Jump to content

Best of 2009


Pat
 Share

Recommended Posts

Usually someone starts this and I never have a good enough basis to respond very well. Um, well, I'll start it but I didn't eat out that much this year and my memory is as bad as ever.

Lobster carpaccio and red snapper bisque at Corduroy

Parker House rolls and focaccia at CityZen, plus

Beggar's purse with duck confit

Stuffed eggplant with raisins and pine nuts at Cava, plus their fantastic harissa

Beef carpaccio at Sonoma

Nutella cappuccino at Dino

[ETA] Pates and terrines app at Proof

I made some great food at home but the spicy chile lime ice (I forget the exact name) recipe I got from Rick Bayless on twitter was fantastic and the hit of a dinner party.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I'll bite. First, gracious service is not always at the top of the list when talking about DC restaurants. But I want to give out shout-outs to these three:

J & G Steakhouse

Siroc

Eventide

Each of these went far beyond what I usually expect to find in local restaurants. J & G was simply elegant; Siroc handled an overcooked restaurant week entree with aplomb; Eventide showed a customer orientation that other restaurants should emulate.

OK, on to drink:

The small pours at Birch and Barley--these encourage a whole new approach to beer drinking

Juan Gil Monastrell 2006 at J & G Steakhouse (OK, it didn't go as well with the Thanksgiving meal)

The wine program at Eventide

Bloody Marys at Hank's Oyster Bar

Space? I really like the feel of Eventide. J & G is nice, but feels just slightly barren (and at night sometimes the bright outside lights can be a real bummer). Cava on Capitol Hill has a nice outside area.

Oh, yeah, food. Truth be told, I had a lot of good appetizers and only fair entrees this year. Here are a few things I recall:

Scallop appetizer at Siroc

Salmon tartare at J&G Steakhouse

Zucchini fritters at Cava

Roasted olives at 2 Amys

Hush puppies at Eatonville

Buckwheat crepe at Montmartre

Pizza at Seventh Hill Pizza

Arancini at Taylor's

Olive oil cake at Eventide

Finally, I'll give a shout-out to the burgers at Annie's. This place has been maligned for good reason, and its recent makeover has driven away a lot of its core clientele. But these hamburgers are a good reason not to count it out, and even to return if you haven't been there recently. They may not be the best available, but remain a reliable source of pleasure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Breakfast – Tattie Scones with streaky bacon and fried egg at Roast in London’s Borough Market

Sandwich – Bratwurst at the Sheboygan Brats stand at the Wisconsin State Fair

Sushi – Tie: Umi Masu Sushi Ran in Sausalito and Kindai maki (both kinds) at Kaz

Pizza – Tie: Sapore di Napoli in Chicago, and Well’s Brothers in Racine

Burger – Monk’s Bar & Grill in the cultural wasteland known as Wisconsin Dells

Unhealthy but oh so good – Fish and Chips at Golden Hind in London

Indian – Dungeness crab masala at Passage to India

Offal – Foie Gras Trio at Cyrus in Healdsburg

Dessert – Sticky Pudding at London’s Hereford Road (might have been the best dessert ever)

Service – Hereford Road in London

Overall Dining Experience – Rasoi Vineet Bhatia in London

Worst:

Pizza/meal – Gino’s East in Chicago

Sandwich – Al’s #1 also in Chicago

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Worst:

Pizza/meal – Gino’s East in Chicago

Why? I loved Gino's when I went there. Sketchy, delicious food, fun location. What's not to like? In fact, one slice of that pizza (leftover) per day powered me through a weeklong stage at Alinea.

Best for me:

Dish: Escolar - New Heights

Meal: Trummer's on Main

Dessert: Olive Chocolate cake- Inox

Charcuterie: New Heights

Old-school food- Sweet pea ravioli- Palena

New-school food- Brown butter beet puree, beet foam, caviar, scallop- Trummer's on Main

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why? I loved Gino's when I went there. Sketchy, delicious food, fun location. What's not to like? In fact, one slice of that pizza (leftover) per day powered me through a weeklong stage at Alinea.

I let my wife's cousin decide where to take me to convince me that Chicago pizza does not suck. He decided on Gino's for two reasons, past experiences, and being friends with the owner. After one bite of the pizza he leaned over and apologized to me. The sausage pie that we had was horrible; starting at the top, parmesan was visible, but indiscernible, sauce was so acidic as to overpower any semblance of tomato, the sausage tasted as if it were boiled (most likely a result of being poached in the horrible sauce), and mozzarella was barely melted.

Your food may have been delicious, ours was appalling. I should add that the fried calamari was more akin to something that Good Year would put out than what you would expect from a restaurant.

Is "Sweet Pea Ravioli" really old school?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I'll play....

