Gallery: The Best Things We Ate in October

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

"The particular batch of lemon ricotta pancakes we had at Maialino this month were spectacular. The sound of the fork tines cutting through a pancake tells you everyhing you need to know: lovely crispy exterior giving way to moist and tender but not doughy in the slightest. So tasty they didn't really need the trio of seriously delicious condiments they were served with: maple syrup, fresh ricotta cheese, and poached figs." Ed Levine

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Baked Oysters
Baked Oysters

"I spent a few days eating my way through upstate New York recently, and the single best bite would have to be these baked oysters topped with aged gouda, ham, and caramelized leeks from The Taylor and The Cook in Utica. Can something be chewy, tender, meaty, smoky, cheesy, sweet, and briny all at once? Yes it can, and it's this plate of lovelies (six for $12). Nearly everything at The Taylor and The Cook blew me away, but these especially." Max Falkowitz

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Fried Chicken and Doughnuts
Fried Chicken and Doughnuts

"During my one-day trip to Philly last week, I made Federal Donuts my first stop. Nothing else I ate that day could live up to their fresh-from-the-fryer fried chicken and doughnuts (skip their not-fried-on-demand "fancy doughnuts," which are fine but not as good). The chicken had a thin, crisp skin (dusted with my choice of sour cream and onion seasoning) and was juicy throughout. The doughnuts smelled like sweet, deep fried happiness—the olfactory equivalent of being attacked by an army of puppies—and tasted like happy clouds made of cake. Aw yeah. That's good." Robyn Lee

Related: First Look: Federal Donuts in Philadelphia for Fried Chicken and Donuts»

[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Corn Pancakes
Corn Pancakes

"I can't stop thinking about the corn pancakes I had at State Bird Provisions... packed with plump corn kernels, griddled with clarified butter to give 'em superior golden-brown edges, and then layered with the triple-cream Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. So buttery! So good." Carey Jones

[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

Grilled Quail with Mole and Mexican Scotch Egg
Grilled Quail with Mole and Mexican Scotch Egg

"I've already given the tacos at Masa Azul in Chicago the thumbs up, but the rest of the menu deserves some serious praise as well. That definitely includes the Pichón ($22), a grilled quail served over mole Oaxaqueño. The whole backbone has been removed, so it's easy to eat, and the mole adds complexity without covering up the meat's flavor. But the best part is probably the slightly out of focus orb looming the background. That's a Mexican Scotch Egg, which features a soft boiled egg covered with chorizo, coated with panko, and then deep fried. You can purchase one separately for $8, but mixed in with the mole and the quail it adds a salty and assertive punch to the already wonderful dish." Nick Kindelsperger

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Neta's Omakase Menu
Neta's Omakase Menu

"This was my birthday meal and I couldn't have been happier. The omakase menu at Neta in the West Village includes some dishes you can peek from our review, and some surprises. Sitting at the bar we had ourselves front row seats at the careful slicing of raw fluke and salmon, the drizzling of hoisin, the tempura-frying of shiso leaves, and the huge pats of uni. Wow, that's sure a lot of uni. The rich, tender sea urchin is plated (and by plate I mean seashell) with sweet scallop cubes. In addition to the uni, there was fresh sashimi and sushi, this awesome spicy salmon tepanyaki with crunchy rice, and some warm green tea to cap off the multi-course meal." Erin Zimmer

[Photograph: J.Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Ago-dashi Shoyu Tsukumen
Ago-dashi Shoyu Tsukumen

Ivan Orkin's ramen joint isn't open yet (let's keep our fingers crossed), but I had a taste of the Long0Islander-turned-Tokyo-ramen-phenom's noodles and broth at a special tasting dinner at The Ace Hotel a couple weeks back. The best was the Ago-Dashi Shoyu Tsukumen: toasted buckwheat noodles dipped into a flying fish and soy scented-broth, flavored with a few drops of garlic oil. If the noodles he serves with Ivan Ramen NY finally opens its doors is anywhere near as good, it's going to be a game-changer for New York ramen. J.Kenji Lopez-Alt

[Photograph: J.Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Szechuan Wontons
Szechuan Wontons

"Szechuan wontons from Szechuan Kitchen in my Upper East Side neighborhood (note: the ones in the photo are actually from Legend) are the ultimate takeout for a rainy night. The peanut sauce is slightly spicy and the wontons are huge. It's always a fight when it comes to who gets the last one. Their peanut noodles are also insanely good. If you can't tell, I love everything that contains peanut butter." Jen Weinberg

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Oboro Tofu
Oboro Tofu

"At Eiji in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, they serve three different kinds of tofu, and I have trouble deciding which is my favorite. For a first-timer, though, the must-order is the fresh silken tofu, made to order. (If you sit near the bar, you can watch it happen.) It comes together almost magically, and is delicate and tender, like a custard that melts on your tongue. It's served with a tray of shiso, fresh ginger, bonito, sesame seeds, scallions, and spicy radish, plus high-quality tamari to pour on top. Be sure to make reservations, even if you only call a day in advance." Maggie Hoffman

[Photograph: Toni Birrer on Flickr]