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Post your ten best of 2007!

Post your ten best of 2007!
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  • Post your ten best of 2007!

    Post #1 - December 31st, 2007, 6:41 pm
    Post #1 - December 31st, 2007, 6:41 pm Post #1 - December 31st, 2007, 6:41 pm
    Top Ten For 2007

    Another year expires, and so begins the annual ritual of the ten best list. Note that mine is generally restricted to things I had for the first time this year, and to single items, not entire meals or restaurants, though as you'll see, I break this rule when I feel like it. Still, it's very much about foods, not places or experiences, that wowed me.

    Two years ago at this time I made a resolution:

    Eat at more two and three star-type restaurants. Not that there's anything wrong with how 2005 worked out (a couple of four-star excursions and a lot of cheap eats), or why (gotta feed the kids, too). But I started out the year sort of down on the idea of prefab upscaleness, and I don't think that's wrong-- De Cero still seems a fundamentally misconceived restaurant in a city of great Mexican, for instance. Yet the upper-middle-scale meals I did have (Volo, Sweets and Savories, Thyme Cafe, Scylla, etc.) were generally impressive (even if I sometimes gagged on the 'tude, as at Scylla).


    I have to say that my interest in checking off the new hotspots really sagged in the last year. Partly it's that it's a hassle with kids (or rather, to find a way to be without kids), but there's also just the fact that most of the meals I had like this-- Scylla again, Sola, The Gage, Hot Chocolate, Anteprima, Azucar!, Trattoria Trullo, Bonsoiree, Powerhouse-- didn't make me dance in my seat. (Admittedly, not a list of the very most admired new places, but a reasonable cross-section of the midrange-- and plenty of them turn up on Time Out's end of the year list, for one.) My attitude on semi-fine dining now is better summed up by this passage in our discussion of the interview with chefs in Chicago mag:

    To me, the least interesting possible restaurant in the world is a two-star restaurant. One star is Kuma's, you walk into a bar and are quite happily surprised by the quality of the food. Four stars is Alinea, genuine greatness, three stars is Follia, a place that has some definite spots of excellence. But what's two stars? A place that aims to be top drawer, charges the same prices as three stars, but then fails to deliver, fails to satisfy. It's the middle of the traditional scale but for me it's rock bottom, a place that charged me enough that I'm going to grumble about it, without exciting me. So give me low-rent discoveries, give me high-rent marvels, but spare me the mediocre middle of quality food done passably well but no better-- for too much money.


    Instead, a lot of my energy that might have been spent making sure I got out to Brasserie Ruhlmann or Aigre Doux or Sepia or Holy Shit Oprah's Chef Opened a Restaurant Let's Line Up Like the Lemmings We Are And Obey Her Every Command was instead spent cooking at home. My success in making my own bacon got me motivated enough to try to master fried chicken, to follow Jamieson22 and Bill/SFNM and especially Extramsg's lead in making pastrami, in making such exotica as guanciale from hog jowls and lardo from backfat, in baking bread. Not to mention all manner of pies, ice cream, Spanish food, latkes and who knows what all. So where my list has gone down in overall number of restaurant standouts, it's gone up in things I crafted myself (or someone else did) and which satisfied far beyond the latest heirloom miso-wrapped Atlantic cod in a heritage banana-mungbean infusion with aboriginal rosemary-prune gelee.

    And so with no further self-indulgent rambling, on to the list:

    10. Brined pork chop at Gioco. One of the upscalish meals I had the most modest expectations for turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises. And while we're eating meat on the near South Side, let's give a shout to Manny's Roumanian Skirt Steak.

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    9. Off-menu chartreuse-gin-and-tonic drink invented by bartender Kyle at The Violet Hour.

    8. Home-cured pastrami. On the left, Extramsg's extremely refined and well-balanced exemplar, on the right, my own first try which, if not so perfect, had all the pleasing qualities of a homemade product that turned out well and was eaten the instant it was ready.

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    7. Pot roast sandwich, among many other delicious old school things, at Depot Diner.

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    6. Chicken crack at Lao Sze Chuan. It's taken me years to finally be won over to LSC, but the 3-chili chicken, aka chicken crack, did it.

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    Photo: G Wiv

    5. Pasticceria Natalina. Thank you for just being.

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    4. Chipotle sausage at Louie Mueller's in Taylor, Texas:

    Image Image

    here at last was a beef sausage which justified the species, a little more finely ground than the hamburger tubes I'd had elsewhere, yet still ground beefy, but with a buttery mouthfeel at the same time, the regular was very good, the chipotle was sublime, piquantly spicy, robustly meaty, bursting in the mouth with luminous heat. I knew at last why Louie Mueller's made beef sausage, although I still didn't know why anyone else bothered.


    3. Cauliflower soup with guanciale at Timo, and more generally, Timo and Baccala:

    Image
    Lamb tongue at Baccala, photo by G Wiv

    In a city of restaurant concepts, most of which are more flash than pan, there was one concept this year which stood out-- so far out, in fact, that it was probably doomed from the start. The concept was Baccala, John Bubala's restaurant devoted to an earthier, non-sanitized-and-yuppified cuisine along the lines of Fergus Henderson's great book The Whole Beast. Forget anonymous chicken breastlets and farm-raised styrofish, here was a restaurant returning to old European traditions of finding the extraordinary (and often strong and strange) flavor in cast-off parts. Not everything I had at Baccala was wonderful, in fact no dish beat the best thing I had at its sibling Timo a few weeks ago, which is why it's listed above-- but all of it was new in a way that the novel combinations at hotspots rarely are, and I would have really enjoyed returning a few times a year to see where this devotion to the old made new again would have led.

    Alas, Baccala not only didn't make it in Hipper Park, but Timo is closing its doors tonight as well. So the least I can do is salute them both on their way out, for having pursued an honestly high-quality and authentic cuisine on a restaurant scene full of flash and filigree.

    2. Spanish party at my house, which was the scene of many marvelous things, nearly all better and more authentic than any food I've had in Spanish restaurants here. But pride of place went to Pigmon and Trixie-Pea's squid ink black rice:

    Image Image Image

    Complex, briny, nutty, squiddy, one of the best cooked-at-home things I've ever had. Oh, and if I do say so myself, my desserts were pretty fantastic too:

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    Peach-mint sorbet, chocolate with salt and olive oil, rosemary saffron-cream tart. And then there was Gypsy Boy's PX 1971 sherry, and the roasted pimentons, and...

