the top ten things I ate in 2011

2011 has definitely been a year of good eats for me.  Hitting two restaurants from my bucket list, Alinea and Tru, were the highlights and the food did not disappoint.  Throughout the year, though, there were many surprises.  Below is my list of the best of what was on g-fork’s plate this year (and in no particular order).

#19 - best sandwich ever.

  • #19 at Langer’s Delicatessen in Los Angeles.  Juicy and tender pastrami, house-made cole slaw, and swiss cheese is heaven on rye.

 

 

 

 

 

Elvis would've loved this.

  • Memphis Mafia from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland.  A banana fritter topped with chocolate chips, chocolate, peanuts and peanut butter.  Totally awesome, dude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best plate o' potatoes anywhere.

  • Hash browns at Pine State Biscuits in Portland.  I came for the fried chicken and biscuits, but fell in love with the hash browns.  Best ever.  Perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside.  This is how hash browns should taste.  Always.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Gyoza at Ramen Yamadaya in Culver City.  This newbie location came recommended by food god, Jonathan Gold.  The ramen was one of the best I’ve had, but the gyoza was THE best I’ve ever eaten.  Think pan-fried, pork filled soup dumpling – a taste explosion in your mouth.   Sorry, no photo.

 

The Darth Vader of pizza ovens at Cupola.

  • Bianca pizza from Cupola Pizzeria in San Francisco.  The perfect pizza for me – tomato-less, with pecorino, fresh basil, garlic and lardo.  A damn fine pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My death row last meal.

  • Spoonful of Happiness at Koo in San Francisco.  It is exactly that – a spoonful of uni, quail egg, tobiko ponzu and a spoonful of ankimo wrapped with whitefish, white truffle-oil ponzu & a shot of chilled sake.  This is so delectable, it gives me the giggles every time I have it.

 

 

 

Lobster and cheese. The perfect combo.

  • Lobster mac and cheese at Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica.  Crunchy, creamy, lobstery, cheesy = the ultimate g-fork dish.

 

 

 

 

 

A breathtaking presentation.

  • Salmon at TRU in Chicago.  Scottish salmon cooked sous-vide, seared and topped with sorrel and smoked cream, on a bed of pea purée and grapeseed oil.  This dish was not only beautiful to look at, but absolutely delightful to eat.

 

 

 

 

I will take this over a chocolate truffle any day.

  • Black Truffle Explosion at Alinea in Chicago.  One of Grant Achatz’s signature dishes, this was one of 20+ plates presented during the night.  A ravioli stuffed with reduced and gelled truffle juice and butter, topped with a razor-thin black truffle slice, crispy romaine and Parmesan.

 

 

 

A finger-lickin' good tuna s'wich.

  • Seared ahi sandwich from Naked Lunch in San Francisco.  Chef Ian knows how to make a sandwich but this blew me away.  Tombo ahi with a soft fried egg, pea shoots, avocado and garlic aioli.  I can’t have a tuna sandwich now, any other way.

 

 

 

Honorable mentions: Pork ramen with brussels sprouts at Hapa Ramen in San Francisco; Salmon bite at Txoko in San Francisco; Soft shell crab sandwich from Naked Lunch in San Francisco; Caramelized carrot cake with pea ice cream at TRU in Chicago; Chocolate and peanut butter nougats, blueberries, crème brûlée, fresh basil, honey, chocolate sauce served on the tabletop at Alinea in Chicago.
Onward to 2012!
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