"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.
You would expect Grant Achatz’s macaroni and cheese to have some chef tricks, but it doesn’t. He uses a white sauce, elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese, just like the rest of us. His personal touch: a tablespoon of paprika (to enhance the color of the sauce) and lots of smoky, crisp bacon bits.
"Chili means Halloween to me," Grant Achatz says. When he was growing up, his mother would always serve it to him and his cousins before they went trick or treating as a way to counteract the sugar buzz to come. The smoky, spicy version here is a slightly modified version of his mother's chili, made with ancho, pasilla and chipotle powders, plus a homemade blend of seasonings and fresh herbs.
To give the bird extra flavor, rub garlicky butter under the breast skin and pack the cavity with more garlic, plus thyme sprigs and lemon quarters. After the chicken is cooked, use the juices to make an intensely flavored sauce that's delicious with the bird and the hearty pierogies that go with it.