    1. Cal Pep, Barcelona.

    Image Image Image

    I had a couple of very good meals in Madrid-- a top-five-steaks-of-my-life at Julian de Tolosa, tapas from Txakoli, etc.-- but my great meal in Spain was my one meal in Barcelona, at the famous, but believe the hype, lunch counter extraordinaire Cal Pep. In a bustling, Billy Goatesque atmosphere, plate after plate of seafood fresh from the sea, cooked simply but with an unerring sense of the absolute best thing you could do to a particular item to make it sing, wowed me with things you'll never ever see here, no matter how hip and happenin' Spanish food becomes in the US.

    When the founders of LTHForum were asked by Mike Nagrant in the Hungry Magazine podcast if we believed it was possible to recreate any cuisine in a city like Chicago, my answer was that it was nearly possible-- but at the same time I actually thought it was a good thing that it wasn't 100% possible, because then what would be the point of travel? A meal like Cal Pep reminds you just how different other cultures' approach to food can be, and how wonderful that can be when it comes organically out of a region's natural bounty, and how there are just certain ways of eating that will never make commercial sense in a completely different culture-- so you'll just have to go there to know.

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    So that's my ten best list. Year's end being a time for taking stock, looking forward and all that, it's the appropriate time to say that my involvement with LTHForum is being reduced as the site evolves. I expect to still post and to participate in the social life of the community which is, I think, by far the greatest benefit of LTHForum's existence, but for various reasons I will no longer devote the enormous amount of volunteer time I have put into the site in return for nothing more than the pleasure of your company-- and my own delight in having built this site and this community as much as anyone here, I think I can say fairly (and without false modesty). Though I may well be visible in other ways on the Chicago food (and communicating about food) scene in the months and years to come. Thank you all for a wonderful three and a half years, especially my fellow founders and moderators Aaron, Cathy, Dave, Gary, and Michael, and I will be interested to see where it goes from here.

    * * *

    LTHers' ten best lists: 2006 2005 2004
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  • Post #2 - January 1st, 2008, 3:18 pm
    Post #2 - January 1st, 2008, 3:18 pm Post #2 - January 1st, 2008, 3:18 pm
    Here's my third annual Top Ten LTH-based Discoveries list. Places I learned about on LTH and tried for the first time this year.

    10. Bismillah: The aroma of those fresh breads is intoxicating
    9. Kang Nam: Dolsot bi bim bap was as crispy and flavorful as promised
    8. Xni-Pec: Perhaps the finest illustration of the wonder of LTH
    7. Sheba: My new favorite for Ethiopian in Chicago
    6. Great Sea: Mmmm...wings
    5. Taste of Lebanon: I've enjoyed everything I've tried here, but the lentil soup is a revelation
    4. Sol de Mexico: I was way behind the times in trying SdM, but better late than never. What a fantastic restaurant!
    3. Pasticceria Natalina: Just sensational
    2. Green City Market Chefs' Summer BBQ Festival: Been said before, I'll say it again--the real Taste of Chicago.
    1. Cafe Salamera: Ah, the whirlwind romance, she came into my life one minute, gone the next, never to be forgotten.

    Honorable Mentions: La Unica, Memphis Jack's BBQ, Kuma's, Khan BBQ, Nazarlik, Taqueria Tayahua, Casa De Isaac, Anteprima, Delisi's, Harold's/Rogers Park, Thai Pastry, Afghan Restaurant, La Cazuela, Las Islas Marias, Icosium Cafe, Hoanh Long, Usmania, Tanoshii

    "My" LTH discoveries this year received a range of responses from adulation to polite silence: Nhu Lan, Old Town Oil, D'Candela, Sabai-dee, Uncle's Kabob

    For 2008: Well, I've only tried 48 of the 81 GNR's so there's a lot of work to do!

    Thanks LTHers for another great gastronomic year!
  • Post #3 - January 1st, 2008, 4:05 pm
    Post #3 - January 1st, 2008, 4:05 pm Post #3 - January 1st, 2008, 4:05 pm
    Since applying rankings to the many Proustian moments of culinary revelation this year would be a painful process, here is a loose affiliation* of millionaires and billionaires and baby:

    Handcrafted

    - Kennyz's tomato tartlets at the LTH picnic

    - Swedish kottbullar 'old country' style with fresh grated nutmeg on buttered noodles by the mom-in-law, St. Paul, MN.

    - Bucatini alla Amatriciana with La Quercia guanciale from Panozzo's (thanks be Antonius) with imported pecorino and some heat-level tweaking with self-made giardiniera and crushed peppercorns. I'm sure Mike G's guanciale would have made this even better (you can ship to me anytime, Mike).


    Out

    - Yob and Lagunitas Brown Shugga at Kuma's

    - The very first bite of panuchos at Xni-Pec, under Antonio's expectant gaze, dipping the perfectly fried masa into the recado rojo and crispy chicken skin-rich broth, knocked back with a tangy hand-mixed Tecate michelada, the first of about 16 visits the latter half of the year

    - Rib tips and links with fries dog-paddling in oil from Uncle John's, on the counter between crrush and G Wiv at about 11 PM after already being full from Seoul Corea yukgae jang and tonkatsu

    - burnt ends of brisket at Honky Tonk, my new favorite stop on the way home from work

    - inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of YourPalWill, the Santander Special at CoalFire

    - carne en su jugo at Tio Luis on a chilly night

    - summer saffron noodles with lemon, squid, and kalamata olives at Avec, with a (cough) liberal sprinkling of chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates

    - Moto's "Battleship" pork under a caramel apple, with sage-entwined utensils and a chipped-ice pear and apple club soda

    - Gaetano DiBenedetto's several attempts to kill us with extra courses, explained in person with a huge smile and tableside drizzle of saba or aged olive oil, at La Piazza

    - a That's-A-Burger, two patties, jalapenos, bacon, giardiniera, grilled onions, enjoyed carside on East 71st**


    Farther Out

    - peppercorn petit fillet and walleye almondine duo at The Lexington ( http://www.the-lexington.com/), St. Paul's analog to The Berghoff, accompanied by a deadly spot-on Caesar

    - a monolithic pork shoulder with flavors from Guerrero, including elote, queso de cabra, shaved jalapeno, cilantro, and red pepper puree, at the Mill City Cafe ( http://www.millcitycafe.com/), Minneapolis, with a Surly CynicAle (a revelation!)

