Best bites of 2011
- Windy Dec 25, 2011 12:53 PM
Doesn't look like anyone's started a thread yet, so I'll bite.
List up to 10 new (to you) tastes plus a bonus out-of-town delight or two. Drinks allowed.
Here's last year's list: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751261
* Josey Baker seed loaf
* foie gras or merengue forest dessert at Atelier Crenn
* eggplant parmesan sub at Uncle Dougie's
* chocolate peanut ganache dessert at Commonwealth (or the applejack granita)
* relleno blanco (turkey) at Mateo Granados' Cocina Latina
* seaweed & pork soup from Namu
* Easter bunny care package especially rabbit en moutarde from 4505 Meats
* Lola blend coffee beans from Catahoula
* borscht from Anda Piroshki
* ricciarelli (merengue almond) cookie at Arizmendi Valencia
Out of town: pastrami on rye at Langer's (LA), doubles with tamarind and chile sauce from Trini-Paki Boyz cart (NYC), San Remo cocktail at Scarpetta (NYC)
439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123
214 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA 95448
2328 Bowditch St, Berkeley, CA 94704
will probably revise, but upon initial thoughts....
beets roasted in hay - coi
shio ramen - santouka
split eel - toyose
creamed spinach - house of prime rib (probably ranked higher because it was such a recent memory, but so good)
juhu beach club - wish i had written down what i had got, but so good....
kibbeh burger at palmyra
pork neck - yakiniq
lamb/fig tajine - tajine
cipolla/gruyere/pinenut/creme fraiche pizza at beretta
pupusas - la santaneca
I think it's reasonable for a restaurant that takes reservations only for parties of six or more to charge a cancellation fee if someone makes a reservation and less than six people show up. Though the "we won't seat you until all members of your party have arrived" policy is probably less likely to draw flak.
Winter squash and pear soup at The Epicure Connection in Sonoma
Summer tomatoes from Lonestar Organics farmstand in Sonoma
Warm Christmas stollen from Gaumenkitzel in Berkeley
Black-eyed peas, dandelion greens, arugula and four cheese turnover at Ponsford’s Place in San Rafael
Coconut Macaroon at La Bedaine
Leek and hazelnut quiche at La Bedaine
Chocolate coconut pie at Petaluma Pie
Nacatamal at Casa Latina in Berkeley
Breakfast sandwich on sourdough at Java Jax in Vallejo
Tres Amigos coffee at Catahoula Coffee
Out of town:
Leche con arroz atol by candlelight in Palin, Guatemala
Whole garlic fried fish caught from fish tanks by formally dressed waiters in Cocales, Guatemala
Pepperoni pizza from an underground restaurant at Lake Atilan, Guatemala
Up a dirt road marked only by a Coca Cola sign, was restaurant at a posada open only two days a week for about three months a year. There is a custom built pizza oven. The owner scours the country for the best food in Guatemala, roasting his own coffee beans from specially selected growers. Everything was wonderful there.
AQ toasted barley with Dungeness crab, mushrooms, and spruce
Cesar (Shattuck) paella
Champa Garden rice ball salad
Etxebarri (Spain) Palamós prawns
Husk (chef Sean Brock at Plum) Carolina catfish with cornbread purée, field pea & crawfish chowchow, and crispy pig ear
Hibiscus salt cod bruschetta
Little Star "Little Star" deep-dish pizza
Little Yangon balachan
Martin's West tongue "pastrami" butty
Smoke Berkeley's brisket slider
Bar Tartine braised brisket
Barlata jamon Iberico
BN Ranch heritage turkey, salted and roasted
Cotogna pizza with guanciale, ramps, egg, and pecorino
Eddie Blyden's onion rings (when he was at Henry's)
Galette 88 galette "basique"
Great China steamed surf clams with an old white Burgundy
La Cremaillère (Reugny, France) sour cherry clafoutis
Lalola goat yogurt "cheesecake"
Moody's (Truckee) steak tartare
NPA Sauvignon Blanc
Oliveto red winter wheat penne alla bolognese
Poquito tostado (Ecuadorean snack sort of like Corn Nuts)
Tartine vollkornbrot rye rusk (Samin pop-up)
Wood Tavern pastrami sandwich
Barbacco : farotto
Barbacco : olive oil cake with peaches and orange creme fraiche
Ippuku : crab cake
Great china : double skin*
Oasis market : various desserts whose names I forgot
Bar agricole : roasted padron, gypsy, corno di toro, & jimmy nardello peppers with tonnato
Nopa : pork chops*
Pica Pica : yuca fries
Navarro Gewurztraminer grape juice
Cafe Habana in NY: cubano sandwich*
Doughnut plant in NY: creme brulee doughnut*
Marché du Vieux-Port farmer's market in Quebec: Olive fougasse
*items I sought out based on CH tips. Thanks!
