Lively Up Yourself: 9 Legend-ary Jamaican + Ethiopian Dishes for Bob Marley Day 2016

February 6th marks what would have been Bob Marley’s 71st birthday. Born in Jamaica, the reggae icon considered Ethiopia his spiritual home. To celebrate the two rich veins of his heritage, we are highlighting nine outstanding dishes from the Caribbean island and the eastern African nation. These history-rich foods embody and showcase the culinary traditions of each region. Guaranteed to satisfy your soul on Bob Marley Day 2016 – and guaranteed to be one of your #29ReasonstoLoveFebruary!

Mr. Brown’s Lounge, Chicago, Illinois
Skewered shrimp are marinated in a ‘catch a fire’ jerk sauce made with plenty of Scotch Bonnet peppers that ain’t for the faint of heart. Luckily, the sweet, soothing mango salsa keeps things cool. If that’s not enough, we recommend a tart Ting grapefruit soda or a guava milkshake to quench the flames dancing across your tongue. A side of fried plantains or coconut milk-enriched rice ‘n’ peas will also help. Make a reservation at Mr. Brown’s Lounge.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Das Ethiopian Cuisine, Washington, D.C.
Can’t make up your mind on what to order? The vegetarian entrée sampler is a good way to go. Featuring eggplant and carrot wat stew, miser wat (red lentil stew with traditional Ethiopian Berbere pepper spice), and tikil gomen (ginger and garlic amped cabbage, potatoes, and carrots) and more, its served on a bed of spongy injera bread that’s meant to be used as a utensil — and then promptly eaten. Make a reservation at Das Ethiopian Cuisine.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Taste of the Caribbean, Seattle, Washington
Meet your new favorite appetizer. Salted codfish, onions, peppers, and West Indian spices are balled up, battered, and deep-fried. Zigzagged with hot sauce and speckled with scallions, we bet you can’t eat just one of these tasteful takes on the Caribbean classic. Make a reservation at Taste of the Caribbean.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Ethiopian Diamond, Chicago, Illinois
Think of tibs as an Ethiopian stir-fry. To create tibs quosta, spinach is sautéed with garlic and onions, and then mixed with juicy chicken chunks and green peppers. Of course, it’s served with plenty of injera bread, so you can fold up the components together fajita-style. Make a reservation at Ethiopian Diamond.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Ja’ Grill, Chicago, Illinois
Chef Errol Gallimore, a Jamaican transplant, cooks his home-style oxtail in an aromatic brown sauce until the meat is falling off the bone. The rich stew is fortified with butter beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, and several varieties of pepper and is complemented with spicy rice and fried plantains. Goes well with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer. Or three. Make a reservation at Ja’ Grill.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge, Houston
If Ethiopia has a national chicken dish, it just might be doro wat. In this rendition, a bone-in drumstick and thigh are slow-simmered in a spicy slurry, not unlike a thick barbecue sauce, and accompanied by a hard-boiled egg. We’re fond of mashing all the components together to create a barbecued chicken ‘n’ egg salad, which we roll up in torn off pieces of injera. Make a reservation at Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge.

Bob Marley Day 2016Continue Reading

Tap That Sap: 13 Amazing Maple Cocktails

As winter announces its overdue presence and maple harvest time looms, we yearn for maple syrup more than ever. We pour it on pancakes, use it to glaze bacon for our burgers, and drizzle it over snowball-sized scoops of ice cream. However, there’s no place we like it more than at the bar. That’s because the amber liquid has a rich, deeply flavorful sweetness, which works well to mellow out liquor’s sharper tones. Here are 13 amazing maple cocktails.

Charcut, Calgary, Canada
Bar manager Mackenzie Oullette has fond childhood memories of making lollipops by pouring boiling maple syrup into the snow. Now she makes a similar maple taffy to garnish her whiskey rich Fléche cocktail, which gets a sugary lift from even more Grade A syrup. Make a reservation at Charcut.

