Best Bites of 2021

Look, I know I am late with this. But c’mon…! I have been in the middle of renovation hell. Who has time to think about excellent food when they can’t create any of their own? Please enjoy this extremely late post and make time to hit up these places if you are in the Vegas Valley.

For several years in January, I have included the “best” things I have eaten in the past year. I recently read a piece where the writer said “best of” lists were stupid, and in many cases I agree. What is best for me, might be run of the mill for you, or on your “no fly” list. To that end, am trying to come up with a better title. Most interesting? Most intriguing? Most memorable?

In years past, many of my “best bites” or most interesting things I have eaten have come by means of travel and sadly, that has been lacking the past couple of years – thanks COVID. Still, I find wonderful things to eat, but fewer surprises. And I am stretching myself in the kitchen (see below). Admittedly there was a LOT of dining out this year due to the kitchen remodel, but many choices were Thai takeout, a walk to our fave pizza joint, take out Sandos from our new fave sandWISH place, or a walk in the ‘hood for beer & a quick bite.

Without further ado, in no particular order, here are my most memorable bites of 2021

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

I always pull out all the stops on VDay. We labeled it Amateur Night years ago, and rather than dine out with hordes of people, I go to extreme lengths to make a dish I NEVER make. 2021 had me laminating my own puff pastry and creating a Beef Wellington.

Perfectly cooked Beef Wellington with home made puff pastry (THAT was a pain in the ass!)

Thai Curry & Chorizo Mussels at The Shores, San Diego

In August, Mom came to visit, and we took a little drive to San Diego to see relatives. While there, I had to visit Vegas transplant, Chef Mike Minor at La Jolla Shores Hotel. This dish was so good, I drove out a second time to make sure I wasn’t just overly hungry when I ate it the first time. Pro Tip – order a side of rice on the side so you can get every luscious drop of the sauce.

Mangonada at Cream Me Ice Creamery

This hits ALL the notes for me for summer. Perfect mango sorbet, Chamoy sauce, dried chile coated mango chunks. Sweet, spicy, salty, cold all in one delicious mouthful. And while you are there, check out the groovy floor!

Parisian Lobster Gnocchi with White Asparagus at Sparrow + Wolf

Parisian gnocchi are different than Italian ones in a few ways. These are shaped like pillows without the telltale lines marking Italian gnocchi. And while Italian style gnocchi are soft through and through, Parisian gnocchi have a little bit of a crispy edge. Toss in some lobster and paired with sautéed white asparagus, this was a big hit for me. The most fun thing about Sparrow + Wolf is you never know what’s going to be on the menu!

Cappellacci “Oreganata” at Brezza

Chances are, if Nicole Brisson is in the kitchen, I am going to be a happy camper. No matter what she does, it is executed with the highest level of skill and is usually perfect. This dish was so unexpectedly good. The pasta itself is a marvel, combined with cauliflower, spinach, lemon, and crispy capers? Yeah…that. Photo by Sabin Orr, courtesy of Chef Nicole.

Photo by Sabin Orr courtesy of Chef Nicole Brisson and Brezza