Pastry Chef Biagio Settepani's confections are so good he once made a birthday cake for Pope Benedict XVI. For the throwdown, Biagio made a cannoli filled with poor man’s custard ricotta and topped with candied oranges. Feeling hungry? The eatery serves brunch, lunch and dinner.
In September and October, Michele Albano and her staff transform a truckload of Connecticut-grown pumpkins into 4,000 pounds of pumpkin puree. The pumpkin becomes fodder for the countless iterations of pumpkin pies at Michele’s Pies. Though the shop has at least a dozen different types of award-winning fruit, nut and cream pies, perhaps none are as famous as her Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, as seen on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
Saul Bolton wants his Baked Alaska to be a carnival on a plate. At SAUL Restaurant, he blows the dust off this old-fashioned dessert, taking it out of the cruise ship and into the 21st century. Save room to try the coffee-vanilla and crispy cookie remix that left Bobby's Throwdown out in the cold.
Bobby calls Chef Melba Wilson the "Queen Bee" when it comes to chicken and waffles. A family recipe that has been passed down for generations, this sweet and savory Harlem favorite is topped with strawberry butter and maple syrup. If you're going for dinner, get a side of Tres Mac and Cheese too.
Bobby learned about Tex-Mex cuisine while cooking with this popular restaurant's owner, Diana Barrios-Trevino. Cheese-and-chili enchiladas are one of the restaurant's top dishes, as well as "incredible" San Antonio-style puffy tacos filled with seasoned beef, lettuce and tomatoes.
The award-winning Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter at Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant are so irresistible, Bobby just had to challenge them to a throw down. If you stop by the homey spot for brunch, also try the buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, hearty omelets and sugar-cured bacon.
Lee Ann Whippen has won several awards for her pulled pork sandwich, and with good reason — at Wood Chicks BBQ, she smokes her own pork and then covers it in her homemade barbecue sauce. Even a BBQ master like Bobby couldn't make a superior sandwich on Throwdown.
Rao’s classic Italian-American cuisine is legendary. The tangy lemon chicken and the tender meatballs made of beef, pork and veal taste like they came straight from Grandma’s kitchen. Another must-try is the Beef Lasagna featuring ricotta, pecorino, mozzarella and a sausage-studded Bolognese sauce.
It took Bobby a while to match the Schnipper brothers' Sloppy Joe recipe on Throwdown. For the Schnippers, a Sloppy Joe was the perfect retro food for their NYC joint. Relive the good old days with their burgers and milkshakes, or fries done four ways: regular, cheese, sloppy and sweet potato.
As the queen of Southern cooking, Paula Deen knows comfort food. Tyler Florence adores her free (yes, free) golden hoecakes, but everything from her fried green tomatoes to oyster shooters deserves a taste. For the all-you-can-eat buffet, arrive early, as this line wraps around the street corner.
Chef Colette Burnette's claim to fame is her trini-tamarind chicken wings, which beat 16 other competitors and won the "Best Wings in Brooklyn" competition. The wings are marinated for 24 hours before Colette serves them with her secret lava sauce. Her pineapple jerk wings are also popular.
When Rocco DiSpirito wants cheesecake, he skips the chocolate swirls and instead orders Junior's plain cheesecake with a sponge cake crust. Opened in 1950, Junior's has become an iconic Brooklyn restaurant, serving towering pastrami sandwiches, steak burgers and the "most fabulous" of cheesecakes.
The Doughnut Plant's peanut butter and jelly doughnuts will trasport you back to childhood. The square doughnuts are glazed in fresh roasted peanut butter and filled with homemade blackberry jam. Chocolate lovers should try the Blackout, which is a chocolate-glazed and filled chocolate doughnut. For the holidays, they create the Menorah Ripple, a menorah-shaped doughnut packed with blackberry jelly with a cream cheese glaze.
Nigel Spence loves to jerk around. He's so good at it, in fact, that his Caribbean-inspired Ripe Kitchen & Bar in Mount Vernon, N.Y., earned national acclaim and a Throwdown win. This former Food Network intern's island-spiced jerk rib-eye steak is such a monster, he dares you to try and finish it!
For a date night dessert that's out of this world, try Chef Eunice Feller's Boston Cream Pie. It's the bakery’s specialty, but you'll find plenty of European and American specialties to share with your sweetie.