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What were your favorite food moments of 2009?

Here are mine (in random order):

- Breakfast at Bouchon, Vegas

- Tasting menu at Craigie on Main, Cambridge

- Tasting menu at Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Vegas

- Tasting menu at Bazaar, Los Angeles

- Omakase at Sushi Mori, Los Angeles, and finally getting the courage to eat sea urchin

- Giving up dairy, and discovering coconut milk yogurt

- My buddy Dave Smith's Christmas dinner

- Tasting menu at Spago, Beverly Hills

- Dinner at Palate Food and Wine, Glendale

- Private dinners with Erik Kelley

- Discovering swiss chard. Esp. penne with swiss chard and tuna.

- The duck hash and the flatbread at Huckleberry, Santa Monica

- Linguini bottarga at Osteria Latini, Brentwood

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  1. Nice list!

    Here are mine...

    - LeTub – Lunch with my mom (I live overseas, don’t get to see her that often)

    -Venison leg stuffed with foie gras and topped with shaved truffles, friend’s house

    - Tuckers Point Bermuda – Blue Fin Tuna…the same day the fish was caught in Bermuda

    - Babbo, Beef Cheeks ravioli with shaved truffles!

    - Morimoto’s – NYC – Kobe Beef Sashimi Rock Shrimp appetizer and sake martini – hello!

    - Craft – Bacon and Corn – no more to say

    - Meeting Jeffrey Steingarten, Amanda Freitag, Brad Farmerie at Food Network Food and Wine Show in NYC

    - Discovering I am not a bad baker after all, perfected a Dutch Apple Cheesecake

    - Dinner at my Dad’s – Of course I cooked though, it was just nice to spend some time with him

    - Fondue with friends, we call it the inside picnic!

    - Creating a killer BBQ Short Rib Dish

    I know there is more, just have a mental block

    1. Nice idea, jlevine! Here are mine, also in random order:

      Vanilla mojitos at Scargod's house, not to mention so many great meals we made together, but particularly his tortilla soup and wonderful scallops!

      Making candied bacon, as taught by fellow Chowhounds!

      Dinners and lunch at La Tavola, Waterbury, CT.

      Enjoying a Mexican feast (that included tongue!), prepared by Passadumkeg and Scargod.
      <Marco, can you find this great thread with pics?>

      Every meal we ate at Brasserie Pip, Ivoryton, CT, but especially the ones we ate outside on the porch that included steak tartare.

      Raclette parties with Jay and Sanna:

      Making Tyler Florence's bacon-wrapped turkey for Thanksgiving.

      Making Kristin King's almond squares (over and over and over again)!

      "Providence"--Triple-Sweet corn from Gilbert's Farm in Rocky Hill, CT.

      Making Irish Oats for the first time…then discovering how wonderful they are when made with almond extract and topped with sliced almonds.

      My "Alice Waters breakfast" with fresh picked salad greens from my own porch. Will any of us ever forget the Alice Waters thread?!!!

      Creating new recipes and sharing them here--reuben soup, Magical Piggy Bars, zuppa di clams casino, strata!

      Making gelato--chocolate, peanut butter, fresh lavender mint.

      My farewell sushi and sashimi dinner for two at Sakura Garden, Glastonbury, CT.

      Bringing home my own Meyer lemon tree (Limona!) and just recently enjoying Meyer lemon curd and scones made from my own little tree.

      Finally trying almond butter!

      Watching CBS Sunday Morning (esp. food segments) together/apart.

      Seeing “Bottle Shock” and “Food, Inc.” after learning about both here on CH—and seeing Julie & Julia:
      Food, Inc: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616597
      Bottle Shock: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/546347

      Making my own steamed cheeseburger at home:

      3 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        Great list! I want to eat with you.

        1. re: jlevine

          so kattyeyes, when are you sharing those lemons? lol and btw love bottle shock, saw it randomly on tv....

