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18 white-hot California restaurants

1. Alma – Ari Taymor (Los Angeles)

Alma used to be a pop-up working out of an abandoned building. Most people drive right by it. But enough people stopped in and realized how incredible and daring Chef Taymor can be to make it permanent. And while it’s still on the upswing — it doesn’t have a sign outside, and the staff locker room happens to be the customer toilet — that hardscrabble chic lends itself well to the hipness of the place.

Zoolander was a prophecy. It helps that the food is so good — a tasting menu of salads, fish, and meat.

2. Night + Market – Kris Yenbamroong (West Hollywood)

Along with Ludo Lefebvre (see #7 below), Kris Yenbamroong is one of the most name-dropped new chefs in Los Angeles. It helps that he’s expanding — Night + Market Song just opened in Silverlake. But he made his name in this original location, whipping up awesome Thai food for the WeHo crowd.

In a town that prides itself on its international cuisines, Night + Market came up fast. There’s some debate over whether the portion sizes he serves are enough, but that just means he leaves people wanting more.

Saison Restaurant

Sungold tomatoes, safflower oil, grilled tomatillo consomme at Saison. Photo: T.Tseng

3. Saison – Joshua Skenes (San Francisco)

When it comes to restaurants, clothes don’t make the man, but they certainly don’t hurt. And Saison knows this, because in this case, it gives the customer a clean view straight at what they’re eating.

The kitchen is open, with an old-timey look of copper pots and a custom wood-burning oven. Giant tanks in the dining room hold the live seafood to be eaten. It’s really just smart business — when the 18-course tasting menu costs $250 per person, people want to know what they’re getting into.

Read the full list

5 NYC restaurants for the perfect Mother’s Day brunch

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Check out this list of great restaurants with awesome brunches, each suitable for taking your at-least-somewhat-unique mom to this Mother’s Day: http://bit.ly/16rOVwE

7 places to eat in Montreal

6. Au Pied de Cochon

536 Duluth Est
+1 514-281-1114

I’m also all about this place! Bear in mind that you need to reserve, but if your party isn’t unreasonably large and you call at least a few days in advance, it should be easy-peasy. You can also try showing up without a reservation, though I don’t know how long the wait is as I was able to sail right past the line to my reserved seating the minute I showed up.

Master of all things pork and maple syrup, Chef Martin Picard assembled a truly decadent menu to be avoided at all costs by dieters, vegetarians, and Gwyneth Paltrow. This is not the place where love handles go to die. It is, however, a place that holds flavor up to the highest pedestal.

(Read the rest of the list here)