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Get authentic recipes and stories from around the globe.

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  • 12/27/12--03:34: Levinsky Market
  • Levinsky Market-photo Tucked among garment shops and lighting stores in the Florentin neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv is the unfussy but magical Levinsky Market-a five-block stretch of spice shops, delicatessens, bakeries, dairies, fish stores, and other food purveyors that represent the city's present, past and probable future. Florentin was settled in the 1920s by Greek immigrants, who were followed shortly thereafter by Turks. The first establishments of Shuk Levinsky (shuk is Hebrew for "market") date from that time. The Turkish bakery Penso has been serving spectacular burekas, savory pastries best enjoyed with hard-boiled egg and hot pepper relish, for 80 years. Nearby Konditoria Albert, Tel Aviv's only Greek bakery, opened in 1935, sells memorable sweets, including handmade almond paste and pillow-soft bizet (meringue kisses). One of the market's most beloved food shops is also of this generation. Yom Tov Delicatessen is packed from floor to ceiling with treasures ranging from olive oil to hand-stuffed olives. Mid-century immigration from Iran in the 1960s made the Levinsky Market even better, introducing spice kiosks like Kolbol Zol Gadi, where in addition to nuts, fruits, grains, and seasonings from across the globe, shoppers can pick up rose water and other Persian ingredients. A handful of Persian restaurants serve daytime menus of kebabs, gundi (chicken and chickpea-flour meatballs), and ghormeh sabzi, an herb and bean stew. The most famous of them, Salimi, is run by three generations of the same family. In recnet years newer places have joined the stalwarts. One of the best of these is Caffe Kaymak, which offers a vegetarian meu, cocktails made form arak (a licorice-flavored spirit), and a place to gather well after all the other shops have closed.

    See the recipe for Gundi (Persian Chicken Meatball Soup) »

    Levinsky 43

    Konditoria Albert
    36 Matalon

    Yom Tov Delicatessen
    Levinsky 43

    Kolbol Zol Gadi
    Zvulun 13

    80 Nahalat Binyamin

    Caffe Kaymak
    Levinsky 49

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    Postcard: Warming up at Coppa Restaurant in Boston-photo
    by Kellie Evans
    When the temperature falls to the shivering digits in Boston, there's nothing better way to beat the chill than to hunker down in a cozy spot like the South End's Coppa restaurant. My friends and I politely fight over silky slices of milky white lardo and duck proscuitto, but split two giant fontina-stuffed arancini with grave ceremony, as if they're the last ones the kitchen will ever make. Cleverly, we squirrel away house-cured white anchovies for our pumpkin and burrata pizza, all of which is just a prelude to spaghetti alla carbonara with sea urchin, orecchiette bolognese and the last remaining whole roasted branzino, stuffed with lemon and tarragon, that we were smart enough to order along with our bottles of wine right when we sat down. It doesn't stand a chance against a hunger like ours. -Kellie Evans

    253 Shawmut Avenue,
    Boston, MA 02118
    tel: 617/ 391-0902

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    Finding Argentinian Flavor in Miami-photo
    by Carolina Bolado Hale
    Historically, Argentina has always had a presence in Miami-in fact, it was Argentine immigrants who long ago taught Cuban exiles to smother their steaks with the parsley-and-garlic condiment chimichurri. But it wasn't until the South American nation's economic woes in the early 2000s that the immigrant community exploded. Miami residents have enthusiastically welcomed the resulting proliferation of Argentine restaurants serving parrillada (impressive arrays of masterfully grilled meats and sausage), and their take on empanadas, the ubiquitous Latin American turnover, which in their Argentine iterations are baked with fillings like ham and provolone cheese, chicken, spinach, and, of course, beef. These nine restaurants are leading Miami's Argentinian revolution.

    La Porteña

    This suburban gem is tucked away inside a nondescript strip mall off of Tamiami Trail. Those who manage to find the place are treated to very reasonably-priced parrillada, accompanied by excellent risotto and a good selection of wines. Lunch can be quiet, but the restaurant really heats up at dinnertime, when the darkness plays down the strip mall location and in-the-know locals line up outside the door for an hour or more to snag seats in the small dining room.
    La Porteña
    8522 SW 8th Street
    Miami, FL


    This pizza-and-empanadas cafeteria is the first American outpost of a mini-empire in Argentine beach town Mar del Plata, where there are three Manolo outposts. The beach vibe carries over perfectly to Miami: it's a perfect spot for strolling over in flip-flops for a post-swim snack of churros or a licuado, a bright fruit smoothie made with or without milk.
    multiple locations

    Las Vacas Gordas

    The cowhide walls at Las Vacas Gordas-literally "the fat cows"-are the first clue that this sleek restaurant takes its name seriously. The second is even less subtle: the massive plates of meat emerging from the open kitchen. On any given weekend night, you'll find a mix of lovebirds occupying the banquettes lining the walls, families tucking into huge steaks together and groups of friends fueling up before a night out. On a budget? Grab a sausage or a (still-enormous) steak sandwich at the bar.
    Las Vacas Gordas
    933 Normandy Drive
    Miami Beach, FL

