Thank God for my blog. Because if it wasn’t for my blog, I wouldn’t be able to tell you where I’ve been when this year. Or what I ate. But there are certain dishes that will always stand out. Here are my top 10 from 2010. Enjoy! And don’t forget…win a Michelin Restaurant Guide just by linking to me…
1. The falafel at Hashem in Amman, Jordan: Although I will forever love the falafel at Hoxton Beach on Whitecross Street, Hashem has nearly ruined me for falafel forever. This unassuming little street cafe serves up deliciously cheap falafel and hummus. It’s in all the guidebooks, but don’t hold it against them. I’m secretly hoping that my flight through Amman in February gets delayed or cancelled so I can make a quick run into town for a big serving. Simple and cheap. Perfect.
2. The bone marrow that accompanies the Côte de Bœuf at the MinettaTavern in New York: Seriously seriously luscious and buttery, best when devoured straight from the oven and accompanied by a big glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A million times more expensive that the falafel at Hashem, but worth every penny.
3. The polenta with truffles and egg at Yoezer Wine Bar in Jaffa in Tel Aviv, Israel. I loved this dark little wine bar so much I went back for a second visit during my five day trip to Tel Aviv in October. Although the polenta is a very small dish, it packs a very memorable thick and hearty punch. Never understood what the fuss was about when it came to truffles until I had this dish.
4. Bubble & squeak at The Crown in Stoke by Nayland, in the U.K.. While visiting the pub I invested in in Great Horkesley, my usual suspects and I overnighted a the very lovely Crown hotel and pub in nearby Stoke by Nayland. Breakfast–which was included in our rate–was served with a side of bubble and squeak, densely packed with chunks of bacon and fresh and crisp cabbage. Atkins be damned.
5. The red pepper walnut “paste” at Naranj in Damascus, Syria. In hindsight, I wish I had taken everyone’s advice: there is no other place to eat in Damascus but Naranj. Eat there every night if you can. And order the mahummara, a mezze made with pomegranate seeds, walnuts, molasses, and red pepper. Delicious.
6. Mackerel with a spicy peanut noodle salad at the Civet Cat Club, London: An underground supper club in Stoke Newington. I think this was the hardest I laughed all year long. (Why were we talking about squirrels? WHY?) But the mackerel with spicy peanut noodles had us all asking for the recipe.
7. Baked eggs and chorizo at Caravan in Exmouth Market, London. This seems to be a dish on the make–I just had it again at The Breslin in NYC–but Caravan’s version is a fantastically good combo of salty and sweet, with some great bread to mop up the rest.
8. Goat mooli at Moolis in Soho, London. The menu lists this as Punjabi goat with with cumin potatoes and salsa. I don’t know what they put in that salsa, but between the cumin and the tender goat, they’ve got a huge winner on their hands. Cheap too.
9. Corn salad at Davanti Enoteca, Chicago. This little corn salad was a lovely surprise. Crisp corn, along with wild mushrooms and walnuts. Lots of textures, lots of flavors. Very autumn-y feeling. A nice introduction to Chicago for me after all these years. Do it.
10. Veal Holstein, Bob Bob Ricard, Soho in London. You already know that I love Bob Bob Ricard. Their Veal Holstein is that sort of dish that makes me want to cook. Seriously.
What does 2011 have in store for my newly revamped Chicago restaurant blog? I’ve already got return trips planned to Tel Aviv and Dubai in February, and I’ll be back in London for a few days in April. Ah yes, and Vancouver in June for TBEX!