At L.A. Bento in Los Angeles, chef Chad Aaland makes quinoa salad with three types of beans and house-pickled onions. This streamlined version with black beans and jarred cocktail onions is tasty, too.
Pairing: A juicy, plummy Malbec from Argentina like the 2008 Yellow + Blue
Charles Phan of the Slanted Door in San Francisco serves this sweet and vinegary Vietnamese dish with a tart dipping sauce of lime juice, salt and pepper. In the easy way, serve the beef with fresh lime wedges instead of a dipping sauce.
Pairing: A bright, juicy Beaujolais like the 2008 Christophe Pacalet Côte de Brouilly
At New York City's Babbo, Mario Batali creates a simple, brilliant version of this classic dish, tossing the long, hollow pasta strands with house-cured guanciale (pork jowl) and a spicy house-made tomato sauce. In the easy way, use pancetta, which is simpler to find than guanciale, and buy a good jarred tomato sauce instead of making one.
Pairing: A medium-bodied Barbera d'Alba like the 2007 Cantina Terre del Barolo