[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

La Vara in NYC: Small Plates, Bold Flavors: Were there a few misses on La Vara's menu? Sure. But a comfortable neighborhood spot with reasonable prices, killer fried chickpeas, and plenty of knockout dishes—we're happy to recommend it heartily.

Daily Slice: Queen Margherita, Nutley, NJ: It's the dough that truly reigns here. Exquisitely charred, pillowy, and pliant, it's the reason to sink your teeth into both the bread basket and the pizza.

Los Angeles: 24-Hour Fried Tacos at Los Tacos in West Hollywood: All-night joint Los Tacos, as it's aptly named, is a typical plastic booth, order at the counter kind of place. Take a quick look around the room and spot plate after plate stacked with hard-shelled tacos. Before you know it you've got a cure for the hangover you don't even have yet.

A Sandwich a Day: The Cubano from Union Bear in Dallas, TX: While the Cuban sandwich purist may argue that the cheese is untraditional and their ham comes from the wrong part of the pig, well, you'll stop caring after taking a bite.

First Look: Central Kitchen in San Francisco: After mastering a brand of rustic, technique-driven Italian cooking at Flour + Water, chef-partner Thomas McNaughton moved on to a concept that he describes as embodying "the terrior of Northern California."

Cambridge, MA: All Star Pizza Bar: Like its well-regarded older sibling, All Star Sandwich Bar, the All Star Pizza Bar serves inventive food in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Atlanta: 10 Fried Chicken Spots That Are Cluckin' Awesome: Perhaps no dish is more closely associated with the Deep South than fried chicken. And as Dixie's unofficial capital city (not to mention its official culinary capital), Atlanta is home to more than its share of places to get your bird on.

A Wild Feast: The Summer Dessert Tasting Menu at Saison, San Francisco: The desserts integrate the foraged and local ingredients so seamlessly that you might forget they're not your average produce. Delicate in both flavor and presentation, this menu leaves you feeling ready to go forage for more.

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