlic aioli, then baked and served with a soy chili plum sauce) are a tasty bite, and the sushi burrito (wrapped in almost fluorescent soy-paper) is another winning invention.
The small-but-airy space...
It's quite easy to have bacon every meal of the day in the South. It shows up in everything from the bloody marys to the brussels sprouts. After four days in Charleston I needed a time out from meat. Luckily, the crew at the new sandwich shop Butcher & Bee do ingenious things with vegetables. Take for example this vegetarian riff on the pulled pork sandwich. The pork gets replaced with BBQ pulled squash and is topped with smoked slaw and piled onto a perfect hoagie roll.