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Your Guide to Charleston’s New Restaurants: Spring 2015

Your Guide to Charleston’s New Restaurants: Spring 2015

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The biggest opening of note to make a big splash is 492. The newest establishment from the folks behind Ms. Rose’s and the former Tristan, have now opened their largest undertaking to date. Chef Nate Whiting is a young up-and-coming chef who has spent time at places like The Woodlands Resort and Inn and Tristan before leading the kitchen at the new hot spot. The menu is curated in sections including “Fields & Gardens”, “Pasta & Grains”, “From the Sea”, and “From the Land,” and early buzz has been solid.

Barony Tavern
Chef Bob Carter is at it again, this time inside a hotel. Located inside the Renaissance Charleston Hotel, Barony Hotel is being touted as a culmination of Carter’s past culinary experiences. The menu reflects some traditional things the chef is known for like crab cakes, veal sweetbreads, crawfish stuffed shrimp, and crusted rack of lamb. Looks like the perfect mix for those visiting the city as well as for those longing to taste chef Carter’s well-loved food served a few years back at Peninsula Grill.

Bob Waggoner Cooking School
Another old school Charleston chef is on the list, but this time with a cooking school. Chef Bob Waggoner has followed his passion and opened In the Kitchen with Chef Bob Waggoner – a showcase kitchen – in the heart of downtown. Classes must be reserved in advance, run from 7 to 10 p.m., and are limited to ten students who will learn hands on instruction to a particular topic each night. You get to eventually eat what you cook and enjoy a nice wine paired evening’s subject along the way.

Cannon Green
One of the prettiest restaurants to open in Charleston, Cannon Green is located in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood. Outfitted with nineteenth century Charleston single house façade, the restaurant’s décor makes the space feel like you are dining in someone’s house. There is also a lush courtyard filled with fountains and planters and an event space. The menu provides a mix of Mediterranean and southern inspired dishes and is available Tuesday through Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch.

The Daily
Located in the same parking lot as its sister restaurant, Butcher & Bee, The Daily is a quick stop place to grab some delicious coffee or cold-pressed juice, wine and beer, breakfast sandwiches, pastries and bread, and other grab-and-go provisions. The selection available is thoughtful and there is a growler station with an often-rotating selection, pouring some local and hard-to-find brews. There is a bike rack and available parking, which is a luxury for most similar downtown coffee shops.

R Kitchen
Short for Rutledge Kitchen, R Kitchen labels itself as a “kitchen, not a restaurant” on its website and the space is small enough that you feel as if you are in someone’s intimate space. The menu is written by hand nightly and reservations are preferred so they can plan accordingly. The goal is to keep it cheap and the place offers a five course menu for $25. The beauty of R Kitchen is the free style approach and often you will find a under the radar line cook or chef from another location restaurant sharing the stage as the chefs collaborate on a menu for the night. There is not a sign signifying the place, so look close or you might just pass it.

Saint Alban
Brooks Reitz’s latest venture is a hipster café that has tasty bites, an impressive bevvy of drinks, and impeccable style. The space is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. most days and offers baked goods, breakfast plates like the hard-boiled farm egg sandwich, lunch specials including toasts, salads, and a small selection of sandwiches. They offer just about every drink option possible such as drip coffee and expresso drinks, beer and cider, cocktails, and a variety of wines.

Table & Tavern
Over the bridge and on Shem Creek, is the hot spot for Mt. Pleasant. Designed to be a gathering spot for friends and family to get together, Table & Tavern offers a new option to those wanting a view and waterfront dining. They offer lunch and dinner as well as an exclusive dock side menu. Some of the highlights are snacks such as a skillet of cornbread and ham and cheese cracklings; there are also more substantial dishes such as duck meatloaf, seasonal whole fish, and turkey and dumplings. Reviews have been mixed but we’re not sure it matters when you can get inside and enjoy the view.

What’s around the corner? Some good fried chicken as chef Robert Stehling prepares to open Chick’s Fry House. The Westendorff is apparently offering brunch seven days a week. And the owners of Warehouse are opening Parlor Deluxe, an old school soda shop across the street from their current location. There’s a lot more on the horizon, so stay tuned!

Healthy Recipe Results

If you are cooking for someone on a low sodium diet, use this recipe instead of taco seasoning. This recipe is the equivelant to one package of taco seasoning (or 3 tablespoons.) Adjust the strength of any ingredient to your taste. Submitted by: APRILDAWN678

This meal comes together SUPER fast! A very hearty dish that goes great with a salad. It's also versatile--add additional vegetables or even a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans for more protein. Submitted by: FOODIEWIFE

Delicious and quick, this dish is a great way to get more fish into your healthy meal plan! We think this baked tilapia recipe can't be beat! Submitted by: RACHIELOO

Charleston’s World-Class Restaurants Offer Something for Every Taste and Every Budget

Charleston is home to some of the South's finest restaurants, owned and operated by some of its finest chefs. Their philosophies are simple: buy quality ingredients and don't mess them up. The chefs here are like one great big family with a little healthy sibling rivalry, but in the end, they have an enormous amount of respect for one another. It shows in the wide variety of offerings diners can choose from - from high-end beef and pork dishes at several white-tablecloth steakhouses to the classic Southern fried seafood platters and absolutely everything in between.

