Hot Dog Day: A Dozen Delicious Must-Try Haute Dogs #nationalhotdogday

The hot dog is America’s unofficial summertime dish. Whether you’re grilling by the pool, out in the wilderness on a camping trip, or enjoying a baseball game, it’s almost certain some franks will be involved. But as we know, not all weenies are created equal. Chefs are now taking the humble hot dog to a whole new level by handcrafting every component – from the link and the bun to every type of condiment and topping imaginable. In honor of National Hot Dog Day, we present a dozen delicious must-try haute dogs from top restaurants.

The Arsenal at Bluejacket, Washington, D.C.
You might feel like you’re hanging out with your Polish relatives. Executive chef Kyle Bailey fires up kielbasa on his outdoor grill, then tops it with plenty of red peppers and onions. As your uncle Piotr is fond of saying, “To jest pyszne” (Translation: That’s delicious). [Photo by Marissa Bialecki]

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Bouchon, Beverly Hills, California
We love pretzel buns so much we’ve been known to compose haikus to them (Sample: Pretzel untwisted/Chewy, salt flecked brilliance/Tastes best with mustard). Here one of the brown rolls holds a prime chuck, apple wood-smoked hot dog crowned with cornichon relish and Dijonnaise sauce.

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Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
This ain’t your average hot dog. Executive chef Joe Palma handcrafts this showboat from A5 Wagyu and pork, and then finishes it off with mustard, relish, and a side of duck fat fries. Simply glorious.

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DBGB, New York, New York
This hot dog has a French accent. A housemade beef frank is shoehorned into a brioche bun then topped with sautéed onion, julienne radish, frisée, and pickled veggies. We say, “Oui, oui!”

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Del Campo, Washington, D.C.
Chef-owner Victor Albisu puts his spin on the choripán, a South American street food classic. His version features a spicy chorizo link loaded up with pulled pork, red cabbage slaw, and sweet pickle salsa criolla. It’s best enjoyed with a glass of the smoked pineapple-laced pisco punch. [Photo by Greg Powers]

Charred food

Dirt Candy, New York City
There’s no mystery meat in these broccoli dogs. Two of the verdant stalks are smoked, grilled, and quickly sautéed before they’re tucked into toasted buns. Condiments include broccoli kraut, mustard-vinegar sauce, and micro broccoli. Eat both and you’ve just consumed 800% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Seriously.

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dineLA Dishes: Seven Restaurants Share Summer 2015 Favorites

dineL.A. Restaurant Week, running from July 13-26, is the perfect opportunity to get out, explore new nabes, and try some of the best in dining that Los Angeles has to offer – all at a delicious discount. You can save with $15, $20 + $25 lunches and $30, $40 + $50 dinners. After perusing the menus and checking in with a few participating chefs, we asked several restaurants to share their summer 2015 dineLA favorites. Read on and start planning your culinary adventures in the coming weeks.

Blue Plate Oysterette, Santa Monica
B.P. Oysterette is known for offering one of the best happy hours in the city, but, with a plentiful menu of small and large plates (not to mention their amazing raw bar), we suggest sticking around for a full course meal featuring the freshest bounty summer has to offer from the sea. Chef Jorge Rivas points diners to the roasted branzino — as well as the luscious lobster roll.

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“The warm toasty brioche and parsley butter combined with chilled fresh Maine lobster and a hint of mayo create the perfect summertime indulgence,” he states.

Fundamental LA, Westwood
Drawing inspiration from the seasons and including it in every dish that is lovingly crafted at this neighborhood eatery, the Fundamental LA team works hard — and succeeds — in creating an atmosphere where “we’d want to dine with good friends.” The bar seating offers a front-row view of the open kitchen in this airy, light-filled space. Chef Philip Pretty suggests the pork belly and sword squid with shell beans, apple, and caper-raisin purée.

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“I wanted to do my California take on the Spanish preparation of chorizo and squid, hence pairing pork belly with sword squid. I then incorporate seasonal ingredients of shell beans and apples and finish the dish with the tartness of a caper raisin purée,” he says.

Hamasaku, West Los Angeles
Take a break from the grind with a relaxing, Zen-like stop at a Japanese-inspired oasis. If you’re looking for a new go-to date-night sushi spot where the rolls are as impeccable as the service, you’ll want to give this serene and elevated experience a try. General manager Jesse Duron suggests the albacore with crispy onion.

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Made with albacore sashimi, fried onions, wasabi-marinated watercress, and ginger soy dressing, Duron notes, “Our albacore crispy onion dish is a crowd favorite — a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and crunch.”

