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

English Muffin at Model Bakery in Napa, CA
English Muffin at Model Bakery in Napa, CA
I didn't know that an English muffin could be life-changing, but the ones at Model Bakery in Napa really are. They're nearly half-doughnut: fluffy and pillowy inside with a rich, cornmeal-strewn crust. You can get them served as egg sandwiches, but they're pretty unreal plain. (And you can get them by mail order, too!) —Maggie Hoffman, Drinks and Senior Editor

[Photo: Carey Jones]

Margherita Pizza at Eataly Chicago
Margherita Pizza at Eataly Chicago
I've been eating my way around Eataly Chicago's 15 or so restaurants (that's a lot!), and while it's always bustling, I've managed to find a seat at all of them without much work. Well, except at La Pizza, which is always packed to the breaking point. It's easy to see understand why. Most Neapolitan pizza in Chicago has a crust that is way too soft. Eataly's Margherita pizza ($14), on the other hand, is light, yet still crisp around the edges, with gorgeous char marks underneath. Only the very middle of the pizza sags. It's excellent stuff, and my current favorite version of this style in the city. —Nick Kindelsperger, Editor of Serious Eats Chicago.

[Photo: Nick Kindelsperger]

Iberico Carpaccio in Spain
Iberico Carpaccio in Spain
I spent part of my January in Spanish ham country meeting pigs and then eating them. The tastiest pig I ate? This brilliant, beautiful dish of Iberico pork shoulder carpaccio with shaved foie gras, buttery Spanish olive oil, a wine and vinegar reduction so good I'll ignore its Cheesecake Factory presentation, and plenty of crunchy sea salt. This cut of pork came from near the shoulder, one of the most intensely marbled spots on the pig, and if you think acorn-fed ham is great, try acorn-fed fresh pork. The dish came from Restaurante Arrieros, a gorgeous restaurant you'd be excused for calling a villa, in the tiny town of Linares de la Sierra, a village with a population of 200 about 1 1/2 hours from Seville. Should you find yourself in this corner of Andalucia, go.—Max Falkowitz, NY Editor

[Photo: Max Falkowitz]

The Fat Darrell from RU Hungry in New Jersey
The Fat Darrell from RU Hungry in New Jersey
RU Hungry's Fat Darrell is a sandwich stuffed with mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, and french fries (aka three of my favorite junk foods) lubricated with marinara sauce. If you think that sounds delicious, then we're on the same page. It was my first time eating a fat sandwich, but it won't be my last. —Robyn Lee, AHT Editor

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Everything in Thailand
Everything in Thailand
ALL OF THE STREET FOOD IN THAILAND, but especially papaya salad. Bonus points if it comes from a cart welded to the frame of a motor bike. —Paul Cline, Developer

[Photo: Paul Cline]

Shrimp-stuffed Chicken at Red Farm in NY
Shrimp-stuffed Chicken at Red Farm in NY
How they manage to get the outside so crispy and the inside so tender is beyond me! (Editor's Note, per Kenji's review: "Ng starts out by deboning a whole bird, as if to roll it into a French galantine, then hangs it to cure and dry. Next, a rough paste of chopped shrimp is applied to the fleshy side (and I still don't know how they get that damn shrimp paste so freaking moist and bouncy), then given a final coating of dehydrated rice before being roasted (or is it deep fried?) until the rice explodes into a cracklingly crisp crust and the chicken skin ends up with the lacquered crunch of a Peking duck.") —Ed Levine, Founder and Overlord

[Photo: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Whole Steamed Fish with Fennel, Tangerine Peel, Chili, and Fermented Black Beans at Fung Tu in NY
Whole Steamed Fish with Fennel, Tangerine Peel, Chili, and Fermented Black Beans at Fung Tu in NY
I am always a sucker for steamed whole fish at Chinese restaurants. I think Jon Wu's version blows it out of the water and now steamed fish elsewhere will never stack up. It's big, for two people. The fish is tender and just cooked through, and the broth is thick and rich with the taste of the sea. There's also a bit of heat at the end that comes as a pleasant surprise. And the black beans give a nice contrast to the delicateness of the fish, so you don't ever get bored. Oh, and I did I mention that he removes the bones before it comes to your table so you don't have to pick them out of your mouth?—Tracie Lee, Designer

[Photo: Tracie Lee]

Tasting Menu at Benu in San Francisco
Tasting Menu at Benu in San Francisco
My best bite(s) this month (and maybe of my life?) were all at my birthday present—the tasting menu at Benu. The restaurant is run by Corey Lee, a French Laundry alum, and his 20 course tasting menu was exciting, interesting, flawlessly executed, and most of all, delicious. Highlights included a lobster xiao long bao, warm pork belly topped with a cold oyster wrapped in a kimchi feuilletine, and the homemade tofu pictured above. —Carrie Vasios Mullins, Sweets Editor

[Photo: Carrie Vasios Mullins]