    - ginger, garlic, and pumpkin soup with scotch bonnet puree and brown bread, Asa Wright Nature Center, Trinidad, washed down with a fresh lemon, lime, and bitters, which Angostura makes just down the road. After this and a late-morning nap, we even spotted our elusive ruby-topaz hummingbird right from the verandah!


    Favorite meal at which I was not present

    Lucubrations on innards, medicine, and cephalopods by happy_stomach and new forum favorite mama happy_stomach at Sun Wah:
    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... c&start=30

    *Paul Simon, The Boy in the Bubble, Graceland, 1986

    **LTH rocks my world - I am in debt to the collective. Happy 2008!
  • Post #4 - January 1st, 2008, 4:32 pm
    Post #4 - January 1st, 2008, 4:32 pm Post #4 - January 1st, 2008, 4:32 pm
    For me, this hasn't been a terribly diverse dining year. I think most new restaurants I tried disappointed more than excited. So here's my list, in no particular order:

    1. Pizza: Coalfire (Fiorentino) and Margherita (Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles). And a shoutout to the perfect arancine at Pizzeria Mozza - so simple, yet so hard to get right.

    2. My own Salt-Baked Pork in Adobo from The New Spanish Table cookbook. The smell in my kitchen while it was roasting was amazing. Deceptively easy to pull off for a dinner with friends.

    3. Pastrami sandwich at the Rascal House in Miami. [Edited to reflect that restaurant did not close after all.]

    4. Burger at 25 Degrees in Los Angeles.

    5. Salt-baked chicken at Evergreen (Chicago). Not my favorite place in Chinatown, but my friends really like it. Prior meals there have been meh. But this one night I was there, however (under partial duress), the food coming out of the kitchen was incredible. New cook, perhaps? Dunno. But the salt-baked chicken was the closest I've had to calling something chicken crack. Shows that you can be pleasantly surprised if your expectations are low going in. :)

    6. The Dark and Stormy cocktail at The Violet Hour. Or maybe any cocktail there. Special kudos to the Negroni at RL, always a well-done classic there.

    7. Rib-eye steak at The Journeyman Cafe, Fennville, Michigan. How good eating sustainable, grass-fed and locally raised meat can be. And feel.

    8. My own key lime ice cream, made on Superbowl Sunday in a loose homage to the town where it was happening. The ice cream was good; the game not so much. :cry:

    9. Crescenza cheese ravioli with shaved white truffle at Spiaggia. It better be on my top ten list. I paid $107.00 for it. :roll:

    10. I'll give good salads some love. The escarole salad this spring at Avec and West Town Tavern's wilted greens salad both give salads a good name.

    My resolution for 2008: To get out of my neighborhood! I really need to put more effort into trying places that are in different neighborhoods -- especially ethnically rich neighborhoods. Even if that means taking more time to get there, it will be worth it in experience.
    Last edited by aschie30 on January 6th, 2008, 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #5 - January 1st, 2008, 5:05 pm
    Post #5 - January 1st, 2008, 5:05 pm Post #5 - January 1st, 2008, 5:05 pm
    Two of my top ten come from what was easily my favorite food-day of 2007: the LTH Picnic. My favorite regional cuisine is easily detected from this list as well. Thank you, Chicago, for having some of the best Mexican food in the world! And thank you, LTH for helping me find much of it!

    10. Mole sampler at Sol de Mexico

    9. Thick-cut, bone-in, cider-brined pork chop served medium rare at The Linkery in San Diego (much thanks to Aaron Deacon for mention of this place in another thread.

    8. Simple yet intensely flavored vegetable consomme with enoki mushrooms at Bon Soiree

    7. Ronnie Suburban's homemade pate at the LTH picnic.

    6. Gwiv's buttermilk brined chicken at the LTH picnic.

    5. Turkey leg braised in white wine and preserved lemon on Thanksgiving day at Rick's Cafe.

    4. Chiles en nogada at Mundial Cocina Mestiza

    3. Chiles rellenos at Frontera Grill (I've tried many times and failed to get even close to the pillowy texture that Bayless et al are able to consistently produce in the batter that coats these amazing fried poblanos.

    2. Wild boar cannelloni in walnut bechamel last week at Avec (I had this two nights in a row, and it was very hard not to return for a third. This dish is truly a marvel.)

    1. Flor de calabaza quesadilla at the Bazaar Sábado in Mexico City
  • Post #6 - January 1st, 2008, 6:21 pm
    Post #6 - January 1st, 2008, 6:21 pm Post #6 - January 1st, 2008, 6:21 pm
    Off-menu chartreuse-gin-and-tonic drink invented


    Did they use the Fevertree tonic? That stuff is absolutely awesome. I used it to make a signature drink for a benefit earlier this year with North Shore Distillery's Limited Edition Rhuginger. Absolutely awesome.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #7 - January 1st, 2008, 6:27 pm
    Post #7 - January 1st, 2008, 6:27 pm Post #7 - January 1st, 2008, 6:27 pm
    In no particular order, my best dishes/meals of 2007...

    1. Jean-George's Lagoon Restaurant (Bora Bora) - Good food, but an unbeatable setting

    2. Alinea - 34 courses for a 34th birthday celebration

    3. Sun Wah - So much pork...so delicious. I'm also a little obsessed with the salt-baked chicken

    4. Avenues - NYE dinner last night

    5. Sushi Yasuda (NYC) - Turned me off of sushi in Chicago for a loooong time

    6. Lunch on a private beach eaten in the surf in Bora Bora - Potentially one of my favorite meals all time

    7. Avec - A lot of good stuff this year...pork shoulder in its various forms, housemade sausage dusted with bacon, braised veal, etc. etc.

    8. Blackbird - Scotch quail egg

    9. Spoon Thai/TAC Quick - Thai fried chicken and all of the other awesomeness at both places

    10. Sweets and Savories - I had a few great meals there this year, but the white truffle dinner was the real standout

    Another great year!
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #8 - January 1st, 2008, 7:38 pm
    Post #8 - January 1st, 2008, 7:38 pm Post #8 - January 1st, 2008, 7:38 pm
    tapler wrote:H
    7. Sheba: My new favorite for Ethiopian in Chicago


    Oh, good -- I'm not alone. I love Sheba.

    Top 10 is hard. Hmmm.

