While writing his book Planet Barbecue! (Workman, 2010), Steven Raichlen traveled across six continents and 53 countries in search of the best flame-cooked foods on earth. Here, in no particular order, are his 12 favorite grill joints in the world.
From SAVEUR Issue #157 One of the most delicious things I've eaten in all my travels to Thailand is gai yahng, grilled chicken, a specialty of Isaan, a province in the country's northeast. For this dish, cooks favor lean birds with hardly any fat on them. The chickens are split, splayed, and clamped onto bamboo stakes that keep them flat. Before they're grilled over charcoal, they're rubbed with herbs, spices, and aromatics: cilantro root, white pepper, garlic. Keep reading »
From SAVEUR Issue #156 One of the things I've always loved about my hometown is its devotion to local diners and dives. Along with Tucker's Restaurant, my favorites include The Echo (3510 Edwards Road; 513/321-2816) in Hyde Park, on Cincinnati's east side. Opened in 1945, it's the kind of joint where waitresses are apt to stick around for a quarter-century or so, and where you can linger over corned beef hash, homemade pies, and satisfying meat loaf dinners. Keep reading »
From SAVEUR Issue #156 On a recent afternoon, Joe Tucker, a spirited man of Appalachian descent, stood behind the counter of Tucker's Restaurant in Cincinnati, a worn Bengals cap squeezed over his gray hair. He was working a flattop grill crammed with sizzling beef patties, eggs over easy, and thick slices of the beloved pinhead oat and sausage loaf known as goetta. Keep reading »
From SAVEUR Issue #156by Keith PandolfiAt Naples' Pizzeria Starita, the men who prepare the pizza include the masto e dondero, the friggitore, the fornino, the pizzaiolo, and his assistant. Keep reading »
As I prepared for my trip to Dubai, known for over-the-top opulence and Las Vegas-style theatrics, I wondered how I would be able to explore the place beyond its generic glitz in a mere three days. Sitting on the Persian Gulf just across from Iran, the city was not always the teeming metropolis that it is today: In 1883, when the ruling family Maktoum rose to power, Dubai was a just small pearl-fishing village. But in 1966 oil was discovered, forever changing the face of this desert town. By the 1980s the ruling family had made Dubai a tax-free zone to promote foreign investment, and in 2000 Dubai Internet City opened to lure in tech companies. The years that followed have been marked by shameless displays of luxury, from the Burj al-Arab, the world's most expensive hotel housed on a man-made palm tree-shaped island, to a slew of outposts of some of the finest restaurants in the world, including New York-based Nobu and Frenchman Pierre Gagnaire's Relets Par Pierre. Despite the sudden-wealth, Las Vegas-like reputation, what I found was a uniquely Middle Eastern metropolis, featuring all the conveniences, trappings and surprises of a big city anywhere else, but with a distinctly diverse Asian flavor all its own. And, as many from the region already know, this nonstop, ever-changing town is an ideal destination for frequent trips, whether for urban-paced relaxation or adventure, for business or vacation, as I found out over the course of 36 hours. See the Dubai travel guide »
From SAVEUR Issue #156by Gabriella GershensonAbout an hour outside of Tel Aviv, driving north toward the Galilee, the land tells me I am getting closer to my destination. I see neat plots of banana plants and rows of avocado trees. I pass hardy date palms and fish farms with shallow rectangular pools. A stop at a gas station reveals a carob tree growing next to the parking lot and tufts of za'atar, a type of wild thyme eaten throughout the Middle East, sprouting from the curb. When I enter the Upper Galilee, subtropical hills and valleys give way to a rocky green vista of olive trees with gnarled, ropy trunks, which could be hundreds of years old. It's good to be back. Keep reading »
If you'd asked me a year ago, I would have told you that the best Cuban sandwich I ever had was in, of all places, Cambridge, Massachusetts. My sister and I were roommates at the time living in nearby Somerville. We used to hang out at a Franco-Cuban restaurant called Chez Henri, where we'd order mojitos and what amounted to one of the greatest foods we'd ever discovered: Buttery pressed bread, melted cheese, garlicky roasted pork, ham, pickles, and mustard, cut into two triangles, with ribboned plantain chips on the side. It left an indelible impression on us both, and we were pretty much convinced that a better Cuban couldn't possibly exist. Keep reading »