James Beard Awards Semifinalists

Today, the James Beard Foundation released the list of semifinalists for the 2015 Restaurant and Chef Awards! For those of you who don’t know, these are annual awards for excellence in the food and drink industry, they are the Oscars of food.  The finalist will be announced on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The awards ceremony will kick off on Friday, April 24th, 2015 starting with the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards.  Then the winners of the Chef and Restaurant awards will be announced at the official Awards Gala & Reception on Monday, May 4, 2015 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Below is a list of my favorite semifinalists, to look at the full list click here. Congratulations to everyone, we can’t wait to see who the finalists will be.

Best New Restaurant

I haven’t been to any of the establishments that made it to the semifinals, but I will be putting these New York City ones on my ‘Food Bucket List’!

  • Bâtard, NYC- Batard is a new fine-dining restaurant in TriBeCa with a European/New American cuisine, and they also offer Prix Fixe menus. I don’t know about you but Prix Fixe menus are my favorite thing when I go out with a bunch of my friends. I would love to taste the mixture of the European/American menu.
  • Cosme, NYC-  This is a new Mexican restaurant in Flatiron, Cosme menu offer the ‘Mexican flavors and traditions, while also celebrating local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley and surrounding region’. This makes it very intriguing to me, and I can’t wait to try it!
  • Semilla, Brooklyn, NY- They are all about the vegetables taking front and center here, and having fish or steak the side dish. Semilla is a interesting to me because they base their ingredients on season as well as what their farmers have, you’ll know you mean will be fresh and delicious, I am very eager to head there!

Outstanding Bar Program

I recently traveled to a few of these cities, so this category I have a few favorites outside of NYC, even though I do love The Dead Rabbit!

  • Cane & Table, New Orleans-This restaurant is one of the reason I am dying to go back to NOLA! Not only is their drink menu amazing but the food is so delicious I wanted seconds (even though I was so full)! If you are going out to Cane and Table you must try the ribs and if you are obsessed with avocados like me, order the avocado salad so refreshing! Onto the cocktails, I have been on a Bourbon kick lately, so I got the ‘In The New Moons Arms’ it was definitely something different but it was fantastic!
  • The Hawthorne, Boston- One of my best friends lives up in Boston, so I tend to travel up there pretty often and a few times we have come to Hawthrone happy hour. Their cocktails are absolutely amazing, if you aren’t sure what you want, they can just whip something up (once you tell them what you are in the mood for), their decor made me feel at home (NYC), and the food is the perfect size (I’ve only had the speck platter, but everything else sounded good!).
  • The Patterson House, Nashville, TN- I have been to Nashville a few times now and I must say The Patterson House is still one of my top favorite places to go down there. It is a awesome speakeasy that offers delicious craft cocktails. Not only do I enjoy their Pimm’s Cups but their menu is also spot on, the Goat Cheese Balls are a must! If you are in the area, definitely make this a spot to go.

Outstanding Restaurant

I have yet to try these as well, some are out of my price range but others seem to be a perfect price and the menu looks great!

  • Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC- I have yet to try Momofuko Noodle Bar, and I do not know why, in college I would live off of Ramon, obviously this would be a huge upgrade from microwavable noodles! From looking at their menu I already know what I would order, the Spicy Miso Ramen! I will definitely be trying this place as soon as possible!
  • Per Se, NYC- This is a French/American restaurant with two nine course tasting menus, the Chef’s and Vegetable menu, however they have a Salon menu(A La Carte). I recently looked into Per Se to go out with some family members, and we are going to try the Salon which is outside the main dining are, it is more budget friendly and sounds just as good! I’ll let everyone know how it is after we go and if you have the budget to try the Chef and Vegetable menus, please let me know how they are!
  • The Spotted Pig, NYC- I have been in NYC for about 4 years now, and I still haven’t tried The Spotted Pig. I will make it a goal this year to head there between the menu and the great reviews friends have told me, I’ve been a fool for not trying it earlier!

Outstanding Wine Program

Sadly only one New York City made it to the semifinalists, I have never been but it is on the list of establishments  I want to try:

  • FIG, Charleston, SC- I have been dying to travel to Charleston, South Carolina, and when (if) I get there I will definitely be making my first stop FIG.
  • Momofuku Ko, NYC- This East Village gem not only has a menu that sounds amazing but I can only imagine how many great wines they have. I am going to have to go out and try this, this weekend! I’ll keep everyone posted on what I thought about the experience.
  • La Toque, Napa, CA- This is no surprise to me that an establishment in Napa Valley is up for ‘Outstanding Wine Program’. Since I turned 21 and became a Wine-o I have been wanting to travel out West to try the Wines.

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

I didn’t know most of this category but I do know Dogfish and I love it! After watching a documentary about the Brewery it was all I drank. I would definitely suggest this beer to any beer lover!

Looks like it will be a tough competition, we can’t wait to see the finalist! Did you favorite establishment make the cut? If so, what one!

Cheers,

Meggie

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