Get Your South On

Charleston has a few stalwarts that are simply must-tries, and they are not all out-of-range expensive. Be on the lookout for new twists on old classics. Page's Okra Grill in nearby Mount Pleasant offers "redneck rolls, pulled pork barbecue and homemade pimento cheese deep-fried in a spring roll. Almost everyone has their own shrimp and grits, and now oysters are muscling their way onto everyday menus: fried and served on a spinach sauce that looks like Lowcountry pluff mud at Leon's Fine Poultry and Oysters or fried and served on a deviled egg sauce with bread-and-butter pickles on top at The Grocery. And if you just have to have fried chicken livers, your best stop is SNOB (Slightly North of Broad). For good ol' South Carolina barbecue and ribs, stop by Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q on King Street for eat-in or take-out.

James Beard Award-winners

Charleston chefs are, without a doubt, some of the best in the country but definitely in the Southeast: Sean Brock, formerly of Husk was named the 2010 Best Chef of the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation and won that organization's 2015 book award for "Heritage" Mike Lata, chef at FIG (Food Is Good) and The Ordinary, was chosen in 2009 as the Best Chef of the Southeast Jason Stanhope, also of FIG, was chosen as the 2015 Best Chef of the Southeast and Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ was 2018 Best Chef of the Southeast.

These chefs all take the best locally or regionally produced food - from shrimp to beef and that all-important Carolina Gold Rice - and put their spin on old Southern favorites.

Husk bills itself as a celebration of Southern ingredients - from its historic cocktails, such as the Charleston Light Dragoon's Punch with brandy, rum, tea, lemon juice and sugar to the Southern fried chicken skins appetizer and the Atlantic grouper paired with mushrooms from the nearby Mepkin Abbey. At Husk, it's as much about where the food comes from as how it is prepared.

The same holds true at Chef Lata's FIG and The Ordinary, which is anything but. FIG specializes in seafood, such as a wonderful fish stew with shrimp, squid, mussels, Carolina Gold Rice and rouille, but The Ordinary does almost nothing but seafood. You just have to try one of the shellfish towers there is plenty for everyone and every taste.

After four nominations, FIG took home the 2018 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program. Chef Lata&rsquos farm-to-table aesthetic put this bistro on the map soon after it opened in 2003, and it didn&rsquot take long for the wine program to meet the same level of excellence thanks to thoughtful sourcing and a staff that knows its stuff.

In 2017, Bertha&rsquos Kitchen in Charleston was designated as a James Beard Foundation America&rsquos Classic. The family-run soul food operation is a local institution where people line up on weekdays for fried chicken, pork chops, yams, macaroni and cheese, field peas with hocks, lima beans, okra soup, cornbread and more. This is authentic, stick-to-your-ribs Southern cooking with a bit of Gullah flair.

After decades of manning the pits at his family&rsquos Hemingway operation, pitmaster Rodney Scott opened Rodney Scott&rsquos BBQ in Charleston in 2017, broadening his base of smoked-meat fans and winning national accolades. His self-taught techniques are lauded by critics and chefs, who admire his rustic, authentic touches that result in some of the best barbecue on the planet.

Let Them Eat Steak

Meat lovers can choose from the Oak Steakhouse located in a former bank, with a fantastic bar downstairs and a wonderful upstairs that lets you enjoy all the action Halls Chophouse, which offers an extraordinary gospel brunch on Sunday with live music and a relatively new addition, Michael's on the Alley, which offers a full complement of steaks, including a 30-ounce, bone-in ribeye called the Tomahawk Chop.

Eat and Stay the Night

A couple of fine-dining restaurants are attached to equally high-end hotels, including Charleston Grill in Belmond Charleston Place and Circa 1886 at Wentworth Mansion. Charleston Grill offers a variety of menu options, from light plates to big steaks to exotic flavors from around the world or new interpretations of Southern favorites. Circa 1886 introduces diners to a world of flavors such as antelope pate, duck confit fried rice or a sweet treat called Peanut Butter Pluff Mudd, a nod to the marshes that surround Charleston.

There are so many places and ways to enjoy a great meal in Charleston it's impossible to list them all. Dive in and explore!

Charleston's Plantations

The Spanish moss-draped canopy of the majestic “Avenue of Oaks” leading to Boone Hall transports modern-day travelers back 250 years to Charleston’s plantation past. Major John Boone’s son planted the twin rows of evenly spaced oaks in 1743 to showcase the family’s prosperity, and they are just one of many unchanged features found at Boone Hall today.

Tour the Manor House and gardens, listen to traditional African tales from a Gullah storyteller, and visit 9 original slave cabins, some of the few still standing in the Southeast. Crops have grown continually here for more than 300 years. Today, visitors can pick strawberries in spring and pumpkins in fall, as well as buy seasonal produce at the plantation’s farm stand.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

The Drayton family founded Magnolia as a rice plantation in 1676, and several gardens date back more than 325 years. Boat tours usher visitors through flooded rice fields, providing glimpses of the alligators, herons, turtles and egrets that call the waterways home.

Or opt for a “nature train” that winds past slave cabins, 19th-century rice ponds and an ancient Native American ceremonial mound, while providing glimpses of rare wildlife. Encounter rarely seen animals and plants as you walk the network of wooden boardwalks and bridges that crisscross the haunting Audobon Swamp Garden, or get up-close-and-personal with furry, feathered and scaly friends in the Petting Zoo and Nature Center. Something is in bloom at Magnolia year-round, making any season perfect for a visit.

Drayton Hall

Preservationists have kept this Georgian-Palladian masterpiece in near-original condition while avoiding the lure of modern conveniences, such as electricity, air conditioning and plumbing. The house remains largely undisturbed by modern life and has withstood wars, hurricanes and earthquakes since it was built between 1738 and 1742.

Enjoy a guided tour of the historic home, explore the nearby river and marshland, and visit A Sacred Place, the oldest documented African-American cemetery in America still in use. Interactive programs take visitors on a journey from Africa to America and from slavery to emancipation, and explore the 7 generations of the Drayton family who lived here.

