2015 was the year of breakfast, lunch and dinner tacos. Lukas and I filled corn and flour tortillas with varying combinations of scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, flank steak, shredded chicken, cilantro-rice, sautéed onions, shallots, mushrooms and sweet peppers, topped with garlicky aioli, creamy homemade guacamole, salsa, and garnished with cilantro from our balcony and splashes of fresh lime juice.
The cast-iron skillet was our best kitchen purchase. Lukas has mastered the art of a “perfect sear” and cooks just about everything from slowly simmered pizza sauce to lamb meatballs to bacon-braised brussels sprouts. We invested in pots, soil, seeds of all kinds and successfully nurtured basil, thai basil, mint, cilantro, rosemary and serrano peppers on our porch. Cooking with the New York Times continues to be our source of some of our favorite recipes: Pad Kee Mao, Coconut Chicken Curry with Cashews and Vietnamese Steak with Cucumber-Radish Salad.
Through both personal and business travel, I’ve been introduced to new local fare and re-acquainted with familiar comforts. Thanks to the urging and ordering by Wenying and Mindy, I tried both lengua (beef tongue) and uni (sea urchin) for the first time in San Francisco, and more recently in New Orleans, fried alligator bites and alligator-andouille sausage. On my food “bucket list”: (1) ate the “finger-licking good” brisket, ribs, and smoked turkey from Franklin Barbecue (2) finally indulged in a bowl of Ippudo NY‘s Akamaru Modern Ramen: an interpretation of the original brine-y tonkotsu broth, topped with a special miso paste, garlic oil and egg (3) drank a Guinness at THE Temple Bar in Dublin, IR (4) discovered that the hype Uchi receives is “the real deal”; call outs for the “Hotate” Spicy Scallop & Avocado, “sear it yourself” diver scallop, and hama chili yellowtail (5) lounged through the five-course Sunday Brunch at The Prudential Center’s Top of the Hub which included assorted pastries, Greek yogurt parfait, shrimp & grits, eggs Benedict, and caramel flan (6) stood in line (it moves quickly) at Café du Monde, one of NOLA’s “must eats” for fluffy, heavily powdered sugar French-style beignets and café au lait.
I’ll admit that I fell behind on documenting the majority of my dining experiences, so here are some highlights and favorites from this past year.
AUSTIN—Dense, savory, and small enough to consume in two to three bites, the sopecitos are a great appetizer at Fonda San Miguel.—Feeling achey or under the weather? Treat yourself to the bouillabaisse at Perla’s feat. a briney-red broth, abundant with large pieces of seafood. Finish off with the Mascapone Panna Cotta.—Handmade pasta (gnocchi or the spaghetti al carbonara) from Vespaio on SoCo is exquisite.—The pork cheek buns at Odd Duck are one of the more creative appetizers of 2015—I’m not super into ordering salads, but the Salade Niçoise at Arro is very well dressed. Also great charcuterie board.—Garbo’s Lobster Rolls are my “home away from home,” basically anything on their menu will satisfy your craving for New England Seafood. Their food truck is regularly out and about downtown and in North Loop.–Consumed everything deep fried, from oreos, to Cuban rolls, and corn dogs at the Texas State Fair.
SAN FRANCISCO—From a non-donut person, to a donut person: the donuts at Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop are worth the wait.—Find Peruvian yucca fries, ceviche, rotisserie chicken and lengua at Limon Rotisserie. Be sure to finish off with their chocolate bandido AND panna cotta mango.—While I can’t recall the specific dishes we ate, my SF-Facebook-family introduced me to the bold and unique flavors of Burmese cuisine at Burma Love.—The tap list at Gestalt is fantastic, remember cash only.—Try out the Prosciutto Pie or Funghi from Pizza Delfina.—Bao buns, crab cakes and Blue Bottle iced coffee at the Ferry Building. Have them all.—Papaya salad at Thai Cottage, again, not a salad person, but this is one that is a great introduction to green curry and pad thai.—Cool down with creamiest ice cream at Smitten. Salted caramel is my favorite.
NEW YORK—Deviled eggs at Root & Bone.—All of the chopping boards, pastas, meat entrees at Crispin’s.—Fancy up for the Eloise Afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel.— Big Eye Tuna Tarts at Bondst feat. Creamy Ponzu, White Truffle Oil, Micro Shiso, aka the most amazing umami experience.—Late night grub from Artichoke Pizza.—Really amazing ambiance and overall dining experience at TAO.
MYKONOS |VOLOS, GREECE—When I go back to Mykonos, the first thing I plan to order are the seafood puffs and calamari pesto from Salparo.—Gyros and Greek salad. Orders of one, two, three, four please. Anywhere, all the time.—White truffle risotto with mussels from this place I can only recall from the repeated steps we took to and from our hotel.–“Ena espresso metrio, se para kalo,” (an iced espresso, medium sugar, please.)
Thanks to my family, friends, and co-workers for being great company and indulging in all the noms! Here’s to new and exciting noms in 2016!