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New York’s Best Xiao Long Bao for Chinese New Year

New York’s Best Xiao Long Bao for Chinese New Year

Around the Lunar New Year, the Chinese traditionally dine with an eye to the future, favoring symbolic lucky foods like noodles for long life and jiaozi dumplings shaped like gold ingots for prosperity. But the dumplings perennially craved by New York Chowhounds are more about instant gratification—the gush of hot savory soup from Shanghai-style steamed xiao long bao (soup dumplings) or their pan-fried cousins, sheng jian bao. Here, in alphabetical order, are nine go-to spots for soup buns. 1. 456 SHANGHAI CUISINE69 Mott Street (between Canal and Bayard streets), Manhattan 212-964-0003Fluffy, crisp sheng jian bao, full of soup and strewn with scallion and sesame, are a highlight at 456, the descendant of a long-closed Chinatown restaurant of the same name. READ MORE

The Best Breads in San Francisco

The Best Breads in San Francisco

Most tourists know all about San Francisco's most famous bread, sourdough—or so the lines at stalwart Boudin indicate. But the Bay Area is home to many other extraordinary breads, from the still-warm levain a lucky few pick up at the famous Tartine Bakery at 5 p.m. to the loaves produced by an emerging generation of bakers with little formal training but tons of enthusiasm. Here, in alphabetical order, are the most-talked-about breads on Chowhound, loaves from San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland that are fine examples of Bay Area ovencraft. 1. THE ACME BREAD COMPANY1601 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley 510-524-1327 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco 415-288-2978 Acme produces fine breads and rolls readily available in supermarkets and restaurants all over the Bay Area, but it's a certain special-edition bread—the dense, flavorful whole-wheat loaf created to raise funds for the Edible Schoolyard—that gets Chowhounds fired up. READ MORE

The Best Chilaquiles In and Around Los Angeles

The Best Chilaquiles In and Around Los Angeles

Chilaquiles are simple in Mexico, a homey breakfast solution for using up last night's tortillas. Here, they've become a fixture at brunch, only slightly less fancy than eggs Benedict, all dressed up with eggs, avocado, and chicken. Which LA-area restaurants make the best version of this classic morning-after breakfast? Here are eight versions Chowhounds swear by, in alphabetical order. 1. ANEPALCO’S CAFE415 South Main Street, Orange714-771-2333Taste meets presentation here, where tortilla strips are woven into a sort of cake, then topped with a truly amazing red sauce. READ MORE

The 10 Best Foie Gras Dishes in New York City

The 10 Best Foie Gras Dishes in New York City

Foie gras presents both a moral quandary, for the way it's produced, and an image problem, as a decadent treat for the well-heeled. But for Chowhounds who've navigated past those obstacles, the difficulty's in deciding how to order it: Hot or cold? With fruit, nuts, or cured pork? In a torchon, a terrine, or even a doughnut? Here's an alphabetical list of New York restaurants that serve foie in a surprising variety of ways. 1. ACME9 Great Jones Street (near Lafayette Street), Manhattan 212-203-2121 Raw foie gras is shaved and arrayed with langoustine, white walnuts, and burnt lemon in a novel New Nordic reworking. 2. ANNISA13 Barrow Street (between W. Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue S.), Manhattan 212-741-6699 Chef Anita Lo's signature soup dumplings combine gingery broth, crisp jicama, and a topping of rich seared foie gras. READ MORE

The 10 Best Burger Joints in Los Angeles

The 10 Best Burger Joints in Los Angeles

The LA burger landscape offers everything from classic roadside burger shacks to gastropubs with strict rules about ketchup. When the options are this plentiful, it’s not easy to determine which purveyor is king, but that doesn’t stop Chowhounds from rolling up their sleeves and defending their favorites. Here, listed alphabetically, is a list of restaurants with burgers that local Chowhounds are willing to swear by. 1. 25 DEGREES7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles323-785-7244and412 Walnut Avenue, Huntington Beach714-960-2525You have two options here: build your own fancy burger (cheese options range from Point Reyes blue to Emmi Gruyère from Switzerland), or opt for a house-designed one, like the Number Three, made with ground sirloin, Mezzo Secco Jack cheese, and green chile. With such high-end ingredients, the $12 burgers are sort of a steal. 2. 26 BEACH RESTAURANT3100 Washington Boulevard, Venice310-823-7526With over 25 burger options on the menu, this is not a place for the indecisive. All are made with 100-percent Angus beef and served on delicious homemade buns. The 26er, a classic burger with the usual fixings, is a favorite. 3. APPLE PAN10801 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles310-475-3585Grumpy waiters in paper hats, an antique cash register, and counter-only seating are part of the charm at this treasured, one-of-a-kind diner. The Steakburger (pictured above), served with lettuce, pickles, mayo, and Apple Pan’s own sauce, hasn’t changed much over the years (the prices have, of course). Save room for banana cream pie. 4. BIG JO’S 1955 Broadway, Santa Monica310-828-3191People wait in line for cheap char-grilled burgers at this very casual corner stand. A hamburger will set you back just $2.85; $3.10 for a cheeseburger. Seating consists of plastic lawn furniture behind a roll-up garage door. Open mornings and afternoons only. READ MORE

