Bizarre Foods host and F&W contributing editor Andrew Zimmern discovered mind-blowing Filipino chicken near San Diego.
National City, CA: Tita’s Kitchenette
“Food from the Philippines has not caught on in the US with the same fervor as other South Asian cuisines. But it’s starting to, thanks to large expat communities in towns like National City, just outside San Diego. It’s home to Tita’s Kitchenette, a point-and-order cafeteria owned by the same family for 20-plus years. At any one time there are two dozen dishes available. You meander down the line, tray in hand. Remember back in grade school? Here, the lunch ladies are Filipino grandmas, and everything they cook is exquisite—the sweet potato-shrimp fritters are as good as any I have ever tasted outside of the Philippines. But the grilled meats are the best. Golf ball-size nubbins of chicken and pork are marinated in a soy-lemon-pineapple bath, then grilled in small batches so that nothing sits for longer than a few minutes. They’re ethereal: treacly and tart, tangy and smoky. Tita’s opens at 6 a.m., and lunch is available early for people who need to grab something on their way to work.” 2720 E. Plaza Blvd. Ste. E; 619-472-5801.
Check Out F&W's Exlusive Series: Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures
F&W showcases tricked-out custom grills at restaurants across the country.
Courtesy of Seamus Mullen
At New York City’s Tertulia, Seamus Mullen (photo) uses Grillworks’ Argentinean-inspired setup. The angled surface funnels juices and fat into a basting pan, preventing flare-ups.
NorCal’s adjustable grills come in extra- large sizes; Rachel Yang at Seattle’s Revel lowers the grate deep into the firebox to slow-cook whole lambs.
When Christopher Kostow recently renovated the kitchen at Napa Valley’s Meadowood, he installed this Spanish Josper grill-oven hybrid, which mixes live-fire grilling with superhot roasting.
Wolfgang Puck installed J&R grills at his four Cut steak houses. The cement-lined firebox prevents the kitchen from overheating.
Related: Ultimate Guide to Summer Grilling
New York City’s top chefs are setting their sights on Toronto, opening outposts of their popular restaurants in three of the city’s hottest new hotels.—Amy Rosen
Daniel Boulud: Yorkville
Daniel Boulud exports his signature French flavors to Café Boulud at the Four Seasons.
David Chang: Financial District
The Momofuku chef’s newest restaurants will open at the Shangri-La, which debuts in August.
Scott Conant: King West (photo)
At his Scarpetta offshoot at the Thompson, Scott Conant offers great pastas and salads.
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Per-Anders Jorgensen courtesy of Phaidon Press
It’s been an action-packed restaurant award season. Earlier this week, the James Beard Foundation lavished awards on restaurants like Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern and bars like PDT in New York City (yay for PDT's Jim Meehan!). Last week, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants handed out honors. Number 1 was Noma in Copenhagen (yay for chef René Redzepi!), followed by El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain at Number 2.
The world’s Number 3 best restaurant is the astonishing Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain where chef Andoni Luis Aduriz promotes naturalism in cooking. (He’s famous for serving potatoes that look exactly like rocks on a beach.) Everyone should go there immediately to sample his food. For those who can’t get a flight/reservation to Mugaritz right this moment, here’s fantastic news.
First is Andoni’s gorgeous upcoming book, Mugaritz. It’s especially helpful for scientifically minded cooks who want to make a dish called Crunchy Milk Sheets with Sweet Beans, Ice Cream of Citrus Peel and Orange Blossom Water. But it’s also mesmerizing armchair reading, not just for the photos, but also for the way he documents concepts like the evolution of a food idea.
Second is the new movie, Mugaritz B.S.O., which is being screened Thursday night, May 10, in Manhattan at Lincoln Center, before it goes to Toronto on Friday. For three years, musician Felipe Ugarte studied Aduriz’s cooking – now Ugarte has put the preparation of dishes, from start to finish, to music. Some of the dishes in the film are straight from the book. For instance, for "Piece of Veal, roasted and perfumed with vine cutting embers" (pages 113-114 in the book, if you’re checking), Ugarte mimics the texture of the charred veal by layering the sounds of the fire with back up vocals from a young choir. Here's the added benefit: Aduriz himself will be at the Manhattan screening and for a Q&A. And here's the super-plus benefit: At the screening, you can also buy that gorgeous book weeks before its actual release date, and get him to sign it for you.
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Critics weigh in on which restaurant will join the famed Danish spot, and reigning number one restaurant in the world, Noma, on the pilgrimage circuit.
Benu, San Francisco (left)
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer praises Corey Lee’s breathtaking East meets West modernist cuisine (Lee makes a mock shark’s-fin soup using thin strands of hydrocolloids).
Melbourne’s Ben Shewry serves “emo” cuisine, built on personal memories and foraged foods. “It’s the best expression of Oz’s terroir,” says The Age’s Matt Preston.
Ángel León’s umami-packed risotto with plankton makes him “the René Redzepi of the sea,” says F&W correspondent Gisela Williams.
Fäviken Magasinet, Sweden
A modern primitive dining experience—aged meats hanging in the dining room, fried lichen on the plate. Time’s Lisa Abend calls Magnus Nilsson’s food “intensely perfect.”
Noma, Denmark (left)
“Noma’s the next Noma, isn’t it?” says the L.A. Times’s Jonathan Gold. “Redzepi is writing symphonies while everyone else is playing chopsticks.”
Read more from the May issue.