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Best Dishes of 2006


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It's December now and time for annual traditions. The malls are decorated with lights and garland. Rudolph has already been on TV. The neighbors all have giant inflatable reindeer and snowmen in the yard (at least out in the 'burbs).

And every media outlet in the land is spitting out their best-of-2005 lists. Why should they have all the fun?

This is a tradition. And amongst this group we should be able to come up with a pretty definitive list.

These are the plates you’ll remember until your dying day. Or at least well into January 2006.

What sent you overboard in 2006? These come to mind for me as being "most memorable" though there are many others.

Roast pigs at the dr.com Fall picnic post-46-1165673863_thumb.jpg mkyte's bacon buns, and JoeH's shrimp

and the lobster burger at Citronelle: post-46-1165674024_thumb.jpg (photo of the next-day leftovers, so the bun is not as robust as when it arrived on the table.)

Pisco Sour shots at the PX.

Four schpreads on bread at Rays the Classics, and the veal chop.

Apricot ice cream at Blue Duck Tavern.

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My menu multi-course (and multi-city) menu:

Prosciutto with olive oil and chestnuts at Delfina in SF.

Seared Scallop with cauliflower puree at Redd in Yountville.

Bigoli with Maine lobster at Spiaggia in Chicago.

Suckling pig at Komi (highlight of the year)!

Manchego flan at Coi in SF.

Good food year!

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Anywhere:

Tie: Bistecca Fiorentina at Mario in Firenze and Fried Artichokes at Il Pozzo in Sant'Angelo in Colle

DC:

A plate of perfectly spicy Dried Fried Beef at Joe's Noodle House that caused halucinations!

Raw Scallop with Yuzu & salt at Courderoy

Steamed Pork Belly, oyster, cabbage at Yechon

At Dino:

Homecured Pancetta alla "Sauris", Tongue & Cotecchino with 3 cheese polenta

Veal Cheeks

Guffanti Robiola Incavolata

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The pork at the fall picnic, most definitely :P

The biscuits at the DR.com dinner at Circle Bistro

Sausage biscuits at RTC

Lamb and Moussaka at Komi

Pasta e Fagioli at Bebo

That wonderful ham Rissa was bringing out at Corduroy this summer

And, to round out my list...a really delightful charcuterie and cheese board at Sonoma one night when I was dining alone. It's rare for me to think of a meal alone as being spectacular, but that still lingers in my mind months later.

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Lamb with goat cheese ravioli from Corduroy

Butter poached lobster from Eve

Hanger steak from Ray's

Roast chicken from Palena

Because these are the dishes I took for granted while living in DC. I could have them more or less any time I wanted. While I knew they were great, I just didn't realize how amazing it is to have this level of excellent everyday potential. The ones I dreamt about during the nights leading up to my trips to DC. The ones that have me keeping a very close watch on my calendar until my end of January trip.

And the veal cheeks at Cuvee in New Orleans.

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Taglietelle with goat ragu at Komi

Veal Cheek Chips at PS7

Shrimp Tartare at Corduroy

Pan Fried Beef Bun at A&J

Chicken in a spicy cilantro sauce at Passage to India

Hanger steak at Ray's The Classics

and finally my weekly regular #12 at Pho 75

RIP - Ray's sausage biscuits.

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In reviewing the year for this I realized that I didn't do as good a job as I had in the past of documenting my meals. That's a shame because it would have made it easier to bring back some of the good memories and make them more vivid.

But here is the list I pulled together:

In DC:

Cracker Crusted Pork Chop at Majestic Cafe

Corn Flour Waffle at Colorado Kitchen

Shorshe Bata Maachh (Mustard Fish) at the DR.com Passage to India Dinner

Corn Ice Cream at Black’s

BDT Triple Fries at Blue Duck Tavern

Carnaroli Risotto of Organic Beets, Pipe Dreams Farms Goat Cheese at the DR.com Circle Bistro Dinner

Cod and Fried Snickers (after they added the dusting of sugar) at Eamonn’s

On the road:

Pork Belly with sweet chili glaze at Cuvee in New Orleans

Blackened Louisiana Drum at K Paul's in New Orleans

Bisteeya at Aziza in San Francisco

Beef Roasted in its own fat, Abalone (can’t remember the preparation), Red Pepper Gelee / Black Olive Madeline and Strawberry Gelee / Chocolate Madeline at Manresa in Los Gatos, CA.

