Pho -- that beef-broth-and-rice-noodle soup that's the most ubiquitous offering in Vietnamese cuisine -- is always eaten for breakfast. It's always eaten for lunch, too, and dinner on the streets of Da Nang, and as a midnight snack by drunken scooter kids in Saigon trying to sober up for the long ride home. But as a breakfast dish, pho is unsurpassed, and no one in town does it better than Pho 79. With one broth and a million different combinations of meats, herbs, spices and noodles, breakfast at Pho 79 can be a never-ending journey through the flavors of the Far East. But by nine in the morning, the Aurora outlet, at least, can be so packed full of hungry neighbors coming from the Japanese-Korean-Viet-Thai neighborhoods surrounding Havana Street that there's no space left for the casual culinary tourists.

Pho -- that beef-broth-and-rice-noodle soup that's the most ubiquitous offering in Vietnamese cuisine -- is always eaten for breakfast. It's always eaten for lunch, too, and dinner on the streets of Da Nang, and as a midnight snack by drunken scooter kids in Saigon trying to sober up for the long ride home. But as a breakfast dish, pho is unsurpassed, and no one in town does it better than Pho 79. With one broth and a million different combinations of meats, herbs, spices and noodles, breakfast at Pho 79 can be a never-ending journey through the flavors of the Far East. But by nine in the morning, the Aurora outlet, at least, can be so packed full of hungry neighbors coming from the Japanese-Korean-Viet-Thai neighborhoods surrounding Havana Street that there's no space left for the casual culinary tourists.


Everyone loves doughnuts. But no one loves doughnuts quite as much as Elliott Vigil, owner of Glazed and Confuzed. Vigil knew nothing about doughnuts (except that he loved them) and nothing about the restaurant industry when he opened his shop last year. But that didn't slow him down. He found an industrial kitchen capable of producing 200 dozen a day, hired a team of expert bakers who could fill the gaps in his technical knowledge, and went to work creating the sort of doughnuts we'd all make if someone just gave us the keys to the factory. He sells eggnog doughnuts and doughnuts studded with crushed bits of candy cane over the holidays, doughnuts injected with caramel, banana fritters, huge glazed doughnuts filled with cherry and chocolate glaze, lemon-drop doughnut holes, and doughnuts made with espresso-shot dough and crusted with crushed espresso beans. Vigil may not know what he's doing, but we know he's doing it right.

Everyone loves doughnuts. But no one loves doughnuts quite as much as Elliott Vigil, owner of Glazed and Confuzed. Vigil knew nothing about doughnuts (except that he loved them) and nothing about the restaurant industry when he opened his shop last year. But that didn't slow him down. He found an industrial kitchen capable of producing 200 dozen a day, hired a team of expert bakers who could fill the gaps in his technical knowledge, and went to work creating the sort of doughnuts we'd all make if someone just gave us the keys to the factory. He sells eggnog doughnuts and doughnuts studded with crushed bits of candy cane over the holidays, doughnuts injected with caramel, banana fritters, huge glazed doughnuts filled with cherry and chocolate glaze, lemon-drop doughnut holes, and doughnuts made with espresso-shot dough and crusted with crushed espresso beans. Vigil may not know what he's doing, but we know he's doing it right.

We've all seen the five o'clock news stories on Krispy Kreme franchise openings. The block-long lines, the goofy paper hats, that terrible, hypnotic "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign shining down from the windows. We've all laughed at the people willing to wait hours for their first dozen, fresh out of the oil at a new store, and vowed that we'd never do that ourselves. But there's a reason the appearance of any Krispy Kreme outlet is met with the kind of pomp and boosterism usually reserved for presidential whistle-stops and visits by the pope. These are doughnuts the way doughnuts were meant to be, served hot and fresh, all sugar and ethereal lightness. Glossy, bulging jelly-filleds and too-perfect original glazed share space on the short-and-sweet menu with sugar-dusted apple-filleds and chocolate-glazed doughnuts stuffed with fluffy cream. Yes, Krispy Kreme is as bad as any Starbucks outlet, driving the little mom-and-pop neighborhood shops out of business and whatnot, but you know what? Life is tough. These doughnuts aren't.

