Get Stuffed: 12 Super Thanksgiving Stuffings from Top Restaurants

Sure, turkey is the de facto star of the table on Thanksgiving, but let’s face it. Most of us live for stuffing or dressing as it’s also called. We’re not talking about week-old bread crumbs tossed together with a predictable poultry spice mix and some high-salt chicken stock here. No, this is about the unforgettable, too-good-to-line-your-leftover-sandwich stuffing. The dish that makes you completely forget there’s a gobbler in the middle of the table awaiting your attention. White or dark? Who cares! Pass me the stuffing. Again, please. Here are 12 super Thanksgiving stuffings that will have you ordering seconds.

Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago, Illinois
Meet the Catalan version of classic New England oyster stuffing. Razor clams dot saffron spiced squash bread pudding finished off with a splash of sherry pan jus. As they say in the northeastern Spanish region, “Déu n’hi do!” (Translation: Wow!)

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

The Lambs Club, New York, New York
Cornbread forms the backbone of chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s stuffing. He accents the side dish with pork sausage and ground fennel seed, as well as the usual suspects: onions, carrots, celery, and plenty of garlic. The results are sweet ‘n’ savory – and sure to linger long in your memory even after Thanksgiving is a distant dot in your rear view mirror.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Filini, Chicago, Illinois
You could make a meal out of this stuffing. Chef Carolina Diaz incorporates ground beef, dried cranberries, chestnuts, and walnuts into the mix, which gets an herbaceous boost from rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Try to remember to save some room for the actual turkey.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Oceana, New York, New York
You’ve never had a gobbler quite like executive chef Ben Pollinger’s Cape Cod turkey. That’s because it’s completely poultry-free. He uses roast cod instead, which he packs with a über-rich crabmeat stuffing that’s so good you’ll be clacking claws with your dining companions to get seconds of it.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Acadiana, Washington, D.C.
Stuffing done the Bay way. Chesapeake-sourced oysters and their briny liquor enrich this T-Day standout by chef Jeff Tunks. The dish is finished off with plenty of butter in order to…actually, no reason required. #buttermakeseverythingbetter

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Dino’s Grotto, Washington, D.C.
Here’s something we’ve never seen before: stuffing soup. Turkey stock-based Italian bread soup features hearty plugs of turkey sausage floating in its dark depths. Remember, it’s not polite to pick up the bowl with both hands and loudly slurp up its contents.

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They Can Pickle That: 6 Picks for Restaurant Pickle Programs

Autumn is a great time of year for a foodie. But a bountiful harvest is also the first sign that winter is coming. So, how do you hold onto that bounty through the lean months? By pickling, of course! Many OpenTable restaurants have mastered the simplicity and economy that comes from making their own pickles, giving diners a range of newfound textures and flavors. Here are six picks for restaurant pickle programs that bring you harvest-time veggies all year round.

Miller Union, Atlanta, Georgia
“There are three basic ways of putting up pickles,” says chef Steven Satterfield of Atlanta’s Miller Union. “Natural fermentation, vinegar brine, and quick pickles. We do them all.”

Satterfield, author of the Root to Leaf cookbook, makes his Hilda’s Icebox Pickles based on his grandmother’s recipe using cucumbers and a cold vinegar brine. He uses a hot brine solution for sunchokes and radishes, and a full vinegar solution for pungent items like sweet Vidalia onions and shallots. [Photo by Kelly Blackmon]

Best Restaurant PIckle Programs

Jacob’s Pickles, New York, New York
In New York City, Jacob Hadjigeorgis has brought the Lower East Side pickling tradition to the Upper West Side, where chef Jason Krantz produces everything from traditional dills to Thyme Jalapeño and Candy Red Beets pickles. The restaurant is host to a seasonal “Pickle Lab Series,” which currently features pickled fall vegetables, such as pumpkin, butternut squash, and okra.

Best Restaurant Pickle Programs

Brick & Bottle, Corte Madera, California
The Michelin Bib Gourmand-recommended eatery incorporates pickles into many of its dishes, from a diced pickled cabbage and onion, used as a topping for its hamburgers, to a composed pâté plate with multiple cured and pickled components. “We do not try to reinvent the wheel,” explains general manager Brandon Parkhurst. “Many of our cured dishes are takes on classics. However, what we do in our kitchen is take high-quality ingredients and treat them with the utmost care.”

Best Restaurant Pickle Programs

Iron Gate, Washington, D.C.
In Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, chef Anthony Chittum serves a tasting menu in their historic carriage house dining room, where the first course is a series of small tastes from the kitchen that always features something from their pickle pots. These can vary from bread and butter sunchokes, green beans and bird chilis, and zucchini, to name but a few. Many of the pickles are displayed in the dining room in jars that frame the open kitchen.[Photo by Samer Farha]

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National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day: Comfort in a Bowl Around the Globe

It’s no secret chicken soup is good for the soul. The nourishing broth, nutrient-dense veggies, and hearty noodles always do a body good, particularly at this time of year when cold and flu season is ramping up. So in honor of National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day, we’re putting a fun twist on the expressive holiday and rounding up five kinds of chicken soup from around the world, upping the ante on canned Campbell’s — you can even find these soulful soups right here in the States.