          1. re: kubasd

            I wish I had enough to share! My little crop yielded enough for two batches of Meyer lemon curd and one batch (that my mom made) of Meyer lemon scones...both of which were way outta this world! Maybe next year... ;)

      2. Smoking my first pork butt, ribs and brisket. Well as far as the brisket , my second one.

        1. Also, in no particular order:

          dinner at Raku in Vegas -- probably the best meal I had this year, and only thanks to fellow hounds' suggestion.

          Finding a great, authentic Greek place in Berlin that doesn't break the bank: great souvlaki, great grilled octopus, good fava... just great all over.

          Discovering the Sichuan food gem that is Chopstick Express.

          My man's salt caramel ice-cream.

          Finding a tofu recipe I could eat 2-3 times a week.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              mix together 1/2 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of maggi sauce (available at far corners or any other asian market: it's the funny shaped bottle with the yellow cap), 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 2 tbsp of soy sauce. add chopped green onion, chili (i used sriracha hot sauce -- a good spritz if you likey da spicey), cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds.

              zap the tofu in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. heat up 2 tbsp of cooking oil (i used peanut oil, but you can use any, except for maybe olive oil) until it smokes, then pore over nuked tofu. then add aforementioned sauce. add a good heaping portion of cilantro. then inhale.


              NOTE: the sauce measurements are just guidelines. i find that the oyster sauce is the most important ingredient, so put more of it in. i also add a splash of some rice vinegar, and sometimes a few spritzes of soy mushroom sauce.

          1. - dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill in NYC. the food was as wonderful as i recalled from my prior visits nearly 20 years ago, AND i got to share the experience with my college roommate whom i hadn't seen in 10 years.

            - Fuerte avocados straight from the tree of the sweet older gentleman who now lives across the street from me...he brought them over as a welcome gift when i moved in to my new house a couple of months ago.

            - grilled octopus and fresh whole sardines at Nisi Estiatorio in Englewood, NJ.

            - house-made banana ice cream at BLT Steak in NYC.

            - attempting to recreate the Grilled Vegetable Salad with Shrimp from the Ivy Restaurant in LA, and turning out a version that i think is even better than the original.

            - my first Protein Roll at Station Sushi in Solana Beach, CA after a three-year absence.

            i'm sure there are more...

            2 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Will you post the Ivy knockoff recipe on Home Cooking, pretty please?? and happy new year!!

              1. re: mollyomormon

                ack! i don't really have a formal recipe for it i just screwed around with the seasoning & components. but off the top of my head i can pretty much tell you what i did:

                - lettuce: chopped romaine
                - herbs: fresh chopped mint & parsley - tossed with the lettuce
                - marinade (brushed on the veggies and shrimp before grilling): olive oil, minced garlic, coarsely ground fresh black pepper, chopped fresh thyme, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chile flakes & kosher salt
                - vegetables: corn, zucchini, tomatillos, green onions - *all* grilled
                - avocado: grilled halves (no marinade)
                - shrimp: jumbo Mexican white, shelled, tail-on - marinated & grilled
                - dressing: homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, fresh-squeezed lime juice, agave nectar, black pepper & sea salt (don't ask me about proportions, i just do it by taste)

                - toss the lettuce & herbs with the vinaigrette.
                - cut the corn off the cob, cut the zucchini, tomatillo & avocado into chunks, slice the green onions.
                - scatter vegetables over the dressed lettuce. top with the grilled shrimp, and serve with extra dressing on the side.

                does that help?

                oh, and Happy New Year to you too! :)

            2. This becomes the mad to-do list in 2010!

              _ Breakfast at Bouchon, white sausage and eggs, Vegas with J Levine and R Lyons very memorable

              _ Art of the Table in Seattle, prix fixe set menu, all incredible highlights definitely included the butternut squash gnocchi with home made bacon and chantrelles

              _ also in Seattle, Salumi for lunch. ridiculous cured meats

              _the cuban cheese tarts from Porto's get high mentions

              _ John manulis blue cheese and bacon macaroni and cheese

              _ Corson building the food was rushed but the location and experience was incredible, seattle

              _Babbo, beef cheek ravioli bermuda you reminded me those were amaaaazing

              _ Sean Fauberts ribs off the rack and off the chain

              _Bazaar tasting menu for daniel sakai's birthday

              _bacon and chocolate tart at Animal, also fried pigs ears, the fois gras on a biscuit was pretty retarded too

              honorable mention is the whole branzino at Piccolo Angolo on the lower west side, always a hit.