“Hot Potato / Cold Potato” - Cold potato soup served with a hot potato ball, a sliver of truffle and a petite cube of butter at Alinea in Chicago

Chorizo and Manchego cheese omelet at the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, WY

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Hmm.

Locally:

Venison and veal dishes at Vidalia

Red snapper bisque at Corduroy (and Rissa's ham!)

Fried green tomato BLT at Saint-Ex

Veal cheek chips at PS7's

Tripe at Lucky Three

Pho at Pho Thang Long and Pho 75

Anchovies at 2 Amys

Crab cake at Faidley's

Crabs at Cantler's

Afield:

Oyster and artichoke soup and crabmeat sardou at Galatoire's

Shrimp and mirliton napoleon (again) at Cuvee

Shrimp omelet (again) at Elizabeth's

Oyster po-boy (again) at Domilise's

Cheeseburger (again) at Port of Call

Pork liver pate at Joostenberg in Paarl

Lamb sausages at Borough Market in London

South African lobster tail (matched with a pinot noir!) at Jiko in Orlando

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Oooh, easy! The butter-poached lobster with a ginger-vanilla sauce and baby carrots (yes, even with the carrots) at Eve. I actually dreamed about this dish after I had it.

Also, the elk we had at our wedding in Santa Fe -- elk with fresh goat cheese and pistachios. Yum. Plus, the birthday cake we had made for Tripewriter's mom, which I think was actually even better than the wedding cake! It was an angel food cake that tasted as rich as a pound cake and had a fabulous lemon glaze. It was served with berries that the GM of the restaurant got fresh from the market that morning and with fresh whipped cream. I can honestly say that I have NEVER -- not even from the bush in the back yard of the home I grew up in -- had blackberries that were that good. Now I'll be salivating all day thinking of them, but it was worth it :P

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2 Amys special pizza with yellow sauce, yellow tomatoes, zucchini blossoms and buffalo mozzarella

Cream puffs from Beard Papa in SF

Goat cheese amuse bouche at Vidalia

Soft shell crab at Corduroy

Dim sum at Mark's Duck House the weekend before they went on vacation this summer

Potato croquettes at Bouchon in Vegas

from my kitchen:

galbi

roast duck

pretty much anything from my aunt's kitchen or any meat my dad makes

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Lobster, beet, and truffle salad at Palena

Risi Bisi at Palena

Lobster on my deck

Marrow on Mushrooms at RTC

BLT orgy at friend's house

Cotton candy topped cupcake from ShoeBox Oven

Cauliflower panna cotta with quail egg at Komi

(Compiled by going through my posts from the past year while stuck babysitting the in school suspension room. It was a great way to kill an hour :P

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Chutny Ni Murgi and Chicken Makhani at Passage to India

#12 at Pho 75

Tenderloin tips special at Samantha's

Lamb Vindaloo at Heritage India

Green Chicken Masala at Rasika

Ped pad ke prao at Ruan Thai

Carne Guisada at La Bamba--for me, the ultimate comfort food (cheap and satisfying)

Mushroom pasta at Dino

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Maryland Fried Chicken (Ray's the Classic's)

Chestnut Soup with Pig's Ears filled with Sausage, Sweetbreads and Pancetta (Bebo Trattoria)

Roasted Wild Alaskan Halibut, Fresh Corn Polenta, Chesapeake Crab, Basil (Circle Bistro)

Wild Mushroom Lasagna, Fontina, Braised Leeks (Restaurant Kolumbia)

Pig from the DR.com picnic (Team Stachowski and Team Wabeck)

French Madrange Ham on Baguette with Sweet Butter and Swiss (Breadline)

Pork shoulder sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone (Galileo Grill)

Jamon, cut by Certified Cortador Rissa (Corduroy)

Niman Ranch Braised Pork Cheek with Black Truffle and Egg Noodle (Corduroy)

Mama’s Special Dumplings (China Bistro)

Veal Cheek Chips (P.S. 7’s)

Tempura Roasted Banana with homemade key lime ice cream, graham crumbs & caramel sauce (Grapeseed)

Toro sashimi (Kotobuki)

Yu-Shiang Pork-Home Style (Joe’s Noodle)

Cumin Lamb (China Canteen)

Bufala mozzarella with red onion, oranges, Castelvetrano olives, mint, sea salt and EVOO (Centro)

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I had a pavlovian response to reading your answers.

