2012! It’s almost over. And I’ve ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING! This was going to the be the year I became a yoga instructor, went vegan, got married, and had Irish twins. Whoops. I need to get moving.
Instead, I ate a lot. All around the world. So that was awesome. Here are the ten best things I ate in 2012…
10. Cabbage soup, rye bread, and mystery juice at Podhalanka in Wicker Park in Chicago. I love Podhalanka. It is old. It is Polish. And it is very very sweet. I stop in here on my way home from work to catch up on world news (in Polish) and have a very inexpensive yet filling (and homey and delicious) dinner.
9. Asparagus at Elliot’s Cafe in Borough Market, London. I don’t know what they did to this asparagus…eggs and ???…but it was magic. As was the lighting and the crowd and the service and the check on the day of our visit. Delicious.
8. Anchovies and olives at Casa Lucio in Madrid. Ah, and that glass of rose that brought it all together. I am not normally an olive person, but seriously…I now cannot imagine a better combination. So simple, so perfect. How does Spain do their olives? Because really, it’s magic.
7. Corn salad at Antique Taco in Chicago. Gorgeous fresh corn, some sort of blue cheese, and tortilla strips and red peppers and God knows what else. Very very satisfying. Even though there are vegetables in here, this is not for those on a diet. A seasonal dish that is not on the menu after August/September.
6. Mystery Amazonian fish in mystery sauce at Santo Grau in Sao Paulo, in the Itaim neighborhood. I’ve lost count of how many times I ordered this while I was in town, and I AM NOT a creature of habit. Really, it’s not really a mystery dish or mystery sauce. I just can’t pronounce anything in Portuguese so I just point at the menu.
5. Pici with Meat Sauce at Casabiana in Tuscany, the little hotel we stayed at for the wedding of my friends Jen and Leigh. I am not a big sleeper, but I woke up at 10 am that morning and had missed breakfast. As soon as the restaurant opened at 12, I grabbed a seat and took whatever they offered. It was so deliciously luscious-looking that everyone who had already had breakfast went ahead and ordered a plate. The best kind of hangover food.
4. Potato Tortilla at Next Restaurant, the El Bulli Menu, Chicago. Sorry for the photo of partially eaten food. Imagine the tortilla, liquefied. In the best possible way.
3. I do dream of falafel. I have eaten falafel all around the world, and nothing compares to the falafel at Hoxton Beach on Whitecross Street in London. I think it’s the pickled veg that does the trick. Usually my first stop whenever I am back in London for work.
2. Lemon bars at the Four Seasons, Chicago. It was my birthday, so maybe that was part of the magic. But these were inexpensive and perfect. I am not a dessert person, but I will happily drown in lemon anything.
1. The off-the-menu Batara at Nagayama of Sao Paulo, in Itaim. Even their rice is good. A deceptively simple combination of salmon and crispy bonito flakes. So good that on one visit, I ordered multiple plates.
So, there you have it. 2012 in a nutshell. What will 2013 bring?? Hopefully more of the same, if not better. (PS, I was kidding about that yoga instructor, vegan stuff. But maybe not that marriage and baby stuff.)