              More to come. Now that you got me started i'm sure there's some i'm missing - JL, you and I had some good meals this year my friend! Oh. Now that I think about it the grilled octopus we ate that day in your neighborhood was off the charts.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ceesutt

                ceesutt, details, man! We need details! Please tell us more about "John manulis blue cheese and bacon macaroni and cheese." That sounds like a happy heart attack on a plate.

                Also, at the risk of shameless self-promotion, you and JL definitely need to try these:

                Yours in bacon,

                1. re: ceesutt

                  Yeah, the grilled octopus at Sor Tino was crazy.

                  I have to add one more, which was New Year's Eve dinner last night. My man Dave Smith outdid himself:

                  - Potato pancakes topped with creme fraiche and smoked salmon

                  - Truffle butter and gruyere grilled cheese sandwiches

                  - Amazing Booker syrah from Paso Robles

                  I also forgot all about San Francisco

                  - the appetizers at Heaven's Dog

                  - dinner at RN64 with Mooney

                  - dim sum at Yank Sing, which has been one of my favorite meals for almost 30 years

                  Now the challenge is to eat even better in 2010!

                  Cee- let's keep the meals going on both coasts.

                2. Feb.: Leaving frost bitten Maine, wife and I, arriving at my brother's in Las Vegas, get a glass of Black Label thrust into my hand while he finishes off the baby back ribs, refried beans and fixin's, served w/ a fine selection of Napa reds. Discovering a new, excellent taco truck on the Red Rock Highway.
                  April: leaving Las Vegas w/ Scargod for a road trip back to Maine, in my new/very old red Miata and stopping for a green chile and pork omelet in Holbrook, Ariz. for breakfast; Cooper's BBQ in Llano Tx, the hot lamb garlic andwich for breakfast and Scar's son's sandwich shop in Austin. Definitely the entire meal at La Fonda San Miguel in Austin, mole lamb chops, green mole duck enchiladas, tamales, etc,BBQ at Smitty's in Lockhart, Tx; The Verdunville Cafe, Lafayette, La for parm. and fresh oysters, angel hair pasta w/ a Andouille sauce and soft shell crab; breakfast in NOLA, a cryfich pocket w/ Andouille sauce and a much needed bloody Mary; dozens of oysters in Mobile; ribs in small town S. Georgia, a great time w/ fried oysters in Na's Head, NC, more oysters and panko crusted cod in Cap May, NJ and the last breakfast of the nova lox omelet at O'Rourke's in Middletown, Ct.
                  For more detailed info about the trip check out the following threads:
                  June: a trip to Seoul for several weeks to see our new grandson. Taken from the airport to a Korean BBQ, great pork belly and ribs and the 50 years conction of so ju and 100 year wine, put us soundly to sleep ( we repeated this meal several times). While hiking S Korea's tallest mountain at Sauraksan Park, we stopped by a trail-side cafe for a meal of stir-fried sesame leaves & tofu, seafood & scallion pancake and some magic mildly alcoholic elixir that tasted of yogurt/barley/beer, all the great fresh sashimi, Korean rice/sqid porridge and octopus dumplings, Korean style "clam chowder". Not using a knife and fork for 3 weeks.
                  July: Cooking a Mexican feast for Kattyeyes in Scargod's home, tongue, ribs, beans, yuca, platano & Kattyeye's very rummy babba au rum!
                  The North Atlantic Blues Festival, Gay Island oysters, lobster & crab rolls, fried haddock, Conte's for scallops & pasta.
                  My wife's shore dinner, lobster, clams, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw and champagne and beers, at our lakeside camp on her birthday.
                  September: a month's visit by my bro and his wife; crab omelet & bloody Marys at The Riverside, local cod and pork stew w/ tapas, wines and sherries at Cleonise, cooking lobsters and clams in seaweed at Cobbs Cook State Park, chowder, fried clams, blue berry shortcake at a street fair in Eastport and a mess of fried clams, scallops, fish and chowder on Campebello I, in New Brunswick, and a lobster-lobster roll-fried clams at our local joint, Tracy's in Sullivan.
                  September: wife and I played hooky from school to get the car repaired in Rockland, Me.; fish cakes & beans for breakfast at the Rockland Cafe, the Robert Indiana exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum, lunch of fish & chips & micro brews at The Water Works, more art galleries and supper of It. sausage, shrimp, scallops and mussels on top of a huge pile of pasta at Conte's
                  New Year's Eve: a student dropped by 10 lobsters, 10 lbs of Maine shrimp and 2 lbs of sea scallops! Called old friends and closed out the year w/ an unexpected, but fun feast!
                  Whew! A fun way to work off a hangover!
                  Sorry Kattyeyes, I couldn't find the post either.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    Great post, Marco! It was a very, very good year...and it took remembering it bite by bite to make me realize that. I'm on a mission to find that post now!