    Alinea, of course.
    And Schwa (that quail egg ravioli was unbelievable, as was the Humbolt Fog cheesecake)
    Flamingo's Seafood
    The Moto "Battle Beet" dinner
    Sheba Cafe
    Le Bouchon
    Andalous

    Out of town, there was Rendezvous in Cambridge, MA, Flatbread Company in Portsmouth, NH, and Pepper's Cafe in Old Mesilla, NM.

    A fair number of dinners at home or at the homes of friends might also be considered, but don't seem to fit this thread.
    Last edited by Cynthia on January 2nd, 2008, 5:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #9 - January 2nd, 2008, 9:48 am
    Post #9 - January 2nd, 2008, 9:48 am Post #9 - January 2nd, 2008, 9:48 am
    My top 10, some new discoveries, some not, in no particular order:

    #1 Saloon Steakhouse the dry aged K.C. Strip was the best steak I have ever eaten.

    #2 Coalfire, the best pizza in Chicago.

    #3 Joes Stone Crab, cant beat prime beef, and fresh stone crabs in my world

    #4 Amanacer Tapatio, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area

    #5 Honey 1, some of the best ribs in the area

    #6 Priscillas Soul Food, I cant get those smothered pork chops out of my mind

    #7 Fabulous Noodles, in my humble opinion, the best Chinese food in the area

    #8 Ron's Cajun Connection, the best cajun food around hands down

    #9 Frontera, my 2nd favorite for Mexican food.

    #10 San Soo Gap San, Korean BBQ, nothing else needs to be said.
  • Post #10 - January 2nd, 2008, 11:32 am
    Post #10 - January 2nd, 2008, 11:32 am Post #10 - January 2nd, 2008, 11:32 am
    When I look back at all my notes from the past year of eating, I'm surprised at how much of it isn't that memorable. This is my third straight year-end list and it was easily the most difficult one to put together (that's part of the reason why 40% of this list is from my trip to Italy). There were a number of disappointments this year from places I had very high hopes for but turned out to be duds or shrugs (Bonsoiree, Aigre Doux, The Gage, a first visit to Merlo, a return to Red Light). Also, there were a number of very good places that I liked, but placement on a "best of" list would feel like grade-inflation to me (Coal Fire, Xni-Pec, my first visit to North Pond). 2007 was a year where most of my eating was done in the middle of the bell-curve, which ain't such a bad thing.

    That being said, here's my top 10 list of things I tasted that were not procured in someone's home:

    10. Naem Pork Ribs Thai Avenue A dish I love, and this was by far the best example I've tasted.
    Image

    9. Paparadelle With Lamb and Juniper Ragu (Il Santo Bevatore, Florence, Italy) A dish I've thought about often since I first tasted it.

    8. Mushroom and Sauerkraut Pierogi (Smak Tak) The best pierogi I've tasted in any restaurant are at Smak Tak, and this is my favorite of their selection of fillings.

    7. Fried Eggplant w/Skorthalia (Central Gyros) Winner of the "Best Alternative to French Fries with a Gyros" award.

    6. Pepper and Garlic Beef (Double Li) A terrific blend of flavors and textures.

    5. Plain Farinata (Streets of Corniglia, Italy) The essence of simple street food.
    Image

    4. Pizza Bianca con Patate(Antico Forno, Rome, Italy) I have a hard time coming up with pizza that I've enjoyed more than this.
    Image

    3. Lemon Pine Nut Coffee Cake (Pasticerria Natalina) It dazzles me that something that looks and sounds so simple can be packed with such surprising flavor.

    2. Coddled egg with Winter Black Truffles, Grilled Bread, and House-Made Country Ham (Vie) I don't think this dish could have been improved upon other than following it up with more of the same.

    1. Fettucini con Pecorino e Guacinale (Trattoria Fabrizio, Trestavere, Rome, Italy) This dish found it's way to my table nearly by accident. We didn't know where to have lunch, but we liked the looks of the chalkboard menu at this unassuming place. I left the pasta choice up to Cookie, who surprisingly chose this dish (it's not something I would have pegged her to select). After a nice round at the antipasti buffet, we were presented with this dish, among the best plates of pasta I've ever tasted:
    Image

    Here's hoping that 2008 is even tastier than 2007.

    Mike G wrote:Year's end being a time for taking stock, looking forward and all that, it's the appropriate time to say that my involvement with LTHForum is being reduced as the site evolves. I expect to still post and to participate in the social life of the community which is, I think, by far the greatest benefit of LTHForum's existence, but for various reasons I will no longer devote the enormous amount of volunteer time I have put into the site in return for nothing more than the pleasure of your company-- and my own delight in having built this site and this community as much as anyone here, I think I can say fairly (and without false modesty). Though I may well be visible in other ways on the Chicago food (and communicating about food) scene in the months and years to come. Thank you all for a wonderful three and a half years, especially my fellow founders and moderators Aaron, Cathy, Dave, Gary, and Michael, and I will be interested to see where it goes from here.


    Thank you for your invaluable contributions to this community, Mike. From the logos to the fantastic April Fool's projects and all the thankless little moderation tasks in between, you've left big shoes to fill.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - January 2nd, 2008, 12:36 pm
    Post #11 - January 2nd, 2008, 12:36 pm Post #11 - January 2nd, 2008, 12:36 pm
    Indecision is clear in my abundant honorable mentions, but with that caveat, here is my '07 list:

    Salads

    Escarole salad with sherry vinaigrette, oregano, pickled shallots, black eyed peas and smoked pork: Avec

    Spring ginger salad with cabbage, carrot, sesame seeds, toasted bean, peanut, lemon juice, and crispy onion: Burma (Washington DC)

    Honorable mention: Grilled romaine salad with purple basil dressing and olives: Timo

    Small Plates

    Patlican salatasi (smoked eggplant, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, roasted red pepper) with homemade Turkish flatbread: Turquoise Cafe

    Hot potato, cold potato with black truffle cream and butter: Alinea

    Espresso and cocoa nib rubbed Heartland Piedmontese ribeye on homemade potato chip with onion marmalade: Uncommon Ground (Green City Market Summer BBQ)

    Fluke sashimi with candied coriander, shallot confit, grapefruit segments, and citrus vinaigrette: Bin 36

    Honorable mention: Rare lamb and braised lamb belly with green curried Israeli cous cous: Schwa

    Entrees

    Lake Superior whitefish with morel mushrooms, dandelion greens, walnuts, and applewood bacon: Lula Cafe