    Graziano's Market Credit: Rolando Diaz

    Graziano's Restaurant

    Graziano's is the gold standard for Argentine steak in the Miami area, with high-quality meats and a selection of side dishes that goes beyond the typical french fries-creamy fresh cheeses, savory polenta, and a wide array of salads for those who like a bit of roughage with their parrillada. Expect an elegant crowd for dinner.
    Graziano's Restaurant
    multiple locations

    Graziano's Market

    Next door to the original Graziano's on Bird Road is Graziano's Market, a walk-in joint with a deli counter selling some of the best empanadas in the city, pastries (like the mini chajas pictured above, cornmeal cakes with fruit, dulce de leche, and cream) and small tables set up for diners to enjoy them immediately. There's also a wide array of Argentine groceries-after staring at bottles of malbec and tubs of dulce de leche while you eat your matambre con rusa (rolled flank steak stuffed with a "Russian salad" of potatoes and vegetables), see if you can't resist picking up some Argentine groceries on the way out.
    Graziano's Market
    3922 SW 92nd Avenue
    Miami, FL

    PM Fish and Steak House

    This opulent restaurant in Miami's financial center isn't just named after Puerto Madero, the revived and trendy port district in Buenos Aires; it also has an interior built to resemble the port's warehouse buildings. Here, Wagyu beef gets the Argentine treatment. A business crowd dominates at lunch, while after work hours the restaurant is filled with the hip young locals who call the Brickell neighborhood home.
    PM Fish and Steak House
    1453 S Miami Avenue
    Miami, FL

    Buenos Aires Bakery andamp; Cafe

    Take a number and wait in line at this popular North Beach spot for breakfast and lunch. In addition to excellent empanadas-particularly those featuring beef and ham and cheese-Buenos Aires Bakery offers an array of pastries, almost all of which feature sweet, rich dulce de leche in some way. Try an alfajor, a cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate.
    Buenos Aires Bakery andamp; Cafe
    7134 Collins Avenue
    Miami Beach, FL

    Rincon Argentino

    One of the oldest Argentine steakhouses in the city, Rincon Argentino could use some updating in the decor department, but the roasting meat on a spit that greets diners leaves no doubt as to the main focus here: beef, and lots of it. Local families crowd around massive platters piled high with meat-beef, sweetbreads, sausage, and chicken-that the menu modestly claims are sized to feed just two.
    Rincon Argentino
    multiple locations

    La Patagonia Argentina

    The menu at this unassuming little steakhouse just south of the airport offers the usual grilled meat selection at prices that are some of the lowest in town. It's a good stop for anyone with a long layover at Miami International Airport and a hankering for parrillada-or just anyone with a hankering for parrillada.
    La Patagonia Argentina
    4802 NW 7th Street
    Miami, FL

    Graziano's Market Credit: Rolando Diaz

    Carolina Bolado Hale is a Miami-based journalist.

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  • 01/08/13--08:00: The World of Coffee
  • Cafandeacute; Maria Theresia-photo One of the most striking things we've noticed when traveling the world is this: There is virtually no limit to the delicious ways you can drink coffee. Whether it's a flawless foam-capped cappuccino in Bologna, a cardamom-spiced espresso in Beirut, or an iced coffee in Saigon sweetened with condensed milk, we never cease to marvel at the versatility of this globally beloved beverage. Here are a few of our favorite coffee concoctions from around the world.

    See all the coffee drinks in the gallery »

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  • 01/10/13--07:00: Ohio Nachos
  • Ohio Nachos-photo Instead of using tortilla chips, Ohioans festoon potato chips with cheese and other toppings for a deliriously good riff on nachos. Our favorite version comes from Cap City Diner in Columbus, which features thick-cut kettle chips drizzled with a garlicky alfredo sauce, topped with Maytag blue cheese and chives, and heated until gooey. Pungent, salty, creamy, and crisp, they're our latest guilty pleasure.

    See the recipe for Ohio Nachos »

    Cap City Diner
    1299 Olentangy River Road

    Columbus, Ohio

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  • 01/09/13--23:00: Ameya Yokocho Pushcart Ramen
  • Ameya Yokocho Pushcart Ramen-photo
    by Harris Salat
    At night, at the entry to Ameya Yokocho, an old market street in the outer Tokyo neighborhood of Ueno, my favorite ramen vendor appears with his yatai, an old-fashioned wooden pushcart on which he constructs steaming bowls of ramen. I don't know the hawker by name, and his cart is unbranded, but his ramen I am intimately attached to; I always order a bowl when I'm in the area. The Japanese are nuts for this iconic soup, built around wheat-flour noodles made with kansui, an alkaline mineral water that renders them yellow and springy. Of the many types of ramen-porky tonkatsu, salty shio, chile-spiked tantanmen-my guy makes just one: Tokyo-style shoyu. He ladles a soy sauce-enriched clear broth over thin, straight noodles, roasted pork loin and belly, bamboo shoots and mung bean sprouts, fragrant scallions and greens, and a creamy, soy sauce- and mirin-marinated soft-boiled egg. A reverent silence surrounds the cart. All that can be heard is the slurping of noodles and the clatter of chopsticks against bowls. It is the music of satisfaction.