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      I stumbled across the tongue taco dinner post today. Here's a little walk down memory lane:

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Please don't tell anyone you beat me in arm wrestling. Emmm, lingua tacos, yum.

                    2. In no particular order:

                      - Lunch at Aquaraile, Calais - superb seafood and a great view of the Channel

                      - A recent lunch at Damson, Heaton Moor - so nice to have somewhere good so close to home

                      - Mid-range tasting menu at L'Enclume, Cartmel - surely they'll get their second Michelin star this year.

                      - Nigel Haworth's hotpot at Northcote - Michelin starred local food.

                      - and a solitary dinner at Meadow in Hove. The sort of place you want near home.

                      1. * Our authentic NC East Carolina BBQ wedding reception at Kunde Winery in Sonoma (pulled pork, hushed puppies, sweet cornbread and nutella filled cupcakes!) AND our rehearsal dinner in their aged wine caves (including a barrel tasting!)... all with great wines and fantastic company.

                        * Eating highlights from our Eastern European Honeymoon:
                        - My big ass pork knuckle in a Prague brasserie (although not a taste explosion, it was just really freaking awesome with a freshly pulled beer!)
                        - Indulging in amazing Viennese pastries at Demel, including sacher torte and trying my first real wienerschnitzel
                        - Slurping down authentic Hungarian goulasch and munching on langos in Budapest

                        * Making Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes for my husband's 40th birthday and actually making them well!

                        * Cooking dinner for the first time in my new house on walnut countertops and our new wedding kitchen appliances... and on that note, hosting my first part at the new house underneath the summer skies, our orange trees, and twinkling lights

                        * Picking oranges from our new backyard and making the most amazingly sweet juice

                        * The Three Little Piggies sandwich at the Silver Palm in Chicago (three layers of pure on pork with a side of sweet potato fries, yum yum!) with a lifelong friend

                        * Crabfest V - our annual shipment from the East Coast to SoCal of Maryland Blue Crabs and opening up one of our wedding magnums to share...

                        * Discovering dark chocolate ice cream at Fosselman's in Alhambra, CA on a summer evening date

                        * Learning how to make sushi from my favorite sushi chefs in Pasadena for my birthday- still working on the perfect rice!

                        * Acting as sous chef for my little sister during our Christmas feast

                        1 Reply
                        1. My BBQ team finally winning a ribbon. It is not as easy as it looks on TV. Our pit master rocks.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: red_kc

                            doesn't look easy...at least not to those of us who have an inkling of what actually goes into it ;)


                          2. Great list! And some awesome replies. I'm ten pounds heavier just reading this! I have got to get up to LA more in 2010, although there were a few decent food moments in the OC. Okay, here's my quick recap:

                            - Tasting menu at Bazaar with Levine and the Goldsteins, that was a great night, and the chef was a star for feeding a vegan, a non-pork/beef eater, and 2 other non-Kosher Jews.