Between mock service dinners, those exciting times when I eat for leisure purposes and my travels this year, I'm excited to respond.

Best dishes of 2006:

  1. anything that came with the barbecue sweet corn grits from Blue Duck Tavern. Those grits are like crack. Who needs a main entree!
  2. practically swimming selection of fresh fish carpaccio at D'acqua (yup - mock service last week go go go - order osso bucco or fresh fish)
  3. duck breast w/wild mushroom fondue at Black's Bar & Kitchen
  4. Rum-soaked marlin tacos at Delacosta (Chicago)
  5. Wild Mushroom ravioli with champagne cream sauce at Il Mulino (Chicago)
  6. Buffalo sliders & Polenta Fries at Aspen (NYC)
  7. Braised short ribs covered in hudson valley fg at The Odeon (NYC)
  8. and just yesterday...My mom's homemade rockfish stew, made with fish caught that morning by my dad, with a side of Smithfield Ham biscuits (Portsmouth, VA)

Happy New Year everyone and cheers to great dining in 2007!

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sheep milk raviolini with peas in morel cream sauce (Notti Bianchi)

red snapper served with a compote of tomato, red pepper, black olive, and fennel three ways: braised shreds, puree, and tart tatain (Au Cinquieme Peche, Montreal)

strawberries and raw milk cheeses (Marche Jean-Talon, Montreal)

hanger steak (RTS and RTC)

bratwurst in sauerkraut (Blue Duck Tavern)

bacon, egg, and cheese salad and kabocha squash soup (Restuarant Eve)

72 hour capretto (Komi)

any gnocchi dish by Frank Ruta (Palena)

spicy beef noodle soup Szechuan style (A&J)

negroni and el diablo (or just about anything made by Chris Cunningham) (Dino)

cappelletti in brodo (maison Miller)

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In DC:

-My parents' cooking, especially my dad's.

-Anything at Palena. I know, I'm a sucker.

-Any banh hoi dish at Huong Viet in Eden Center, especially the grilled pork. Oh yeah. Pork fat.

-The ca phe su da at Song Que in Eden Center. (I know, it's a drink...)

In NYC:

-Fried dumplings at Shanghai Tide in Flushing. Best.EVER.

-Burger at Peter Luger's (if I worked on Wall Street, I would've gotten the steak instead.)

-Pastries at Financier

-Anything on the menu at Cafe D'Alsace

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Michel Richard's Begula pasta - I know, but it was the first time I'd had it

Roasted marrow (Blue Duck)

Hangar Steak (RTC)

Peruvian seafood stew (BlackSalt)

Scottish langoustines (Maestro)

Sweetbreads (Restaurant Eve)

Icelandic lamb (from Whole Foods, cooked at home, except for the one time I overcooked it)

My mother-in-law's jiaozi and congyoubing (scallion pancakes), rivaled only by those at A&J

Pommes souflées at a smoky bistro near Les Halles in Paris

Macarons au chocolat from Paul in Paris

Pain de compagne from the little boulangerie next to the famous patisserie (Stohrer) in Paris, a couple blocks north of Forum des Halles

The Crèpes à Nutella my 6-year-old daughter ate in Paris, for the sheer joy on her face and the way she wore it

(In short, anything in France ..... )

"Pud" with Taylor's 20-year-old tawny port

Almond tart, with Taylor's 40-year-old tawny port, at Quinta da Vargellas in the Douro, by the pool, at midnight after treading grapes on the last day of harvest (but that's another story ...)

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