Crepes in San Francisco. Butter chicken in Toronto. The organizers behind Dishcrawl connect people with the local dining scenes of cities across the United States and Canada. They do this in two ways?first, through Dishcrawls, which are self-guided tours to an array of restaurants. Dishcrawl's second method highlights single restaurants through special dinners, giving chefs a chance to dazzle visits with their favourite dishes.
Members of the Grinnell family have been preparing enticing American entrees and savory seafood dishes at their eponymous eatery for fifty years. Diners can prime palates with starters such as tender artichoke hearts sautéed in a light egg batter ($8.95) or light entrées such as the broiled chicken-breast salad festooned with black olives and a hard-boiled egg ($13.95). Those with heartier appetites can dive into freshly plucked fruits of the sea including broiled scallops ($19.95) and Australian lobster tails sporting light jackets of paprika butter (market price). On weekends, Grinnell’s serves up 12 juicy ounces of certified-Angus prime rib ($22.95), and Tuesdays showcase tender calf’s liver garnished with onions or bacon strips ($17.25). Linen tablecloths, flickering candlelight, and top-hatted ficus trees add a subtle elegance to the restaurant's array of artfully plated dishes.
Despite its distance from the Caribbean, the aroma of grilled plantains and seafood inside Havana Cabana firmly plants diners in a laid-back island oasis. The signature house paella, for one, gathers specialties from the region into one dish with a dizzying combination of scallops, shrimp, calamari, clams, chorizo, and chicken. Roasted Caribbean lobster tail is another crowd pleaser, simply plated with spinach, diced veggies, and a hot scampi butter sauce. But there's another reason people flock to spend time here?the rum. With more than 100 varieties, it's no surprise that bartenders here are experts on how to serve and mix the Caribbean spirit, even offering advice on pairings. Rum flights also give guests the chance to mix and match three rums, whether they want to sample the differences between a spiced, aged, and white rum or to test the social acceptability of using one as a dipping sauce for plantains.
Eat Like a Brazilian Cowboy
The history of Espada Brazilian Steak's churrascaria cuisine stretches back centuries, to the gauchos of southern Brazil. After a long day of saying "Get along, little doggies" in Portuguese, these cattle-herding cowboys would skewer choice cuts of beef and roast them over an open fire. Here, diners experience a luxurious version of the gauchos' rugged cooking style, relaxing with caipirinhas and other drinks as chefs present them with the succulent grilled meats.
Know Your Cut
First-timers may not recognize certain churrascaria meats. Here's a quick rundown: * Lingui?a sausage: This mild, flavorful sausage is the result of a recipe made exclusively for Espada. It's best served right off the grill, or added to the restaurant's traditional black bean stew to make a dish called feijoada. * Picanha: This top sirloin steak is the restaurant's signature cut. It's specially trimmed to create a lean steak with a thin cap of fat for flavor. * Fraldinha: Although fraldinha is carved from the bottom tip of the sirloin, it shouldn't be confused with flank or skirt steak. The main difference is its supreme tenderness.
A Fusion of Old and New
A churrascaria menu isn't the only thing that ties Espada Brazilian Steak to Brazil; guests literally touch a piece of South America while sitting in chairs made with wood reclaimed from an old Brazilian ship. But while much of the decor at Espada Brazilian Steak is traditional, the restaurant's deeper infrastructure couldn't be more modern: it runs entirely on renewable solar, wind, and hydro energy.