                            - Fennel and sausage pizza at Osteria Mozza sitting next to a stunning Madeline Stowe

                            - Anniversary dinner at Daniel Boloud in Vegas (thanks to Dom for the reservation), unforgettable flatbread and the lobster salad was to die for; the show was a lot of fun; and my wife Jean looked amazing

                            - Birthday lunch at Modern Marche at South Coast Plaza (thanks for making the drive, Levine)

                            - Harvard Yard (roast beef) sandwich at Tavern in Brentwood

                            - Niman Ranch burger at Rustic Canyon (love the service there)

                            - A fantastic pork loin at the Rochester Chop House in Michigan

                            - Best sushi lunch had to be at MF Buckhead in Georgia. Mel Clements took me there in the pouring rain, excellent special rolls. Second would have to be Sushi Dokoro in Beverly Hills with Brad Gelfond.

                            - Best homecooked meal would have to be Dan & Williana's roast chicken and bread salad from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I've never had the original, but that was incredible.

                            1. Favorite Food Moments of 2009 (in no particular order)

                              1. Eating Cinnamon gelatto from L'Desserts @ L'Auberge Du Lc casino in town. Tasted like the milk left over from a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Very surprised in a good way.

                              2. Eating homegrown beets that me and PawPaw grew for the first time. Earthy and divine. Boiled them, added vinegar and white onions, eaten still warm. Felt proud for trying something new and discovering cooking is not hard.

                              3. Picking my 1st piece of broccoli. It was perfect, right before the blossom forms, possibly the last moment before the breaking point. Tasted sweet and tender. Johnny boiled it.

                              4. Picked my 1st cauliflower. Tasted sweet and was full of water.

                              5. Made vegetable tempura for the 1st time. Set up the table and felt like home. Even used an Oriental plate I bought from Carc, a thrift store. Now I won't buy tempura at Myako. My broccoli tempura is excellent.

                              6. Visiting an Asian market in the Chinese district in Vegas. We were looking for eel sauce. Got to see/smell a real durian up close. That stank! Wish I could have tried one. Saw a variety of fishes, even some avacado ice cream that I would have liked to try. Even had tamago for $8.99 a pound. Ladies with babies strapped to their chests were inspecting the live crab selection by banging the crabs on a counter. I am assuming this was to bag them. I was on a mission to buy soy wrappers and mayo to make my own Sweet Treats. Turned out all I needed was rice wrapper a la spring rolls. Johnny suggested it.

                              7. Taking the homegrown beets to eat on the Vegas road trip, along with pea salad.

                              8. Eating fried Oreos for the first time. HOLY CRAP. Moist cookie insides amongst sweet,crispy batter. Smothered in powdered sugar and topped with chocolate sprinkles. Eaten on Freemont Street in Vegas.

                              9. Drinking bottled lime Jarritos and mango Jarritos at Shawarma King last week in Houston. Tasted like snowcones. The mango had an orangey,good taste.

                              10.The day me and Johnny tried the Tres Leches Cake from a Mexican place by McNeese, the local college. Possibly the best thing I have ever put into my little mouth. Moist, vanilla, juice, homemade. Peaches inside. The husband is Cajun. He liked me and Johnny. Thought I was a Psychology major.Told him about Wildlife Management, and his eyes lit up. His wife is sweet,too. Turns out they are from Cameron. I bet their food brought them together. We waited and watched a Mexican soap opera.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: blacvulture

                                Bla, welcome to Chowhound. Where is the cinese district in Vegas? My bro lives in Henderson, I'll be ther next month and am curious.

