Braised short rib
Bill Starbuck's braised short was sweet and tender, served with pungent garlic spinach and a heartbreakingly rich, comforting brioche Parmesan bread pudding.
Pupusa with chili
Casey Thompson of Fort Worth's Brownstone fried up fresh pupusas, which she topped with thick pork jowl chili, a bright herb salad, and habanero sauce.
Alaskan king crab and mussels
Easily one of the best bites of the day. Chris Pandel from Chicago's The Bristol, offered up this beautiful plate of Alaskan king crab, marinated mussels, cauliflower, preserved lemon, and brown butter miso. Bright and clean, but with a soulful umami undercurrent.
Smoked squab shabu shabu
Michael Mina's shooter of smoked squab shabu shabu in a squab consommé with citrus ginger and foie gras fat took some explaining. "Take a sip, and get used to the flavor," suggested the servers. "Then knock it back and get ready for a fifteen second roller coaster of flavor." And so it was.
It's salami! In a cone! From charcuterie whiz Jared Van Camp of Chicago's Old Town Social.
Diver scallop anticucho
From Ricardo Zarate of Los Angeles' Picca and Mo Chica this diver scallop was perfectly seared, with a fresh, clean herbal finish.
Cauliflower panna cotta
One of the day's longest lines formed around Tyler Florence's table where he was dishing up austere looking, complexly flavored bowls of sweet, velvety cauliflower panna cotta topped simply with fried brussels sprout leaves and hamachi.
There was another long wait at the Todd English table, but patience was rewarded with a serious meat and three. Perfectly seared skirt steak atop grilled corn raita; roasted red and golden beets; and best of all, toothsome, rich beet risotto topped with bleu cheese.
L.A. local Mark Peel offered grilled mussels with grilled andouille, topped with a red pepper and saffron rouille.
Chicago's Graham Elliot played with Thanksgiving flavors in his creamy, earthy pumpkin bisque, dressed with fromage blanc, nutty sage crumble, cinnamon marshmallows, and deliciously tart pickled cranberries.
Short rib debris po' boy
Rick Tramonto knows short ribs. Here, he gave truffled short rib debris the po boy treatment, topping it with shredded romaine, pickled onions, and truffle aioli.
David Lefevre of Manhattan Beach's new MB Post made one flavorful meatball, a blend of pork and veal, with a maple glaze and a side of white miso puree.
Representing his Solvang, CA, restaurant Root 246, Bradley Odgen dished out Duroc pork tenderloin with corn pudding, gremolata of bacon and corn, and blackberry cipollini.
Roasted suckling pig
Local Joe Miller of Joe's Restaurant served up sandwiches of roasted suckling pig, topped with pickled fennel, maple bacon mustard, and a sweet Portuguese pepper vinaigrette.
Peanut butter and belly
Kenny Callaghan of New York's Blue Smoke topped succulent braised pork belly with a not-too-sweet Asian peanut sauce and a little jalapeno jelly.
Fried chicken ball
From Michel Richard—a crisp fried chicken ball with Dijon mustard sauce. Enough said.