Once again, I had another year of NOT “eating dangerously”. While we had a lot of travel, even on those trips there were few earth shattering spoonfuls. I found myself eating tried and true favorites while traveling in the USA, and eating a bunch of new things while in Europe. So after eating my way through the year, here are my favorites. Some made the list because of the memories created at the meal and other made the list simply on flavor alone. All of these are in Las Vegas, unless otherwise noted. In no particular order…
The Shellfish Tower at Bouchon
I have had these before and they are all delicious, but what made this one so special is that this was Mom’s first experience with one. I loved the look on her face when the waiters brought it to the table as part of my birthday dinner at Bouchon. Her jaw literally dropped and she was so excited! This one made the list just for the sheer enjoyment it brought my Mom while she was eating it..
Fried Chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House – New Orleans
If you have been following along at ALL, you know that I am a fried chicken junkie. If I was on death row, fried chicken would be on the short list of what I’d be eating for my final meal. After waiting in a line that stretched down the sidewalk for about 30 minutes, we were seated and treated to some of the best fried chicken. If you go to Willie Mae’s, bring cash – no cards accepted.
Beef Cheek & Bone Marrow Dumplings – Sparrow & Wolf
It’s no secret that I love pasta in all its shapes and forms, from linguini to all the stuffed shapes. This dish was somewhere between a Chinese dumpling and a ravioli and absolutely delicious! It was so good it made me rethink my position on foams. Sparrow & Wolf recently turned over their entire menu and this, sadly, is no longer available. Watch for a new dumpling incarnation and for this dish to pop up as a special every now and then. (Photo Credit Sabin Orr, from the Sparrow & Wolf website)
Foie Gras Gateau at Bouchon
This tasted exactly as good as it looks. Eating it was almost criminal because it was a shame to ruin the presentation. Somewhere between sweet and savory, this gateau hit all the right notes…and it’s foie gras. Need I say more?
Mispelchen at Naïv – Frankfurt, Germany
On one of the many stops of our European cruise, Frankfurt became one of our faves, simply because we had the chance to sit and chat with locals at a local bar. After enjoying craft beers and delicious food at Naïv, waitress and new pal Norman (no, not a typo), treated us to this lush concoction. It’s Calvados brandy with a specific type of local canned apricot. You chew the apricot and then sip the brandy, and swallow both together. It was like spring and fall had a dance in your mouth!
Bloody Caesar at Rock Creek – Seattle
Brunch is arguably the best meal EVER. This Caesar made brunch at Rock Creek a great start to a fantastic day of bar and brewery hopping. A close second for this trip would be the Blood Orange Stout at Outlander Brewery and Pub.
Crawfish Boil – My House
Each month a group of friends gets together at my house and cooks together. We set a theme and go for the gusto! In June we decided on Cajun. I ordered some crawfish from a dear chef friend and they were flown in special just for us. What made this one of the best things I ate all year was the fun we had in the preparation of the meal. All hands were on deck for both the prep and the eating. A great time was had by all!
Cold Spicy Noodles – Momofuku
Several local food writers, who shall remain nameless, have been giving Momofuku a rough time lately and I really don’t give a shit what they have to say. When I like something, I like it. This dish makes my list for several reasons. While eating it, it’s both icy cold and wicked spicy. There are multiple textures and so much going on that you just can’t stop eating it! Better still, I enjoyed it with friend Zack while we ate and drank our way around the strip while our spouses attended a conference.
Caviar Service – Uniworld River Princess
After my own private sabering lesson (see the video here), Chef Daniel treated us to this beauty to enjoy with our champagne. Yes, I’ve had caviar before, but rarely so beautifully plated and never as a complete surprise! I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I am special when I am eating caviar.
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