Chef's Choice Sashimi at Sushi Bar with Koji at Sushi-Ko in Glover Park

Sea Spider Roll at PassionFish in Reston

Senate Bean Soup at the U.S. Senate Dining Room

Pad Thai at Thai Basil in Chantilly

Tuna Sliders at the Bar at PS7 Downtown

Hummus bil Flay-Flay at Layalina's in Ballston

Sleeping Duck on Golden Pond at Present in Falls Church

Cuban Sandwich at Blue Iguana in Fair Lakes

Half Priced Orca at Clyde's Happy Hour (Old Ebbitt and Gallery Place)

Veal Osso Bucco at Zeffirelli's in Herndon

Smokie "All the Way" at Nationals Park

....and....drum roll....

Kibbee Nayee at Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I let my wife's cousin decide where to take me to convince me that Chicago pizza does not suck. He decided on Gino's for two reasons, past experiences, and being friends with the owner. After one bite of the pizza he leaned over and apologized to me. The sausage pie that we had was horrible; starting at the top, parmesan was visible, but indiscernible, sauce was so acidic as to overpower any semblance of tomato, the sausage tasted as if it were boiled (most likely a result of being poached in the horrible sauce), and mozzarella was barely melted.

Your food may have been delicious, ours was appalling. I should add that the fried calamari was more akin to something that Good Year would put out than what you would expect from a restaurant.

Is "Sweet Pea Ravioli" really old school?

Ah, understood. I certainly can't vouch for the consistency there, having only been there once..

The way that it was done and presented was definitely more of a nod towards classical cooking and presentation, as Palena has a tendency to do so well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Expatriate days:

A stone-grilled sweet potato from the stone-grilled sweet-potato truck on a frigid January night

Buta-nankotsu (grilled pork cartilage) at the local Okinawan joint

A small dish of junsai (water shield) seasoned with yuzu vinegar and full of little treasures like a perfect piece of uni

Repatriate days:

Chicken tamal and the pineapple/rum tres leches cake at Oyamel

Salted Marcona almonds at The Passenger (so simple, yet so delicious)

Gougeres at Central

Vegan coconut Napoleon from Chez Hareg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pizza – Tie: Sapore di Napoli in Chicago, and Well’s Brothers in Racine

Overall Dining Experience – Rasoi Vineet Bhatia in London

Steve, you went to Wells Brothers!!!! A GREAT neighborhood bar and pizzaria that is rarely discussed on any food board. Far, far superior to Geno's East with more character, too! I cannot tell you how jealous I am!! And Vineet Bhatia, too. Seriously jealous!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't been to many fancy places. Here is my list of some particularly good dishes that I had this year.

salted egg yolk and corn dish-Hong Kong Palace

shaky beef-Present

mussels-Blacksalt (Restaurant Eve, Radius Pizza, and Brasserie Beck were also very good)

oysters on the half shells-Hank's

bbq meat and shrimp wonton soup-XO taste

patrami sandwich-Restaurant Eve

chilean sea bass and chinese cured meat casserole-Miu Kee

kalbi-Han Sung Oak

seafood pancake-To Sok Jip

steak and mushroom-Makoto

fresh kielbasa-Stachowski

stirred fried garlic pea shoots-New Big Wong

the most garlicky garlic naan-Delhi Club

pate de fruits-Wanders Chocolatier

dried chili chicken-China Star

palak chaat-Rasika

crab bisque-Ray's the Steaks

I am sure I missed some. I can't believe I ate all that. :angry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crab Masala at Passage to India. Must ask for whole crabs in advance.

Peking Guinea Pig at Astrid y Gaston (better tasting than the Peking Duck we had at Quan Ju De in Beijing).

Here's the picture of the "Cuy Peking." The skin was crispy, like bacon, with little fat and almost no meat (I've yet to eat a meaty guinea pig). They chose to use a purple corn wrapper that has the texture of bao skin (thus kind of spongy) as opposed to the typical Peking duck wrapper that is more like a tortilla. In Peru, they've been combining Chinese and Japanese cooking with local ingredients for a long time and I thought this was a great way to eat those fatty rodents.

post-4391-126244397561_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, you went to Wells Brothers!!!! A GREAT neighborhood bar and pizzaria that is rarely discussed on any food board. Far, far superior to Geno's East with more character, too! I cannot tell you how jealous I am!! And Vineet Bhatia, too. Seriously jealous!!!!

Wells Brothers takes tavern style pizza to a level that far exceeds its competitors and certainly deserves more attention. Another great pizza was at a coal fired pie at Tomatoes Apizza in Farmington Hills, Michigan (so far exceeds Pete's Apizza as to not even warrant a comparison).

As for Vineet Bhatia, it has become a little more whimsical, and I mean that in a good way. The whimsy was demonstrated in contrasts and compliments, not weird chemical combinations. An example was the perfectly executed mushroom pilaf topped with a freshly made papadaam that held a bit of tomato gelato. The contrasting of the cold with hot, and the sweet with the savory was a work of genius.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly, I didn't get out much in 2009 but the DR dinner at Radius Pizza was the highlight of my food year. Even though I ate at Komi for the first time in November, I was expecting a masterful meal from them while Chef Wiss' meal came out of left field and knocked me onto my keister. The pumpkin ravioli, the panzanella with apples, the fall pizza, and the fig and feta pizza were all wonderful and genuinely excited me. If I didn't live in Gaithersburg, I would go by Radius more often.

