I’ve put a lot away over the last few months, but what follows are a few of my tastiest and most memorable outtakes, worth tracking down in your city.

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Botanica Restaurant & Market
Credit: Alan Gastelum

All of us ask a lot of our bodies, but I think it’s fair to say that for me this is...extra true. As Restaurant Editor of Food & Wine I spend months on the road scouting each year’s class of Best New Chefs and Restaurants of the Year—a big job that requires an even bigger appetite. Double dinners (we call them bang-bangs) and even the occasional triple (that’s a bang-bang-bang baby) are part of the job, often on the heels of a day spent exploring new bakeries, street vendors, farmers markets and unicorn frappalattewhatevers.

This year’s journey was no less an exquisite gavage—many tens of thousands of miles traveled in search of delicious and surprising things to eat, like the PB and C(urry) at Preeti Mistry's modern Indian spot Navi Kitchen in Oakland, or Ross Coleman and James Haywood’s West African remixes at their Houston sleeper, Kitchen 713. I fell deeply in love with the city of St. Louis, thanks in no small part to Loryn Nalic’s stuffed Turkish pide bread slicked with tangy red pepper ajvar at Balkan Treat Box truck, and lost mind over Anthony Rush and Chris Kajioka’s slow-cooked cabbage with moringa powder at Senia in Honolulu.

I’ve put a lot away over the last few months, but what follows are a few of my tastiest and most memorable outtakes, worth tracking down in your city.

Best Bites of the Year

The trotter hot dog with perilla mustard, ham hock ketchup, and shiso relish at The Snug in San Francisco:

Lobster chips with Old Bay dip at The Snug

Crispy fried mushrooms with salty cheese, dill and herb aioli at No Anchor in Seattle

Katsu sando, cedar-smoked gelato, and okonomiyaki fries at Adana in Seattle

Kiwi berries at the Seattle farmers’ market


Slow-cooked cabbage with moringa powder at Senia in Honolulu

Short rib rolled dumplings with charred onion and beef jus at Native in Los Angeles

PB and C (curried peanut butter and chutney) at Navi Kitchen in Emeryville

Mushroom dumplings with katsuoboshi broth, cordyceps, yam and dill at Onsen in San Francisco

Paprika liptauer cheese dip at Duna in San Francisco

Mushroom baked in yuzu butter at Mtn in Venice

Grated tomato with tahini, fresh basil and CA olive oil at The Exchange in Los Angeles

Ethiopian hot chicken sandwich at Kith & Kin in Washington, DC

Shaved porchetta at Grand Army Tavern in Portland

Hachiya persimmon with bottarga at Michael’s in Santa Monica

Cassoulet vert at Botanica in Los Angeles

Migas TBD at Veracruz All-Natural in Austin

Micklethwaits Brisket, Pickle, and Swiss kolache at Batch in Austin

Sweet potato salad at Leroy & Lewis in Austin

Black vinegar oxtail or West African pepper pot goat stew at Kitchen 713 in Houston

Chocolate-pepita cookie at Heirloom Bakery & Hearth in Kansas City

Kouign-amann at Nathaniel Reid in St. Louis

Turkish pide stuffed with ground beef or cheese and served with ajvar and Turkish wood-fired flatbread at Balkan Treat Box in St. Louis

Hot cheeto pork rinds at Revival in Minneapolis/St. Paul