We've all seen the five o'clock news stories on Krispy Kreme franchise openings. The block-long lines, the goofy paper hats, that terrible, hypnotic "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign shining down from the windows. We've all laughed at the people willing to wait hours for their first dozen, fresh out of the oil at a new store, and vowed that we'd never do that ourselves. But there's a reason the appearance of any Krispy Kreme outlet is met with the kind of pomp and boosterism usually reserved for presidential whistle-stops and visits by the pope. These are doughnuts the way doughnuts were meant to be, served hot and fresh, all sugar and ethereal lightness. Glossy, bulging jelly-filleds and too-perfect original glazed share space on the short-and-sweet menu with sugar-dusted apple-filleds and chocolate-glazed doughnuts stuffed with fluffy cream. Yes, Krispy Kreme is as bad as any Starbucks outlet, driving the little mom-and-pop neighborhood shops out of business and whatnot, but you know what? Life is tough. These doughnuts aren't.

Devil's Food Cookery
Cassandra Kotnik
Make no mistake: Devil's Food is a dangerous place firmly dedicated to helping those with a weakness for the venal wrongs of gluttony to pave their way to hell with waffles. The house serves whipped sweet butter, real maple syrup -- thin, nutty and sweet with raw sugars -- and real whipped cream with its treacherous Belgians, working from a scratch mix that results in a perfect sweet-and-sour batter. But you've been warned: Owner Gerald Shorey is the devil's own when it comes to pastry work, and even after you've finished off one of the kitchen's huge, hot waffles (and maybe a side of the excellent, thick-cut, honey-cured bacon), you'll have to walk by a row of bakery cases on your way to the door. It would take an iron-willed saint to not be tempted.

Make no mistake: Devil's Food is a dangerous place firmly dedicated to helping those with a weakness for the venal wrongs of gluttony to pave their way to hell with waffles. The house serves whipped sweet butter, real maple syrup -- thin, nutty and sweet with raw sugars -- and real whipped cream with its treacherous Belgians, working from a scratch mix that results in a perfect sweet-and-sour batter. But you've been warned: Owner Gerald Shorey is the devil's own when it comes to pastry work, and even after you've finished off one of the kitchen's huge, hot waffles (and maybe a side of the excellent, thick-cut, honey-cured bacon), you'll have to walk by a row of bakery cases on your way to the door. It would take an iron-willed saint to not be tempted.

El Taco De Mexico
Courtesy El Taco de Mexico Facebook
Long touted as mankind's only guaranteed cure for the common hangover, menudo is a hearty, spicy, slow-cooked stew made from hominy, chiles and stock, plus tripe, feet, knuckles, trotters or any other unattractive leftover cut of a cow requiring several hours (or days) of cooking to bring out its more subtle charms. El Taco de México -- which serves menudo only on the weekends -- knows exactly what it takes to make a pot powerful enough to cure any human ailment, hangovers included. Using a combination of smooth and honeycomb tripe, this menudo is strong and heavily flavored, not too greasy, and spicy enough that you'll work up a good sweat. Use the limes, chiles and condiments that come in little black-footed bowls on the side to further doctor your cure.

Long touted as mankind's only guaranteed cure for the common hangover, menudo is a hearty, spicy, slow-cooked stew made from hominy, chiles and stock, plus tripe, feet, knuckles, trotters or any other unattractive leftover cut of a cow requiring several hours (or days) of cooking to bring out its more subtle charms. El Taco de México -- which serves menudo only on the weekends -- knows exactly what it takes to make a pot powerful enough to cure any human ailment, hangovers included. Using a combination of smooth and honeycomb tripe, this menudo is strong and heavily flavored, not too greasy, and spicy enough that you'll work up a good sweat. Use the limes, chiles and condiments that come in little black-footed bowls on the side to further doctor your cure.


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