    ‘Chicken under a brick’ with sauteed spinach, pickled onion, garlic olive oil emulsion: Viridian (Washington DC)

    Honorable mentions:
    -Pollo con recado blanco: Xni-Pec
    -Pan seared salmon with herb spaetzle, spring pea puree, and caper créme: Treat
    -Rice noodle bun with grilled chicken: Pho 79 (Minneapolis)

    Sweets

    Apple-celery granita with vanilla panna cotta, black Hawaiian salt, and sugar work: Krause Dining (Lawrence, KS)

    Squash halwa: Sri Ganesh (Lombard)

    Honorable mentions:
    -Banana bread pudding with white chocolate créme anglaise and strawberries: Bonsoiree
    -Hand-dipped mocha shake: Brown Sack
    -Organic vanilla ice cream: Sibby’s (Viroqua, Wisconsin)
  • Post #12 - January 2nd, 2008, 5:02 pm
    Post #12 - January 2nd, 2008, 5:02 pm Post #12 - January 2nd, 2008, 5:02 pm
    2007 was a hallmark year in eating for me. With several fantastic trips, most recently a jaunt to Barcelona, Andalucia, and Portugal, which is proving to have a resounding influence on my understanding of pristinely fresh ingredients prepared in a exquisitely simple way. Compulsive food benders in NYC and San Francisco led me to unexpected places to try new and exciting cuisines of the world. And this forum has helped guide my way through Chicago's vibrant culinary landscape. Also, professionally, my increasing access to ingredients raised lovingly and in old fashioned ways has opened up my practice considerably.
    Not on this list are maybe some of the finer meals that I ate out, the kind of meals where the food is full tilt, yet I am equally absorbed in my company and not in "food dork taking notes and pics of every single dish mode". These are the best meals, a heady synthesis of food, drink, and conversation. I had several of these at Avec and TAC Quick, two of my favorite restaurants. I can remember oven roasted ocean trout with preserved lemons but was it pancetta or guanciale? Also, grilled pork neck, but thats a hard one to forget, since I order it every time. Also, fell in love with the Depot, but its too hard to single out specific meals, since they are all so well crafted and in some way more about people- the staff and my Monday morning crew.
    Here's my list:

    10. Hackpeter at Laschets. A first and a classic for me this year. So succulent and probably the finest use of Maggi seasoning around.

    9. Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Star Farms, Holland, MI Farmer’s Market. I wish I had a pic of these beauties. Four different colors, red, gold, white, and black, each with an astoundingly unique flavor. My kind of candy.

    8. Pollo Frito at Habana Libre. I ate alot of good chicken this year- a revisit of LTH's crispy skin chicken and Khan's chicken boti, of course. However for the tastiest bird in walking distance, I kept going back to this one. Assertive garlic and lemon encrust a snappy crisp skin and super moist flesh- this underdog of a menu item is definitely the showstopper at my favorite consistently good neighborhood haunt.

    7. My own Cochinita Pibil with Xni-pec and Pickled Onion 2007 was a good year for porcine cookery and I- my finest pig roast and some mighty fine cherry wood smoked ribs, but the 40 lbs. of conchinita pibil that I whipped up was the crowning achievement. Full accoutrements also came together nicely I hate to say it, but Xni-Pec’s rendition disappointed me.
    ImageImage

    6. Szechuan Beef and Tripe I’ve liked menudo and certain bowls of pho, but until I had the “guts” to try this dish, I hadn’t ever loved tripe. Now I can’t get enough, I’ve had LSC’s, Spring World’s, Double Li’s, and pictured here from a food stall in Flushing Queens.
    Image

    5. Jamon Iberico Move over Proscuitto di Parma, hit the road Jamon Serrano. The news of the recent lift on the importation ban here of this melt in your mouth ambrosia could not have hit me at a better time than weeks before my recent trip to Spain, where I spent a week like a starving dog hounding out the best of the best pata negra, behold Jamon de Jabugo:
    Image

    4. Grilled Hamachi Jaw at Katsu I had this for the first time this year. It needs no introduction here, but there is something about char grilled fish skin that nails a harmonious sea/land balance. Love digging out the little parcels of flesh off the bone. Also love the simplistic dip of grated daikon and shoyu.

    3. Frango Asado PiriPiri Chicken crack of the chargrilled order. We ate this every night on our recent trip to Portugal. Smoky, spicy, greasy, real bird, food of the people.
    Image

    2. Burmese food at Burma Superstar, San Francisco It is always exciting to try a new cuisine, especially one that riffs off a little bit of one favorite cuisine and a little bit of another. I had to travel to San Francisco to sample this stuff, but it was truly mind-blowing. First the Samusa Soup, a dense rich curry with melt in your mouth bits of samosa-like samusa. Then the Tea Leaf Salad, a joyous composition of textures and flavors bound by the funky aromatic tang of fermented tea leaves. Burma Superstar is a gem.
    ImageImage

    1. Cal Pep, Barcelona, Catalunya I have to swipe this pick off Mike G, but he recommended it and I cannot thank him enough. All sorts of tentacled and antennaed goodies from the deep fried to featherlight perfection and soulful renditions of classic tapas like a bacon flecked tortilla and gutsy Butifarra sausage. One of the finest restaurants on earth.
    ImageImage
    Last edited by Jefe on January 5th, 2008, 11:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #13 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:02 pm
    Post #13 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:02 pm Post #13 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:02 pm
    Unfort. I have no pictures to share (I swear one day im going to have all my one time use digi's developed and upload pic's) but I wanted to share my list again this year.

    10) 30's style burger from dairy queen in Willmette, IL.


    Ive been eating these little things ever since I went to H.S at Loyola in the late 90's and will do so as long as they continue to turn out the perfect fresh ground patty with cheese, chopped onions, mustard and pickle's inside a cheap bun and wrapped in butcher paper or something like that allowing it to steam inside. Awesome.

    9) Egg Roll from Kow Kow in Lincolnwood, IL

    Another rec. found here on the forum all I got when I ordered pick up was three egg roll's and these were far better than any I have come across, they were very tasty.


    8) Carne en su jugo from Los Gallos here in Chicago, IL


    I was made aware of carne en su jugo by the wonderful post by PIGMON here on the forum and ever since it has become one of my favorite bowls of soup and this place has the best I have found thus far. See the post for the most detailed article ever on this wonderful soup.

