You can spell “fall” a number of ways, but for some crazy reason, most of them usually start with the letter “F”: football, foliage and fire pits. Here at the Forbes Travel Guide office, where we’re always thinking about our next meal, “fondue” has come to symbolize the best that October and November have to offer. Not sure if it’s the communal feel that comes with working for your meal, or simply all the fun things we’re dipping in the sauces, but something about it has us giddy this time of year. Luckily, many top restaurants around the country like having as much fun with their food as we do. Here are four places we suggest bringing your long forks to this fall.
Bellagio, Las Vegas
If you’ve ever had the wild inkling to take a dip at Bellagio, you’re in luck. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s Jasmine restaurant offers a lavish Fountains Brunch that concludes with a decadent chocolate fondue that you can accompany with strawberries, marshmallows and Rice Krispies treats. (We sure hope you didn’t think we were talking about making a splash in the famed Fountains of Bellagio.) The frolicking with fondue continues at Vegas’ first and only buffet chef’s table, a one-of-kind experience at Bellagio that concludes with a housemade chocolate fondue that you can sample with brownies, fresh fruit and other goodies.
Kozmo Gastro Pub, Atlanta
The city of Alpharetta has some of the worst afternoon traffic in the metro Atlanta area. We consider modern spaces like Kozmo to be a little reward to the people who live in the area for enduring the after-5 p.m. madness every single day. With Kozmo’s bold, lighthearted menu (see poutine, deviled eggs and spaghetti with shrimp), it’s not the world’s biggest surprise that a fondue of some kind would come from the kitchen. What is a bit of a shocker, though, are the simple components (toasted ciabatta, Granny Smith apple slices and a four-cheese dip consisting of Parmesan, jack, blue and white cheddar) that go into such a delightful dish that regulars simply can’t get enough of.
Everything is done a little differently in Texas. The food is no exception. Take the Four-Star Houston hotel’s signature restaurant, Quattro, and its quirky interpretation of lasagna. Sure, Italian-born chef Maurizio Ferrarese’s recipe calls for housemade pasta, Texas Akaushi beef and a classic sauce. How this Four-Star eatery separates its dish from the culinary crowd is with a heated rich cheese sauce that goes atop the lasagna. So, no, it’s not a dip in the traditional sense; but once you get a fondue fork full of the gooey goodness into your mouth, semantics won’t matter much.
Exile Bistro, Vancouver
When you have “Stay wild at heart” as your moniker, it’s almost obligatory that you do things differently over the stove. So as to not disappoint its patrons, this little spot in Vancouver’s Davie Village serves a lighthearted but healthy roster, highlighted by items such as wild mushrooms on toast and steelhead trout tartare. The game fondue is another item you wouldn’t typically find in a restaurant. With its ever-changing selection of meats (elk, wild boar, etc.), foraged root vegetables and seasonal sauces served with a cast iron pot of mushroom bone broth, you almost wish the dish were a bit more common. Far from a traditional fondue, this protein plunge still packs the same excitement at the dinner table.