9 Signature Dishes: Edible Icons You Must Not Miss

On rare occasions, a dish transcends the tides of time, the trifles of trends, and sometimes even its inventor to become icons in their own right. Each of these nine signature dishes is a must-order if you’re lucky enough to dine at the restaurant where it was created.

Apple Pie, Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
The recipe for this all-American dessert has remained unchanged since chef Brian McBride debuted it in 2006 even though he ultimately left the restaurant. Granny Smith apples sweetened with plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon spiced are enclosed in a butter-rich crust. The big-enough-for-two puck-shaped pie is baked in the wood-burning oven, giving its exterior a golden glow. The flavors evoke autumn, but the spot-on finale is good at any time of year. Make a reservation at Blue Duck Tavern.

Signature Dishes

Chicken for Two, The NoMad, New York, New York
James Beard Award-winning chef Daniel Humm always found roasting chickens a conundrum because white meat and dark meat cook at different rates. To get the dark meat of the legs to the right level of doneness, you have to overcook the white breast meat. So he came up with a clever solution. After guests are presented with the whole roast bird – a bouquet of herbs nestled next to its legs and a beyond decadent foie gras and black truffle brioche stuffing piped under its crackly golden skin – it’s taken back into the kitchen. There the legs are sautéed separately with mushrooms and shallots for just a couple minutes more to ensure they’re done correctly. All the attention to detail adds up to a perfectly cooked dish. Make a reservation at The NoMad.

Signature Dishes

Lamb Carpaccio, The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia
There are a number of dishes on chef Patrick O’Connell’s menu that could be considered classics at this award-winning gourmand’s redoubt in the Virginia countryside – from the Tin of Sin starter to his clever re-imagination of a butter pecan ice cream sandwich. However, his carpaccio of herb-crusted baby lamb loin served with half scoops of Caesar salad ice cream and brioche croutons may be his most quintessential. Sweet, savory, earthy, and elegant, it’s absolutely unforgettable. Make a reservation at The Inn at Little Washington.

Signature Dishes

Unicorn, Pao by Paul Qui, Miami Beach, Florida
Paul Qui’s cuisine takes its cues from the Philippines, Japan, Spain and beyond at his luxe Miami gastro destination, which debuted earlier this year. However, the Top Chef winner’s standout dish, which has already garnered enough raves to make it an icon, takes an equal amount of inspiration from the $6 million gold-leafed unicorn sculpture by Damien Hirst on display in the dining room. The cleverly conceived Unicorn features tongues of uni on grilled sweet corn pudding (get the name now?) along with touches of sake aioli and arbol chile. Its showstopping presentation in an upside down spiny sea urchin makes it infinitely Instagrammable – if you can stop yourself from immediately taking a bite. Make a reservation at Pao by Paul Qui.

Signature Dishes

Roasted Pig Face, Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Illinois
This well-loved dish from the Stefanie Izard – winner of a James Beard Award and Top Chef – is exactly what it says it is, and yet its flavors are much more complex than the name implies. A pig head is cut up, its meat seasoned with cilantro, lime zest, coriander, salt, and pepper. Rolled up into a log, it’s braised until nearly gelatinous. Two rounds baked to order in the wood fired oven are used to sandwich a thicket of crispy potato sticks. A sunny-side up egg goes on top and there are crisscrossing drizzles of sweet maple gastrique, perky cilantro oil, and tangy tamarind vinaigrette to deepen the flavors. Make a reservation at Girl & the Goat.

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Six Top LA Wine Bars: Where to Wine Like a Pro in Los Angeles

Top LA Wine BarsPeople say that one of the best things about living in LA is that at any given moment, you’re about an hour away from every natural playground you could ever want — the seasonally snowy mountains, the forest, the desert, the beach, and Santa Barbara’s thriving wine country. Yes, we are counting any and all wine growing regions as natural playgrounds. With some of the country’s best wines within reach, including Napa and Sonoma, and easy access to a dizzying portfolio of international wines, it’s no wonder that Los Angeles restaurants are boasting some of the best wine programs in the country.

