Gallery: Staff Picks: The Best Things We Ate in February

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew with Ginger
Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew with Ginger
Whenever I want to cook a big vegan meal for a group of non-vegan friends, the first thing that comes to mind is this Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew with Ginger. It's rich, creamy, hearty, undeniably delicious, and easy to boot. I cooked up a big pot of it on a weekend ski trip in New Hampshire. There's something about a day of skiing through 2 feet of fresh powder that makes everything taste extra delicious.— Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer

[Photograph: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Bobcat at SEHQ
Bobcat at SEHQ
When an old friend of mine procured some bobcat meat earlier in the month, I had the unique experience of trying it, and perhaps the even more unique experience of genuinely enjoying it. He pulled together a few different preparations, but the spicy tomato and bobcat ragù was the clear winner. Finished with a crunchy sprinkle of anchovy breadcrumbs, the meat was definitely on the gamey side—think rabbit or even goat—but a long braise gave it a tender and flavorful finish. —Niki Achitoff-Gray, Associate Editor

[Photograph: Niki Achitoff-Gray]

Brisket from BrisketTown, NYC
Brisket from BrisketTown, NYC

"My friend won a brisket from BrisketTown a bajillion months ago and served her winnings during her recent birthday party at her apartment. It's full of floopy, fatty, smoky goodness. I love it so much." —Robyn Lee, AHT Editor/Art Director

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Gozleme from Taskin, New Jersey
Gozleme from Taskin, New Jersey
Good gozleme is hard to come by. The Turkish snack of tissue-thin flatbread stretched over a hot griddle and folded up with fillings like greens, cheese, or meat has to be made fresh and should never be greasy. Where can you find a great one Stateside? Head to Paterson, NJ to Taskin bakery, where a menacing woman at a flattop by the door cooks beautifully thin and light versions with fresh, barely wilted spinach and mild peynirli cheese. —Max Falkowitz, NY Editor

Caption. [Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Papaya Salad from Larb Ubol, NYC
Papaya Salad from Larb Ubol, NYC
Located in Hell's Kitchen, Larb Ubol houses the most intense papaya salad I've ever had. At spice level number four, (they give you options) this salad was hot fiery, sour and fishy—in a good way. The papaya was cut into crunchy matchsticks (unlike many other Thai restaurants that grate its fruit into limp shreds) that held firm even after sitting in the salad dressing. Despite my protesting tongue, this salad is definitely worth a revisit. —Lily Chin, Editorial Intern

[Photograph: Lily Chin]

Many, Many Bites from Ichi's New Ni Bar and State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Many, Many Bites from Ichi's New Ni Bar and State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Somehow I ended up having quite a February, food-wise. Highlights included just about everything we tried at State Bird Provisions—an incredible new black cod dish, a wildly delicious salad with pomelo, hearts of palm, and tahini, spicy dungeness crab with kimchi and yuba...reserving a big table there for the prix fixe family-style menu is highly, highly recommended. I also stopped by the new Ichi Sushi for a few bites at the izakaya in back. The clams in miso with ground pork (pictured) were the perfect comfort food, and the luscious Umi Masu in dashi broth also took my breath away. —Maggie Hoffman, Drinks and Senior Editor

[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

Polpo alla Piastra from Baffo, Chicago
Polpo alla Piastra from Baffo, Chicago
After one bite of this charred octopus dish at Baffo, Eataly Chicago's one fine dining restaurant, I was pretty confident that this was the best octopus dish I'd ever eaten. My dining partner, Mr. Dennis Lee, called it "probably the best thing ever." Regardless of the hyperbole, it's a stunning dish. Though even great octopus can sometimes be a bit chewy, this had none. Instead the tasty tentacles were tender and meaty, standing up to the spicy limoncello vinaigrette. —Nick Kindelsperger, Editor of Serious Eats Chicago

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Nhom Bao from Battambang Market II
Nhom Bao from Battambang Market II

I was picking up some groceries at the Cambodian-run Battambang Market II in the Bronx when I spotted these beauties in the refrigerator case. Never one to pass up a good looking bao, I took them home and plopped them in the steamer. To my surprise, they were not stuffed with char siu, but with a chunky Chinese sausage pâté and hard-boiled egg—turns out they were nhom bao, a Southeast Asian variant. Not being a fan of eggs, I was a little apprehensive at first. I quickly warmed up to them, however, after tasting the ginger, garlic, water chestnut, and pickled mustard (I think) weaved throughout the meat and pulling apart the impeccably fluffy and pleasingly sweet bun.—Miki Kawasaki, Editorial Intern

[Photograph: Miki Kawasaki]

Clam Toast from Cull and Pistol, NYC
Clam Toast from Cull and Pistol, NYC
I ended up in NYC for President's Day weekend, and my trip included a dinner at Cull and Pistol in Chelsea Market. The thing that I've been thinking about ever since is the Clam Toast. A piece of Amy's bread is toasted until it gets a bit of nice char, then it's topped with butter, onion, herbs, bacon (beautifully smokey and porky, no surprise, as it's from Dickson's) and a ton, I mean a ton, of chewy, briny clams. I wish I could eat this every day. —Carrie Vasios Mullins, Sweets Editor

[Photograph: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Chopped Liver from Bestia, Los Angeles
Chopped Liver from Bestia, Los Angeles
Bestia is one of the more attractive new restaurants in LA, on nearly all levels: the food is carefully prepared and beautifully presented, the industrial-chic interior is both sprawling and stunning, and the people inhabiting the space are rather pleasant to look at, too. This chicken liver toast is probably the ugliest-looking thing in the whole place. But one bite in, and I was utterly smitten with this dish — unlike a smooth mousse, the liver here is left roughly chopped, enhancing its rich, meaty flavor without going full-on liver steak style. Drizzled with a slightly sweet, vinegar-y glaze and spread thick on a craggy piece of bread, this liver is proof that looks aren't the only thing that matters. —Jamie Feldmar, Managing Editor

[Photograph: Jamie Feldmar]

Seared Scallops
Seared Scallops
The weather this season has been hibernation-worthy. So, rather then head out into tundra on Valentine's Day, my husband surprised me at home with a four-course meal, starting with this guy. I was feelin' the love with tender, pan-seared scallops, served on top of a sweet pea mash and drizzled with melted butter. What can I say? I've got it good. —Marissa Sertich Velie, Editorial Intern

[Photograph: Marissa Sertich Velie]

BBQ from Kerlin Barbecue, Austin
BBQ from Kerlin Barbecue, Austin
My best bite this month was by far at Kerlin Barbecue in Austin. The brisket was tender, smoky and fatty, and the beef rib special had an incredible bark. The sides were also uniformly tasty, which I never expect at a BBQ place! I think the fact that I got to sit outside in the sun at a picnic table in a t shirt probably had something to do with it too.—Tracie Lee, Designer

[Photograph: Tracie Lee]