    See the recipe for Tantanmen»

    Ameya Yokocho
    North entrance outside of the Yodobashi Camera building
    4-10-10 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo

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    Pizzeria Regina, Boston-photo
    by Catherine Smart
    Boston's classic New England cuisine comes straight from our perch on the Atlantic: Lobster rolls in buttery toasted buns; creamy clam chowder studded with salt pork and potatoes; cod, haddock, and every sort of shellfish, battered and fried up crisp with lemon wedges and homey tartar sauce. If you come here for the clam chowder you won't be disappointed, but dig a little deeper and you'll be pleasantly surprised at what else our busy port city is serving up. Southern transplants now have us craving shrimp and grits, while Chinese immigrants turn out juicy, handmade dumplings, and go-getter chefs transform humble ingredients into indulgent charcuterie boards. Just in the vicinity of Fenway alone-that beer-soaked, storied home of the Red Sox-you can wash down spicy potato-chorizo tacos with icy micheladas, or eat your fill of house smoked BBQ made from Berkshire pork. (That is of course, if the wafting scent of Fenway Franks don't get you first.) Here's a sampling of a dozen of my Boston favorites:

    1. Grab Cocktails and Small Plates at Toro

    This cozy, Barcelona-style tapas restaurant is always stuffed to the gills at dinner, but if you show up early you can sneak a seat at the bar or just sip one of their well-crafted cocktails while you wait for a table with everyone else (they don't take reservations for dinner). Chef Jamie Bissonnette does some beautiful things with traditional small plates, but the man is no slave to convention; dishes such as uni bocadillos with miso butter and pickled mustard seeds, and sweetbreads with peanuts and fermented black beans, are nestled on the menu next to the more expected Marcona almonds and tortilla Espanola. If you decide stop by for lunch, don't miss the juicy Toro burger, topped with their creamy special sauce and pickled onion, it's my favorite burger in Boston.
    1704 Washington Street
    Boston, MA

    2. Visit Highland Kitchen for Dinner or Brunch

    This is my go-to spot for tasty, reasonably priced food and well-made cocktails. The place is always jamming, brimming with locals crowded around the jukebox or settled into a comfy booth. You'll find young families enjoying an early dinner, and 20 somethings sipping Mai Tai dragons at the bar till they close. I can't start a meal without their crispy buffalo-fried Brussels sprouts, or mussels in lobster-curry broth. On chilly New England nights, warm up with fiery goat stew or their beer-battered fish and chips. Southern inspired brunch is also a winner, with shrimp and grits and fluffy pancakes, but come early or be prepared to get in line. We've spent hazy Sunday mornings standing in cold drizzle to catch the first seating, but it's always worth the wait.
    Highland Kitchen
    150 Highland Avenue
    Somerville, MA

    3. Explore the North End

    Boston's "Little Italy" boasts charming pastry shops, nonnas gossiping on street-side benches, and Italian butchers with legs of prosciutto and fresh mozzarella hanging in the window. Wandering the narrow, cobblestone streets is a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon, but among the plethora of red-sauce joints there are many a tourist trap. The original Pizzeria Regina (forget about the inferior suburban locations), however, is one destination spot that stands up to the hype: This Boston institution serves up blistered, brick oven pies with just-sweet-enough sauce, and crust with a crisp, chewy bite. You can't leave the North End without dessert, and while locals will argue whether Modern or Mike's makes the best cannolli, my vote goes to Maria's, a small, family-run shop that pipes the sweet ricotta filling to order, guaranteeing a crispy shell and plenty of powdered sugar on your chin.
    Pizzeria Regina
    11 1/2 Thacher Street
    Boston, MA

    Maria's Pastry Shop
    46 Cross Street
    Boston, MA

    Flour Bakery Credit: Catherine Smart

    4. Share a Pastry with a Friend at Flour Bakeries

    When I first moved to Boston, Flour bakery had only one location. Owner Joanne Chang recently announced her plans to open a fourth. The sandwiches, with options such as roasted chicken with avocado and jicama, or roasted lamb with tomato chutney and goat cheese, are some of my favorites in town. But the real stars here are Chang's re-imaginings of sweet childhood favorites like flaky, jam filled "Pop-Tarts" and homemade "Oreos" with sweet vanilla buttercream sandwiched between crumbly chocolate shortbread cookies. Go for lunch, split a sandwich with a friend, order a few pastries to share, and wash it all down with a house-made raspberry seltzer.
    Flour Bakery
    Multiple locations

    5. Catch a Game at Fenway

    When you come to see the Red Sox you could certainly make a meal of sausages and peanuts, but if you get to the park early head over to Ken Oringer's La Verdad for flavorful tacos and zippy margaritas. Or if you're craving something heavier, check out Sweet Cheeks, the new BBQ joint by Tiffani Faison featuring plates of excellent BBQ and a boozy variation of sweet tea to wash down your collards and mac andamp; cheese.
    Fenway Park
    4 Yawkey Way
    Boston, MA

