Put on your berets and head to Vin Rouge for the ultimate French guilty pleasure: Gratin de Macaroni. Alex Guarnaschelli called the macaroni dish "magnifique," not only for its house-smoked bacon and handfuls of gruyere but for the cheese crust you'll need to crack to get into the creamy pasta.
When the Neelys bite into the Chambers Caramel Pecan Pound Cake at Big Momma's, Gina can’t help but dance. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, they called the cake "absolutely delicious" for its signature caramel pecan topping that gets poured over a pound cake that's utterly melt-in-your-mouth.
Credited in 2007 as introducing Vietnamese cuisine to America by the Smithsonian Institute, Crustacean has become an icon in California's Vietnamese dining scene. Duff can't get enough of Chef Helene An's famous garlic noodles, and thousands flock every year for her equally famed roasted crabs.
Local Hawaiians, like Iron Chef Chairman Mark Dacascos, know that nothing beats a malasada from Leonard's Bakery wagon. A Portuguese doughnut with no hole, a malasada comes with coconut haupia or chocolate filling. Or, in plain cinnamon-sugar. Want a better description? Finger-licking Aloha.
At this historical house, Aaron enjoys the BLT salad. The classic dish adds a Southern twist with its fried green tomatoes and baked bacon with brown sugar. The hearty dish is dressed with buttermilk thyme dressing.
The name Extraordinary Desserts says it all, but the proof is in the pudding. As one of the top pastry chefs in the country, Karen Krasne makes desserts that are decadent enough for magazine covers and have made many best-of lists. For Marcela Valladolid, the Dulce de Leche cake takes top honors.
Step into Yang Chow in Los Angeles' Chinatown and you'll be witness to plates of Slippery Shrimp on every table. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Adam Gertler loved using his chopsticks to grab the crunchy yet chewy shrimp. But if the shrimp is too slippery, grab ahold of the Kung Pao Chicken.
Before Lucky's became Lucky's, it was an Irish restaurant, a sports bar and, in the 1950s, the Pink Squirrel Bar. Today it's one of the prized steakhouses in Montecito, Calif., serving Cat Cora's favorite strip steak. For an equally good brunch, you can't miss the eggs Benedict.
The trick to Barrio Chino's cocktails is using fresh-squeezed juices. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Claire Robinson gets her juice fix from their Grapefruit Margarita, made with fresh red grapefruit, orange liqueur and a brown-sugar rim. Add a side of their flawless tacos, and your night is set.
If you go to Columbus, Ohio, you'll find Katzinger's Deli. Enter and maybe you'll be overwhelmed (that's okay) because the owners want it that way. You'll experience the true deli experience with loads of meats and cheeses and Ted Allen's favorite combo: pastrami Reuben and noodle soup.
For a meal to be truly delicious, it must run down your arms and the front of your shirt, says Duff, who calls The Backstabber sandwich at Ike's Place, made with an herb aioli, aka dirty sauce, the real deal. Locals also rave about the Menage a Trois made with BBQ sauce, cheddar and Halal chicken.
Guy isn't usually a breakfast fan but he'll stop by Matt's Big Breakfast anytime of day. He orders the Chop & Chick, a giant Iowa pork rib chop that's marinated in a tangy pesto sauce and served with 2 eggs. It's "good eats" and possibly the closest thing to green eggs and ham.
Aarón Sánchez says the underrated Brussels sprouts take an "evil, decadent" turn at Lolita, where Iron Chef Michael Symon and Executive Chef James Mowcomber fry them in pork fat and then coat every leaf in citrusy shallot vinaigrette. It's a great lead-up to Lolita's pork chop.
Although Olives serves fine plates of hanger steak and tuna tartare, it is also a master of broccoli. When Cat Cora stays at the W Hotel, she always orders room service for the spicy roasted broccoli salad, made of an aromatic mixture of caramelized broccoli with fresh garlic and peppers.
Rocco DiSpirito's holiday lineup includes the classic French buche de noel. But Rocco insists on getting his from Pierre's. On The Best Thing I Ever Eat, Pierre makes this rich chocolate cake as a seasonal treat; otherwise save room for the fresh, local seafood dishes and even Burgundy snails.