While my focus was on Belgian-style waffles, I wanted to make sure that I tried a wide range of toppings and included both sweet and savory styles. I tried everything from basic butter and maple syrup-topped waffles to a fish and quail egg-topped version.
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For a time there, it felt like every restaurant was contractually obligated to serve a Caesar salad. Luckily, a new wave of restaurants have reclaimed the salad, lavishing attention on the once neglected dish.
Now, we love Southern-style fried chicken, with its crispy and well seasoned crust, but we also know that numerous other cuisines have their own equally delicious way with the bird.
These new restaurants are literally all over the map, and come from both respected restauranteurs and hungry novices. The only similarity is that I was legitimately surprised by what I ate.
Over the course of a year, I eat more french fries and onion rings than is probably currently legal per person in New York City. But just when potatoes and onions start to weigh me down (literally and figuratively), I come across a deep fried dish that renews my Quixotic quest of slogging through Chicago's fryers.
It's hard to believe how much I ate out in 2012. I probably ate out once a day, where I'd often try three to four different dishes. Then there were the occasions where I'd try one of everything at a restaurant, which immediately added dozens of options to the final tally. I thought putting together the list would be hard, but some very specific dishes jumped right out at me.
Though billed as "Modern Asian Barbecue," I stopped into bellyQ to see how well he could handle a deep fryer. In two words: very well.
From direct grilling to smoking, BellyQ likes to celebrate the interaction of fire and food. But even with the flame-focused menu, the restaurant still knows what to do with the fryer, as the incredible Thai Style Fried Chicken shows.
BQ2GO, Bill Kim's to go operation, almost seems like the opposite of BellyQ. Instead of a celebration of fire and meat in all its smoky, fatty glory, BQ2GO favors fresh vegetables and salads.
I could only wait one day before I decided to brave the crowds and check out BellyQ. The Asian barbecue restaurant is so big, chef Bill Kim's previous two restaurants could both fit snuggly in the kitchen.
Bill Kim, the restauranteur behind Urban Belly and Belly Shack, is teaming up with Cornerstone Restaurant Group and Michael Jordan for BellyQ. Details are limited at this point, but the website claims that you can "expect a flavor palette that's boldly smoky and brightly piquant."