Middleton Place

Photo by: Damian Entwistle, flickr

The gardens at this National Historic Landmark were carefully planned to bloom every month of the year. Whether its centuries-old camellias giving a delicate color to the winter landscape, a riot of azaleas on a hillside above a pond, or crepe myrtles and magnolias scenting the Southern summer, Middleton’s carefully manicured gardens are a delight for every sense, in any season. Built in 1755, the House Museum takes visitors on a tour of 4 generations of the Middleton family and affords a peek into their genteel lifestyle through personal artifacts such as furniture, silver, porcelain and rare books.

Since the house and grounds remained under the stewardship of the Middleton family for more than 300 years, visitors get a first-hand look at the lives of one historic family (including a signer of the Declaration of Independence) as well as the chance to learn about plantation life. In the stable yards, costumed historic interpreters bring to life the skill and artisanship necessary to run a Lowcountry rice plantation.

11 a.m.-12 p.m. – Fun in the Sun

Sullivan's Island

The lighthouse on Sullivan's Island near Charleston, South Carolina.

If you’re visiting Charleston between the months of May through August, be prepared for heat and humidity like you’ve never experienced before, especially for those from states above the Mason-Dixon line. Shade is your best friend during these months, and you should seek it out whenever you can. Another great way to cool off is to head to one of the many beaches that surround the city. My favorite is Sullivan’s Island. There are no lifeguards and no bathrooms, which may deter some — especially if you have children — but, with many of the beaches becoming crowded and parking scarce, Sullivan’s remains relatively quiet. Isle of Palms, or IOP, is another good option as well as Folly Beach, but both are popular with out of towners so expect some congestion.

There are only a few months out of the year when you wouldn’t want to go to the beach in Charleston due to the weather, but during those times, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Hampton Park is the largest park on the peninsula and offers many Instagram-worthy scenes. Walk the trails or simply lay down a blanket and have a picnic.

If history is more your speed, Charleston has that in spades. Partaking in a walking tour is the best way to see the sights and learn about the beautiful homes you see on the peninsula, especially along the famous Battery. Charleston also has many plantations that are open to the public. One that I would recommend visiting is Drayton Hall. This 18th-century home has been preserved instead of restored, unlike some of the other homes that have been updated. After the tour of the home, guests are invited to walk the grounds, which feature stunning trees draped with Spanish moss.

Chicken Stock

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

This recipe for an intense, lovely chicken stock is full of deep flavors and provides a perfect base for soup. Feel free to use leftover bones from roast chicken, but at least half of the bones should be raw. Ask your butcher for feet, heads and wings, which are all high in gelatin and will lend body to the stock. Once cooled, freeze the stock in old 32-ounce yogurt containers, which have the added benefit of being premeasured.


  • 4 pounds raw chicken bones
  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 onions, unpeeled, quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
  • 2 celery stalks, halved crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 5 parsley sprigs (or 10 stems)
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar


  1. Put everything but the vinegar in a large stockpot. Bring the stock to a boil over high heat, then turn down to a simmer.
  2. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the vinegar. (It helps draw out nutrients and minerals from the bones into the stock.)
  3. Simmer the stock for 6 to 8 hours, covered, keeping an eye on it to make sure it stays at a simmer.
  4. Strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve. Let cool.
  5. Scrape the fat that rises to the top. (Save it in the fridge or freezer for matzoh ball soup.) Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

The Complete 2015 JBF Award Nominees

Didn't catch today's nominee announcement? Don't fret: we've posted the entire list below.

The 2015 James Beard Awards, hosted by Alton Brown, will be held at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4. Carla Hall will host our Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner, taking place at New York City's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on Friday, April 24. Tickets to the main gala go on sale April 1, while BBJ ceremony tickets are now available online.

Questions about JBF Awards policies and procedures? Answers here.

Announcing the Nominees for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, Presented by Lexus

2015 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

For books published in English in 2014. Winners will be announced on April 24, 2015.

American Cooking

The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes

Erin Byers Murray and Jeremy Sewall

Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State

(University of Texas Press)

Baking and Dessert

Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere

(Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads

Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes

Cooking from a Professional Point of View

Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes

Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef

Focus on Health

A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious

Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

Henry Fong and Michelle Tam

(Andrews McMeel Publishing)

General Cooking

The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking

Faith Durand and Sara Kate Gillingham

Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home

Marcus Samuelsson with Roy Finamore

(Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook


The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History

Ana Sofía Peláez and Ellen Silverman

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories

Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition

(University of Texas Press)


In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World

Photographer: Jen Munkvold and Taylor Peden

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes

Reference and Scholarship

Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering

Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet

(University of California Press)

The Spice & Herb Bible (Third Edition)

Single Subject

Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes

Charcutería: The Soul of Spain

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient

Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi

Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company

Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein

Writing and Literature

The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

The winner of the Cookbook of the Year Award and the Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee will be announced on April 24, 2015.

2015 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards

Presented by Lenox Tableware and Gifts

For television, web, and radio programs aired in 2014. Winners will be announced on April 24, 2015.

