"I've always been a fan of any food high in salt and starch," Grant Achatz says, "and soft pretzels right out of the oven are awesome." You can eat these slightly sweet, chewy, dark pretzel sticks plain or with mustard; Achatz goes for ranch dressing.
Nichole Birdsall tops these crêpes with strawberries, a superfruit high in vitamin C and potent antioxidants, and a creamy, orangey sauce sweetened with a splash of Bonterra Muscat dessert wine instead of sugar.
Guests at Bar Boulud are greeted with these golden French cheese puffs, with grated Gruyère cheese and the mild Basque pepper Piment d'Espelette. Almost twice the size of ordinary gougères, they're a bit like crispy, cheesy, slightly spicy popovers.
"For me there is no better tapa than a really good stuffed olive," José Andrés says. He strongly recommends homemade stuffed olives over the store-bought kind, which he proclaims are "usually terrible." Plus, if you stuff them yourself, you've got a million options: "If you love almonds, use good marcona almonds. If you love anchovy, use good Spanish anchovies. If you love peppers, use peppers; I like the wood-roasted piquillo peppers from Navarra. Or if you are like me, you use all three."
With a golden layer of puff pastry topped by caramelized onions, soft potatoes, bacon and tangy Reblochon cheese, this tart is lighter than the sum of its parts, making for a satisfying fall dish that's great any time of day. The Reblochon, a washed-rind cheese from France, can be replaced with a robust Taleggio from northern Italy or the smooth French soft-ripened cow's-milk cheese Saint-André.
Thomas DeGeest went to Belgium to learn from master waffle-makers and perfect his own recipes. He came back with ideas for two styles of waffle, including this light, crispy Brussels version. Toppings can include dulce de leche, maple syrup and Belgian Chocolate-Fudge Sauce.