Annual restaurant awards -- good for debate, good to reaffirm that dining experience and great at helping tourists plan their travel itineraries as they scramble to book dinner reservations.
Deciding where to eat on your next trip to the United States might be a bit easier now that this year's winners of the James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Awards have been announced.
Often referred to as the Oscars of the U.S. restaurant industry, the awards took place at the Lincoln Center in New York City on Monday.
The best chef category is divided by region: Great Lakes, mid-Atlantic, northeast, northwest, midwest, south, southeast, southwest, west and New York City.
Award winners include some reasonably obvious choices such as April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig for New York's best chef and The Bar at the NoMad Hotel for outstanding bar program. Dominque Ansel, the chef who unleashed the cronut on the world, took home the prize for outstanding pastry chef, while Pêche Seafood Grill in New Orleans won the coveted best new restaurant award. Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles was named outstanding chef. Head over to Eatocracy to see the full list of winners and photos from the event.