If you’re in the mood for a comforting treat, stop by Barrel and Ashes. This barbecue joint offers a scrumptious take on old-fashioned-style cornbread. You’ll want to savor every bite of the Hoe Cake, which is a soft-centered beauty slathered with maple butter and finished with fresh scallions.
Head here for decadent treats like the massive Pumpple Cake. Pie and cake are creatively (and deliciously) combined to form the Pumpple. A top layer of apple pie-stuffed vanilla cake is stacked atop a base of pumpkin pie-stuffed chocolate cake, with buttercream frosting holding this beauty together.
A gas station’s cafe may be the last place you’d expect to fill up on gourmet eats, but that’s what you’ll find here. Guy Fieri is a fan of the bread pudding served with a scratch-made cognac sauce, while Jeff Mauro favors a spicier treat: a Bloody Mary garnished with fried chicken, bacon and more.
This Toledo fixture has drawn the crowds with its Hungarian hot dogs since 1932. Michael Symon’s favorite is the M.O.A.D. (Mother of All Dogs), which stars a massive pork-and-beef sausage nestled in a footlong bun and topped with mustard, onions and a meaty chili seasoned with a secret spice blend.
This bakery slings exceptional doughnuts that are far less dense than the standard round. The key to achieving this level of airiness is the use of yeast dough, which results in a pillowy pastry. If you’re craving something extra-sweet, stop in for Sublime’s creative riff on ice cream sandwiches (aka “burgers”). Richard Blais recommends the Oreo ice cream burger: A chocolate doughnut is sliced in half, stuffed with housemade Oreo ice cream, and then coated with vanilla fondant and crushed Oreos.
Dig into BBQ dishes with a kick at Cowgirl. Spike up the spice factor with the smoking-hot pulled pork sandwich, or indulge in the Five Pepper Nachos with Salsa Diablo (add brisket for extra decadence). The Frito Pie is also a standout, complete with Fritos, chili, sour cream, cheese and jalapenos.
New York might be known for its bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, but this trendy joint is upping the stakes with its gourmet riff on this classic greasy breakfast. Chef Nick Korbee starts with the holy trinity — crispy bacon, melty cheese and a runny fried egg — which he stacks on a buttermilk biscuit. But then he takes it to the next level with a slick of tomato jam, a generous spoonful of guacamole and some pickled jalapenos for added bite.
Head to this spot for a hearty breakfast: a burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, sauteed onions, peppers and tomatoes. This beauty comes topped with chipotle salsa and super-melty cheese. Prefer your breakfast at dinner? Try the Pasta Mama dish: a deliciously simple mix of pasta and scrambled eggs.
The name may be Supper, but this spot is known for its brunch dishes. Waffles, for instance, are turned into a sweet sandwich with praline ice cream and bruleed bananas, or transformed into red velvet decadence. And then there is the Bacon Babka, which features homemade dough, bacon and brown sugar.
This modern American restaurant delivers an ultra-decadent spin on the classic chocolate chip cookie. Instead of regular chips, this cookie features rich chunks of Belgian semisweet chocolate. A quick turn in the oven results in an extra-crisp exterior that gives way to a gooey center. The cookie is baked and served in a miniature skillet, and comes topped with a scoop of vanilla gelato drizzled with chocolate syrup and flanked by two mounds of whipped cream.
Guy heads to this spot to indulge in The Big Ragout Sandwich, a hearty meal featuring five kinds of meats smothered in cheese and served on a roll. Also try the Rock Shrimp Mac & Cheese: A zesty three-cheese sauce is dressed up with wild rock shrimp, then mixed with pasta and finished with bacon.
Diners head here for comfort food dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients like the grass-fed Florida beef used for the Jalapeño Popper Burger. This monster of a burger is actually composed of two deep-fried patties with a heat-packed surprise inside: a spicy, creamy jalapeno-and-cheese filling. The Full Tank is the creation that stops Josh Denny in his tracks. The three-pound sandwich is constructed with two burgers, a deep-fried pulled pork patty and a patty of deep-fried pimento cheese. "You need to patent that my friend," says Denny.
This trendy Italian eatery is home to some of New York City's most-comforting eats. Marc Murphy can't resist the siren call of the signature pork shank. The meat is slow-cooked in a bath of duck fat until it's falling off the bone, then finished in the oven to achieve a crisp outer layer. The tender meat comes perched atop a bed of acorn squash, quince and salsify, and crowned with fiery jalapenos and a mound of crunchy onion rings.
This restaurant has garnered a loyal legion of fans hungry for authentic Chinese cuisine. Devotees include Geoffrey Zakarian, who is particularly fond of the Kung Pao Chicken. The meat is fried in a wok to seal in the moisture, resulting in juicy morsels of chicken with a hint of crunch. The dish then is topped with a flurry of peanuts and black pepper, along with a secret sauce that adds “a sweet-sour, vinegary, spiced pop to it,” Geoffrey says.
This unique Mexican-Asian fusion joint started as one of the top food trucks in California, but Komodo's bold-flavored cuisine became so popular that a brick-and-mortar location was opened to keep pace with demand. Any of the tacos, burritos or rice bowls are sure to satisfy, but one particularly filling option is the Brutus Salad. You won't find a bit of lettuce in this "salad"; instead, crispy fried Tater Tots are topped with tender steak and jalapeno aioli.