Other highlights:

Kindai tuna at Kaz Sushi Bistro

Ginger salad at Burma Road

A Thanksgiving feast at Vidalia

My stepmom's cookies at Christmas

Finding my old Boy Scout chili recipe on the Internet

Getting my first All-Clad pan

Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2009 was a pretty crazy year with lots of eating.

Highlights abroad - nearly everything I ate at Etxeberri, Cellar Can Roca and El Bulli in Spain over the summer, which significantly skewed my standards for restaurants in the US.

Highlights in the US off the top of my head - Corned beef sandwich at Central, corned beef sandwich at Slyman's in Cleveland, onion soup at Cafe du Parc, ridiculously good and rich risotto at Tosca, everything i've had at Palena this year, and the Black Bass cocktail (I think that's the name) at Eve.

Lowlights - Spaghetti and meatballs at Lias and every sandwich i've been forced to eat at Cosi this year. Blech.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have loved reading everyone's posts! Between a wedding, honeymoon and job moving madness this was not the year for massive eating out, but Hubby and I managed to eat some great things nonetheless. And I want to give a shout out to Eric and Steve for taking me to places I hadn't been and ordering food I wouldn't have known to order, thank you!

Bests: Tasting Menu at the French Laundry- this was my wedding present from my Husband and I enjoyed every bite. I liked how balanced each taste was.

Wood grilled squid with black risotto at Sonoma.

The lobster pasta at Eventide who gets kudos for great bartenders too.

Mussels at Brasserie Beck with the tomatoes- simple, classic, but really good and their chocolate cake.

The bar at Trummers on Main and their concord grape dessert.

Produce and honey at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.

Octagon vintage 1999 from Barboursville Vineyards.

But I have eaten so much good stuff I could go on and on. Here is hoping everyone eats as well or better in the new year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a lot of dining out done in 2009, but here are the items that stand out.

Fish tacos from Bad Bean Taqueria in Corolla, NC

Crab Cakes from North Banks Restaurant & Raw Bar in Corolla, NC

Meatball parm hero from Roman Inn in Englewood, NJ

Celery Sorbet palate cleanser from Restaurant Eve

"Broth with pesto and ham" amuse from Restaurant Eve

Goat cheese agnolotti from Proof

Oxtail Tots from PS7

Many burgers from Ray’s Hell Burger

Everything from Artisan Confections

My wife’s black & white cookies

My wife's matzah ball soup

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big Poppa - Ray's Hell Burger

Bison Tartare and Pumpkin Bread Pudding- Eventide (and frankly, any drink at the bar)

Burger - Palena

Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Apricots over Marscapone - Dino

Squash Soup - Corduroy

Shrimp/Oysters - Happy hour at Old Ebbitt

Palak Chaat - Rasika

Many Beers - Churchkey

Fall Pizza - Radius

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It wasn't our best food year. New baby and new house seriously curtailed the food budget. A few standouts, though:

Fried brussel sprout leaves with cumin, orange zest and sea salt - crispy, savory and the perfect bar snack (Farley Bar, Cavallo Point, Sausalito CA)

Reuben - hand cured corned beef and utter deliciousness (Restaurant Eve bar)

Mother in law's potato salad - sometimes the simple things are the best

A perfect mango from Trader Joes

This year, the goal is going to be to find some hidden gems in the virtual culinary wasteland of Manassas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fried brussel sprout leaves with cumin, orange zest and sea salt - crispy, savory and the perfect bar snack (Farley Bar, Cavallo Point, Sausalito CA)

We ate at Murray Circle (Cavallo Point's restaurant) on Christmas Eve and they use a very similar preparation to garnish a sun choke soup – a dish that my wife adored and would be included on her best of list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wild blueberries picked by our family on the way to long pond-MDI, Maine

Pat's wedding on NYE-2941

The Crispy Pork that Haider made at Pat's bachelor party-Deep Creek, Md.

Pork-Honey Pig

Fried clams-That place in Maine

Imperial roll-Present, (mostly because my kids love them so much)

The pizza at my boss's party this last summer-Me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pan Roasted Chicken with celery root purée, caramelized apples, cauliflower, and chorizo - Radius

Fall Pizza - Radius

Beet Risotto with beet greens, roasted golden beets, and whipped goat cheese - Birch & Barley

Tagliatelle with braised rabbit, carrots, and ricotta - Birch & Barley

Winter Squash Arrancini - Churchkey

Sauteed Yukon Gold Gnnocchi with mushrooms, corn, green beans, and parmesan - Proof

Hush Puppies with honey butter - Sou'Wester

Toscano Sandwich (pork shoulder, broccoli rabe, provolone) - Toscana Cafe

Anchovies with roasted peanuts and hot peppers - Sichuan Pavilion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...