Ever since I was outed as Serious Eats commenter Fart Sandwich earlier this year, I couldn't believe my luck when Ed and the gang asked me to write for the site. It's been just about six months now, and writing for Serious Eats has really given me the opportunity to explore food in the city I love so much.
The best way to warm up for the Seatown Seabar is to first walk through the Pike Place Market. Those photo-opp-worthy displays of fish and pretty produce that inspires Seatown's kitchen will put you in the mood for the ever-changing menu at the latest restaurant from chef Tom Douglas, located on a prime corner across from Seattle's landmark market.
Crow's a welcoming place just blocks from The Space Needle, serving up classic Euro-centric comfort foods, right-priced wine and well-mixed cocktails. It's really an ideal neighborhood restaurant.
Most San Franciscans are aware of Charles Phan, restaurateur behind Slanted Door, one of the most profitable restaurants in the United States. Last year, Phan turned his focus from high-end, gourmet Vietnamese food to open Heaven's Dog in San Francisco's South of Market area. Heaven's Dog focuses on gourmet Chinese food and an excellent bar program.
When renowned San Francisco bartenders Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin set their sights on a space near North Beach to open a new bar and restaurant, food and cocktail nerds knew we were in for a treat. Comstock Saloon opened this year in a historic space that's been a bar continuously since 1907.
When you walk into Char No. 4, there are two things you notice, both of which start with B: bacon and bourbon. The smell of the smoky, thick-cut bacon is the kind that'll probably stick to your hair until at least tomorrow morning, in a campfire kind of way. And the bottles, which includes a special bourbon collection, are lined up neatly on a pretty backlit bar.
Charcuterie is getting increasingly popular in Chicago, and some of the best is coming from chef Jared Van Camp at Old Town Social. There are 16 different housemade offerings, most of which are made from heritage pork, and all are accompanied with a tangy mustard piccacilli and crunchy grilled bread. Throw in the massive bourbon selection, and you're left with a bar that's setting a new standard for bar eats in Chicago.
No longer does a good neighborhood bar just mean a welcoming atmosphere and a few beverage and food options. These days, more and more of us are lucky enough to live in neighborhoods where the local tavern has been revolutionized into a gastropub with seriously good food. Aaron Zacharias, owner of Bar on Buena, opened The Fountainhead earlier this year. He turned the menu over to Robyn Marfurt, a culinary school grad who has crafted a menu that's a fine example of what food ought to be in a 21st century neighborhood tavern. Even without the food, The Fountainhead would do a booming business thanks to massive drink offerings including one of the better beer lists in the city and 24 different bourbons.
Beet fries. That's all Robyn and I needed to hear to get us to East Side King when in Austin recently. The food cart, covered in a brightly-painted cyclops design, is nestled in the backyard of an East Austin dive bar, The Liberty. It's yet another mobile food business launched by restaurant chefs: in this case sous chef Paul Qui and sushi chefs Moto Utsonomaya and Ek Timrek from Austin's much raved-about contemporary Japanese restaurant Uchi. It opens nightly from 7 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. and a good chunk of the menu involves the word "fried." Like those beets.