    La Verdad
    1 Landsdowne Street
    Boston, MA

    Sweet Cheeks
    1381 Boylston Street
    Boston, MA

    6. Shop Newbury Street

    Newbury street is a must-see for visitors-it's wonderful place to shop, people watch, and enjoy classic Boston architecture. The food however, is mostly "meh," so instead, walk just a few blocks over to Towne, the teetering-on-over-the-top brainchild of Lydia Shire and Jasper White, two of Boston's most iconic chefs. These two top dogs held nothing back at Towne, where you can enjoy everything from classic New-England clam chowder and Fried Ipswich-clam topped lobster rolls to grilled branzino and juicy rib chops, in a festive, sprawling space. Start in the lively bar with a cold martini and lobster popovers while you look over the extensive menu.
    Towne Stove and Spirits
    900 Boylston Street
    Boston, MA

    Town Stove and Spirits Credit: Courtesy Towne Stove and Spirits

    7. Make Your Own Bloody Mary at East Coast Grill

    The best time to visit this place is brunch: They boast an enormous make-your-own Bloody Mary bar and a varied menu boasting big, tropical flavors. Fixings for tuna tacos arrive ready to be wrapped up in flour tortilla with slices of just seared fish and crispy lime-pickled jicama, creamy avocado and fiery orange-chipotle glaze. And don't miss their smoked pork-stuffed banana with Inner Beauty hot sauce-I like to order their ghost chili specialty sauce on the side and apply with eye-dropper precision for just the right amount of heat.
    East Coast Grill
    1271 Cambridge Street
    Cambridge, MA

    8. Hit up the Bar at Trina's Starlite Lounge

    What is not to love about this dark, hip, hangout? A raucous bar, and chicken and buttermilk waffles with hot pepper syrup? Mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping? Spicy Starlite wings with blue cheese dressing and sweet cornbread slathered in butter? I love everything about this place, from the low price point on the food, to the spicy mango margarita's, and the crowd that saddles up at the bar for $11 buckets of High-Life ponies.
    Trina's Starlite Lounge
    3 Beacon Street
    Somerville, MA

    9. Shop for Culinary Delights at Formaggio Kitchen

    This specialty food shop is a cheese lover's fantasy come true-Each piece of cheese is painstakingly scraped and re-wrapped each morning. I watched this daily ritual as a cook here-my first job out of culinary school-so I can vouch for it. Owner Ihsan Gurdal built the first cheese cave in the United States so he would have a place to ripen the wheels he finds from small producers all over Europe and the U.S. Despite the name, it's not just cheese; Formaggio staff members have traveled the world to source an incredible inventory of condiments, spices, pasta, olive oils, wine…the list goes on, many from small single producers that you can't find anywhere else in the U.S.. They also boast an excellent selection of cured meats, and an in-house charcuterie program. Go to browse and sample some cheese-you'll definitely find some edible treasure to take home with you.
    Formaggio Kitchen
    244 Huron Avenue
    Cambridge, MA

    10. Where to Stay: Hotel Commonwealth

    I always direct out-of-towners to this hotel because it has three fantastic options for food and drink under one roof. First, Eastern Standard Kitchen, where as a culinary student I would occasionally treat myself to French bistro classics like steak-frites and crisp shoe-string potatoes for dunking in garlic aioli. Next door is Island Creek Oyster Bar, where you can sample different bivalve varieties from New England and much further afield. (I also recommend stopping by after taking in a game at Fenway to indulge in buttermilk biscuits dripping with honey and oyster sliders, a delicious way to soak up all those $7.00 bud lights you had at Fenway Park.) For a nightcap, walk downstairs to The Hawthorne, a comfortable bar that feels like a well-appointed living room and serves some of the best drinks in town.

    Hotel Commonwealth Credit: Catherine Smart
    Hotel Commonwealth
    500 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA

    Eastern Standard Kitchen
    528 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA

    Island Creek Oyster Bar
    500 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA

    The Hawthorne
    500A Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA

    11. Feast at the Peach Farm in China Town

    You can't go wrong with the seafood at Peach Farm, which plucks live fish and crustaceans from their tanks for a super-fresh meal. Family style banquet tables and very reasonable prices make this a great venue for a group. Round out the feast with succulent roast duck, pork dumplings, and garlickly peapod stems, and walk off your meal exploring Chinatown.
    Peach Farm
    4 Tyler Street
    Boston, MA

    12. Find Cheap Eats at Super 88 Market food court

    The Super 88 food court sustained my husband and me through grad school, when we were too tired to think let alone cook, and too broke to eat almost anywhere, we'd stumble into the bright, fluorescent-lit food court and wander off to pursue our respective cravings before sitting down to eat together. Now I'll happily drive over the Charles river for steaming bowls of pho and overstuffed pork bahn mi from Pho Viet, washed down with smoothies from Lollicup, the bubble-tea stand next door.
    1095 Commonwealth Ave, 211
    Boston, MA

    Pho Viet
    1095 Commonwealth Ave, 211
    Boston, MA

    Catherine Smart is a Boston-based personal chef/culinary instructor and a regular contributor to the Boston Globe.