Maple Cocktails

Burritt Room & Tavern, San Francisco, California
The phrase ‘study abroad’ used to conjure images of drinking in foreign countries while trying to improve international relations one hookup at a time. But now that we’re older, slightly wiser, and a tad more refined, the phrase makes us think fondly of this cocktail with the same name. Bourbon based, it’s sweetened with dark Grade B maple syrup and given some nuance through the inclusion of pear liqueur, allspice dram, and lemon juice. Make a reservation at Burritt Room & Tavern.

Maple Cocktails

Almanac, New York, New York
Simply called the Maple, this cocktail is essentially a seasonally accented Old Fashioned. The kick of the Overholt Rye and the botanicals of the dry vermouth are smoothed out by a dose of salted maple syrup and a couple of dashes of housemade orange bitters. Make a reservation at Almanac.

Maple Cocktails

The Salty Sow, Austin, Texas
The Maple Glazed Old Fashioned sounds like it could be an amazing doughnut. It’s also the name of this self-explanatory sipper, which features the classic cocktail sweetened with…yeah, you guessed it. What gave it away? Make a reservation at The Salty Sow.

Maple Cocktails

Gather, Berkeley, California
Earl Grey-infused maple syrup perks up this scotchy sipper, which would most certainly appeal to Ron Burgundy. Dubbed the Northern Exposure, it’s filled out with lemon juice, egg whites, and bitters. Here it goes, down into our bellies. Make a reservation at Gather.

Maple Cocktails

Wildwood Kitchen, Bethesda, Maryland
The Sunday mornings cocktail evokes brunch in a glass. Bacon-washed bourbon is mellowed out with hickory-smoked maple syrup, and vanilla and cinnamon tincture. The glass is finished off with a Serrano ham chip and an orange peel. Make a reservation at Wildwood Kitchen.

Maple Cocktails

The Smith-Midtown, New York, New York
Named after the lovable pig in Charlotte’s Web, the Sweet Wilbur aims to evoke the countryside. Sugar maple liqueur is blended with bourbon, allspice dram, apple cider, and bacon bitters (an item that made it into our Christmas stocking). To complete the cocktail, the rim is rolled in vanilla salt. Make a reservation at The Smith-Midtown.

Maple CocktailsContinue Reading

Where’s the Beef? 11 Alternative Burgers Without an Ounce of Moo in Them

We have absolutely no problem with a classic beef burger – like we could turn down an American icon? – but, sometimes we want to switch up our routine. Luckily, Angus ain’t the only protein in play in the patty game anymore. Chefs are utilizing unconventional meats sourced from the land and sea. From shrimp and salmon to kangaroo and bison, these burgers are far from your average Big Mac. Here are 11 alternative burgers that buck the convention that is beef.

Azu, Ojai, California
This is one lean, green burger machine. The primo patty is forged out of grass-fed, fat-marbling-free bison. Don’t worry, there’s still some gluttony involved. It comes topped with onion jam, Gorgonzola, and bacon — and there’s a side of fries. Make a reservation at Azu.

Alternative Burgers

Badmaash, Los Angeles, California
Sacred cows are left out of the equation when it comes to making these alternative burgers. Instead, well-spiced lamb takes the lead. Served on a brioche bun, they come with red onion ringlets, iceberg lettuce, juicy Roma tomato slices, and paprika-pepped mayonnaise. Make a reservation at Badmaash.

Alternative Burgers

The Commoner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chef Dennis Marron didn’t want to follow the flock when he was designing his burger. So he created one out of lamb to stand out from the herd. It comes capped with Moroccan-spiced aioli, Indian relish, and whipped goat cheese. Make a reservation at The Commoner.

Alternative Burgers

Sambar, Culver City, California
Here’s one done the Bombay way. The chicken burger comes with a plethora of flavor-boosting toppings, including crispy chicken skin, hempseed chutney, and summer fruit chutney. Warning: it may inspire you to book a trip to India — and we will not cover the cost of the ticket. Make a reservation at Sambar.

Alternative Burgers

Sepia, Chicago, Illinois
We want this burger baaad. Sorry, couldn’t resist. The Middle Eastern-inspired round is made with lamb and finished off with pickled eggplant, fiery harissa aioli, and feta crumbles. Make a reservation at Sepia.

