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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Midwest Revival

New Takes on Midwestern Comfort Food

Midwestern Restaurant Reinventions

These Midwestern chefs are taking the homey foods of their childhood and modernizing them with spices and progressive techniques.

Butcher & the Boar (Minneapolis)
The Inspiration: Living in St. Paul, a city with a big German population, chef Jack Riebel ate lots of pan-fried pork chops with applesauce.
The Update: Riebel replaces chops with pork sausage and makes a sweet-tart sauce with hard cider, cider vinegar and pureed apples.

Rye (Leawood, KS)
The Inspiration: "Growing up in Kansas City in the 1970s, fried chicken was everywhere," says chef Colby Garrelts. "And then it just disappeared."
The Update: His fried chicken takes three days, starting with brining and ending with a baking powder-spiked batter for an extra-crispy crust.

Senate (Cincinnati)
The Inspiration: Chef Daniel Wright loves hot dogs with sauerkraut: "This area is known for sausages and hot dogs. We have access to incredible meat."
The Update: Wright puts a Korean spin on his beef hot dog, topping it with homemade kimchi, braised short rib and pickled cucumbers.

Related: 100 Restaurants Worth a Pilgrimage: North America
Minneapolis Travel Guide
Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Editor's Letter

Where Dana Cowin Eats

Glen Ellen Star

"Where have you been eating lately?" I get this question all the time. And luckily, it's one of my favorites to answer, since I have the opportunity to try the most amazing restaurants around the country. So here's a little update of where I've been recently.

Glen Ellen Star, Sonoma
The wood-roasted dishes at this adorable Sonoma spot are both homey and smart—each has at least one little trick that makes it stand out. Roasted beets are topped with harissa crumble; asparagus comes with spicy lavash. And the wine list is short, well-edited and (surprising for wine country) quite international. glenellenstar.com.

Carbone, New York
It took me a long time to stop fixating on the lacquered blue-green walls in the front room: They're bold, old-school, shiny. Then I moved to the back room, where Uma Thurman was standing on a chair to photograph a friend. Even without the celeb sighting, I'd have loved Carbone for nuanced and delicious dishes like the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce. carbonenewyork.com.

Calliope, New York
At this small bistro, I had perfectly sautéed local trout with Puy lentils, bacon and walnut vinaigrette, and I reveled in the very Frenchness of it all. calliopenyc.com.

Alder, New York
After 10 years of watching Wylie Dufresne nurture one spectacular restaurant, WD-50, I was excited to try this new venture, which promised to be a gastropub interpretation of his hyper-creative vision. My hands-down favorite dish was the New England clam chowder with "oyster crackers," which was both familiar (it's soup!) and unfamiliar (the crackers are made from oysters). aldernyc.com.

Pêche, New Orleans
I stopped counting after 10: That's how many whole fish I saw waiters carrying out to customers at Donald Link's new restaurant. The whole-animal trend has now been embraced by pescatarians. Two friends and I shared a moist, flavorful grilled redfish with salsa verde. It could have served six! pecherestaurant.com.

Element 47, Aspen
Robert McCormick, chef at The Little Nell hotel's renovated restaurant, makes a broth that is the absolute essence of carrot, pure and fresh, then pours it over carrots prepared several ways—shaved raw, grilled, pickled and roasted. element47aspen.com.

Chefs Club, Aspen
Food & Wine has its own restaurant in Aspen's incredible St. Regis hotel. We serve several dishes from former Best New Chefs, including Missy Robbins, Viet Pham, Jason Franey and Bryant Ng . When I was in town for the F&W Classic in June, I ate through practically the entire menu, which also incorporates dishes by executive chef Didier Elena. I love Bryant's ribs at The Spice Table in L.A., and they were fabulous here, too—spicy, meaty, crisp. chefsclubaspen.com.

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Read more from F&W's September issue on travel and America's best chicken.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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