With autumn upon us, why not jettison the green juices and grain bowls and tuck into something more decadent? From funky Hong Kong street fare to impossibly great burgers, here are the dishes and desserts we can't get enough of.
Above: An Impossible Burger at Underbelly
Veggie Burgers--Officially Better Than the Real Thing
We know, they're hardly a novelty. But today's plant-based patties are a far cry from the ketchuped hockey pucks of yore. Even the most committed carnivores will change teams for the burgers at New York's Saxon and Parole, San Francisco's Cockscomb, and Houston's Underbelly and Hay Merchant. They can all thank the venerable innovators behind Impossible Foods, who have learned to mimic the texture, flavor, and aroma of beef to craft a tender, medium-rare veggie medley that actually bleeds juice when you tear into it. Gimmicky? Maybe. But also delicious.
Above: Pizza from Emily West Village
Chicago deep dish isn't the only pie the Midwest has to offer. The Motor City's square pizza is baked in a pan, and the sauce is poured over the cheese, which gives it a crunchier, less gooey crust. Emily West Village has popularized it in New York at its new West Village location, where toppings include kimchi and honey, while Yolk and Flourin Los Angeles serves a Detroit deep dish with spicy prosciutto, mozzarella, Parmesan, and a sublime garlic chili butter drizzle.
Above: Filet from Ikinari Steak
Fast, Casual, Hands-On Japanese
The land that brought us conveyor-belt sushi has upped the ante. At New York's Ikinari Steak some guests are willing to eat their rib eye while standing at a stool-less, bar-height table. The reason? At the first U.S. branch of this popular Japanese chain, a sumptuous, savory steak costs less than $30. Meanwhile, adventurous fish lovers should head to Zauo, a chain with a forthcoming location in New York's Chelsea. There, you get bait and a line to reel in your dinner from one of the many tanks on the restaurant's ground floor. And for further experential dining, seek out some sushi donuts. The circular rolls, found at spots like Oktopi in South Carolina and Project Poke in Fountain Valley, Calif., are styled to look like fluffy desserts, a whimsical tweak guaranteed to snag you the double taps.
Above: Waffle Cones from Wowfulls
Waffles for Dessert
If breakfast is the new dinner, it's also the new dessert. Wowfulls is bringing Hong Kong egg waffles, or gai daan zai, stateside with its recently opened shop on New York's Lower East Side. The waffles, a street-food favorite in Hong Kong, are rolled into giant cones, filled with ice cream, and then topped with everything from strawberries to Oreo crumbs. Puffle Waffle, in Portland, Ore., pairs its waffles with green tea ice cream, while fans of Chicago's Snow Junkie call its flamboyant hot-off-the-iron wrappers "eggettes."