Airs on:

Hosts: Rick Bayless and Steve Dolinsky

Producers: Matt Cunningham and Steve Dolinsky

Airs on:

Producers: Tina Antolini and the Southern Foodways Alliance

Airs on:

Radio Show/Audio Webcast

All Things Considered&rsquos &ldquoFound Recipes&rdquo

Host: Melissa Block, Audie Cornish, and Robert Siegel

Producers: Julia Redpath Buckley, Serri Graslie, and Melissa Gray

Producers: The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva)


Producers: Dalia Burde and Brandon Loper

Airs on:

Producers: Hamilton Fish, Smriti Keshari, Eva Longoria, Sanjay Rawal, and Eric Schlosser

Producers: Susan Bedusa and Douglas Tirola

Airs on: iTunes, Netflix, and Showtime

Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location

Bobby Flay&rsquos Barbecue Addiction

Producers: Bobby Flay and Kim Martin

Martha Stewart&rsquos Cooking School

Producers: Greta Anthony, Kimberly Miller Olko, Martha Stewart, Calia Brencsons-Van Dyk, and Lisa Wagner

Producers: Natalie Gustafson, Adrienne Hammel, and Sara Moulton

Television Program, on Location

Producers: Colleen Needles Steward, Shannon Keenan Demers, Andrew Zimmern, David Barksy, Tammy Bloom, Patrick Weiland, and Tye Schulke

Producers: Cynthia Hill, Vivian Howard, Ben Knight, Selena Lauterer, Malinda Maynor Lowery, Margaret McNealy, Rex Miller, and Amy Shumaker

Producers: ​Jared Andrukanis, Anthony Bourdain, Joe Caterini, Chris Collins, Michael Steed, and Lydia Tenaglia

Television Segment

Host: Anthony Mason and Vinita Nair

Producers: Brian Applegate, Greg Mirman, and Marci Waldman

Video Webcast, Fixed Location and/or Instructional

Host: Grant Lee Crilly and Chris Young

Producer: Richard B. Wallace

Producers: Jay Holzer and Eric Slatkin

Producers: Joe T. Lin, Alex Lisowski, Fritz Manger, Justin Marshall, Max Osswald, Adam Silver, and Michael Singer

Airs on:

Video Webcast, on Location

Airs on:

The Perennial Plate: Africa and the Americas

Hosts: Mirra Fine and Daniel Klein

Producers: Mirra Fine and Daniel Klein

Airs on:

Visual and Technical Excellence

Director of Photography: Rex Miller

Cinematographer: Ryan Hase

Producers: Jay Holzer, Gab Taraboulsy, and Clenét Verdi-Rose

Wall of Fire: A ChefSteps Story

Photographer and Editor: Reva Keller

Producers: Grant Crilly and Chris Young

Outstanding Personality/Host

Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking

Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

2015 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

For articles published in English in 2014. Winners will be announced on April 24, 2015.

Dining and Travel

&ldquoHow the Vikings Conquered Dinner&rdquo

&ldquoEating Well at the End of the Road&rdquo

Food and Culture

&ldquoThe Toxic, Abusive, Addictive, Supportive, Codependent Relationship Between Chefs and Yelpers&rdquo

&ldquoThe Lost Apples of the South&rdquo

The Southern Living Test Kitchen

&ldquoWhat Happens When All-Star Chefs Get in Bed with Big Food?&rdquo

Food and Health

Food-Related Columns

Food Coverage in a General-Interest Publication

The Editors of Roads & Kingdoms

Food Politics, Policy, and the Environment

&ldquoHungry for Savings,&rdquo &ldquoSave Money. Live Better,&rdquo &ldquoThe Secret Life of a Food Stamp&rdquo

&ldquoThe Quinoa Quarrel: Who Owns the World&rsquos Greatest Superfood?&rdquo

Harper&rsquos with the Food & Environment Reporting Network

Group Food Blog

Home Cooking

&ldquoThe Truth Behind Cookbook Recipes&rdquo

&ldquoGoodbye to All That Sugar, Spice, and Fat&rdquo

Ben Schott with the Bon Appétit Editors

Individual Food Blog

Personal Essay

&ldquoRequiem for a Fish Sandwich&rdquo

&ldquoLife in Chains: Finding Home at Taco Bell&rdquo

&ldquoJeremiah Tower's Invincible Armor of Pleasure&rdquo

&ldquoThe Leftovers: Paula Deen and the Martyrdom Industrial Complex&rdquo

Visual Storytelling

Ryan Hamilton, Michael Hoffman, Timothy McSweeney, Ryan Merrill, and James Ransom

Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages

&ldquoIn New Orleans, Terrific Cocktails Never Went out of Fashion&rdquo

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award

&ldquoBollywood Theater's Spicy Sequel in Southeast,&rdquo &rdquoCharting the Rise of Portland's Hottest UnRestaurants,&rdquo &ldquoHow I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Måurice"

The Philadelphia Inquirer

&ldquoArtisanal-Everything Roberta's Defies the Stereotypes,&rdquo &ldquoOnce an Icon, Per Se is Showing its Age,&rdquo &ldquoSix Reasons Why Cosme is One of NYC's Most Relevant New Restaurants&rdquo

MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award

&ldquoLife in Chains: Finding Home at Taco Bell&rdquo

2015 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards

Winners will be announced on May 4, 2015.

75 Seats and Under (For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2012)

Design Firm: Bureau of Architecture and Design

Designers: James Gorski and Tom Nahabedian

Project: Brindille, Chicago

Design Firm: Condor Construction

Project: Colonia Verde, Brooklyn, NY

Design Firm: Michael R. Davis Architects & Interiors

Designers: Michael R. Davis and Ronald J. Nemec

Project: Fish & Game, Hudson, NY

76 Seats and Over (For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2012)

Design Firm: Parts and Labor Design

Designers: Andrew Cohen and Jeremy Levitt

Project: The Grey, Savannah, GA

Designers: Cori Kuechenmeister and David Shea

Project: Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Project: Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Palm Springs, CA

The 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award Nominees

Winners will be announced on May 4, 2015.

Best New Restaurant

Presented by True Refrigeration®

Central Provisions, Portland, ME

The Progress, San Francisco

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Baker

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston

Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.

Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco

William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

Outstanding Bar Program

Presented by Tanqueray No. TEN®

Arnaud's French 75 Bar, New Orleans

Bar Agricole, San Francisco

Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY

Outstanding Chef

Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters

Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

Sean Brock, Husk, Charleston, SC

Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles

Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago

Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, NYC

Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant

Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL

Outstanding Restaurateur

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans

Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)

Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)

Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy's Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy's Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula's Garden, Serpico, and others)

Outstanding Service

Presented by Goose Island Beer Company

The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Restaurant August, New Orleans

Outstanding Wine Program

Bern's Steak House, Tampa, FL

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional


Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM

Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA

Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco

Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Tanya Baker, Boarding House, Chicago

Alex Bois, High Street on Market, Philadelphia

Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground, Washington, D.C.

Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA

Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME

Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago

Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland

Paul Virant, Vie, Western Springs, IL

Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria, Chicago

Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Joe Cicala, Le Virtù, Philadelphia

Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore

Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia

Greg Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia

Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest

Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis

Justin Carlisle, Ardent, Milwaukee

Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO

Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis

Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN

Best Chef: Northeast

Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston

Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA

Masa Miyake, Miyake, Portland, ME

Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME

Best Chef: Northwest

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR

The Acorn Motif, and other American Symbols of Thankfulness and Hospitality

Another year older, another year deeper in debt, in debt to my mother and father, Marianne and Fred Wichmann for my life to The One who gave me breath and an added year to my purpose here on earth to The One who teaches me to “so number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”.

I am blessed with the exclusive privilege of taking my tours into the home of the doctor who delivered me over a half century ago. It is an Antebellum home in the Greek Revival style. There, in the Antebellum arch over wide pocket doors, is carved the Acorn Motif, under which you can imagine ladies in hoop skirts in the 1850’s-60’s. This house was the home of a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, Wm. Pinckney Schingler. Miraculously his two houses in Charleston survived both the War Between the States and the Great Conflagration of 1861 that went right through this block.

Why the Acorn? This year my eye focused on this motif being repeated all around Charleston. Most noticeably it is in the Edmondston-Alston House at 21 East Battery, where I got my training from my college days and after graduation where I was the second in charge of this museum house open to the public. Into focus came a 19th century photograph of High Battery that is blown up at my husband’s Yacht Club that I have seen repeatedly. This time I noticed in the photo that the posts of the Battery Wall had Acorn Finials. My friend through a series of miracles bought a house on lower King a few doors down from my mother’s. There on her first morning I found that her brick columns are ornamented with the SAME Acorns I had seen in the 19th century Battery Wall photo, acorns that no longer exist atop the posts of the Battery wall. Why is this exciting to me? Because of the symbolism. Our Founding Fathers were wanting to carry on a message encrypted if you will in the everyday world around them SO THAT WE WOULD REMEMBER.

I tell you on location as we stand under the arch where the Acorn wood carvings are. I don’t want to spoil it for you by telling you now, though it is tempting. The sublime simplicity is a story worth telling and worth hearing with the history that puts it in context. It takes the whole tour to “get it”. This unveiling of symbolism with quotes from primary sources is why I was an English major and history minor. I quote the literary people and Founding Fathers and patriarchs who were more eloquent than I, whose words are worth repeating in the power and beauty of the spoken word as we gaze at the magnificent architecture of a bygone era.

The number THIRTEEN is an American symbol as well as the Acorn. There is nothing unlucky for us in this number for of course we were founded as Thirteen Colonies. The Founding Fathers were very tuned in to the number thirteen. It contained the key to America’s success, to how we could be united across a continent, bigger than powerful countries of Europe put together. Where did the key lie in the number thirteen? “Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels yet have not love, I am a noisy gong and clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians chapter 13. The number Thirteen is repeated on our one dollar bill in Thirteen stars and more. Look with a magnifying glass. Where do we see this number Thirteen in Charleston? One of the most popular pieces of furniture that all my relatives have in their Charleston houses is the secretary desk with two glass doors. Each door is a Chippendale design with Thirteen panes. It is for a moment in the recent film, War Room. Though designed by Thomas Chippendale in England, it became a popular adopted American favorite and symbol.

George Washington warned in his Farewell Address of what Revelation chapter 13 warns of as well, another Thirteen, of which more Biblically literate past generations would have been familiar. “It is the nature of government to expand. It must be kept under many checks and balances.” Revelation 13 warns of the day when government has grown so large that the earth has a One World Government, in order to have, as our present president says, “a level playing field.”

Because my eyes and ears are trained to look for symbolism as an English major and daughter of an English major and as one who was trained by an excellent Bible teacher from 9th grade on, I see and hear symbolism everywhere for myself, like an epiphany. Symbolism is in dreams and on the news. It is very simple once you see it. Why did the terrorists attack in Paris happen last Friday? It was chosen to be date to remember but also to point as a warning to America. It happened on November 13. The Thirteen points to America, which started with 13 colonies. How did they choose the particular band concert? They liked the name. Eagle and Death were in it. America is the Eagle. Our enemies want death to America and to our Judaeo-Christian Civilization. They want us in retreat, the Lion, Great Britain, with the Great Eagle, plucked feather by feather, until naked and ineffectual, as the prophet Daniel foresaw in his visions where KINGDOMS RISE AND FALL.

Why the airplane bomb in the soda can? What did the soda can say? Shweppes? Gold? Pineapple? Our enemies want to “sweep” their enemies out of their way, to make the value of our economy or “gold” drop, and they want our Judaeo-Christian open-door hospitality to blow up in our faces, represented by the pineapple, the symbol of hospitality. Hospitality IS our gold, our way of life, our identity. If we stop being hospitable to strangers, we will lose the magic that makes this country great. Our enemies can take away everything, our comfort and ease, our heat and air by the grid, but they can never take our free will. We have the power to choose our own Attitude toward them and to strangers. Never underestimate the Power of Free Will.