    7) Mardi Gras combo from New Orleans Takeout in Madison, WI.

    Ive been preaching about this cajun shack on here forever. This was my number one restaurant in the area and it would hang with spots in NO. The mardi gras combo is a plate loaded with Jambalaya, red beans and rice and HOT shrimp creole (for a little extra have him throw on a double order of the smoked sausage) I wish every time I fiend for this place that we had something like it in Chicago. You cant go wrong here everything is good.


    6) The "Woody Allen" sandwich from Carnegie deli at the Mirage, Vegas.


    Like the menu say's "for the dedicated fresser only". This sammy is piled HIGH with corned beef and pastrami, have them throw on some swiss and mustard and you got a must try for any glutton. Dont worry your in the city of sin.

    5) Fried lake perch from Johnson's Fish & Shrimp Lake Station, IN


    I found this place when one summer day when I decided to go from Chicago to Michigan City using side streets and no major highway. Im glad I did because I now stop here all the time when going up to my buddys family lakehouse in Michigan City. They serve fresh hand dipped lake perch with quality you just cant find anywhere in the Chicagoland, I havent been to enough fish shacks world wide but I have been to a few in Florida and Scotland and elsewhere and this place tops them all.

    4) Cuban Sammy's from El Cubanito here in Chicago.

    Having lived in Tampa I always had cravings for the perfect Cuban, one of my favorite style of Sandwich's, but was never able to find a near perfect one, well the time has come. What else can I say this lil sandwich/coffee spot brings me back to all the gems in Tampa and they serve a fine Cuban.

    3) Real deal BBQ ribs and Mississip tamales from Willie's located in Sparland, IL.

    It was a summer day when I was on the road for work and I drove by this shack that rests in an abandoned gas station, from the second I saw it I knew it needed to be tried and so I swerved right and drove in. Am I glad I did because I got to try the best BBQ I encountered in 07 and along with these perfectly smoked spare ribs I was able to try a real delta tamal. Both were up there in the best ribs Ive had category and the tamales might have been the best ever, Im a big fan of this style made with ground beef, cornmeal, perfect spicing and this secret red sauce that was sublime.

    2) 2nd place chili at the Time-Out Chili cookoff (T's Tex-Mex Red)

    What else is there to stay? I got jipped and was denied my 3rd straight title on shady terms. Just ask anyone that was there. Ill be back next year and also downstate in Carbondale for a society sponsered event and im in the developing stages of opening my own spot and yes I only use Gephardt's.

    1) Jerked Pork from Ossie's Smoke Shack (Norman Manley BLVD) in Negril, Jamaica


    It makes the list again and it will continue to make it every year I make to the Jamrock. If anyone is ever in Jamaica and around Negril, this little shack that has sat there since the late 70's slangs the best BBQ I have ever had. Ossie uses what I believe to be country spare ribs with bones (closes thing I use to authenticate jerked pork at home) and marinates them in his extra spicy homemade jerk sauce and then they go onto the grill where they sit about 4-5 feet up from smoking pimiento wood. Once done he throws them on a cutting board and gets to chopping with his machete. It gets no better than this. Trust me.
  • Post #14 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:21 pm
    Post #14 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:21 pm Post #14 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:21 pm
    I would rather name my ten best meals than my ten best dishes. For me, it's hard enough narrowing down the best meals to ten, and each of those had at least several spectacular courses. So, without further ado...

    1. Tallgrass (Lockport IL) - best meal of the year
    2. Avenues (Chicago IL)
    3. one sixtyblue (Chicago IL)
    4. Lola (Cleveland OH)
    5. Everyday People Café (Douglas MI)
    6. Le Bernardin (New York NY)
    7. Oakley's Bistro (Indianapolis IN)
    8. Aigre Doux (Chicago IL)
    9. Margaux (Sheboygan WI)
    10. Vie (Western Springs IL)
  • Post #15 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:49 pm
    Post #15 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:49 pm Post #15 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:49 pm
    Mike G wrote: Year's end being a time for taking stock, looking forward and all that, it's the appropriate time to say that my involvement with LTHForum is being reduced as the site evolves. I expect to still post and to participate in the social life of the community which is, I think, by far the greatest benefit of LTHForum's existence, but for various reasons I will no longer devote the enormous amount of volunteer time I have put into the site in return for nothing more than the pleasure of your company-- and my own delight in having built this site and this community as much as anyone here, I think I can say fairly (and without false modesty). Though I may well be visible in other ways on the Chicago food (and communicating about food) scene in the months and years to come. Thank you all for a wonderful three and a half years, especially my fellow founders and moderators Aaron, Cathy, Dave, Gary, and Michael, and I will be interested to see where it goes from here.


    I'm glad eatchicago picked up on this--talk about burying your lede! I add my thanks for all your incredible contributions and wish you all the best with whatever comes next. I hope we can at least count on you at the next LTH picnic. It wouldn't be the same without you.
  • Post #16 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:55 pm
    Post #16 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:55 pm Post #16 - January 2nd, 2008, 6:55 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:5. Everyday People Café (Douglas MI)


    What a surprise to see this on your list! I love this place. (Incidentally, I spent NYE here.) Do you remember what you ate? (Full disclosure: Through the restaurant, I know the executive chef/owner and the other chef's Dad has refinished my floors.)
  • Post #17 - January 2nd, 2008, 9:18 pm
    Post #17 - January 2nd, 2008, 9:18 pm Post #17 - January 2nd, 2008, 9:18 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    nsxtasy wrote:5. Everyday People Café (Douglas MI)


    What a surprise to see this on your list! I love this place. (Incidentally, I spent NYE here.)

    Obviously, I love it too.

    Were they making an exception to their no-reservations policy for New Year's Eve?

    aschie30 wrote:Do you remember what you ate?

    - Drunken Shrimp Sambuca - savory dusted shrimp, garlic, shallots, sundried tomato, Sambuca, and a touch of cream, over puff pastry

    - Buffalo bacon soup with vegetables and roasted corn (buffalo as in bison, not as in spicy chicken wing sauce)

    - Cocoa Spiced Crusted Duck - coconut scallion corn cake, pan seared breasts, pomegranate syrah reduction

    - Individually baked peach-apricot bread pudding topped with vanilla gelato

    Every single dish was absolutely spectacular, one of those exceptional meals where every bite screams "WOW!". In fact, the duck was the very best duck dish I have ever had in my life. Also the largest portion size - TWO huge breasts.

