Monday September 21, 2009
Fosselman's, Los Angeles
1. Best place to eat: Oysters.
Strangfor Lough, Northern Ireland
"If I were to die tomorrow, I'd walk to Strangford, get a couple of bottles of really cold Chablis, and eat as many Strangford Lough oysters as I could. Then I'd die very happily indeed. There are very few places you can get Strangford Lough oysters now. Last time, we bought some from a company called Cuan and went to a beautiful local pub and opened them ourselves. The speed of the tidal movement, and the huge nutrient richness of the water, is what makes them so good. The only accompaniment you need is lemon juice and black pepper: you'd never ever use vinegar and shallots or Tabasco."
Cuan Oysters, Sketrick Island, Killinchy, Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland, 02897 541461, www.cuanoysters.com2. Best place to eat: Aubergines
Ta Kioupa, Athens
"The aubergines were slow- baked for six hours, brought to the table whole, and skinned in front of us. They took out the flesh, crisscrossed the aubergines with two knives, and then added whipped cream with hazelnuts, lemon, sweet pepper, oil, feta cheese, salt and pepper. Incredible."
Dinokratous & An, Polemou 22, Kolonaki, 11521 Athens, 0030 210 7400150, www.takioupia.com3. Best place to eat: Hamburgers
Little Owl, New York
There are many fine hamburgers in New York, even the most mediocre of which would put its British counterparts to shame. But the best is the bacon cheeseburger at a small Greenwich Village bistro called Little Owl. "This sandwich is so copiously juicy, so rich with precious bodily fluids," says Josh Ozersky, author of The Hamburger: A History, "that it practically haemorrhages onto the plate. But the meat, which is a signature blend from New York's virtuoso hamburger maker Pat La Frieda, is perfectly paired with a bun of uniquely moist and yielding character. It's by far the best cheeseburger in this or any other city."
90 Bedford St, New York, 001 212 741 4695, www.thelittleowlnyc.com4. Best place to eat: Zabaglione
The best place in the world to eat zabaglione, according to Giorgio Locatelli, is at his uncle's restaurant, La Cinzianell, in Corgeno, northern Italy. "As the sun goes down behind Monte Rosa and it starts getting a bit chilly, the thing I enjoy most is the zabaglione prepared by my cousin Maurizio…"
Via Lago, 26 Corgeno, 0039 0 331 946 3375. Best place to eat: Pho
Pho 24, Vietnam
Pho, a noodle soup with thin slices of meat (usually beef but sometimes chicken), is Vietnam's signature dish, and the issue of who makes it best is as tangled as white rice noodles in tasty broth. The Hanoi streets throw up a lot of persuasive contenders, such as the shack at 172 Ton Duc Thang Street. However, the sleek chain restaurant Pho 24, with branches around the country and across Asia, produces Vietnam's most reliably good pho. The meat is of a consistently high quality – a rarity in Vietnam – and the stock impresses even the hardest-to-please critics.
5 Nguyen Thiep Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (and other locations). 0084 88226278, www.pho24.com.vn7. Best place to eat: Macaroons
The original M Ladurée opened his bakery on the rue Royale in 1862. In 1930 his grandson invented the double-decker macaroon – two shells of the meringue-like pastry held together by creamy ganache filling. Ladurée has produced the definitive macaroons ever since. In recent years the company has opened shops around the world, but the original is by far the best.
16 rue Royale, 75008 Paris, 0033 01 42 60 21 79, www.laduree.fr8. Best place to eat: Roast Chicken
L'Ami Louis, Paris
This Paris fixture, open since 1924, is the ultimate French bistro. Heads of state (Clinton, Gorbachev) and cultural giants (Welles, Hemingway) have come here to feast on sumptuous roast chicken, served whole with matchstick pommes frites and a simple green salad. It's touristy and expensive and the decor is a bit clichéd, but such details become trivial once the chicken (which inspired Simon Hopkinson to write his much-loved Roast Chicken and Other Stories) turns up at the table.
32 rue du Vertbois, 3e, 3rd arrondissement, Paris, 0033 1 48 87 77 489. Best place to drink: Milkshakes
Fosselman's, Los Angeles
The ingredients for the perfect milkshake are extremely good ice cream mixed with just the right amount of milk, and a classic American setting. The award-laden Fosselman's, in the LA suburb of Alhambra, has been offering both since 1924. The milkshakes, made with home-made ice cream, taste like you'd expect milkshakes to taste in the movies. Make a beeline for the double-chocolate malt.
1824 W Main Street, Alhambra, Los Angeles, 001 626 282 6533, www.fosselmans.com10. Best place to eat: Texas barbecue
The title of best BBQ joint in Texas is hotly contested in a state where the consumption of charred meats is as serious as religion. Texas Monthly magazine does the definitive annual poll. Most recently, the magazine awarded the title to Snow's, a rank outsider that has been trading a mere five years. Run by a former rodeo clown and an elderly lady named Tootsie, the restaurant only opens on Saturday mornings and consists of a small number of tables around a smoking pit.
516 Main Street, Lexington, Texas, 001 979 773 4640 (Saturday only), www.snowsbbq.com