I was about to make a list of best meals just like last year, but when I started thinking about the best things I ate this year, I realized many of them came from otherwise pleasant but average meals, or weren’t complete meals at all. So here were my 12 best bites of 2012.
12. KirbieCravings Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Just look at them.
9. Century Eggs
My favorite find from 99 Ranch. I have trouble keeping these in the house.
7. Ariccia Market - Roasted Beet Agnolotti – Blue cheese, Beet Leaves, Pancetta, Pecorino
Bobby Pascucci make’s the best fresh pasta anywhere, and I’ve been lucky enough to have his complete dishes.
6. Ariccia Market - Foie Torchon – Caramelized Apples, Grilled Green Onion, Cider Reduction.
Not all torchon are created equal, this was the best I’ve had. It was as dense as rillettes but smooth as butter. I miss it.
5. Sky Room at La Valencia – Gourd - Chocolate, spice, streusel, chestnuts
Spongy Macaroons and a chocolate “no bake” cookie that reminded me of the fudge crunch layer from a DQ ice cream cake. I’m upset to see Sky Room close, but very happy to know Chef Luke Johnson is hoping to stay in San Diego.
4. Urban Solace 5th year reunion party - Braised beef cheeks on cheddar biscuits.
The visual definition of comfort food.
3. *FoodieFlirts wedding reception at Georges Modern – Maine Lobster – vanilla poached apples, turnips, truffles, lobster emulsion.
As great as this was, I I think my favorite course was the Chanterelle Stew, it’s just not nearly as photogenic.
*Best meal of the year
2. Spoon – Seared Foie + Short Rib – celery root puree, foie butter
From way back in January when I was still around Pittsbrugh. I ate some pretty great stuff, this remained one of the best.
1. Jeff Bonilla’s - Watermelon, Prosciutto, Basil, Love & Break Dancing
Pastry chefs never get the recognition they deserve. I’ve never had anything from Jeff Bonilla that hasn’t been outstanding. He’s one of the only chefs that I completely trust to make any combination of ingredients taste amazing. He’s another guy on the hunt for a new position in 2013, I’ll be making the trip to wherever he lands.
… and one to grow on. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood – all of it.
2012 started my relationship with Oscar’s. Yes, relationship. Amazing food and amazing people. Few things make me as happy as biting into a taco especial, except maybe alternating with a spoonful of fish stew. Of all the places I’ve mentioned, I guarantee Oscar’s will be the frequented of 2013.
Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year.