We’ve rounded up six of the city’s top wine bars in restaurants with programs as progressive and exciting as they are approachable. So whether you’re a newbie who’s never ventured far from Franzia or a hardcore oenophile who’s watched Somm 100 times, there is something here for every palate – and that includes the food.

Smoke.Oil.Salt / Poco Wine Bar
This Iberian gem, housed underneath a tattoo and piercing parlor on LA’s iconic Melrose strip, features one of the city’s most thoughtfully curated Spanish wine lists, thanks to co-owner and wine director Stephen Gelber. With a 130-plus bottles and 30 wines by the glass list showcasing exclusive Spanish gems like Txakoli and Godello, an extensive selection of sherry flights, and wine cocktails, you don’t need a passport to tour Spain’s rich wine regions. Even more boast-worthy is Smoke.Oil.Salt’s use of the Coravin, a tool that extracts wine through the cork without ever having to open the bottle — thereby leaving the wine preserved. This gives Gelber the opportunity to let guests taste rare and prized bottles of wine that most would never be able to experience otherwise.

For a more casual experience, stop by the walk-in only POCO, the newly opened wine bar concept housed next door. POCO gives Gelber a little bit more room to taste and test wines — all at incredible prices. The weekly rotating glass list features a red, a white, and a sparkling from $5-$7, and everything on the small tapas menu is under $10. Everyone wins! Keep an eye out for soon-to-come monthly “wine socials” like women-only wine nights, sommelier-led tasting classes, and themed industry nights. Make a reservation at Smoke.Oil.Salt.

Top LA Wine Bars

At Wilde Wine Bar and Restaurant, where the wine selection focuses on small production and sustainable wines from all over the world, it’s all about discovery and adventure. “We want to break down the intimidation behind ordering wine. It should be a fun journey,” says owner and wine director Lorna Donohoe. “We’re excited to introduce customers to unusual wines like ancient grapes being revived in Greece or wines grown so high on The Alps only donkeys can be used to access them.” With themed nights like Vino and Vinyl, where guests can bring in their own records to play, Thirsty Thursdays, where guests create their own wine-inspired cocktails at a DIY cocktail bar, and Fried Chicken and Bubbles every Sunday, there is absolutely no shortage of fun, discovery, and adventure. Be sure to check their website for an updated events list as super cool happenings and weekly series are constantly being added. Make a reservation at Wilde.

Top LA Wine Bars

Napa Valley Grille
With a name like Napa Valley Grille, you can look forward to a list featuring the best of California’s famed wine country and a passionately educated staff to expertly guide you through it. In addition to tastings and weekly educational emails to his staff, wine and beverage manager Chris Shannon also created a separate (ahem, leatherbound) wine list for servers with tasting notes highlighting the nose and palate of every wine on the list. The restaurant group also proudly features its own collection of exclusive and reserve wines under the Tavistock Reserve Collection in addition to a curated selection of international wines. “One of my favorite things to do,” says Shannon, “is taste someone on a pinot noir from Burgundy versus a pinot noir from California or taste a guest through the delicate difference between a Napa chardonnay and a Sonoma chardonnay. I feel so lucky to be able to ask people what they want instead of telling them what they want. I think it’s important to be a place that’s educational and accepting of everyone’s tastes.” Consider yourself in good hands. Make a reservation at Napa Valley Grille.

Top LA Wine Bars

At downtown acclaimed Italian favorite, wine director Ryan Ibsen admittedly calls the wine list “a complete and chaotic immersion,” but trust us, that’s a good thing. “At any given moment, I can find just as many unexpected great French pairings as I can Italian pairings. Running a progressive wine program means finding the right tone and voice that appeals to everyone.” When Ibsen notices someone excited about the wine list but unsure about what they want, one of his favorite things to do, whether it’s a single diner at the bar or a party of six, is to provide pairings across the meal rather than the traditional bottle service. “It gives the people a chance to see what we’re all about and helps us to create a customized experience.” And despite the wine list’s exquisite range, Ibsen is quick to stress, “The educational tone is always to make the guest feel comfortable rather than holding the wine over their head.” At Bestia, go for the food and stay for the wine. You never know, you just may find yourself in the middle of an unexpected and unforgettable wine tasting! Make a reservation at Bestia.

