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.
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.
After starting a string of successful restaurants in Puerto Rico, conga-playing Chef Frank Maldonado has come to the U.S. and started Sazon. Frank made his savory and sweet Beef Empanadas with guava and rum sauce for the throwdown with Bobby. Be sure to also try the Piononos and Mofongo al Pilon.
German Chocolate Cake is the first thing Aliyyah Baylor remembers baking. After years of tasting and tweaking under the guiding hand of her mom, it's now the top seller at her Make My Cake bakeshop in Harlem, N.Y. It's also one of Bobby's favorites, making it a sweet stop on his Throwdown tour.
On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Beau McMillan called Flip Happy's Strawberry Nutella Crepes "pure ecstasy." With sweet and savory ingredients like Tarragon mushrooms, caramelized onions and toasted coconut, the crepes here have become an Austin landmark and a must-go for both tourists and locals.
Father-and-son-owned Durso's Pasta & Ravioli Company in Flushing, N.Y., has built a reputation for amazing ravioli for over 40 years. The one-two punch of the classic cheese ravioli and their new osso buco ravioli floored Bobby when he faced Robert Durso Sr. and his son Robert Jr. on Throwdown.
Of the hundreds of falafel shops and stands in New York City, only one was declared to have the best falafel from New York Magazine, and that's Taim Falafel in the West Village. Owner Einat Admony's light and fluffy medley of chickpeas and spices impressed Bobby (her former boss) on Throwdown.
Bobby Flay was so impressed with the fish tacos here that he challenged owner Cesar Gonzalez to a Throwdown, betting his grilled mahi mahi fish tacos against Cesar's fried version. The salsa bar and toy wrestling ring condiment holders add to the festive feeling in this Throwdown-approved spot.
"Good Cuban food makes you put a smile on your face," says a diner at La Isla. It's a small place right on Washington St. in Hoboken that specializes in world-class flavors in a down-home environment. Guy stopped in and ate so much of the spicy food, his eyeballs started sweating.
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 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 best moussaka since Achilles fought in Troy." How do you argue with that? Accomplished teacher, author and chef, Diane Kochilas uses NYC's Pylos to channel Greek village food in the East Village. When Bobby sought out her secret to moussaka greatness, she said, "never flinch on the garlic."
For tried-and-true North Carolina barbecue, stop by Ed Mitchell's The Pit, filled with down-home flavor and Southern hospitality. Ed's approach is "whole hog," meaning that authentic 'cue can only begin by cooking the entire animal. When Bobby Flay came to visit, it was a ribs and beans Throwdown.
"The Chili Queen" reigns supreme in Houston! Cindy Reed Wilkins' recipes are honed from a long line of "chili dynasty" competition champions. Her Cin Chili & Company's signature "silky" Texas Red Chili kept her crown intact as she and Bobby wrangled to a fair and square tie during their Throwdown.
John ''Big Daddy Pretzel'' Howe thinks he makes the best pretzels in the Philadelphia area, and he's got the awards to prove it. When Bobby challenged John to a throwdown at Pretzel Boy's in Aston, Pa., he was impressed by John’s buttery Philly-style pretzel and jalapeño cheese sauce.