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Dec 25, 2011 12:53 PM

Best bites of 2011

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:

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  1. * 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

    Atelier Crenn
    3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

    Cocina Latina
    214 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA 95448

    Uncle Dougie's
    2328 Bowditch St, Berkeley, CA 94704

    1. 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

      4 Replies
      1. re: vulber

        lamb & fig tajine sounds amazing.

        I probably should have included the sesame peanut dessert at Nojo, but there's something about the place that rubs me the wrong way.

        1. re: Windy

          i didn't like the owner's recent tirade against yelp

          1. re: vulber

            Not sure it's a tirade:

            I was more irritated by the discussion on the same Chron blog about their bizarre reservation policy, which included charging a party for cancellation when fewer than 6 showed up (and ate). The grilled rice balls are good though.

            1. re: Windy

              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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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


          BaoNecci pizza
          Bar Tartine braised brisket
          Barbacco farotto
          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
          Mua burger
          NPA Sauvignon Blanc
          Oliveto red winter wheat penne alla bolognese
          Poquito tostado (Ecuadorean snack sort of like Corn Nuts)
          Tartine bread
          Tartine vollkornbrot rye rusk (Samin pop-up)
          Wood Tavern pastrami sandwich

          4 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            rice ball salad at Champa Garden and balachan at Little Yangon would have been on my list too if I'd remembered them. I got a container of balachan to go and put it on everything especially rice and eggs.

            You'd never tried Tartine bread before this year?

            1. re: Windy

              Best of 2011 is best of 2011. I don't give extra credit for being new or knock off point points for being as good as ever.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston

              Please tell more about the Palamos prawns.

            3. Namu: okonomiyaki
              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!