Japanese Ramen
When most people think of ramen, their minds drift toward the cheap packets they ate during their college dorm days — or, if they’ve experienced authentic Japanese ramen, then likely to steaming bowls of noodle soup spiked with tender pork. But there’s also a version that relies on chicken stock—it’s called shio and shoyu ramen. And one of the best spots to try this curative soup is in Decatur, Georgia, at Makan, where the miso-based broth is simmered overnight for maximum depth of flavor. Each bowl is laced with Sun Noodles and topped with a soft poached egg, roasted pork belly, and seasonal vegetables.

National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day

Jewish Matzo Ball Soup
Though not technically from one specific country, the Jewish culture relies on restorative matzo ball soup around the world particularly on Passover or when a hint of a cold comes on (see penicillin, Jewish). Their version is a light chicken broth peppered with dumplings (they’re made from a mixture of matzah meal, eggs, water and fat) and often veggies, such as onions, carrots, and celery. In San Francisco, Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen simmers their broth for 12 hours with thyme, browned onions, vegetables, and chicken bones, adding schmaltz’d up matzo balls at service.

National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day

Thai Khao Soi
In Northern Thailand, street vendors throughout the region dish out a Burmese-influenced chicken soup called Khao Soi around every corner. The coconut curry-esque base (it’s similar in flavor to yellow or massaman curry) is brimming with fresh chicken, boiled egg noodles, pickled veggies, and shallots, and it is finished with crispy fried egg noodles, lime juice, and ground chiles. Head to Pok Pok in Brooklyn, New York, where James Beard Award winner Andy Ricker serves an authentic Khao Soi made with a from-scratch curry paste and house-pressed fresh coconut milk, alongside chicken, house-pickled mustard greens, and roasted chili paste.

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Move Over, Pumpkin Spice: 7 Smashing Pumpkin Dishes + a Cool Cocktail Full of Fall Flavor

In case you’re hard of seeing or smelling, pumpkin spice season is in full swing. While we understand the legions of PSL fans, we prefer to savor pumpkin in its more natural state.

There may not be a single definition of what pumpkin spice is – and the same can be said of pumpkin itself. There’s no accurate botanical designation for it; it’s merely a common name for an array of winter squashes. But, in their most recognized form, pumpkins are round, orange, smooth-textured, and magically delicious. As much as summer squashes, such as zucchini, crookneck, and pattypan, lend color and flavor to our grilling season favorites, winter squashes including butternut, acorn, and kabocha, all make for hearty cool-weather delights guaranteed to satisfy. Here’s where you can find seven smashing pumpkin dishes — plus one cocktail — that will soon have you pining for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin.

Pumpkin Borani at Oasis Grille, Pleasanton, California
Borani is a Persian dish, much like a dip, made with aromatic spices and creamy yogurt. This divine Borani, in which pumpkin is cooked with olive oil, peppers, and garlic, then topped with a garlic-yogurt sauce, is begging for you to tear up some nan and dip in! Seinfeld fans already understand that you should only double dip at your own risk.

Best Pumpkin Dishes

Pumpkin Mascarpone Ravioli at Harvest Seasonal Grill, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
It wouldn’t really be fall without the annual arrival of pumpkin ravioli on restaurant menus. This Pumpkin Mascarpone Ravioli is a rich interpretation of the dish — with all the trimmings. From the butternut squash purée, sage brown butter, and cranberries to the baby spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds, and gingerbread dust, you can practically sniff the seasoning off the photograph. (No need to scratch!)

Best Pumpkin Dishes

Butternut Squash and Cider Salad at Red Hat on the River, Irvington, New York
If there is a salad that was meant to complement an autumn trip up the Hudson River for the viewing of the turning leaves, this Butternut Squash and Cider Salad is it. Sweet maple-glazed squash takes center stage, while awards for supporting roles go to arugula, dried cherries, green apple, pumpkin seeds, naturally cured smoked bacon, goat cheese, and an apple cider vinaigrette. Pro tip: Go apple picking first so you can wash it back with a glass of dry Reisling (or two).

Best Pumpkin Dishes

Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna at Winds Café, Yellow Springs, Ohio
For our money, few foods are as comforting as lasagna. And that includes vegetarian lasagnas. The Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna won’t have you missing meat at all. A variety of locally grown squashes are roasted, scooped, and mashed, layered with fresh pasta sheets and a blend of cheeses, and then baked until bubbly. Finished with roasted shallot cream and housemade sage oil, this version may turn you off tomato-based lasagna (at least for the season!).

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