The Best Things I Ate This Week (October 1-7, 2017)

This is the place where I can highlight all the great things I eat throughout the week, fueling my love for food and providing a constant stream of inspiration. Here's just a few of the best bites:

1. Whole Fried Sea Bass at Chef's Club Counter, NYC

I love heading to Chef's Club Counter, because it opens it's door to chefs from around the world, bringing a variety of global cuisines to NYC. I had the pleasure of attending the pop up from the chefs of Som Saa in London who served up bright and refined Thai dishes like duck and quince massaman curry, as well as this whole fried sea bass with bright herbs and a tangy and spicy sauce. The meal transported me back to Thailand, packed with the powerful flavors I was exposed to last year when I was there.

2. Linguine with Hot Cherry Peppers and Garlic from Rao's, NYC

While I've only been able to get a table at the Rao's in Vegas, the owner and executive chef of the  OG Rao's in NYC came by to do a video with myself at the Tasting Table Test Kitchen. We made a heaping bowl of linguine made simply with garlic oil, a little stock and plenty of hot cherry peppers. It was tangy, spicy and garlicky, and I couldn't stop eating it. Even if I never get a table at Rao's, I can at least say I've gotten to inhale their pasta.

3. Everything at the Aviary NYC

A few months back, I dined at Alinea with my fiancé, my brother-in-law and his wife in Chicago. It was a life-changing mind-fuck that I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed. Well, when given the opportunity to dine and drink at the Aviary, I obviously jumped on it. From an arrack and pineapple cocktail served in a ship-in-a-bottle (the Loaded to the Gunwalls) to a bubbling contraption infusing blueberries with honey, ginger and lemon to be poured over scotch (the Science A.F.), the creativity and whimsical qualities of every drink only got stronger as we got drunker. Alongside the cocktail were bites like a chicharron the size of my torso flavored with salt and vinegar, Achatz's famous black truffle explosion and Okinawa brown sugar ice cream that blew us away with both their flavor and presentation. One of the most exciting new spots in NYC this fall.

4. Squid Ink Noodles with Mussels from Chinese Tuxedo, NYC

I had the pleasure of going on a Noodle Crawl this week for #NationalNoodleDay and explore some of the best noods in New York's Chinatown. A true highlight were the squid ink noodles with mussels at Chinese Tuxedo. As one who typically steers away from squid ink pasta, I was hesitant to try, but the dish completely blew me away. Beautifully briny with an intense punch of umami, this was by far the best noodles I had on the entire crawl.

Jake Cohen