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9 Milk and Cookies Desserts: A Childhood Classic Reborn

Growing up, milk and cookies were one of our favorite treats. We loved dunking the warm rounds into a glass of cold milk and then nibbling away at the softened edges. It was always a joy to hit a mother lode of melted chocolate chips or crunch into a pecan like we had discovered treasure. Luckily, we haven’t had to give up this simple pleasure just because we’re older and, debatably, wiser because chefs are reviving the childhood classic. Here are 9 milk and cookies desserts to make you feel like a kid again.

David Burke Kitchen, New York, New York
If you’re in the mood for dessert and a drink, order the cookie plate. A seasonal selection arrives with rum-spiked coconut milk. Don’t worry, kiddies, they’re happy to leave out the hooch, so you can enjoy it as well. Make a reservation at David Burke Kitchen.

milk and cookies desserts

Cavatina, Los Angeles, California
Fresh-from-the-oven cookies spotted with sweet squares of chocolate get a dusting of sea salt. The finishing touch helps amplify the chocolate’s deeper flavors while taking the edge off the sugar rush. To help wash down the treats, they arrive with a petite pitcher of cold milk. Make a reservation at Cavatina.

Milk and cookies desserts

Summer House Santa Monica, Chicago, Illinois
Cookies and milk – now in milkshake form. Pastry chef Erin Mooney liquidates the traditional dessert by blending together vanilla bean ice cream with malted chocolate chip cookies and chocolate fudge sauce. The finished product requires a straw, a spoon, and a sweet tooth. Make a reservation at Summer House Santa Monica.

milk and cookies desserts

Untitled, New York, New York
Spotted with gooey chunks of dark, milk, and white chocolate, this hefty cookie has a crispy exterior that crunches when you bite into it. Believe it or not, this toothsome treat is gluten-free as it’s made with Thomas Keller’s Cup4Cup GF flour. It arrives with a sidecar of whole milk from Five Acre Farms. Make a reservation at Untitled.

milk and cookies desserts

Macon Bistro & Larder, Washington, D.C.
Our new favorite phrase is “bourbon milk.” A small bottle of the bliss-inducing beverage comes with a pair of straws and two cookies so you can share the dessert with your date. Or, you can hog the whole thing for yourself and pretty much guarantee the two of you won’t be going out ever again. Make a reservation at Macon Bistro & Larder.

milk and cookies desserts

Harvest Table, St. Helena, California
Whenever we’re fortunate enough to have a root beer float, it reminds us of the sweltering summer days of our childhood. Pastry chef Andrew DiClementi brings those memories rushing back with his version made with sweet cream ice cream and Boylan root beer, which comes with chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies. Each mouthful makes us feel like we’re nine years old all over again. Make a reservation at Harvest Table.

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dineLA 2016 Preview: Save in the City of Angels, July 18-31

Los Angeles has recently been touted as “the most exciting food city in America,” and dineLA Restaurant Week continues to be one of Summer’s highlights for Angelenos. This is your opportunity to experience an all-star lineup of some the city’s best restaurants for less. Featuring lunches for $15, $20, and $25 and dinners for $29, $39 or $49, this is the must-dine event of the year. As you prepare to book your reservations, check out these dineLA 2016 offerings and snag your tables early and often.

BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica +
BOA Steakhouses are holding on strong to their status of being perennial LA hot spots. Both locations continue to combine a bold, modern environment with upmarket steakhouse fare. Not to worry, pescatarians; they are just as well-regarded for their superb seafood dishes and Instagram-worthy sides. Make a dineLA 2016 reservation at BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica and BOA Steakhouse West Hollywood.

dineLA 2016

Petrossian Paris Boutique & Restaurant
If you really want to go big for dineLA 2016, look no further than the refined opulence that is Petrossian in West Hollywood. This caviar-centric restaurant will be offering a unique three-course dinner menu reflecting chef Alex Ageneau’s lighter, California-inspired approach to traditional French fare. And, keep an eye out for their extra special Royal Caviar Tasting menu, being offered at 30% off the regular price. Now that’s something to “ooh, la, la” about! Make a dineLA 2016 reservation at Petrossian French Boutique & Restaurant.

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