Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Remembering 2009

73 best eats and drinks of 2008. Though the postings never came, seasonality and restaurant closings took dishes away from me before I could sample them, and balancing work and studying and spending time with family and friends kept me from reaching the century mark, I accept no excuse as redeeming and bestow upon myself a scarlet letter. 73 dishes. I know that the best 27 were yet to come.

What I have to be grateful for, however, is for the culinary opportunities taken in the last twelve months, the courses sampled that will forever take their place on my "best of" lists, and the experiences that redefined what I thought were simple ingredients and familiar tastes.

On one end of the spectrum, 2009 was the year I first dined at Le Bernardin, made my first trip to Momofuku Ko's eden, and allowed myself to be fooled again and again at wd-50. Salt Lick in Texas, John Besh's August in New Orleans, Blue Hill in NYC, deep-dish pizza in Chicago, waffles in Brussels and herring in Amsterdam would round off a year in culinary excursions that will be difficult to match.

On the other end, it was the year of the food tour, the exploration of the neighborhood gems in Queens and Brooklyn. Dumplings in Flushing, kielbasa in Greenpoint and chaat in Jackson Heights have earned their spot as regular destinations.

Levain, Momofuku and Jacques Torres cookies. Shake Shack, Burger Joint and Royale burgers. Tacqueria burritos, Little Poland dumplings, Dinosaur chicken wings, Salt Lick brisket, Redhead peanut brittle, Crazy wings in Waco, Clinton Street pancakes, Juan in a Million tacos and 50lb burgers.

2010 has a lot to live up to.

Eggs Benedict at wd-50

Juan in a Million breakfast taco

The Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas

50lb Burger at Clinton Station Diner