    Everyday People Café
    11 Center Street
    Douglas, MI 49406
    269.857.4240
  • Post #18 - January 3rd, 2008, 10:53 am
    Post #18 - January 3rd, 2008, 10:53 am Post #18 - January 3rd, 2008, 10:53 am
    Ann Fisher wrote:I'm glad eatchicago picked up on this--talk about burying your lede! I add my thanks for all your incredible contributions and wish you all the best with whatever comes next. I hope we can at least count on you at the next LTH picnic. It wouldn't be the same without you.


    And I'm glad you posted this, Ann - my bleary week-at-home-with-sick-kid self didn't pick up on this in either post.

    Thanks for your contribution, Mike. Volunteering is underrated and very hard work; one perk that beats compensation is doing a job well enough to earn the right to walk away. You've certainly done that - rest assured your efforts have left a humorous, delicious, indelible stamp on this board.

    I look forward to hearing more adventures in pork products and cake.
  • Post #19 - January 3rd, 2008, 11:04 am
    Post #19 - January 3rd, 2008, 11:04 am Post #19 - January 3rd, 2008, 11:04 am
    nsxtasy wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:
    nsxtasy wrote:5. Everyday People Café (Douglas MI)


    What a surprise to see this on your list! I love this place. (Incidentally, I spent NYE here.)

    Obviously, I love it too.

    Were they making an exception to their no-reservations policy for New Year's Eve?


    Yes - they were making an exception, although I didn't make a reservation as I was planning to just take a seat at the bar in the back of the restaurant.
  • Post #20 - January 3rd, 2008, 6:37 pm
    Post #20 - January 3rd, 2008, 6:37 pm Post #20 - January 3rd, 2008, 6:37 pm
    So I have some favorite meals, and some favorite dishes/items...here's what floats to the top in no particular order.

    1. Trattoria Stefano (Sheboygan, WI): penne with lamb ragu (his mom's recipe)
    Image

    2. Avec's chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates in spicy tomato sauce

    3. Sepia's bacon bloody mary alongside peeky toe eggs benedict
    Image
    Image

    4. Boulevard (SF): handmade linguine & oregon white truffles, 62.5 deg. organic free range farm egg, fresh bacon & shaved parmesan (yes, that is ONE appetizer)

    5. Chez Panisse: the whole meal was wonderful - raw oysters with pear cider, baked Bellwether Farm ricotta with herbs & lettuces, grilled Laughing Stock Farm pork roast with winter squash & potato hash, greens & tapenade, and Monterey Bay swordfish roasted in the wood oven with saffron, pine nuts, currants and cauliflower (lunch the day after Christmas)

    6. La Quercia heirloom prosciutto - my step-dad brought a whole one over to our house...friggin' amazing!

    7. Swan Oyster Depot (SF): combo seafood salad with a draft Anchor Steam (after waiting in line for 1 hour in the cold last Friday)
    Image

    8. my GF's homemade paella, including rabbit and my homemade sausage that I smoked prior to adding to the paella
    Image

    9. Honey 1's hot links - at a Syrah tasting at Wine Discount Center in June

    10. My homemade bratwurst for an Oktoberfest party in Sept
    Image

    I am fairly new to LTH, but am enjoying being a part of the forum, and thanks to all for great suggestions and pictures. At the end of January I officially leave the restaurant business (after 20 yrs) and electric-slide into the wine sales business...what goes well with food? why wine of course! :D
    Last edited by wino66 on February 4th, 2008, 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #21 - January 5th, 2008, 1:13 am
    Post #21 - January 5th, 2008, 1:13 am Post #21 - January 5th, 2008, 1:13 am
    Count me among those for whom 2007 was a down year foodwise. Still, a formidable top ten, I think -- random order.


    Image
    Xiao Long Bao
    Ye Shanghai - Hong Kong
    I know Din Tai Fung is technically the better bun, but these are the ones that got me. I've had 'em in Chicago, I've had 'em in New York... why can't anybody get them right? ... (rhetorical question)


    Image
    Minced Fish Salad
    Pho 777 - Chicago
    The first course of Pho 777's eight courses of fish extravaganza, this was special among the Vietnamese salads I've tried. A deft hand or dumb luck, I don't know, but the balance was something beautiful.


    Image
    Gaspé Nova Lox
    Russ & Daughters - New York
    I take issue with the assertion that the only "real delis" are in NYC, but I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that the best ones are. Mellow, smooth and almost like a dairy product. Might as well have been cured salmon butter.


    Image
    Smoked Mullet
    Ted Peters - St. Petersburg
    Big thanks to JeffB for putting me on the right path in what ended up being an awesome two days of eating in Tampa. Sorry, Jeff... the devil crab was delicious and unique, but this was the dish that stole my heart. A fish that tastes like it survived a four alarm fire at the woodchip factory. I mean that in a good way, in case it wasn't clear.


    Image
    Jumbo Lump Crabcake
    Faidley's - Baltimore
    Six months into the two year tour of duty, and Faidley's is my early favorite for best crabcake in Charm City. I reserve the right to change my mind.


    Image
    Sichuan Noodles with Crispy Soybeans (?)
    Da Ping Huo - Hong Kong
    I have no idea what this actually was. All I know is that if you sucked out all of the flavor, it would still be a delight to eat. Sticky flat noodles, finely minced vegetables, sesame seeds, crispy soybeans... a total exercise in texture. Incidentally, if the GNRs were ever to be extended beyond greater Chicagoland, Da Ping Huo would get my nomination. Eleven courses of awesome Sichuan, 35 dollars, husband runs the front, wife runs the kitchen and sings Chinese opera at the conclusion of the meal -- total shoo-in.


    Image
    Sesame and Ginger Gelati
    I Scream - Hong Kong
    Paolo Predonzan rocks my world. He does the classics, he does Asian flavors, and he does a number that straddle the fence, but every one is a work of art. Ask me if I want I Scream or Giolitti next door, and I pick I Scream. Seriously.


    Image
    Drunken Shrimp
    Zen - Hong Kong
    Best head sucking I've ever encountered. We watched them scamper around in a bowl of shaoxing for about 15 minutes, they disappeared to the kitchen, and two minutes later they arrived like this. It makes me sad that so much shrimp is frozen. All of the sweetness just disappears.