Chowhounds Find the Best Fried Rice in New York

Chowhounds Find the Best Fried Rice in New York

Many Chowhounds think of fried rice as a homey combo of leftover rice and whatever's in the fridge. But the diverse variations served at restaurants nowadays prompt a rethinking of this humble dish—at least for those of us who don't have foie gras or bone marrow on hand at home. Here's an alphabetical list of New York restaurants that fry rice every which way. 1. ASIAN TASTE 8686-10 Whitney Avenue (between Macnish Street and 43rd Avenue), Elmhurst, Queens 718-779-8686 This Indonesian kitchen cranks up the heat to order in its Fried Rice 86 with egg, shredded chicken, and shrimp paste. 2. BAR MASAIn Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, Fourth Floor, Manhattan 212-823-9800Luxe accompaniments to Japanese-style fried rice include Peking duck with foie gras and fall mushrooms with white truffles. 3. BKNY THAI47-11 Francis Lewis Boulevard (between 47th Avenue and Weeks Lane), Bayside, Queens 718-281-2900Jumbo crab stars with stir-fried jasmine rice, egg, and vegetables at an out-of-the-way Thai spot. READ MORE

The Best Spots for Oysters in San Francisco

The Best Spots for Oysters in San Francisco

With the news last week that Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which produces 40 percent of the oysters grown in California, will have to cease operations at its farm in Point Reyes within 90 days, many are wondering how Bay Area restaurants will be affected. The stakes are huge, since an afternoon spent sipping wine and downing local oysters on the half shell is the quintessential San Francisco experience. As a tribute, here are eight local oyster spots that Chowhounds love, listed here in alphabetical order. 1. BAR CRUDO 655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco 415-409-0679 This Western Addition restaurant has an oyster happy hour that's always popular. The current happy hour menu includes $1 Washington state Pickering Passage oysters, as well as a dear-sweet-lord-delicious smoky seafood chowder. Fans crow about the extensive beer list, too. 2. BIX 56 Gold Street, San Francisco 415-433-6300 If your must-haves also include martinis, bartenders in jackets, and a classy vibe, slide into Bix in Jackson Square and order six oysters on the half shell with mignonette. On offer recently were the Walker Creek variety, from the mouth of Tomales Bay. READ MORE

The Best Tamales in Los Angeles

The Best Tamales in Los Angeles

Tamales are celebration food in Mexico and Central America, so it's no surprise that as the holidays approach, Angelenos' desire to find the best heats up. Fortunately, Los Angeles has tons of excellent options, in styles ranging from traditional Yucatecan to upscale contemporary. Here are 11 versions Chowhounds think are LA's finest, listed alphabetically. 1. ALBERTO TAMALES1644 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles213-484-4485The signature firm masa is just right, neither too sweet nor unpleasantly grainy. Get here on weekends for the widest assortment of fillings. 2. CHICHEN ITZA3655 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles213-741-1075Simple, delicious tamales that hold up the next day for leftovers. READ MORE

Chowhound’s Top 10 Uses for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Chowhound’s Top 10 Uses for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is a holiday of plenty, leaving most of us with food to spare when Thursday's feasting is done. It's easy enough to just eat... READ MORE

New York’s Best Chicken and Waffles

New York’s Best Chicken and Waffles

Fried chicken and waffles, a soul food classic most likely popularized in the rural South, just couldn't be kept down on the farm. Over the decades it's migrated to urban climes north and west—like Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (where chicken and waffles meets the club sandwich). And New York City, where Chowhounds have swapped tips on their favorite versions. Here's an alphabetical list. 1. AMY RUTH'S113 W. 116th Street (between Lenox and Seventh avenues), Manhattan 212-280-8779 Fried or smothered chicken on a waffle—known here as the Rev. Al Sharpton—is a perennial favorite at this Harlem destination. 2. BACK FORTY190 Avenue B (between E. 11th and 12th streets), Manhattan 212-388-1992 East Village brunchers rave about moist buttermilk fried chicken served atop a delicious waffle. READ MORE