Your favorite chowish discoveries of 2013.
With the year about to wind down, I've been thinking about those restaurants and products I discovered this year which brought something new and good into my life. I'll list my top 3 below... I'd love to hear yours!
For me, this year, it's:
Il Corvo - Special thanks to the hound who first name-checked them here on the board... in walking distance of my office, they've become my lunch of choice, and one of the consistently best meals in Seattle.
Falafel Salam - Another office favorite, having them in our loading bay once a month has given me access to the best falafel I've had in town, and to great shawarma and shawarna seasoned chicken wings,
Rachel's Ginger Beer - I first tried their Apple/kale flavored ginger ale at the University farmers market early this summer, and I've been hooked on a gallon a month habit ever since. By far, the best soft drink I have ever had.
Absolute score for Szechuan/hotpot in Seattle proper. I've only been once, but the hot pot was excellent, as were the hand-shaved noodles. I plan on returning for the hand-pulled. I find this to be a very exciting addition to regional Chinese food in Seattle proper.
The only one worth mentioning for me in Seattle was Kedai Makan, the quasi-Malay takeout window on Olive Way. I can't say enough about their nasi goreng in particular - I am not exaggerating when I say my family ate it at least 30 times this year.
Hama Hama Seafood, available at the farmer's market.
The smoked fried chicken sandwich at Pinky's Kitchen.
Tcho's chocolate. OK, it's not made in Seattle, but it's still one of my favorite chow discoveries of the year.
The grilled chicken from Little Uncle yesterday was one of the best things I've eaten all year. Definitely a boon to downtown lunching!
The kalbi shortribs from Met Market in QA. You have to call ahead for them. Everyone in my family is nuts for them; throw them on the grill or under the broiler, rice in the rice cooker, steam some broccoli or quick-pickle cucumbers and you have the easiest weeknight-with-company crowd-pleasing meal.
IIRC, the only off-the-gringo-radar place I "discovered" this year was El Habanero, the Mexican seafood place in Burien that remains promising and worthy of return. Nosh was a revelation for a food truck. Little Uncle in pioneer square really stepped up the Thai game in town. Probably the best new restaurant meal of the year was Rock Creek.
All these items are sold at the University District farmers market, and other places:
Mair-taki farm. Cucumber kimchi fresh pickles. So very good. No longer in season. I will be craving them until the summer.
"Keep it Real" grain-free granola. I gave these for holiday gifts and everyone loves it.
Rockridge Ochards rocksalmic vinegar. Apple vinegar aged in french oak barrels. This season's batch is even better than last year's. They also have a "pear-salmic" vinegar.
+1 for Rachel's ginger beer.
Another poster mentioned Pinky's Kitchen. Their freshly-made potato chips are really good.
Billy's Tomatoes from Walrus and the Carpenter.
Heirloom tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and vanilla oil. outstanding.
former Shiro's sushi chef, Daisuke's tamagoyaki. sure he failed at making it over 200 times for Jiro. but my God, he did it right in Seattle. The taste and texture was like pure poundcake. Best way to finish an outstanding omakase sushi meal.