Sinfully Good: Give Us Our Daily Bread Pudding

Goodbye gluten-free — bread pudding is back, big time! Whether it’s in the form of an ooey, gooey, boozy dessert or a hearty, savory side dish, chefs are once again embracing this classic. Here are eight interpretations of the humble, satisfying dish from a few of our favorite restaurants.

The Macintosh, Charlestown, South Carolina
With a last name like Bacon, it’s befitting that Macintosh executive chef and partner Jeremiah Bacon would eschew the sweet for a signature savory side. He compares his Bone-Marrow Bread Pudding to a “savory French toast” and says word of mouth about the popular dish regularly brings in new diners ready to try his creative, upscale American plates that also include beet panna cotta and broccolini with pickled mustard seed, fish sauce, and naval oranges. While the bread pudding was at one point just a winter entree, it became so popular he decided to serve it year-round as a side. “It is so rich that a little goes a long way — which makes it a great item to share with the table,” he says. Make a reservation at The Macintosh.

Bread Pudding

Palace Café, New Orleans
Forget the spicy gumbo — decadent dessert is just as much a staple at Palace Café, where the signature third course, white chocolate bread pudding, has been the choice of diners since the café opened in 1991. A booze-free, kid-friendly alternative, it’s safer than anything you’ll find on Bourbon Street since the raisins have been replaced with white-chocolate chunks and the whiskey sauce takes the form of white-chocolate ganache. A more adult version is available at Bourbon House (Palace’s sibling restaurant in the French Quarter), featuring chocolate banana bread pudding complete with bourbon butterscotch sauce. Their boozy brunch features bourbon French toast with the bread pudding custard, paired with an adult milk punch — a blend of milk, gelato, and Old Forester bourbon. Make a reservation at Palace Café.

Bread Pudding

White Dog Café, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
What could be more comforting than food served in a Mason jar? For pastry chef Kelly Levasseur, possibly only desserts using her grandmother’s recipes. “Growing up, my grandmother was famous for her pineapple bread pudding — everyone can relate to it, it’s a little sweet piece of home,” she says. “We want to be creative with our recipes, but at the same time keep a feeling of home and comfort.” This season, two of three White Dog Café locations offer treats straight from Grandma’s kitchen: Roasted Pineapple Bread Pudding with coconut marshmallows, crushed almonds, topped with vanilla ice cream. Make a reservation at White Dog Café.

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Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Meat-Free Dining During Lent

I'm not sure if there's ever a good time to be a fish, but I think it's safe to say that Lent is definitely not one of those times.

Today is the Great American Meat Out, during which many people are giving up meat for the day — or forever! At the same time, Lent is going on. Many diners eschew meat on Fridays or altogether until Easter Sunday. Dining out for these folks can be a challenge, See what diners are saying about meat-free dining during Lent in select OpenTable reviews from the last seven days!

Eddie Merlot’s, Columbus, Ohio: “We especially love the Lent special this year with the change to two lobsters.”

Karyn’s on Green, Chicago, Illinois: “For two meat eaters, trying a vegan restaurant was quite an experience, but we should have never had any doubts! We went to Karyn’s on a Friday during Lent and were very happy with the food and will be returning in the future. The ‘chorizo sliders’ were delicious and had we not known they weren’t real sausage, we would have never been able to tell.”

Le Cirque, New York, New York: “Went on a Friday during Lent so only ate fish/seafood. No complaints about our selections, all were great! From grilled octopus to whole turbot fish.”

Macello, Chicago, Illinois:  “We were looking for a good place to have dinner before a Blackhawks game and found Macello. We had a great experience. Two of the four of us were observing Lent (no meat on friday) and one was following a low carb diet. All four of us had many great options to choose from.”

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Dining Poll: Are 40 Days and 40 Nights of Sacrifice in Your Food + Drink Future?

Fat Tuesday is, perhaps, one of the most fun days of the years for folks who love food and booze. But, the next day is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start, for some, of a period of sacrifice in anticipation of Easter. When I’ve observed Lent in the past, I usually gave up something that impacted what I ate or drank. One year, I gave up meat (and ate more cheese sandwiches than I care to remember). Another year, I gave up all forms of alcohol (and drank more Red Bull than I care to remember). Is there a foodie sacrifice in your immediate future? Weigh in on our post-Mardi Gras poll!