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  • 01/13/13--23:00: Yusho Restaurant
  • Yusho Restaurant-photo There is no other Chicago restaurant so original as Yusho, where chef Matthias Merges creates Japanese-style fare using a global pantry and unrivaled technique. Custardy lobster chawanmushi dressed in crispy kale and black sesame, twice-fried chicken dusted with matcha powder, sweetbreads in umeboshi barbecue sauce-each dish inspires awe.

    2853 North Kedzie Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois

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    quinoa paella-photo
    by Chantal Martineau
    I like to think my Spanish is pretty decent, considering I've never taken a single lesson. But I was at a loss when the round, rosy-cheeked woman manning the empanada stall in Santiago's Mercado Central barked repeatedly at me: "Cachay? Cachay?" as she explained the various salsas that might accompany the large seafood pockets she was frying up. Cachay is one of the many anglicisms in Chilean Spanish; it means "did you catch that?" Clearly, I had not.

    A wave of British immigration to Chile in the 19th century is responsible for the English influence on the language. Chilean Spanish is also littered with Italian and German inflections thanks to mass influxes from those countries, as well. Foreigners have not only influenced the language, but also the food of Chile-you might find machas a la parmesana (Parmesan-slathered baked razor clams) next to maize, pumpkin and potato dishes on a traditional menu, with kuchen or strudel for dessert. This past fall, while packing for my third visit to the country, I looked forward to tasting the fresh seafood, tangy Patagonian lamb, stacked churrasco-style meat sandwiches, a plethora of empanadas, and plenty of pristine avocado. I wasn't as excited about the fine-dining scene. Perhaps because of the strange convergence of foreign influences, and because the country's most iconic traditional dishes are rustic comfort foods likechariquicán, a homey Mapuche dish made with dried beef, fancy restaurants in Chile have relied on an innocuous style of cooking that can only be described as "international." But on this trip, I was pleased and surprised to find the latest crop of young Chilean chefs embracing indigenous ingredients such as quinoa, merken (the traditional smoked-chili spice of the Mapuche tribe) and other ancient native foodstuffs, as the new building blocks of the country's modern gastronomy.

    When I say "Chilean chefs," I use the term broadly. Top restaurants in Santiago and the coastal town of Valparaiso are attracting talent from outside the country. Take Sergio Barroso, a wide-eyed Spaniard who came to Valparaiso to head up the kitchen at Alegre, the restaurant in the newly opened Palacio Astoreca hotel. He cut his teeth at El Bulli back home, where he says he learned to value each and every ingredient he works with. Like the rest of the city, which is covered in graffiti and buzzes with a healthy angst and creative energy, the food at Alegre is colorful and playful. Barroso spent months researching Chilean dishes and products before getting to work on his menu.

    Credit: Maxime Iattoni
    "Chile is a country with a wide range of geographical contrasts and climates, which poses a very interesting challenge for a chef," he mused over slivers of llama prosciutto and his take on machas a la parmesana: Instead of baking the clams au gratin, he gently poaches them, and then shrouds them in an airy Parmesan foam. "The idea of haute Chilean cuisine has yet to be really established, but little by little this will happen. Chilean chefs are searching for something genuine, local and of high quality, and they are learning how to take advantage of their resources."

    The Mapuche were once considered to be the fiercest tribe in all the Americas. They may be a peaceful (and largely vegetarian) people now, but they were the only tribe to stave off the Incas and the Spanish, never to be conquered by either. Perhaps this explains how their ancient spice merken has survived, to be revived as a trendy ingredient in today's Chile. Virtually unknown by urban Chileans a decade ago, it's now rather common to see merken on modern menus. Even piñones, the enormous pine nut-like fruits of the prehistoric monkey puzzle tree (literally: the tree dates back to the Cretaceous period), part of the Mapuche diet for centuries, are being used by chefs in contemporary preparations. One of the most vocal champions of indigenous ingredients is the boyishly handsome TV chef Rodolfo Guzmán, whose Santiago restaurant Boragó features foods foraged from the top of the Atacama Desert to the tip of Patagonia.

    During my visit to Boragó, the meal unfolded like educational dinner theater, each dish accompanied by a geographical and cultural lesson. He explained a pretty composition of fresh sea urchin adorned with white blossoms on a bed of sea greens:"The seaweed is from Quintay, on the coast." During dinner service, Guzmán, who studied botany and biochemistry before deciding to become a chef, walked around the dining room chatting with guests and instructing them on the food's nature and lineage. "This dish is inspired by the hot-stone cooking of the Mapuche people," he said of a simple, slow-cooked egg sprinkled in black ash whose soft sunshine yolk turned muddy when I pierced it with my fork.

    Credit: Maxime Iattoni
    Avant-garde chefs aren't the only ones experimenting with native foods. There are also cooks like Maria Eugenia Terragno, once the executive chef at LAN Airlines, who now prefers to host strangers in her home (you can arrange to visit her for lunch through a company called Santiago Adventures). Guests are greeted by a simple spread of soft cheese, toasted bread and pisco sours served by the pitcher. Terragno likes to showcase native ingredients in a more familiar way, like in her "Andean paella", made with quinoa instead of rice. The not-quite grain (quinoa is a seed) packed with a complete protein has been an Andean staple since at least 3000 B.C. The plant thrives at high, dry altitudes. Quinoa fell out of fashion for a time, but since being rediscovered as a "superfood" has been experiencing a renaissance in Chile and elsewhere. In addition to trying the grain in Terragno's take on paella, I also tasted it in a riff on risotto, as well as in several side dishes and salads.