    Image
    Chicken and Dumplings
    Dr. John Ralston's Kitchen
    I was coming off the flu, but I don't think that skewed my assessment of its awesomeness. My ladylove brought home a batch prepared by one of her coworkers and I could've eaten four bowls.


    Image
    Egg Toast, Caviar and Dill
    Jean Georges - New York
    Sous vide egg yolks seem to be popping up all over the place, but this is the only preparation I've had that made sense. Nothing but egg yolks, brioche, caviar and dill... and perfect.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #22 - January 5th, 2008, 7:17 am
    Post #22 - January 5th, 2008, 7:17 am Post #22 - January 5th, 2008, 7:17 am
    2007 was my first year on the forum. The one major find I took away from reading the posts was Bonsoiree in Logan Square. It's a great place with a ton of promise.

    John
    John Danza
  • Post #23 - January 5th, 2008, 6:30 pm
    Post #23 - January 5th, 2008, 6:30 pm Post #23 - January 5th, 2008, 6:30 pm
    overall best meals of the year

    1. Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas
    2. Niche, Geneva
    3. Kaze, Chicago
    4. Arun's, Chicago
    5. Eleven Madison Park, New York
    6. Brunch at Ritz-Carlton dining room, Chicago
    7. Steelhead Diner, Seattle
    8. Opera, Chicago
    9. Blue Ribbon Bakery, New York
    10. The Herbfarm, Seattle

    Honorable mention: Aloha Eats, Chicago-- just discovered it in the past year and noone can match their kalua pig Definitely number 1 restaurant who serves food in styrofoam.

    And before you ask, yes I went to Alinea and Trotters in the past year
  • Post #24 - January 5th, 2008, 6:43 pm
    Post #24 - January 5th, 2008, 6:43 pm Post #24 - January 5th, 2008, 6:43 pm
    DukeFan wrote:overall best meals of the year
    .
    .
    .
    And before you ask, yes I went to Alinea and Trotters in the past year

    I find these lists fascinating. :)

    DukeFan wrote:6. Brunch at Ritz-Carlton dining room, Chicago

    I'm just curious, since they closed the Dining Room to the public at the end of 2006... Was this the brunch they do every Sunday in the Greenhouse, or a private function in the Dining Room, or a special holiday brunch in the Dining Room? (I haven't heard much about how their brunches are since they closed the Dining Room, and I'm curious!)
  • Post #25 - January 5th, 2008, 7:09 pm
    Post #25 - January 5th, 2008, 7:09 pm Post #25 - January 5th, 2008, 7:09 pm
    DukeFan wrote:6. Brunch at Ritz-Carlton dining room, Chicago
    nsxtasy wrote:I'm just curious, since they closed the Dining Room to the public at the end of 2006... Was this the brunch they do every Sunday in the Greenhouse, or a private function in the Dining Room, or a special holiday brunch in the Dining Room? (I haven't heard much about how their brunches are since they closed the Dining Room, and I'm curious!)

    It was a special event-- i want to say a mother's day brunch, but i could be wrong on that. definitely in the first part of 2007. That said, I have had lunch at the Greenhouse and the quality is as good as the old Ritz Carlton brunch.
  • Post #26 - February 19th, 2008, 8:33 am
    Post #26 - February 19th, 2008, 8:33 am Post #26 - February 19th, 2008, 8:33 am
    2007 Top Ten List

    Salam Tuesday Stuffed Grape Leaves

    Kuma's Goblin Cock

    Lao Sze Chuan Sliced Beef and Maw Szechuan Style

    NoMi Foie Gras Creme Brulee w/Macadamia nuts and Sea Salt

    Sunshine Cafe Grilled Mackerel

    Kabocha squash soup with alder wood grilled scallops (Home cooking, Steve Z/Trixie-Pea)

    Double Li Black Pepper Beef Garlic Tender

    Filbert's Pineapple soda

    Cedarland Raw Lamb Kibbe

    Carniceria Leon Tacos al Pastor

    Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken

    Ferry Building, oysters (Hog Island Oyster Company)

    Baylor watermelon

    David Burke 65-Day Dry Age Birthday steak

    Timo, House cured guanciale w/marscapone polenta and grilled dates stuffed with gorgonzola and marscapone

    Cornish Hen Al-Khayameih

    Orange Marmalade Tartlet Pasticceria Natalina

    Elephant Thai Duck Soup w/Bamee Noodle

    Xni-Pec Tacos de Cochinita Pibil
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #27 - February 19th, 2008, 4:01 pm
    Post #27 - February 19th, 2008, 4:01 pm Post #27 - February 19th, 2008, 4:01 pm
    if I don't post the first 10 things I think of I will keep ruminating over this for weeks, so:

    Khan BBQ - broasted chicken
    fingerling potatoes from various farmers markets (german butterballs and those pink french ones) from which many delectable potato salads were made (thank you, eatchicago)
    custom house - white anchovy appetizer, halibut entree
    blackbird - sweetbreads
    Sola - salted caramel gelato
    my own pennsylvania dutch chicken "pot pie"
    lao sze chuan - "chicken crack"
    my own cherry pie (butter/schmaltz/duck fat crust, tart cherries from Stovers)
    Irazu - tamarind licuado
    my friend's homemade butter pecan ice cream
  • Post #28 - February 19th, 2008, 10:32 pm
    Post #28 - February 19th, 2008, 10:32 pm Post #28 - February 19th, 2008, 10:32 pm
    Without any particular order...


    Chile en Nogada / Xni-Pec
    poblano pepper stuffed with seasoned ground beef and raisins, and pine nuts, topped with a slightly sween cream sauce, with the addition of pomengranate seeds

    Mujver / Nazarlik

    Paella de Mariscos con Langosta / Taste of Peru

    Stewed Lamb Kebab with Wild Sour Cherries / Ciya- Istanbul-Turkey

    Pistachio Baklava / Gulluoglu – Istanbul – Turkey
    (crunchy and golden on the outside, moist and buttery inside filled with grind pistachios)

    Aash (Traditional Persian Soup) / Noon-o-kebab
    (pinach, cilantro, turnip, carrot, rice 3 kinds of beans, lentils and noodles topped with dried yogurt, girilled mint and onion)

    Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass / Blue Water Grill

    Salt Crusted Mediterranean Sea Bass / Turquoise

    Roasted Chicken / Brase de Roja

    Beef tongue / My kitchen
    “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life” – Omar Khayyam

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