37 Candy Land
New Yorkers with a sweet tooth have a new Valhalla. Dylan's Candy Bar, a 6,000-square-foot café and M&M emporium (brainchild of Ralph Lauren's daughter, Dylan), carries more than 5,000 sweets from around the world—as well as clothing, accessories, and candy-scented spa products. Willy Wonka, eat your heart out. 1011 Third Ave., at 60th St.; 646/735-0078. —James Patrick Herman
38 Best New Bakery
Customers at Seattle's beloved Dahlia Lounge have long clamored to get Tom Douglas's Triple Coconut Cream Pie to go—and now they've got it. At Dahlia Bakery, the pies are selling like, well . . . you know. The artisanal breads—marvelous peasant rye, crusty house bâtarde—and Grandma Douglas's schnecken, the über—sticky buns, are also musts. 2001 Fourth Ave.; 206/682-4142.
39 Chowing Down
What started five years ago as a haven on the Web "for those who live to eat" has become, for some 80,000 users, a way of life. Created by New Yorker Jim Leff and Californian Bob Okumura, Chowhound.com is a forum where food-lovers (don't call them "foodies"!) can argue over the best catfish po'boy in D.C., debate the relative merits of different New York egg creams, and trade tips for ordering in Korean restaurants (Duh maepgye haejusaeyo means "Please make it spicy"). "We'll go twenty-five miles to eat a really good brownie," Leff says. Site users include food critics (Gourmet's Jonathan Gold), celebrity chefs (Anthony Bourdain), and authors (Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Calvin Trillin). But mostly they're just regular 'hounds with a voracious enthusiasm for the next great meal. Don't blame us if you get hooked.
40 Mole and More
Ten years ago, the only Mexican food known to most Americans was Tex-Mex. But changing patterns of immigration from Mexico have brought authentic Mexican cooking to U.S. regions as far-flung as the Midwest and the Deep South. In Los Angeles, Oaxacan regional cuisine has caused a stir. Monte Alban's cocina abuela (grandmother's cooking), including moles in five colors (black mole has 32 spices), tamales de salsa with chicken and mint leaves, and cecina (pork leg marinated with chile paste), will make you wish you had a Mexican grandmother of your own. 11927 Santa Monica Blvd.; 310/444-7736; dinner for two $30.
41 Sushi Artist
For 20 months now, Morihiro Onodera, chef-owner of Mori, an unassuming, nameless storefront restaurant in West Los Angeles, has been quietly working miracles with wild abalone, monkfish liver, and fresh wasabi. A tiny slice of his salted herring roe crackles in the teeth; shaved, house-pickled myoga—a shallot-like vegetable—garnishes seared albacore tuna. The sublime mushroom broth arrives in a teapot crafted by Onodera himself (he's a ceramist in his spare time). Don't ask whether anything should be dipped in soy sauce: Onodera is pretty confident he's gotten the seasoning just right. 11500 W. Pico Blvd.; 310/479-3939; dinner for two $190.
42 Comfort Food Redux
This year, more than anything, we want to be soothed, and nothing does the job better than a good, slow braise. At Chicago's Blackbird (619 W. Randolph St.; 312/715-0708; dinner for two $110), chef Paul Kahan prepares a refined version of navarin of lamb, gratinéed with bread crumbs. At Tru (676 N. St. Clair St.; 312/202-0001; dinner for two $150), Rick Tramonto is serving braised short ribs with truffled parsnip purée. "In the nineties, it was all about attitude and hipness," Kahan says. "Now we take care of people."
43 Peripatetic Pâtissier
Much to the delight of pastry-lovers in Brazil, François Payard has opened a Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro in São Paulo, where locals can indulge in his cult-favorite St.-Honorés and Rambouillets. If São Paulo's not in your plans, the master baker will be selling a line of his signature cakes at specialty stores in the United States by the end of the year—leaving you plenty of time to save room for dessert. 777 Rua Professor Arthur Ramos; 55-11/3816-3669.
Fans of chef Michel Bras have always found it worth the long (from just about anywhere) pilgrimage to his namesake restaurant in Laguiole, France. Come June, they'll have a new destination, when a Michel Bras opens in Toya, on Hokkaido. This month, Bras's countryman Philippe Jeanty (of Bistro Jeanty in Yountville, California) debuts in San Francisco at Jeanty at Jack's (615 Sacramento St.; 415/693-0941; dinner for two $65), a three-floor, Parisian-style brasserie he designed himself. Menu highlights: elaborate plateaux de fruits de mer and Gallic comfort foods such as cassoulet and coq au vin.
46 Year of the Anchovy
Served marinated, fresh white (or striped) anchovies are delicate and slightly sweet, bearing little resemblance to the hyper-salty fillets sold in tins. Our search for the best led us to Ristorante Da Lorenzo in Taormina, Sicily (12 Via Roma; 39-09/422-3480; dinner for two $35). The little fish taste as though they just swam out of the ocean and immersed themselves in a refreshing bath of vinegar, lemon, and fruity olive oil. Expect to see them on menus closer to home very soon.
47 Armchair Travel
Book it Here's what will transport you this year: Mediterranean Street Food by Anissa Helou (HarperCollins). Travel from Tunisia (for harissa) to Genoa (for ripieni, or stuffed peppers) to Istanbul (for sesame galettes). • Van Gogh's Table by Alexandra Leaf and Fred Leeman (Artisan). Visit Auberge Ravoux, where van Gogh spent his final days. • Kaffeehaus by Rick Rodgers (Clarkson Potter). A delectable odyssey through the pastry palaces of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
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