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Mission Chinese Food Kung Pao Pastrami.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

On my recent trip to New York I went to two astonishing, entirely different restaurants. Mission Chinese Food is a mash-up of Chinese, Korean and American. All caution is thrown to the wind producing outrageous but well-defined dishes – among the spiciest food I have eaten. (One tip: go for lunch otherwise the lineups are very long.) Pearl & Ash is a hip, but-not-hipster, place where you can drink outstanding well-priced wine and match it to creative tasty small plates offering much more than the simple menu descriptions. The chef uses flavours from around the world. Try the "bread, chicken butter, maple syrup" (schmaltz to the initiated) and all the fish dishes – especially the octopus and trout with black garlic, leek and dill – which was innovation on the plate.

Follow me on Twitter: @lucywaverman

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