Finding the Best Conch in Turks & Caicos

This vacation couldn’t have come at a better time. As the entire country fell into a below-zero deep freeze, I was headed for some sun and heat in Turks & Caicos with my girlfriend Amy and her family.

Day 1:

We were staying at the beautiful Grace Bay Club, right on the incredible beach in Providenciales, Turk & Caicos. Upon arrival, we immediately hit the gym to preempt the impending bodily destruction. I had two missions on this trip. 1) To return with the tan of a golden god. 2) To eat as much conch – the local shellfish specialty – in as many ways as humanly possible.

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City Limits: A Local Watering Hole with Excellent Deep Fried Dishes in Sherman, Texas

An hour north of Dallas, on the Texas-Oklahoma border along the Red River you’ll find a small town called Denison. It’s a small blue collar town where my girlfriend, Amy, grew up.

Over the past two years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and every visit always includes trip to neighboring Sherman for a requisite stop at City Limits for dinner and drinks. It’s the kind of place where clouds of cigarette smoke billow indoors and beards, rhinestone belts, and camouflaged clothes are the norm.

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It’s All About the Honey Sauce at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken

In NYC, the Blue Ribbon brand has turned into a veritable mini-chain with restaurants spanning a variety of cuisines and levels of formality including high-end sushi, casual southern-influenced cuisine, and a modern American brasserie. Possibly the most hype has been about their very popular Brooklyn Bowl location, where they serve an array of fast casual pub food to the bowling masses.

At Brooklyn Bowl, people go absolutely crazy for the fried chicken. This exact chicken recipe from that menu has since become the primary focus of the Blue Ribbon empire’s latest spin-off, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken. This East Village spot opened to a ton of press and buzz, so my expectations were understandably set high.

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Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2013

Given the number of insanely delicious things I’ve eaten over the past year, selecting the best of the bunch is a very difficult task. Over on Foodspotting I’ve released a long version that’s over 200 items long which includes every single dish jaw-dropping dish from the last year. Here, instead, I’ve chosen the very best in select categories. In no particular order, let’s begin!
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Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic
Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

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*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

Along the Greenwich Village strip of MacDougal between Bleecker and 3rd Street, there is an extraordinary density of fast, cheap eateries and college-focused sports bars. This probably developed as a direct result of its proximity to the heart of NYU.

Even with so many choices, I still always get excited when new additions arrive. For instance, this week I was treated to the opening of Dogmatic, a diminutive, pristine, bright white, glowing shop with a small and unique menu that recently relocated from the Union Square area. The menu consists mostly of hot dogs and hamburgers and claims to make “naturally good fast food”.

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Seriously Good, Cheap Fried Chicken at Dirty Bird To-Go in NYC
Dirty Bird To-Go Review

Seriously Good, Cheap Fried Chicken at Dirty Bird To-Go in NYC

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In TriBeCa, nearly invisible, tucked away under some construction scaffolding on Chambers Street for as long as I can remember, you’ll find some of the best and most reasonably priced fried chicken in NYC. This is no dive. It’s a very well designed, polished space that feels like they should be charging double what they are. This is one of the those gems that feels like such a deal and nearly the entire menu is excellent.

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Late Night Street Meat from New York’s The Famous Halal Guys

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A friend from college recently moved from Philly to NYC. His apartment is in the East Village on 10th Street between 1st and A, which I consider to be a great area for food and drinks. I know a ton of great, cheap eats in the neighborhood since I used to live nearby, but we were still struggling to decide what to get. In a stroke of genius, I remembered that the Famous 53rd and 6th Halal Guys were opening up a brick-and-mortar location on the north edge of the East Village as well as a cart that had already launched. On this Saturday night, we wanted something quick, cheap, and tasty to prime us for the night of drinking ahead and this sounded like the perfect option.

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Japanese Comfort Food Served in Frilly Pink Maid Dresses at Maid Cafe NYC

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You ever have one of those days where you can’t decide where to eat? This was one of those. My coworker Harrison was heading towards Chinatown for lunch at Mika and I decided to come along for the walk and pick my lunch destination along the way. We made it all the way to the Mika stairwell on the ground floor of 150 Centre street before I spotted something I had never seen before. A brand new cafe. And the girls behind the counter are dressed in pink maid outfits! What kind of perversion have I stumbled upon? At that moment I blurted out loud to Harrison “Where am I?” I just had to give it a shot if for no reason other than sheer morbid curiosity.

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Come for the Tea, Stay for the Savory Snacks at ViVi Bubble Tea in NYC

For over three years I have been lucky enough to work within walking distance of Chinatown. I’ve done my fair share of exploration and feel like I have a handle on most of the options. Every now and then I find something really unexpected. On this occasion, I was wandering around the streets of Chinatown deciding what I should have for lunch and when I decided to try something new on a hunch. Inside of an unassuming bubble tea shop on Bayard Street there are signs advertising some non-bubble tea offerings. Who would dare eat lunch at a bubble tea shop? This guy.

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