I can never remember stuff like this, but a couple that really stuck in my mind:
raspberry almond marzipan tartlett -- Bovine Bakery
Diablita pizza -- East End Pizza
A somewhat East Bay-heavy list, roughly in the order I ate each dish:
1. The "Meat Board" (charcuterie) at Rotisserie and Wine - The most beautiful charcuterie plate I can recall eating. This was during Jeremy Fox's brief stint at R&W.
2. Custard tart at Golden Gate Bakery - Finally made it over on a day when they weren't on vacation! Lived up to the hype.
3. Pastrami reuben at Wise Sons Jewish Deli - Delicious. Very much looking forward to the opening of their brick and mortar space.
4. Biscuit with slow-cooked egg and saute of morels and peas at Plum - I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I think Plum's weekend brunch may be the best in the Bay Area.
5. Fritto misto at Perbacco - Although I found the meal at Perbacco mostly underwhelming, those fried olives were a real revelation.
6. Gyutan misozuke (cold marinated sliced beef tongue) at B-Dama - Sadly, this wasn't a big seller, so the chef took it off the menu. In any case, the cold preps at B-Dama are all really interesting and delicious. Great, great place.
7. Summer cassoulet at Chez Panisse - Finally tried Chez Panisse. Wasn't disappointed.
8. Porchetta sandwich at Southie - the best of several great sandwiches I had at Southie.
9. Louisiana Crawfish roll at Pican - I'd had a craving for a lobster roll for the longest time...and we're a long way from Maine. This crawfish roll at Pican ended up being the only thing that totally hit the spot. Incidentally, I've found lunch and brunch at Pican to be a better value than dinner.
10. Kung-Pao Pastrami / Slow-cooked Pork Belly at Mission Chinese Food - Let the record show that I am a real live Chinese person, and I really enjoyed both of the meals I had at Mission Chinese Food. (I LOVED the pastrami the first time I had it; the second time I thought it was a bit heavy-handed with the Szechuan pepper. Meanwhile, each bite of the pork belly was a crispy, juicy, fatty morsel of delight, and the fermented/pickled pineapple was a great complement -- kind of a cross between gua bao and pastor).
Just a little bit further afield: the carnitas and amazing green salsa at Taqueria El Grullense, in Salinas (thanks, Melanie, for the tip).
That's a damn shame. Makes sense, though, given the fact that it's a new chef who probably wants to do his own thing, plus the fact that Plum's brunch service never really caught on as you say.
Strange--it's not even as though their brunch menu was so adventurous or expensive relative to other places. But I guess for brunch most folks just want straight-up comfort food? So you could always walk in to interesting places like Plum or Camino, but then Bette's is like a 45-minute wait on weekends, and even Luka's across the street is always hopping on Sunday mornings despite serving vastly inferior food. And now it looks like Sea Salt has really dumbed down what used to be a pretty interesting (and consistently excellent) brunch menu.
Blueberry-lemon-cornmeal scone - Vanilla Moon Bakery, San Carlos
English Muffin egg sandwich - Model Bakery, St. Helena
Date cake (orange scented/candied orange?) with caramel sauce - A16
Pork and beans breakfast - Golden West
Artichoke hearts and fava bean salad - Chez Panisse Cafe
Grilled Devil's Gulch Ranch rabbit and chicken - Chez Panisse Cafe (loved the chicken, rabbit not so much)
Panna Cotta - Perbacco
Oven roasted pig face - Girl & the Goat, Chicago
Beluga lentil salad - AOC, L.A.
