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.
The outside isn't much but locals gladly line up to feast on arguably the best-tasting po'boys in New Orleans. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Alex dived into her shrimp po'boy with fresh Louisiana French bread and a special ketchup they mix themselves. She says it's nothing short of a true original.
On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Cupcake Wars judge Candy Nelson gave the Caramel Corn at ArcLight Cinemas two thumbs up. It melts in your mouth with just enough buttery goodness and crackle, as Nelson explains in her gleaming, ultimate review: "Little golden, toasted-brown balls of perfection."
With only one pancake on the menu, breakfast hotspot BLD knows that their Ricotta Blueberry Pancake is killer. Aida Mollenkamp vouches for the amazing pancake on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. But BLD's hashes, rustic frittatas and Benedicts (also served vegan), satisfy the savory, too.
For a hearty meal and delicious breakfast to start the day, head to Guelaguetza, located in Los Angeles. This restaurant is known for its authentic Oaxacan dishes. Rachael ordered tamales with the specialty mole negro--a complex near-black sauce with more than 20 ingredients, including chocolate.
In New Orleans' French Quarter, Cafe Du Monde is a historic coffee shop famed for its French-style beignets and cafe au lait. The coffee is blended with chicory and the beignets come dusted in powdered sugar. Since the original was establish in 1862, seven more outposts have opened across Louisiana.
Since 1913, Grand Central Oyster Bar has been housed in New York's famed Grand Central Terminal. Scott Conant calls the Oysters Rockefeller made with spinach and melted hollandaise old-school cooking at its best. If you love oysters, make sure to try the oyster pan roast.
Fans of French dip sandwiches have Philippe Mathieu to thank. As the story goes, in 1918 Mathieu accidentally dropped a French roll into the roasting pan. The customer didn't mind the wet bun and today, neither does Wolfgang Puck, who likes his sandwich with horseradish mustard.
Open since the turn of the 20th century, Louis' Lunch is rumored to have made the first hamburger. Geoffrey Zakarian is hooked on the original burger with cheese, tomato and onion. No condiments are offered in order to preserve the pure beefy flavors of a fresh burger grilled to perfection.
This Tex-Mex pioneer has been the driving force behind legendary dishes like fajitas and Tacos Al Carbon. But Mo Rocca finds his favorite in the Queso Flameado (think Oaxaca cheese and spicy chorizo rolled into a warm tortilla). The nachos strewn with cheddar and refried beans are also a standout.
Antoine’s has been creating the perfect Original French Quarter Meal since 1840, making it America’s longest running family-owned restaurant. Feeling decadent? Try the Huitres Rockefeller: succulent oysters served with a special sauce whose recipe has been kept secret for more than 100 years.
What can be said about Langer's Deli #19 Pastrami Sandwich that hasn't been said? Adam Gertler called it "sandwich perfection," Nora Ephron wrote it was "the finest hot pastrami in the world" and in 2001, Langer's was given a James Beard award. Surprisingly, the #19 calls L.A. -- not NYC -- home.
When Picholine updated its French-Mediterranean menu, it took Frank Bruni by surprise as did the "Bacon and Eggs" (note quotations). Typically made with bacon, this version uses tuna belly and black truffle polenta. With a poached egg, the dish, Bruni says, is "the universe as it should be."