Alternative BurgersContinue Reading

Super Soups: Warm Up with 10 Classic Soups This Winter

In the cold winter months, nothing satisfies like a hot bowl of soup. This country is home to some famous and a few perhaps less well known (but still delectable) regional and adapted ethnic soups — from New England Clam Chowder and New Orleans Gumbo to South Asian Laksa, Pennsylvania Mushroom, and Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup. Here are 10 of our favorite classic soups and where to get yourself a bowl.

Cioppino, Cioppino’s, San Francisco, California
The name says it all. This beloved Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant has been churning out bowls of this uniquely San Franciscan spicy fish stew since 1997. Their namesake soup brims with mussels, Dungeness crab, shrimp, snapper, clams, calamari, and tomatoes swimming in fennel- and wine-scented broth. Thick hunks of sourdough toast served alongside are perfect for sopping every last bit of that spicy, rust-colored broth. Make a reservation at Cioppino’s.

Classic soups

Mushroom Soup, Parc, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Half of America’s mushrooms are grown in the tiny Chester County borough of Kennett Square, about 40 miles southwest of Philadelphia. So if you find yourself in the City of Brotherly Love, you’d be remiss to pass up on mushroom soup. At Rittenhouse Square French brasserie Parc, the velvety mushroom soup combines cremini mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, tarragon, and bay leaf with mushroom and chicken stock and a touch of cream. The soup is pureed and then garnished with a mix of roasted exotic mushrooms (beech, piopini, maitake, and more creminis) for texture, minced chives, and a drizzle of olive oil. Make a reservation at Parc.

Classic Soups

Laksa, Cassia, Santa Monica, California
This popular soup slurped on the streets Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore has numerous adaptations, though its common elements are chili-infused coconut milk broth and a generous portion of noodles. At Asian-influenced L.A. brasserie Cassia, Bryant Ng’s seafood laksa combines shrimp, mussels, rice noodles, herbs, and a hardboiled egg in a thick, fiery coconut curry broth with the subtle funk of shrimp paste. Make a reservation at Cassia.

Classic soups

French Onion Soup, Bistro Campagne, Chicago, Illinois
There’s no shortage of terrific French bistros around the country — nearly all of them offering some variation on this beefy soup teeming with caramelized onions and topped with bubbling Gruyere croutons. At this little spot in Chicago’s residential Lincoln Square neighborhood, the soup a l’oignon gratinée is simple yet beautifully executed, with a tangle of sweet, caramelized onions bobbing in savory, beefy broth capped with a dense layer of nutty, blistered Gruyere —enough cheese to have some in every bite. Make a reservation at Bistro Campagne.

Classic Soups

Ramen, Bar Chuko Izakaya, Brooklyn, New York
There’s a reason Americans have fallen hard for this Japanese soup made from thick, savory broth and slurpable noodles. As one of the first U.S. cities to embrace ramen, New York has no shortage of great options, but this Prospect Heights spot from three Morimoto alums is surely a top contender. Their delectable kimchi ramen packs ground pork, toothsome hand-pulled noodles, seaweed, egg, and thin scallion ribbons. But the vegetarian — with seasonal veggies, kimchi, spiced tofu cubes, and noodles bobbing in miso-soy broth — is a sleeper hit. Make a reservation at Bar Chuko Izakaya.

Classic Soups

Beer Cheese Soup, Rumpus Room, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
As the nation’s top cheese-producing state that also ranks in the top 10 for craft breweries, Wisconsin takes its cheese and beer very seriously, so it’s no surprise there’s a soup that embodies the best of both. The Rumpus Room’s version blends creamy, tangy Carr Valley cheddar and bright, mildly tart Weiss beer, topped with airy morsels of house-spiced popcorn for a rich, comforting bowl to warm you through after braving the bitter Lake Michigan winds outside. If you’re really starved for comfort, throw on an optional brown sugar bacon topper. Make a reservation at Rumpus Room.

Classic SoupsContinue Reading