Prost! 9 German Beer Halls for Celebrating Oktoberfest

October, Oktober, no matter how you spell it, it’s a great time of year for beer. The original German festival that began as a wedding celebration in Munich is now a global event and it marks the perfect time to get together with friends and family over a pint. So, find a table, order some wurst and pretzels, drink a boot full of beer, and get your oompah on at one of these 9 German beer halls for celebrating Oktoberfest.

Redlefsen’s Rotisserie & Grill, Bristol, Rhode Island
The Guertler family transforms Redlefsen’s into a proper German beer hall every year for music, food, dancing, and fun. A broad menu of German staples and eclectic world cuisine will help you maintain your balance while consuming a long list of German and Belgian beers.

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The Radler, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago’s preeminent German beer hall focuses on modernized, locally sourced German cuisine served in a traditional communal atmosphere. Check out their calendar of Oktoberfest events, including the “Wurst Dinner in Radler History.”

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Reichenbach Hall, New York, New York
Genuine German and Bavarian food and atmosphere are a daily affair at New York’s Reichenbach Hall, where the feeling of Oktoberfest carries throughout the year. The German beers on tap come in sizes from half a liter to das two-liter boot.

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Rhein Haus, Seattle, Washington
A Capitol Hill favorite, Rhein Haus serves up 24 beers on tap and a generous selection of local beers, then ups the ante with its five indoor bocce ball courts. This place is big and the competitive spirit is high. Don’t miss their inaugural Oktoberfest Food-feast Relay Race on September 26.

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Hofbrauhaus, Las Vegas, Nevada
Can’t get to Munich? How about Las Vegas where Hofbrauhaus replicates the world’s most famous beer hall in every way? Every day is Oktoberfest in this grand gathering place where the beer is brewed in Munich under the 400-year-old purity law and shipped in fresh. Eat, drink, and be merry!

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5 Emerging Cuisines You Need to Try Right Now

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. What better way to do it than by tackling it one bite at a time? Though plenty of cuisines from around the globe have been popularized and become prevalent here in the States, a plethora still haven’t gotten their due. So, we scoured the planet to find up-and-coming culinary traditions that should be on your radar – from the South Pacific and the western shores of Africa to Asia – and then ferreted out stateside restaurants showcasing that fare. Here are 5 emerging cuisines you need to try right now.

AUSTRALIAN: Burke & Wills, New York, New York
The Land Down Under has a lot more to offer foodies than Vegemite, Foster’s beer, and Tim Tam biscuits. Discover some of the possibilities at this Aussie redoubt powered by executive chef Rodrigo Nogueira, an alum of Montmartre, Colicchio & Sons, and Resto. The menu boasts plenty of contemporized fare from the southern hemisphere. Yes, they serve kangaroo. The ultra-lean, pleasantly gamey protein is offered two ways, either as a loin steak or in the form of a ‘Roo Burger – a kangaroo-pork patty topped with pickled onions and tomato jam. If you’re in the mood for Australian-accented seafood, there’s fennel-y, gingery pan-roasted scallops, mussels, and clams. To finish, opt for Pavlova – practically the country’s official dessert – made with whipped cream, passion fruit curd, berries, and kiwi fruit. However, we kindly request that you refrain from doing your Crocodile Dundee impersonation until after you’ve left the restaurant.

TURKISH: Ankara, Washington, D.C.
Incorporating familiar elements of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food cultures, Turkish cuisine stands on its own. Begin with an array of hot and cold mezze dishes, such as karides guvec (shrimp baked in tomato-garlic sauce), fried mussels in a garlicky, walnut-rich sauce, and cigar-shaped sigara borgi (phyllo wrapped around feta and then deep fried). And you must order one of the pideler. The Turkish-style pizzas are open-air, doughy canoes brimming with a combination of cheeses, vegetables, and meats. The peynirli is a standout, sporting feta, sautéed onions, herbs, and a sunny yolk. Dips and spreads (definitely order the creamy haydari amped with dill and garlic), salads, and plenty of grilled meats fill out the rest of the menu. [Photo by Maria Bryk]