    Even in the cracked caramel landscape of the Atacama Desert-the highest, driest desert on earth-I encountered chefs experimenting with ancient ingredients. At the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge, chef Daniel Molina scours the region for local herbs and rare fruits, and even grows some on the grounds (fertilized by the hotel's pet llamas, of course). Molina infuses pisco with rica rica, a sweet minty-rosemary-like herb traditionally used for sore throats that you might find growing in the sand on a desert hike, for an aromatic pisco sour.

    "It is very simple, the food here," says Molina, who makes a habit of attending local religious ceremonies in order to gather more information about the herbs he cooks with. He may not use them medicinally like the natives do, but he aims to understand as much about these ingredients as possible-even if they're just going into a cocktail, ice cream, or tart. "They try to use all the things that grow here," he says, admiringly. "Cachay?" That, I caught.

    Restaurante Alegre
    Palacio Astoreca hotel
    Calle Montealegre 149
    Cerro Alegre, Valparaíso, Chile


    Av. Nueva Costanera 3467
    Vitacura, Santiago, Chile

    Santiago Adventures

    Alto Atacama
    Camino Pukara
    Sector Suchor, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

    See the recipe for Charquicán »
    See the recipe for Andean Paella »
    See the recipe for Herb-Infused Pisco Sour »

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  • 01/16/13--08:00: Duarte's Tavern
  • Duarte's Tavern-photo After my parents' divorce in the 1970s, Mom and I did the best we could to cobble a new family unit together. Part of that was creating new traditions. We found one in our regular pilgrimages to Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero, California. After a two-hour drive from our Bay Area home and a brisk walk along the craggy coast, we would head to Duarte's and warm up over steamy bowls of cream of artichoke soup. Opened in 1894, Duarte's was everything you wanted a California diner to be, and still is. Unlike other such establishments, which have been what I like to call "arugulaized," Duarte's still serves classics like BLTs and burgers, along with local specialties, including Pacific-caught fish, and plenty of artichoke dishes. Then there are the desserts, my favorite being the olallieberry pie, made with the tangy West Coast hybrid berries. It's quite possibly the best pie on Earth. My mother is gone now. But when I go back to Duarte's for a bowl of that artichoke soup, I can't help thinking I'm keeping our relationship alive.

    See the recipe for Duarte's Cream of Artichoke Soup »

    Duarte's Tavern
    202 Stage Road, Pescadero, California

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  • 01/15/13--23:10: How to Smuggle a Ham
  • How to Smuggle a Ham-photo
    by Melissa Klurman
    Ah, the joys of international travel: sampling charcuterie, nibbling salami, spending quality time with local hams. For me, it started out innocently enough: A shrink-wrapped prosciutto for my father purchased from a butcher in Rome. "Molto bene, signora, to bring on plane," he assured me, and to be perfectly honest, I had my doubts. But the butcher seemed so very sincere in his promise that the ham was perfectly legal to transport over country borders-who was I to argue? Just to err on the side of caution though, I wrapped my cured pork treasure in deep layers of newly-acquired merino sweaters, and boarded the plane with fingers crossed.

    Back in JFK, my eyes glazing over as I surveyed the bags on the luggage carousel, I noticed my husband side-stepping away from me. Far away. All the way to the other side of the baggage carousel. Then I noticed that headed my way to say hello was an adorable beagle with floppy ears, droopy eyes, an official Customs badge, and a stern-looking Customs Agent handler.

    Nearly every carnivorous traveler I've spoken with has their own version of the hidden suitcase ham-and all profess to not really being entirely clear on the relative illegality of what they're attempting to bring home through customs. I have to assume though, that when someone tells me they stuffed jambon from France in their Uggs (thinking the sheepskin lining would mask the scent), that they've come to terms with their duplicitous nature-at least, when it comes to comestibles.

    Here are two cases to consider. AG, a South African who works in international public relations (none of my sources were willing to go on-record with their full names, what with being smugglers) says that when she's spending time in the States, she misses biltong-South African beef jerky-almost as much as she misses her family. All visits to her native Pretoria begin with a trip to the butcher ("the best in South Africa," she says) who double-vacuum-seals his prized meat snacks for her. Then her mother, a willing accomplice, puts the biltong in gift-wrapped boxes with diversionary notes that say things like "Don't Open Until Christmas" or "For Your Birthday, No Peeking!" "That way," AG admits, "if I get caught with a shirt-box full of meat, I can feign ignorance."

    The vacuum sealer is an invaluable tool for all ham aficionados without borders. Then there's the elaborate packing.
    LS, a native of Italy, has a multi-pronged plan of attack to get his beloved salumis back home with him. His first step, like AG's, is the vacuum sealer (invaluable to all ham aficionados without borders). Then there's the elaborate packing: First the meat is ensconced in socks, then camouflaged in layers of clothing and jackets, striated like a lovingly prepared lasagna so that prying X-rays won't be able to pick out the salumi's oblong shape among the intricate layers of clothing. Does it work? Last year, when LS arrived in the United States, he was pulled aside by a customs agent. Thoughts of savory cured meats tossed aside to rot in the garbage filled his head, but no, it wasn't his contraband meat that flagged him-it was his resident card, which had expired. The salumi survived, a great victory; one largely undimmed by the $700 fee for the residency violation, and the stress-induced indigestion from the customs false alarm.