The Little Door, West Hollywood
Does it get any cozier and romantic than The Little Door? We’re not sure. French Moroccan-inspired fare is served in an intimate setting perfect for special occasions or any night of the week. As comforting as it is fresh and exotic, this WeHo gem offers a satisfying break from more run-of-the-mill dining experiences. Chef T. Nicolas Peter highlights the trio of roasted beets with a fresh goat cheese and lavender tart.

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National Fried Chicken Day: Tasty Takes on an American Favorite

Hamburgers, shmamburgers. We’re saying it: Fried chicken is now our national dish! From its humble origins in Scotland, where, according to the book Advances in Deep-Fat Frying of Foods, edited by Servet Gulum Sumnu and Serpil Sahin, the Scots prepared chicken fried without the spices we’ve come to associate with it today, to its evolution at the hands of African slaves who added in savory seasonings, it has been enjoying a renaissance in restaurants around the nation for the past several years.

As far back as 1938 (and even farther we’d venture to say), The New York Times was documenting the kerfuffle over the proper way to make fried chicken, debating the virtues of bona fide Southern fried chicken over that of recipes created by cooks in the north. Now this is not to say that we’re not interested in the authenticity of recipes, but what matters most to us is flavor. And flavor comes in many forms, from preparations classic and close to home to those exotic and international. In that spirit, then, and in honor of National Fried Chicken Day, we’ve rounded up tasty takes on an American favorite, featuring influences near and far.

Fried Chicken Basket, Blue Smoke, New York, New York
Inspired by his childhood in Louisiana, executive chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois added his own extra-crispy fried chicken recipe to the menu when he joined the restaurant in 2014. To achieve maximum crispiness, he employs a special “double dunk” process. Available mild or coated with spicy honey, each order comes with hot, buttery, house-baked biscuits glazed with a touch of honey and topped with flakes of salt and is served with a vessel of Steen’s cane syrup, a Louisiana product rarely seen this far north. [Photo credit: Melissa Horn]

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Thursday’s Southern Fried Chicken, BOA Steakhouse, Santa Monica, California
Executive chef Jose Melendez recently revamped the sexy steakhouse’s lunch menu to include a number of new daily specials, including Thursday’s Southern Fried Chicken. Tear into three pieces of white and dark meat along with must-have sides of coleslaw, potato salad, and spicy hot sauce – and make Friday jealous.

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Lou Dogg’s Crispy Skin Chicken, E.P. + L.P., West Hollywood, California
At this newly opened, multi-level modern Asian eatery in the city of angels, guests can dig in to chef Louis Tikaram’s “Lou Dogg’s Crispy Skin Chicken” – half a Mary’s Farm chicken with black vinegar, chili, and lemon. Australia’s 2014 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year, Tikaram — and his delicious take on fried chicken — will have you begging for more!

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Nine Showstopping Popcorn Dishes to Celebrate Blockbuster Season

Independence Day is almost here, and ahead of this epic movie-going weekend, we’re wondering which will be the big winner at the box office on July 4th (not to mention the summer). Jurassic World might claw its way to the top of the heap. Maybe Minions will take over the world. Or perhaps Terminator: Genisys will be the supersized success of the season. When the movie studios start binging on blockbusters, we get hungry for popcorn – and not just at the theater. Lucky for us, sweet and savory preparations featuring the puffy kernels have been popping up all over the country. In honor of the instances in which this concession-stand classic steals the show, we present nine show-stopping popcorn dishes to celebrate blockbuster season.

Almanac, New York, New York
Remember those nut-crusted cheese balls your grandmother always made at the holidays? Chef Galen Zamarra created an upscale riff: caramel popcorn-crusted goat cheese. The globe of goodness arrives with semolina crisps and golden raisin-fennel compote.

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Americano Restaurant & Bar, San Francisco, California
There’s an old saying that bacon makes everything better. That certainly holds true with executive chef Josua Perez’s ballpark-inspired bacon-pecan caramel popcorn. The sweet, salty, briny, and buttery snack mix is a certifiable home run.

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The Back Room at One57, New York, New York
There are éclairs and then there is pastry chef Scott Cio’s Cracker Jack éclair. The tubular treat is topped off with slightly salted caramel popcorn. Dig in and don’t worry; there’s not a prize hiding inside.

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Barton G. The Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
You’ll feel like you’re making a trip to the concession stand when you order this fun-loving appetizer. A mix of fried shrimp and Old Bay-spiced popcorn arrive in a chipper red and white retro popcorn maker. The jumble of crispity, crunchity bites is accompanied with Sriracha aioli and sweet chili sesame sauce.

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