Award-Winning Lamb Nachos

If ES can do anything, we can make bar food appetizing, and we can make it win competitions. Yes, really.

After you all voted for Russell’s Welsh Rarebit Lamb Nachos, he was paired with Chef John Critchley of Urbana to help perfect the dish for the big event, and perfect it he did. Russell and John took the nachos and turned them into, well…really fucking fancy nachos.

We headed to the Lamb Pro-Am after a hearty breakfast at Urbana (read: bottomless champagne). I stocked up on Lamb swag, then sampled beer while Russell and John served the masses their delicious, cheesy, fancy-looking nachos.

Here is Russell and John’s award-winning recipe!

Slow Roasted Lamb Nachos with Welsh Rarebit and Scallions

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America’s Best New Sandwiches — 2012

You want sandwiches? We got sandwiches. Last year, Endless Simmer’s post on America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches was our most-read story of 2011, and even helped turn The New Luther into a bit of a sell-out phenomenon. But America’s sandwich artisans haven’t stopped innovating, and we haven’t stopped salivating. So here we go, for your drooling-at-work pleasure, this year’s list of America’s top 10 craziest, loveliest, cheesiest, most creative new sandwiches.

10. The Noble Pig —¬† Noble Pig Sandwiches, Austin

Texas may be best known for its beef, but perhaps not for long, if chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez have anything to say about it. Their year-and-a-half-old Noble Pig serves up a namesake sandwich that somehow combines everything that is beautiful about pork products on one truly outstanding sandwich. Tender pulled pork, spicy slivers of ham, and crispy bits of bacon are all mixed together, topped with provolone cheese, and served on toasted, house-baked bread, for a porky trifecta that hits all of the spots. (Photo: Marshall Wright)

9. Pane et Panelle — Bar Stuzzichini, New York

Chickpeas may get typecast as functioning only in falafel form, but it turns out balls aren’t all they can do. Panelle is actually an old Sicilian street food snack—chickpeas and flour formed into light, airy strips and fried in olive oil. Stuzzichini‘s sandwich revives that classic and perfects it, layering crispy strips of panelle on a sesame-studded bun, in between levels of soft ricotta and caciocavallo cheeses. The result is a light-but-addictive sandwich that will make you curse every overly dense falafel wrap that has crossed your lips.

8. Chicharrones Banh Mi — Ink Sack, Los Angeles

There are a million banh mis in American nowadays, but we were most swept away by this version from Top Chef champ Michael Voltaggio. At his new Ink Sack sandwich shop, tender slices of pork belly and pork butt are topped with pickled vegetables, plus the kicker — crispy chicharr√≥ne fried pork rinds, creating one incredible multi-culti pork bomb.

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You’re Putting Your Pickle Where???

Let the record show that in February 2012, the foodie revolution officially went too far.

Now, I can do a pickle-tini. I can do a grilled pickle.

Pickled watermelon? Pickled ramps? Pickles on the Christmas tree? Yes, yes, and hell yes. But pickles in my coffee? For seriousness? I’ve checked and checked, but it seems this is not some sort of pop-up April Fools’ Day joke. Metrocurean reports from DC:

Peregrine Espresso is pushing the sour envelope with a specialty drink now on offer, dubbed Love Potion Number Brine (above). Joining forces with new DC-based pickle company Gordy’s Pickle Jar, Peregrine created a drink that mixes Gordy’s sweet brine with espresso, milk and a little simple syrup on ice.

If they start serving this with a side of nutella pickle relish, I am retiring.

More from Metrocurean.

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Top 10 New Foods of 2011

Another year gone by, another chance to look back fondly at the thousands of things we stuffed our faces with in 2011. After much internal debate, we’ve narrowed it down to just 10 — the very best new things we shoved in our mouths in 2011.

10. Tater Tot Poutine

Montreal’s greasiest, gravy-iest contribution to the food world, poutine officially became a trend back in 2010. It got even more amazing this year when chef Kyle Bailey of D.C.’s ChurchKey had the ingenious idea to replace the french fries with tater tots.

9. Kouign Amann

We first discovered this over-the-top traditional pastry, which is something like a croissant with twice as much butter and sugar, on a trip to Brittany, France this summer. Returning home, we were pleased to find it blowing up in the states. The best version we’ve tasted to far is the one above, from Starter Bakery in Oakland. It has also popped up at Dominique Ansel in New York and Bouchon Bakery in L.A.

8. Nouveau Filipino

Filipino food is among the most far-out in the world, so it was only a matter of time before it got a hipster update. From Adobo Hobo’s Filipino tacos in San Francisco to Maharlika’s spicy arroz caldo in New York (above), we’ll take all the creative Filipino cuisine we can get.

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Grilled Cheese Gone Wild!

Sure, mom’s buttery white bread and American cheese version is a classic, but these days grilled cheese has hit a whole new level. Here are some of our favorite crazy grilled cheese options.

1. Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

Can’t decide between your two favorite cheesy snacks? Have them both with Simply Scratch’s simply amazing jalapeno-cream cheese-onion-sourdough-colby concoction.

2. Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese

Fried inside fried? Yes and yes. Life’s Ambrosia has the recipe.

3. Bechamel Grilled Cheese

You thought rubbing a layer of butter on grilled cheese was indulgent? At Firefly in D.C., chef Danny Bortnick’s cadillac grilled cheese has bechamel sauce spread in between white bread, with garlic-herb butter, aged Cabot, and Gruyere.

(Photo: Dakota Fine)

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