    But what happens if your ham is found? AT, a chef in New York, couldn't resist the perfect guanciale, purchased near the location of her sister's wedding in Piedmont. "I really thought it was okay because it was sealed, and that it couldn't be smelled because it was vacuum packed," she says. Alas, she was wrong on both accounts: Back in New York, one of those meat-seeking beagles on the beat approached her, and when pressed by the handler about the content of her bags, she says "I gave up an apple I had been carrying for my son, and I thought they'd go away." But the dog kept hanging around, and the handler kept asking if AT had anything else. "She looked me straight in the eye," she recalls. "And I couldn't lie." So she gave up her Italian bacon, and looked on with regret as they threw it in a giant garbage bin. "It was just painful to watch it get thrown away." Still, even in her failure, AT was lucky: Customs can also levy fines for that stowaway charcuterie of $300 or more.

    My ham, as you've probably guessed, wasn't legal to bring back into the country-actually, almost nothing from the butcher shop is, no matter how delicious or hard-to-source. (The official word from the Customs and Border Patrol website is a useful rhyme: "if in doubt, keep it out.") Still, I pulled it off-maybe it was the rotting banana peel or the leaking bottle of olive oil in my bag that threw the beagle off the scent; maybe it was an inadvertently popped button on my blouse that distracted the Customs Agent's attention. Either way, I got it back in. And it was delicious.

    NOTE: We at SAVEUR don't encourage you to break the law, no matter how delicious the bounty.

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  • 01/16/13--00:00: Vancouver Dim Sum
  • Vancouver Dim Sum-photo
    by David Sax
    With a population that's nearly one-third Chinese (hailing mostly from the dim sum mecca, Hong Kong) and a choice location on the seafood-rich Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is the North American capital of dim sum. Even in a city overflowing with spectacular cuisine from all over Asia, the hectic ritual of Cantonese brunch is exalted by Vancouverites above all others. Whenever I travel there, my schedule is dictated by har gao, siu mai, and char siu bao-shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, and steamed pork buns-dim sum's holy trinity. On weekends I join the hundreds of people who crowd into massive banquet halls such as Pink Pearl for the finest rice noodle rolls and the flakiest custard tarts, or Fisherman's Terrace in the heavily Cantonese suburb of Richmond, which boasts what may be the deftest hand with dumplings. At each spot waiters pushing carts full of delicacies cover the tables with a flotilla of small plates and steam baskets that are emptied within seconds. A single meal might consist of plump shrimp and scallop dumplings, salty deep-fried squid, glazed eggplant stuffed with minced shrimp, piquant pepper-steamed short ribs, mounds of garlic-sautéed pea tips, and sweet black sesame rice balls. Inevitably, treats I hadn't ordered, such as fried sweet potato dumplings or shrimp wrapped in delicate bean curd skin, somehow find their way to my table. And I never leave town without picking up some of the fluffiest steamed pork buns from Chinatown's New Town Bakery. If there's one thing I've learned about Vancouver's dim sum, it's that even if I've just eaten a marathon of dishes, there's always room for one more bite.

    Pink Pearl
    1132 East Hastings Street

    Fisherman's Terrace
    3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way

    New Town Bakery
    148 East Pender Street

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  • 01/18/13--08:00: Hangtown Fry
  • Hangtown Fry-photo Placerville, California-known during the Gold Rush as Hangtown for its oft-swinging noose-lays claim to this incomparable scramble in which plump, fresh oysters are lightly breaded, then pan-fried in bacon drippings, and tossed with beaten eggs, bacon, and a splash of Tabasco. Some say the Hangtown fry, comprised of what were considered edible luxuries in the 1890s mining town, was dreamed up by a panhandler after striking it rich; others say it was the final meal of a condemned man. Either way, it's one of the finest legacies of the Old West.

    See the recipe for the Hangtown Fry »

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  • 01/18/13--01:51: Amayaandapos;s Taco Village
  • Amaya's Taco Village Crispy Tacos-photo In 1976, when Robert Amaya opened up shop in Austin, Texas, all he had was a range and a skillet, so he specialized in tacos fried to order. At Amaya's Taco Village, the fresh masa "crispy tacos"-kin to San Antonio's fried "puffy tacos"-are griddled first and then deep-fried. Crispy outside, chewy inside, and stuffed with any number of fillings-spicy ground beef, juicy chicken, mouthwatering marinated steak-they're simply amazing.