My mother was naturally shy and in the bombings of WWll did not do any entertaining growing up. Doing the tours and bringing them to her garden for tea was a big step of hospitality for her. I inherited a plaque from her which says,

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2.

There is a remnant in every tribe, every tongue, and every nation that has ears to hear and eyes to see. WE have the Good News they need. These troubled times call for being “wise as serpents, and innocent as doves.” “The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance.”

Why else might the word pineapple have been the choice of the can pictured by those who claimed to have been responsible for the Russian bound plane? I wonder if it was meant to bring a shudder to one particular person. Where do pineapples grow? Where is our president from? Where did World War II start for America? We must humble ourselves and ask protection for all leaders in authority as well as those brave enough to run for the presidential office. Let us not deceive ourselves. These acts of terrorism are the implements of war and world domination through intimidation. “Are we disposed to be of the number of those who have eyes but see not, and having ears hear not the things that so nearly concern our temporal salvation? Let us know the whole truth,”said Patrick Henry.

Our 17 year old dreamed the night before the thirteenth that evil was after her in the form of a robot. It was a long nightmare saved by the ending where she was cornered with no escape. She and I in the dream started singing Amazing Grace. Soon the whole world was singing with us and the evil was rendered null and void. These are not the things I say on the tour, but “the times, they are a changin.” Writing gives me more space to share thoughts. We all want some answers and direction. “The lamp of experience must guide our feet. We judge the future by the past,” said Patrick Henry. Thomas Jefferson bought a copy of the Koran to understand the Muslim religion and laws to see why Barbary Coast pirates targeted us. The second half of their holy book reveals their orders, to kill the infidels, the Christians and Jews, wherever you find them. We study history and art and literature to understand our present state otherwise, “The people perish for lack of knowledge.”

For small tours of 2-4 people call June at 843-577-5896. For small groups of 5 or more call me, Laura, at 843-708-2228. We are excited about the history and the choice properties we are privileged to share because the Spirit of Hospitality is still alive in The Holy City of Charleston. We remember who we are, from generation to generation. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. May the circle be unbroken, I show you in the Guilloche pattern of architecture. Laura Wichmann Hipp

I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

As Pizza Hut veers away from salads it’s becoming harder to find their popular Italian dressing. Perhaps this is why we’ve been getting an increasing number of requests here to hack the endangered classic salad sauce before it becomes extinct. When a search for the salad dressing here in Las Vegas hit a dead end I was thankful for a TSR fan in Pennsylvania who was able to send me a giant 1-gallon bottle of the stuff that should last me though most of the decade.

Sure, it’s a lot of dressing, but the benefit of having an official bottle is that it comes with an official list of ingredients on the label. That was certainly helpful and informative, although I opted to not include the propylene glycol alginate (ick!) and xanthan gum in my version and kept it to simply basic ingredients, plus MSG. Monosodium glutamate is practically as safe as salt and it’s an important part of the umami flavor found in the original. A respectable clone cannot be made without this important ingredient, so include it if you want a perfect match. You can find MSG in stores in the spice aisle under the brand-name Ac’cent or in bulk online.

You might also want to try my clone recipe for Pizza Hut Pan Pizza.

This huge chicken chain offers seven delicious dressings to top three salad choices, and this is my current favorite of the bunch. The Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing is best on a Southwestern-style salad like the one on Chick-fil-A’s menu with mixed greens, black beans, corn, spicy chicken, and tortilla strips on top. But it’ll work on just about any mixed greens salad or burrito bowl you come up with at home or use it as a dip for chicken fingers, taquitos, and Southwestern eggrolls.

For a good home clone be sure to smash the avocado until no chunks remain and let the dressing sit for at least an hour before you use it so the dried herbs, onion, and garlic can rehydrate and the flavors can bloom.

Click here for more of my Chick-fil-A copycat recipes.

We love to eat salad because it seems so healthy. But add just a couple tablespoons of salad dressing and you've gone from no fat to lots of fat, before your main course has even hit the table. If the salad dressing is delicious, as is Olive Garden's, you might be pouring on more than just a couple tablespoons. Here's a way to eliminate the fat grams from the dressing, but keep all the flavor.

We'll take out the oil, and add dry pectin to thicken the dressing, along with more water than used in the original version of this recipe. We can add a decent amount of Romano cheese and a single serving of the dressing still comes in under 1/2 gram of fat. Add some vinegar, a little corn syrup and lemon juice, some spices—mission accomplished.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–2 tablespoons
Total servings–11
Calories per serving–42 (Original–90)
Fat per serving–0g (Original–8g)

Click here for my original version of Olive Garden Salad Dressing.

One of top choices for your salad at this popular Mexican chain is this delicious, slightly spicy chipotle-flavored dressing. A clone for this one is made easily by combining several ingredients in small pan over medium heat and simmering for 5 minutes. The final step involves creating an emulsion to thicken the dressing and to keep the oil from separating. I suggest measuring the oil into a spouted measuring cup. This will make it easy to drizzle the oil in a thin stream into the dressing while you are rapidly whipping the mixture with a wire whisk. If you break a sweat, you’re doing it right.

