What:Primitivo @EatPrimitivo At this NOLA newcomer, our waitress explained that there isn't really a theme or nationality that guides the menu Primitivo, just a philosophy. That philosophy is to use local, seasonal ingredients and prepare them in some manner that involves their gigantic open-flame hearth. Smoke is the key to nearly every dish they serve here.
Where:Off-the-beaten path between the Garden District and Center City 1800 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70113 [wpgmza id="289"]
When:Perfect for dude's night out in NOLA. The decor has a masculine German beer-hall vibe with gothic calligraphy typography and distressed wood defining a majority of the aesthetic. Between the huge, hearty portions and very reasonably priced cocktails, this place was made for the bachelor party "nice-meal". While I do really like the place, I wouldn't necessarily tell NOLA first-timers to go on their first trip — there's plenty of other places in the city I think are more essential to go to first (see: Cochon, Commander's Palace, Red's Chinese, Compère Lapin, or Sylvain for example).
What:Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs @BubbledogsKT A speakeasy-style high-end chef's tasting menu hides behind a curtain in the back of a hot dog shop.
Where:SoHo near the Theatre District 70 Charlotte St. Fitzrovia, London W1T 4QG, UK [wpgmza id="299"]
When:Based on the price point and difficulty of snagging a reservation alone, this definitely falls into the "Special Occasion Restaurant" category. Save this one for when you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or any other major occasion worth celebrating and spluging for.
What:Mazzola Bakery @MazzolaBakery A few blocks of the main Court Street drag of Cobble Hill is a tiny, jam-packed, take-out only, old-school sweet and savory baked goods shop called Mazzola Bakery. There's a huge variety of baked treats available, but I'll be honest, I've only ever had a single item from Mazzola, but it's sort of thing I dream about that I'll buy multiples extras of the bring back home on my flight.
Where:Cobble Hill / Carroll Gardens 192 Union St. Brooklyn, NY 11231 [wpgmza id="298"]
When:Seriously, I could be in the mood for this item literally any day – any time of day. I'd also like to mention that it's particularly good at soaking up a hangover. Just cross your fingers that they're not already sold out when you visit.
It's a strange concept. Take a dish that is naturally light, fresh, delicate, and dainty — supersize it — and throw as many crunchy, creamy, fusiony ingredients as you can into it. What do you get? A sushirrito. Even before I had moved to San Francisco, Sushirrito was already near the top of my SF must-eat list. There was just something about that super-hyped, unusual sushi-burrito hybrid that I just couldn't resist trying for myself. Yes, I know the concept sounds a little ridiculous — why would anyone want to shove sushi ingredients into a burrito format. And yes, I know that the Japanese have already mastered the supersized sushi form through handrolls. But, I do love sushi and I do love burritos, so I was curious enough to find out if this Bay Area combined evolution of the two would form a recipe for success.
What:Ijji @IjjiSF A microscopic, unmarked, serene sushi den specializing in high-quality nigiri most of which is imported from Tokyo's famous Tsukiji market
Where:Lower Haight / Divisadero Corridor 252 Divisadero St. San Francisco, CA 94117 [wpgmza id="293"]
When:Definitely splurgy in terms of pricing, so save this one for a special, intimate date night.
What:Harold's NY Deli An old-school NY-style sit-down delicatessen serving monstrous portions of all of the Jewish classics. I'm by no means the first to speak the praised of the place - it's been written about all over the place including in Saveur, the New York Times, as well as a feature on Man vs. Food. And yes, it's worthy of all of the hype.
Where:In a parking lot off of the highway in Edison, NJ 1171 King Georges Post Rd. Edison, NJ 08837 [wpgmza id="296"]
When:For when you feel like shoving more Jewish comfort food down your gullet than should be humanly possible.
What:Panuchos Let's name all the Mexican dishes you're used to finding in restaurants. Tacos, burritos, nachos, tortas, quesadillas, flautas, tostadas, etc, etc, etc. I bet we could go on and on and on. But, how about a "panucho"? Ever heard of that? I certainly hadn't before this meal, but I'll get more into that later. Near the corner of Broadway and Columbus, right where Italian North Beach meet Chinese Chinatown, a brand new eatery recently opened. That's where a tiny shop that formally housed a divey Vietnamese restaurant called Vietnam was and where this Yucatan-region Mexican specialist, Panuchos, is now housed. In my observations, the clientele consists mostly of blue-collar Spanish-speaking workers in the area — which I take as a positive indicator of the authenticity of food made at the place. I guess you'll just have to read more to see.
Where:On the border of North Beach and Chinatown 620 Broadway San Francisco, CA 94133 [wpgmza id="295"]
When:Great for a solo lunch at the counter, take out, but probably even best for a late-night bite to soak up all of your boozy North Beach mistakes. They're open til 3 AM!
What:Parkway Bakery and Tavern @ParkwayPoorboys This bar and restaurant is quite old, very famous, and generally regarded as the ultimate place to go for the very best poboys in NOLA.
Where:Midcity 538 Hagan Ave. New Orleans, LA 70119 [wpgmza id="290"]
When:This is the kind of place that's perfect for any time you need a big, cheap, hearty sandwich full of greasy meat and deep-fried seafood to crush an epic Bourbon Street hangover. It's a bit out of the way, so you'll probably need a car to get all the way out there unless you want to splurge on a long cab ride. This place is known to generate long lines, though we were fortunately able to get food in hand in just about 15 minutes after our arrival. So, come only when you've got a bit of patience in case you encounter a longer line.
What:NOLA @NOLARestaurant One of three Emeril-owned restaurants in his hometown of New Orleans. The menu is full of Cajun classics, with plenty of unique twists to keep things interesting.
Who:A first name is all he needs: Emeril. The dude is a legend and one of the major pioneers in food television. He has somehow managed to stay both very relevant and lovable over all of these many drastically different years.
Where:French Quarter 534 St. Louis St. New Orleans, LA 70130 [wpgmza id="288"]
When:Perfect for a cautious New Orleans first-timer's first foray into Cajun cuisine. The menu is quite accessible, but everything is still executed really really well. There's also plenty an experienced New Orleans eater can find to love at NOLA too.