Darn it, I struggled to think of BA top 10. Most interesting tastes for me this year were not from BA:
Atelier Crenn walk in the forest & amazing dessert diorama
Burritt Room bourbon punch - who knew a punch bowl could be so much fun?
Fava di carpino - homegrown, but plants from Flatland
Ippuku bacon wrapped mochi
Juhu Beach Club holy cow
Mr & Mrscellaneous pink squirrel
Ventian Cafe nam kao
Haribo fruity frutti
Copenhagen: Aammann's jersey ox tartare, Emmery's tebirkes
Portland: Pok Pok fruit vinegar drinks
I just moved here in September, but I wanted to participate. Here’s my list:
Pork bahn mi from Saigon Sandwich
Pork bone ramen at Kirimachi
Brussel sprouts at Barbacco
Spicy scallop roll at Okoze
Duck confit basteeya at Aziza
Lamb shank at Kokkari
Tahitian vanilla ice cream at Humphrey Slocumbe
Pork belly bun at Chairman Bao
Sisig taco with egg at Senor Sisig
Special roasted turkey sandwich at Fredy’s Deli
Barbacco's brussels sprouts fried in duck fat with anchovies, capers, and red wine vinegar are a brilliant invention.
"I consider the discovery of a new dish, which excites our appetite and prolongs our pleasure, much more important than the discovery of a star. We can always see plenty of the latter."—Monsieur H… de P…
A modest list this year, mostly lunch-centric.
Feijoada at Rio California
Tuna sandwich with hardboiled egg and olive at Southie
Steak tartare at Southie
Porchetta sandwich from the Porky cart outside of Plum (discontinued)
Diablita pizza at East End Pizza Co.
Kim Chi Stew at Bowl'd
Pa-jeon (Korean scallion pancake) - Pomelo
Szechuan beef tendon at China Village
Puntarelle with garlic and anchovy at Dopo
Mussels w/ Pernod, cream, shallots and shoestring potatoes (along with Classicist Manhattan(s)) (after swim workouts, immediately counteracting any health benefits) at Sidebar
10foot5, did you also try the porchetta sandwich at Southie?
I liked the one from the Plum cart too, but found it a bit inconsistent (the aioli was only plentiful enough and garlicky enough for my liking the first time -- though I know others preferred it less garlicky). I only had Southie's once, but thought it was just great. Greasy as all get out, but so satisfying.
I did try the porchetta at Southie but for whatever reason it didn't make an impression on me. Maybe I was distracted that day.
I tend to get the seafood sandwiches and the veggie sandwiches at Southie - they are so good I don't feel the need to spend the calories/cholesterol inherent in the meat options.
10foot5--have you had the mussels w/Pernod and cream at A Cote? If so, how would you compare the Sidebar version to the A Cote version? I'm a longtime, ardent fan of the A Cote version and would be glad to know of another place doing something like it.
5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
pansotti @ farina
pizza margherita @ una pizza napoletana
porchetta sandwich @ roli roti
lobster roll @ sam's chowder house
al pastor burrito @ el farolito in oakland
'ancient method' shark fin soup @ r&g lounge
maguro cubes topped with uni @ sawa
out of town:
smoked yellow fish and crab roe noodles @ tin heung lau in hong kong
omakase @ 7chome kyoboshi in tokyo
tasting menu @ joel robuchon in vegas
Martinis at Cotogna. Buffalo knows cocktails.
Burrata at Roscioli (Rome). Transcendent. The cheese is from Andria. Roscioli adds some dried tomatoes on the side. Grated nutmeg brings out the flavor.
Went over 10 and in no particular order:
Broken rice salad at Vientian
Goat cheesecake and malfatti at Bellanico
Secret breakfast or Vietnamese coffee at Humphrey Slocombe
Bay leaf ice cream on a sesame cone at Tata's Organic
Kim chee jeon at Jong Ga House
Chile relleno at Tacubaya
Maduros and tostones at Sol Food (San Rafael)
Smoked jalapeño sauerkraut juice shots from Farmhouse Culture at JLS on Sunday
Leek stuffed pancake and handmade sesame noodles at Shan Dong
Fish and 1000 chile soup at China Village
Hai Yeung at Ton Kiang
Pork Belly Taco at Cosecha
3801 Allendale Ave, Oakland, CA 94619
1788 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Jong Ga House
372 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602