You may notice that there is no jalapeño mentioned in this recipe. Chipotle is a smoke dried jalapeño. We'll use ground chipotle chili found near the spices in your market.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

Seven Seas dressings were first introduced by Anderson Clayton Foods back in 1964, when the trend toward fat-free foods was in its infancy. Kraft Foods later picked up the brand, and Seven Seas today ranks number four in sales of salad dressings in the United States. Here's my hack for creating a delicious clone of Seven Seas spice-filled fat-free Italian dressing using a secret combination of water, cornstarch and gelatin where the fat used to be.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–2 tablespoons
Total servings–12
Calories per serving–10
Fat per serving–0g

Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

The original version of this bright red dressing is made with a generous amount of oil and is filled with gobs of greasy fat grams. The trend toward fat-free foods was in its infancy when Seven Seas went to work on a nonfat variety of the Red Wine Vinegar Dressing that would taste as good as the original. They did a pretty darn good job, too. Just by tasting the Seven Seas version of this clone, it's hard to believe there's not a speck of fat in the bottle.

We can replace the oil by thickening the dressing with a top secret combination of water, cornstarch, and a little gelatin. A couple drops of food coloring with give your clone the bright, beet-red hue of the original. You can leave the coloring out of the recipe if you like, but when you see the color without the red in it, you'll understand why it's in there.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–2 tablespoons
Total servings–12
Calories per serving–15
Fat per serving–0g

When Johnny Carrabba and his uncle Damian Mandola opened the first Carrabba's restaurant in 1986, they used a collection of their own traditional family recipes to craft a terrific Italian menu. You'll even find the names of friends and family in several of those dishes including Pollo Rosa Maria, Chicken Bryan, Scampi Damian and Insalata Johnny Rocco. Now you can easily recreate the taste of the delicious dressing that's tossed into the salad that's served before each Carrabba's entree. And you need only six ingredients. For the grated Parmesan cheese, go ahead and use the stuff made by Kraft that comes in the green shaker canisters. And if you don't have any buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk. Since it's so thick, this dressing is best when tossed into your salad before serving it, just like the real thing.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

If you've had the Kookaburra Wings from Outback, then you've tasted the chain's thick and creamy bleu cheese dressing served on the side. Use this hack when you need a dipping sauce for your next batch of wings, or pour it on a salad.

The salad dressings are made fresh in each Outback Steakhouse kitchen using authentic ingredients, including olive oil from Italy's Tuscany region and Parmesan cheese that comes from eighty-pound wheels rolled in from Parma, Italy.

Salad dressings are usually one of the most fat-contributing components in your meal, but with a few tweaks, we can clone Outback's delicious salad dressing with only two grams of fat per serving.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–1/4 cup
Total servings–6
Calories per serving–51 (Original–331)
Fat per serving–2g (Original–35g)

Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

Mix it together, heat it up, cool it down, and store it in the fridge until salad time.

Now, how about a Toowooma Steak, or Alice Springs Chicken for the main course? Check out more of my Outback Steakhouse copycat recipes here.

Outback makes their sauces and salad dressings from scratch every day following master formulas in a corporate cookbook. Now you've got a secret recipe of your own that will duplicate the taste of their hugely popular house honey mustard recipe. You'll need just three basic ingredients and only about two minutes of free time for this Outback honey mustard dressing recipe.

You can only get this delicious stuff in the restaurant and they won't give you much extra to take home. The good news is you can make it from scratch in minutes (you will need to find anchovy paste—an important ingredient). This Outback Steakhouse Caesar salad dressing recipe keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge in a covered container.

Now, how about a Toowoomba Steak or Alice Springs Chicken as your entrée? Find all of my Outback Steakhouse copycat recipes here.

Once upon a time we drenched our salads with generous portions of popular dressings such as this one and considered it a healthy pre-entree course. Just two tablespoons of the full-fat version of Thousand Island dressing packs about 10 grams of fat, and we normally use about 1/4 cup on a salad. That's 20 grams of fat in our bellies, before the main course has even started. Today we know better. You won't get even one gram of fat from a serving of this TSR formula that clones the most popular fat-free Thousand Island dressing on the supermarket shelves.

Nutrition facts
Serving size–2 tablespoons
Total servings–6
Calories per serving–40g
Fat per serving–0g

Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

Thanks to fat-free mayonnaise and low-fat buttermilk, we can make a homegrown version of this popular fat-free Kraft creation. You might say, “Wait a minute, how can this be fat-free when there’s buttermilk and two kinds of grated cheese in there?” Yes indeed, those products do contain fat. But, as long as a serving of the finished product contains less than ½ gram of fat—as it does here—it’s considered fat-free. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to allow this dressing to chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–2 tablespoons
Total servings–7
Calories per serving–35
Fat per serving–0g

Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

In 1958, Kraft became one of the first companies to introduce low-calorie salad dressings, with diet versions of Italian, French, Bleu Cheese, and Thousand Island dressings. Then, in 1990, Kraft scored another series of hits with its line of fat-free dressings. Today, fat-free and low-fat dressings are just about as popular and diverse as the full-fat varieties.

Here’s a TSR clone to create a fat-free dressing like the popular Catalina variety from the innovative food conglomerate. Cornstarch and gelatin help thicken the dressing and give it a smooth texture so that you don’t miss the many fat grams of the traditional stuff.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–2 tablespoons
Total servings–8
Calories per serving–40
Fat per serving–0g

Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

In the 1970's, food conglomerate General Mills expanded its growing restaurant business. A research team was organized to study the market, and to conduct interviews with potential customers on what they want in a restaurant. Seven years later, in 1982, the first Olive Garden restaurant opened its doors in Orlando, Florida. Today it is the number one Italian restaurant chain in the country with over 470 stores.

