Sure, they might be drizzled with truffle oil, but they're still French fries. Even at our most elite eateries, we can't seem to split from comfort food items that tie us back to fond family memories and guilty pleasures.
Comfort food is often heavy, sometimes greasy, sometimes sweet. It's warm soup and it's pie à la mode. If you grew up in the South, it may be fried chicken. Whatever it is, at its core comfort food is about what soothes your soul, making it perhaps the most subjective of all food categories.
And this year, for our fifth annual Dish guide, comfort food is the theme we asked our 24 local, participating culinarians to keep in mind as they generously shared their recipes with us.
The original and traditional creations that follow capture both simple, clean tastes and complex flavor combinations that ultimately deliver that desired sense of well-being and contentment. One man's duck confit delight is another woman's cheesecake infatuation, but hopefully each can strike some chord deep within you that honors both the dish and the vision. (Shouldn't we recognize a comfort-food chakra?)
As always, we would like to acknowledge Brienne Boortz for her wonderful photographs of each dish, and to thank our contributors once again. With that ... may all be comforted.