"Nabe is a Japanese hot-pot vegetable and meat dish that is a staple at our house every winter. It's typically cooked on a portable gas range right at the table and is fun for parties. The dish starts off by adding vegetables and mushrooms and cooking them through. The beauty of nabe is that you can add anything you want, and you can use an off-the-rack soup base from a Japanese market. Our favorite base is a spicy kimchee flavor.
"We usually cook sliced daikon, cabbage, Japanese mushrooms, and whatever else we might have on hand. The daikon, in particular, is delicious in this context. When the vegetables are ready, everyone can dig in, and, at the same time, start the meat portion of the dish. Usually thinly sliced pork loin is cooked shabu shabu-style, and is eaten right away after a few seconds in the boiling soup. If you finish all the vegetables, you can keep adding them as long as you want to keep eating. In the meantime, there's no rush to get through the nabe. It's a social and conversational dish to be shared among friends or family." -- Hiroko Nakamura, Shiba Ramen (Emeryville, CA)
"The love that goes into making oxtail -- these braised gifts from the culinary gods -- is epic. The meat is rich with flavor and leaves you with a Chapstick-like gloss on your lips. I could certainly enjoy oxtail every day and never get sick of it. To prepare it, I simply pan sear and slowly braise with mirepoix, tomato paste, red wine, port wine, and a bouquet of herbs." -- Micah Waltz, Andiron Steak & Sea (Las Vegas, NV)
"I could never, ever get sick of a solid bánh mì. Spicy. Herbaceous. Crunchy. Salty. The perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner." -- Jason Dady, Two Bros BBQ Market (San Antonio, TX)
Cacio e pepe
"Cacio e pepe is one of my favorite comfort foods. Growing up in an Italian immigrant family, I'm used to having at least a side dish of pasta every day. When I get a bowl of perfect cacio e pepe, I'd have no problem eating that every day!" -- Michael Ferraro, Delicatessen (New York, NY)