Slideshow: Staff Picks: The Best Things We Ate in September

Dirty Rice and Shrimp
Dirty Rice and Shrimp
The dirty rice and shrimp at Red Rooster. The shrimp were marinated in such a flavorful sauce. I ended up stealing the last shrimp because I couldn't control myself. I just couldn't get enough! Jen Weinberg

[Photograph: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Red Rooster: 310 Lenox Avenue, Harlem (map); 212-792-9001

Fish and Chips in Portland, OR
Fish and Chips in Portland, OR
I'm still thinking about the fish and chips we ate from The Frying Scotsman cart in Portland's Alder St. food cart pod. Moist haddock secured in a feather-light batter (made golden with a pinch of turmeric) was expertly fried (by a man with a charming Scottish brogue) and served with a hefty pile of steak fries. It's not the healthiest lunch available, but it's a delicious one. Maggie Hoffman

Frying Scotsman: 9 Southwest Alder Street, Portland, OR 97205 (map); (503) 706-3841; thefryingscotsmanpdx.com

[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

Char-Grilled Oysters in New Orleans
Char-Grilled Oysters in New Orleans
Bite for bite, nothing beats the char-grilled oysters I had at Drago's on my trip to New Orleans. I got to sit at the oyster bar watching these babies get licked by flame, smothered with pints of garlic butter, and fistfuls of cheesy breadcrumbs. They arrived bubbly and smoky, drowned in fat, and stinking to high heaven of garlic and brine. Ridiculously good. Max Falkowitz

Drago's Seafood Restaurant: 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70140 (map); 504-584-3911; dragosrestaurant.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Cold Tomato Soup
Cold Tomato Soup
I made this cold tomato soup with a huge mid-September haul of heirloom tomatoes, and was absolutely stunned by how delicious such a simple thing could be: the pure, impossibly sweet flavor of the best tomatoes whizzed into a light, almost creamy emulsification with the olive oil. A teeny bit of vinegar, salt, and a big crack of black pepper—it's a perfect food even before you get to the corn guacamole on top. Carey Jones

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Grilled Duck with Wild Betel Leaves in Thailand
Grilled Duck with Wild Betel Leaves in Thailand
I was lucky to spend ten days in Thailand in September, so narrowing down a favorite bite is particularly hard this month, if not completely impossible. Instead, I'll go with one of the most unexpected finds while I was there: great Vietnamese food. Turns out there are a lot of Vietnamese immigrants in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani, and one of them owns and operates Indo-Chine Restaurant—a massive complex, which even steams rice paper from scratch. The dish that sticks out to me the most was grilled duck with wild betel leaves, a dish so good—meaty, fragrant, and just slightly bitter—that our group barely had time to gulp down the last bite before asking politely for seconds. Nick Kindelsperger

Indo-Chine Restaurant, 168 Sapphasit Road, Nai Mueang, 34000, Thailand (map); +866 1876-5528

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Chile Relleno and Raja in Santa Barbara, CA
Chile Relleno and Raja in Santa Barbara, CA
Last Sunday, totally coincidentally, I ate at both places which Julia Child said would be her two last meals. In-N-Out Burger was one, but it was far surpassed by La Super-Rica Taqueria. This tiny restaurant in Santa Barbara is the real deal. You place your order (pretty much everything is three bucks or less, so that order tends to be huge) and watch as a tiny woman makes the corn and lard tortillas by hand. The tacos were awesome, but the chile relleno, and raja (charred poblanos with cheese) were my favorites. Even the people at table who "don't like tamales" liked these tamales. Seriously—take a few friends and try everything. Carrie Vasios

La Super-Rica: 622 North Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103 (map); (805) 963-4940

Chile Verde (with Hatch Chiles!)
Chile Verde (with Hatch Chiles!)
Probably Kenji's No Hatch Chile - Chile Verde.... *with* Hatch chiles. Los Angeles is fortunate to be close enough to New Mexico to have fresh Hatch peppers throughout a chunk of August and September. There might have been a couple of days last week when I ate chile leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... but that's between me and my co-workers*.

* = I work remotely. Paul Cline

[Photograph: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Arepas de Choclo in Queens, NYC
Arepas de Choclo in Queens, NYC
I had to wait 90 minutes to reach the front of the Arepa Lady's line at the Viva La Comida! festival in Elmhurst, but it was worth it. (It helped that friends fed me as I waited in line.) I was rewarded with sweet corn pancakes stuffed with salty, springy cheese. Each bite tasted like condensed corn souls. Enhanced by cheese. It's the best. —Robyn Lee

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

The Arepa Lady: Roosevelt Ave. between 78/79 streets (map) after 10 p.m., but only on certain days. Check facebook.com/arepalady for more info.