One of the all-time favorites at Olive Garden is the Italian salad dressing served on the bottomless house salad that comes with every meal. The dressing was so popular that the chain sells the dressing by the bottle "to go." You won't need to buy a bottle, though. With our Olive Garden Italian salad dressing recipe you can make your own version that tastes just like the original, and it's way cheaper. The secret to thickening this dressing is to use dry pectin, a natural ingredient often used to thicken jams and jellies. Pectin can be found in most stores in the aisle with baking and cooking supplies or near the canning items.

Now, what's for dinner? Check out all of my copycat entrées here.

This 30-store Hawaiian-themed chain of restaurants is known for its hand-made burger buns, specialty sandwiches and taco platters with names like Shorebird, Pelican, Sandpiper, Baja, and Northshore. Some people, though, go to the Islands just for the China Coast salad. Its a huge bowl filled with sliced chicken breast, lettuce, red cabbage, julienned carrots, fried noodles, sesame seeds, mandarin orange wedges and chives, and then tossed with this top secret dressing. Many diners think the dressings so good they ask for extra and discreetly smuggle it home. No more smuggling required. Now, with this simple Islands China Coast salad dressing recipe, you can make your own clone at home and use it on any of your favorite bowls of green.

This 38-unit casual dining chain may be small compared to many of the other chains whose food I've cloned, but Houston's has a huge following of loyal customers throughout the country. I know this because for many years the restaurant sat at the top of my "most requested clones" list. I was finally ready to take on the challenge, but since there are no Houston's where I live in Las Vegas, it required a road trip—this time to Orange County, California. A couple plane rides, a bit of driving, some walking and a stumble or two later, I had a cooler full of Houston's goodies secured safely back at the lab. After a few hours of measuring and mixing this simple sweet-and-sour salad slather from Houston's was cracked.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

Here's a quick clone for one of the best-selling thousand island dressings around. Use this one on salads or on burgers such as the In-N-Out Double-Double clone as a homemade "special sauce." It's easy, it's tasty, it's cheap and it can be made low-fat by using low-fat mayo. Enjoy.

Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

It is true that ranch dressing was invented at Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California, by a real salad-wranglin' rancher. In the 50s and 60s Steve Henson and his wife, Gayle, shared their 120-acre dude ranch with University of California at Santa Barbara students and other festive partiers for rousing weekend shindigs. The dozens of guests were served steak dinners and delicious salads topped with Steve's special blend of herbs, spices, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. As word got out about the fabulous dressing, more guests were showing up at the ranch and walking home with complimentary take-home jars filled with the stuff. Eventually, Steve figured he could make a little cash on the side by packaging the dressing as a dry mix and selling it through the mail. At first he was filling envelopes himself, but within a few months, Steve had to hire twelve more people to help with the packaging. Soon Steve had a multi-million dollar business on his hands with a product that for ten years he had been giving away for free.

Find all of your favorite salad dressing copycat recipes here.

Here's a clone for the instant dressing mix you buy in the .7-ounce packets. When added to vinegar, water, and oil, you get one of the best-tasting instant salad dressings around. But what if you can't find the stuff, or it is no longer sold in your area, as I've heard is the case in some cities? Or maybe you just want to save a little money by making your own? Use the recipe below to make as much dry mix as you want, and save it for when you need instant salad satisfaction. I've used McCormick lemon pepper in the recipe here because it contains lemon juice solids that help duplicate the taste of the sodium citrate and citric acid in the real thing. The dry pectin, which can be found near the canning supplies in your supermarket, is used as a thickener, much like the xanthan gum in the original product.

Find more of my delicious salad dressing copycat recipes here.

With over 100 million dollars given to charity since 1982, Newman's Own products have become an American favorite. One variety of the brand's dressings that really stands out is this exceptional Caesar salad dressing, probably the best commercial Caesar dressing on the market. Part of the secret for this special recipe is the inclusion of Worcestershire sauce. Not only does Worcestershire give your dressing the perfect flavor and color of the original, but the sauce is made with a fishy ingredient that's crucial for a good Caesar dressing: anchovies.

Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

This delicious house vinaigrette is a Houston's favorite, and a home carbon copy is just minutes away. All you'll need are a few basic ingredients, plus tarragon-infused white wine vinegar. If you have trouble tracking down the tarragon vinegar, plain white wine vinegar will work just fine. Use a measuring cup with a spout or a squirt bottle to slowly drizzle the oil into the other ingredients while mixing. This technique will create a thick emulsion that won't separate as your dressing chills out in the fridge.

Houston's also makes a killer Honey-Lime Vinaigrette which I've cloned here.

Menu Description: "Spicy, shredded beef, braised with our own chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic and oregano."

The original Mexican dish barbacoa was traditionally prepared by cooking almost any kind of meat goat, fish, chicken, or cow cheek meat, to name just a few, in a pit covered with leaves over low heat for many hours, until tender. When the dish made its way into the United States via Texas the word transformed into "barbecue" and the preparation changed to incorporate above-ground techniques such as smoking and grilling. The good news is that we can recreate the beef barbacoa that Chipotle has made popular on its ginormous burritos without digging any holes in our backyard or tracking down a local source for fresh cow faces. After braising about 30 pounds of chuck roasts, I finally discovered the perfect clone with a taste-alike adobo sauce that fills your roast with flavor as it slowly cooks to a fork-tender delicacy on your stovetop over 5 to 6 hours. Part of the secret for great adobo sauce is toasting whole cumin seeds and cloves and then grinding them in a coffee grinder (measure the spices after grinding them). Since the braising process takes so long, start early in the day and get ready for a big dinner, because I've also included clones here for Chipotle's pico de gallo, pinto beans, and delicious cilantro-lime rice to make your burritos complete. You can add your choice of cheese, plus guacamole and sour cream for a super-deluxe clone version.