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LAO: Bida Manda Restaurant and Bar, Raleigh, North Carolina
If you haven’t tried this southeastern Asian cuisine before, here’s a great starting point. Expect fresh ingredients that sing on your tongue, spicy components packed with zing, and unique taste combinations that linger in your memory long after your meal is over. Prime examples are the crispy pork belly resting in a deeply aromatic Kaffir lime leaf coconut curry broth (mee ka tee), caramelized ginger pork ribs (thom khem) that slide off the bone with the merest of nibbles, and beef larb salad packed with herbs from the Far East galore. To finish on a sweet note, there’s traditional purple sticky rice topped with pureed mango and coconut custard. Or, simply order a powerful iced Lao coffee enriched with plenty of condensed milk. The coolness and the creaminess of the drink will help subdue any fiery flavors from your meal.

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Alessandro Porcelli of Cook It Raw on Collaboration, Mentorship + How to End Bullying in the Kitchen

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If you’re not familiar with the name Alessandro Porcelli, you may have heard of some of his close collaborators: David Chang, Daniel Patterson, and Rene Redzepi, to name a few.

Alessandro is the founder and director of Cook It Raw, an annual gathering of the restaurant industry’s top talent aimed at sharing ideas and innovations in the world of food. Every year groups of chefs come together to explore ingredients and where they come from; learn historic and regional cooking methods; and exchange new, creative ways to talk about and share food with the world. Check out the #rawtalks hashtag on Twitter to follow the conversation.

In creating the organization Alessandro has made it his mission to bring collaboration and sharing to the forefront of an industry famed for its competitiveness (and often, intimidation). The latest issue of Lucky Peach magazine featured articles by David Chang and Rene Redzepi about the legacy of abuse and fear in professional kitchens, recognizing the need for a cultural shift.

Here, we ask Alessandro all about Cook It Raw, how chefs are working together, and how the industry is evolving to create better leaders and a better community overall.

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A Taste of the Past: 5 Heritage Ingredients Making a Comeback

Not every taste withstands the test of time. Plenty of vegetables, herbs, and grains popular in the past have either gone of out style and are no longer cultivated on a mass scale or have had key flavors altered through breeding. Lucky for present-day diners, chefs are rediscovering and reviving these lost heirloom plants in contemporary cuisine. Here are five heritage ingredients making a comeback that will give you a taste of history.

Benne Seeds
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with benne seeds since they are the forefathers to modern sesame. The ovate seeds have a nutty character and add an umami quality to the dishes they’re featured in. They’re the backbone of Sean Brock of Husk’s Charleston Ice Cream, which is a warm savory starter made with Carolina Gold Rice, not a cold sweet finale. The seeds are incredibly versatile. Bourbon Steak’s executive chef Joe Palma used them to dapple a yeast doughnut, which served as a bun for his Big American burger topped with bacon, pimento cheese, and sweet ‘n’ spicy pickle relish .

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Though it’s part of the grass family and can be used as a grain, sorghum is best known for being transformed into a dark syrup popular below the Mason-Dixon line. Tasting like a cross between molasses and maple syrup, it’s often used interchangeably with the two, either as a sweetener or drizzled on to flapjacks and biscuits. At Washington, D.C.’s Vidalia, it’s incorporated into the standout sweet potato sourdough in the restaurant’s complimentary bread basket. Conversely, it adds Southern-style sweetness to the butter accompanying the cast iron cornbread at Food, Wine & Co. in Bethesda, Maryland. Chef Erik Niel of Easy Bistro & Bar, Chattanooga, Tennessee, goes a different route entirely, using popped sorghum to garnish his tuna tartare (pictured below).

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This winter root vegetable’s nickname is the “oyster plant,” because it supposedly expresses that flavor when it’s cooked – though some think it tastes more like an artichoke. A relative of the parsnip, it works best when boiled, mashed, or fried. Gabriel Kreuther of New York City’s Gabriel Kreuther has used it in a decadent gratin made with plenty of butter, half-and-half, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, and a pinch of nutmeg. At City Perch in North Bethesda, Maryland, executive chef Matt Baker has showcased salsify in a seared scallops dish given a luxe lift with shaved black truffles.Continue Reading