Discovering unique and innovative cuisine is a major reason why many people choose one particular travel destination over another. Intrepid travelers enjoy immersing themselves into the culture of the places they visit, which often means sampling the food that is indigenous to the area. Often, they sample recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next.
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According to some estimates, over 90 percent of patrons order an appetizer with their meal. In many cases appetizers are shared by several people, which allows chefs to showcase new and inspired offerings to groups of people. Scrumptious appetizers developed by skilled chefs whose creativity knows no limits are popping up at restaurants from New York to Hawaii, each with their own special flavor and flare, and each designed to ignite your taste buds. The following appetizers are well worth the trip.
Korean Fried Chicken
100 Sails Restaurant & Bar, Honolulu, Hawaii
Prince Waikiki Hotel offers innovative fresh island cuisine prepared for artful buffets, a la carte options and savory bar bites paired with creative craft cocktails and beers and wines on tap at 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar. Executive Chef Joseph Almoguera created K.F.C. which is one of the favorite bar bite items. This dish was created from one of his favorite choices of a Hawaiian “plate lunch,” Korean Fried Chicken, but as a vegetarian option that substitutes cauliflower for chicken. The chef went plant based creating his version of Korean Fried Chicken by using locally sourced ingredients. Cauliflower is cut into florets, dipped in tempura batter and then deep fried crispy. The flavors are fresh, savory, sweet, garlicky and spicy.
Meso Maya, Dallas, Texas
Located on McKinney Ave in Downtown Dallas, Meso Maya Comida y Copas sports a casual, yet classy ambiance with its outdoor patio and dimly lit interior. A large bowl of tortilla chips and green tomatillo salsa greets every diner in the historical building (originally built in 1938) that is also home to two other Mexican restaurants. Meso Maya does not serve typical “Tex-Mex” cuisine, but the homemade corn tortillas and flavorful entrees like pollo con mole or herradura salmon will have you forgetting them pretty quickly. The scrumptious appetizer Queso Poblano consists of melted chihuahua cheese, pepper jack, queso blanco, diced roasted poblano peppers, nopales and fresh corn.
The Mezze Platter
FIGS Restaurant, Hotel Jackson, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The owners of the hotel are originally from Lebanon and their signature restaurant FIGS in the stunning luxury hotel has an extensive menu with nine types of hummus including pine nuts, lamb, beef and chicken. They also feature classic Baba Ghanouj and the puffiest, most exquisite pita that arrives fresh out of the oven. The Mezze Platter, which includes the hummus and the fluffy pita, oozes flavor with each bite. FIGS Lobby Lounge offers a variety of custom handcrafted cocktails including a Lebanese Lemonade with locally distilled Highwater Vodka, St. Germain, orange bitters, rose water, mint, and citrus juices.
Big Eye and Bluefin Toro Tartare
Nobu Epiphany Palo Alto Hotel, Palo Alto, California
Nobu Palo Alto, one of newest additions to the world-renowned Japanese restaurant empire, was founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper. It opened July 2017 within The Nobu Hotel Epiphany to provide the ultimate Nobu Style experience in the heart of Silicon Valley. One of Nobu’s most iconic appetizers has been tried through and through and never fails to disappoint. The Big Eye and Bluefin Toro Tartare appetizer utilizes the most succulent and flavorful parts of the fish with a hint of onion, garlic, dashi wasabi pepper sauce and caviar.