    Amaya's Taco Village
    5804 Interstate 35, Austin, Texas

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  • 01/24/13--22:17: The Essential Florida

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  • 01/28/13--00:00: Cook's Tortas
  • Cook's Tortas-photo
    by Javier Cabral
    Los Angeles is famous for its stripped-down, überauthentic Mexican restaurants, but the best thing to happen lately to the Mexican lunch counter in Southern California is Cook's Tortas, a cozy chalkboard-menu café in Monterey Park, just east of downtown. Instead of the baguette-like bolillo rolls typically used in the torta, an overstuffed Mexican sandwich, they bake their own ciabatta-style sourdough and fill it with everything from tender simmered beef tongue (traditional) to Spanish-style salt cod with sweet roasted peppers (not so traditional). They're all fresh, bold, and delicious.

    Cook's Tortas
    1944 South Atlantic Boulevard

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  • 01/29/13--22:00: La Vega Central Market
  • La Vega Central Market, Santiago Chile-photo A sprawling landscape of stalls and carts in the center of Santiago, Chile, La Vega Central Market vibrates with the brilliance of the country's agricultural bounty: fat yellow onions stuffed in mesh sacks, comically gigantic ears of corn, squash in every shape and hue; persimmons, custard apples, and other fragrant fruits; wild potatoes from Chile's Chiloé Island ranging in color from pale yellow to saturated scarlet and a purple that verges on black. At lunchtime the place fills with office workers and laborers and indigenous people in colorful garb eating steaming bowls of cazuela, chicken stew; sopaipillas, quick breads made with pumpkin; and tamale-like humitas. It is the best place in the country to get to know the universe of Chilean food-and to fall in love with it.

    La Vega Central Market
    700 Calle Davila Baeza,

    Recoleta, Santiago, Chile

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    Sea Urchin with spaghetti at Il Buco-photo When a craving for pasta hits, no run-of-the-mill red sauce will do-we want bold, flavorful dishes that are both soothing and dynamic, rustic yet inventive. It's a tall order, one that is always filled at Il Buco Alimentari andamp; Vineria in downtown Manhattan.

    The year-old market and restaurant has quickly become one of the city's most desirable tables, thanks in large part to chef Justin Smillie's peerless pastas: swarthy squid-ink strands tossed with rich salt cod confit and crisp fennel; cool, creamy sea urchin paired with al dente spaghetti and hot pepperoncini (at right). Whether it's the rabbit lasagnette with homemade pasta kerchiefs or a textbook Roman cacio e pepe, these pastas comfort and thrill with every bite.

    Il Buco Alimentari andamp; Vineria
    53 Great Jones Street

    New York, New York

    See the recipe for Squid Ink Pasta with Salted Cod Confit »

    See the recipe for Chilled Sea Urchin and Farro Pasta »

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  • 01/30/13--08:00: Istanbul's Best Coffee Shop
  • Istanbul's Best Coffee Shop-photoKurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, the phenomenal 141-year-old Turkish coffee purveyor, is located in a weather-beaten deco building just outside of Istanbul's Spice Market. Through its street-front window, thousands of brown wax-paper packets of freshly ground coffee are sold each day. The beans are roasted on the premises and then ground as finely as cake flour in belt-driven mills that chug away from morning to night. Taken home and brewed the traditional Turkish way-brought to a boil with water and sugar in a long-handled pot called a cezve-Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi coffee is the boldest, ballsiest you'll ever taste.

    Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi
    Tahmis Sokak 66 Eminönü,

    Istanbul, Turkey

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  • 01/31/13--00:00: Devils on Horseback
  • Devils on Horseback-photo
    by Sandra Tsing Loh
    In my 20s there were writers' groups; in my 30s, exercise groups; in my 40s, book groups; and now, there are only oysters. My unofficial oyster "club" is a ragtag team consisting of a bickering unmarried couple, two divorced mothers, and a 300-pound man. In Los Angeles, when our local supermarket had oysters on sale four for a dollar, we consumed two dozen raw ones apiece, of which, in my case, all but one was perfectly fresh. We partook in a frequent flier-mile jaunt to New Orleans. There, breakfast involved deck-clearing bloody marys; lunch, a fress of oyster po' boys and oyster loaf sandwiches (think 20 oysters chain-ganged together into a meat loaf-like mass). Where some of us met our match, though, was on the fog-shrouded Northern California coast. My partner Charles and myself, aka the Bickersons, were at the time on a lengthy road trip that involved a food-related argument. That didn't stop us from noticing the dreamy pewter-gray Pacific, and here it was almost dinnertime in-where were we?-Cambria! Intuition led us to the Sea Chest, the favorite local seafood joint, so popular that a line already awaited its opening. Upon flopping open the menu, we saw oysters Rockefeller, oysters casino, oyster stew, and what the...? "Devils on horseback": huge bacon-dressed oysters sautéed and plumped in garlic, butter, and white wine riding atop sourdough rounds weeping with oyster liquor. Usually, a dish by that name features prunes wrapped in bacon; when the oysters are swapped in, the "devils" become "angels." But whoever wrote the Sea Chest's menu knew these morsels were too diabolically delicious to be otherwise named. As Charles later described to our club in stage whisper: "Mounted astride these 'steeds' are oysters clad in strips of darkly crisped hickory-smoked bacon, teetering with the obscene bravado one could only expect from the Lord of Darkness."

    See the recipe for Devils on Horseback »

    The Sea Chest
    6216 Moonstone Beach Drive
    Cambria, California

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