                                1. re: blacvulture

                                  I'm always excited when someone understands how phenomenal a deep-fried Oreo can be...I see you get it. WELCOME! :)

                                  And very nice list. Despite '09 being a tough year in many respects, it's great to see how our appreciation of good food and friendship brought us all through!

                                2. High points of restaurant dining were dinner at Miel in Nashville, as of that moment my favorite restaurant in the US (not saying it's the best, just the best I've been to!), and lunch at Le Saint Amour in Culver City, best steak-frites ever. Our two meals at Noir, a wine bar in Pasadena, were pretty wonderful too, though that fancy chef needs cheese-grits lessons. There were corresponding low points, some awfully expensive, but there's no point in going over them as we shall not be going back...

                                  Oh, and let us not forget the chocolate-covered bacon at the LA County Fair. Too expensive, but then again one small piece is as much as an old fat guy needs to eat. It was not transcendental, but I'd love some more!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Kwon's in Pomona ~~ true hole in the wall wonderful. Chinese food cooked by Koreans served with Thai hot sauce.

                                    Prime Rib at Captain Jacks in Seal Beach (I know)

                                    Cioppino at Merchant & Main in Vacaville

                                    Chicken livers at Nate & Als in Beverly Hills

                                    Seafood salad stuffed cherry tomatoes at my friend Maxine's

                                    BBQ ribs prepared by my co-worker Fred. Best I have ever had.

                                    Eggplant burger at the Press in Claremont

                                  2. First taste of foie gras

                                    Smoked macaroni and cheese

                                    Smuttynose Baltic Porter

                                    1. wd-50 in NYC
                                      august in NOLA
                                      degustation - nyc
                                      sitting next to wylie dufrense @ momofuku ssam
                                      tacos tacos tacos

                                      so many more, but now im hungry and can't think

                                      1. I did a blog post on my 10 fave tastes in Denver of 2009. Among the gems: Panzano's duck liver mousse with savory zeppole and crispy pork from Heaven Dragon.

                                        But I didn't include dishes I had while traveling, and so I'd hereby like to give it up for:


                                        1. the ddeokbokki at Han Bat, NYC


                                        2. the bread dip at Da Gennaro, NYC


                                        3. the chiles rellenos at Cecilia's Cafe, Albuquerque


                                        4. pan-roasted oysters with house-deviled ham and cucumber creme fraiche at Neptune Oyster, Boston


                                        In 2010, here's what I hope to try from your lists that I've never had!

                                        Coconut milk yogurt (jlevine


                                        An eggplant burger! Though I think I can make this myself by tweaking my casserole recipe (laliz)

                                        Any meal at Passadumkeg's house

                                        Foie gras on a biscuit (ceesutt)

                                        A meal at Raku (linguafood)

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                          Oh! Forgot 2.

                                          5. housemade biscuits with green-chile turkey gravy at Flying Star Cafe, Albuquerque. Mostly this place is just fine, not fabulous, but these are body-meltingly good.


                                          6. My friend Rebecca's Argentine roast suckling pig (lechon). Here's her recipe.

                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                            Thank you, any time! What no green chile stew from the crummy, cheap diner on Central in Alb.?
                                            What I missed in '09, enchiladas at The Shed in Sante Fe and oysters and oyster stew at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station.

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              Ah, how the Frontier creates fond memories for all who go there!

                                              I don't think I've been to the bar in GCS since I was a kid—and we're headed to NY in a couple of weeks. May just have to do that.

                                            2. re: tatamagouche

                                              The yogurt brand is So Delicious. We get it at Whole Foods.

                                              1. re: jlevine

                                                Oh, I've seen that brand—had no idea it was dairy free. Which I'm not, I just like the sound of the product.

                                            3. Thanks to our newest bestest buddies from Toronto, and owner of Rusty's at Blue (located in the Village at Blue Mountain in Canada), we were able to cook up giant slabs of Wagyu ribeyes over a campfire, drunk at 3am, while attending the 2009 Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff in the beautiful painted Texas desert - just a stones throw from the Mexican border. Can I get an amen?