January 2, 2011

Flipping through...

a photo journal full of 2010's most gratifying noshes & nibbles helps me relive the taste of those moments and all the wonderful company. It's been a delicious year munching a small dent in New York City's epic food scene. It's true that you can really satisfy every cultural food craving in a city full of culinary talent, but New York City isn't the only place full of savories and sweets. I admit my travels haven't been prolific this year; however, the short time I spent in Texas, Hong Kong, and regions of Taiwan, meant a lot of tummy-fulfilling adventures.

For now, I'll toast to a Happy New Year and even more epicurious journeys in 2011. And without further ado, the food porn.

Casa Mono (NY, NY)
Baby chopitos, ramps, caramelized onions, squid ink

Casa Mono ranks top 3 restaurants in my heart now and hopefully forever. A tapas lover just can't resist all the bright flavors at this little Spanish joint. It's even perfect midday with a close of bubbly rose.

SHO Shaun Hergatt (NY, NY)
Poached white asparagus, asparagus ice cream

Americans just don't eat enough fresh foods, but lucky me, these tender white asparagus were flown fresh that day from Provence, France. Tack on the delicately savory asparagus ice cream--it's a dish that's hard to forget.

Imperial Palace (Hong Kong)
Chinese BBQ: char siu, honey glazed pork skin, roasted goose

This private club in Hong Kong serves probably the best tasting Chinese bbq I've ever had. It's a bold statement, but never has pork skin been so richly golden-red, velvety and perfectly crispy.

Prune (NY, NY)
Ricotta ice cream, salted caramel croutons

One of my favorite East Village joints, Prune always serves simple yet super fun food. All I can say is that I love ricotta. I love ice cream. I love salted caramel, and I love that this ricotta ice cream and it's salty croutons are drenched in a salted caramel soup.

Eleven Madison Park (NY, NY)
Celery gelee on black pepper sablee, foie gras granny smith macaron

These beautiful little treats aren't actually on the menu; but I hope even with Eleven Madison Park's menu redo, they are still serving perfect canapes. You can't refuse a foie-filled apple flavored macaron.

Rudy's BBQ (Dallas, TX)
Moist brisket

Do I always get moist brisket? No, but after having Rudy's moist brisket, you bet. As a native Texan, I just can't get away from these smoky, fatty bits of beef. It's the one time I'll really gorge on heavy meat.

wd~50 (NY, NY)
Aerated foie, pickled beet, mashad plum, brioche

Yes, Wylie Dufresne is a genius behind playing/molding/shaping his food. His mother must've let him go to town as a kid. But, how does it really taste? I still think about the texture of this buttery foie gras holding such intense flavor but feeling incredibly delicate on my tongue.

Union Square Cafe (NY, NY)
Ricotta Gnocchi, tomato-basil passatina and pecorino romano

People I know literally have dreams about this dish. I really can't explain how they make gnocchi so ethereal, so tender, but skip everything else at Union Square Cafe and just load up on the gnocchi.

Street food (Sheng Keng, Taiwan)
Grilled spicy tofu, spicy pickled cabbage

Sheng Keng, a region in Taipei, is famous for it's innovative use of tofu. Tofu puddings, tofu cheesecakes, braised tofu are all just the beginning. I'm a tofu fiend, so I did a whole tasting that afternoon. My favorite--a seemingly simple grilled tofu on a stick. That tofu just sucked up all the flavor and became this sweet, spicy, salty little mess.

Riverpark (NY, NY)
Beet-pickled eggs, smoked white fish, horseradish

These little nuggets are so pretty; how could you not love them? Aside from the color, the pickled taste of the eggs are so fun. And the creamy, smoky fish filling? Fishy, but awesome with the tang.

Eleven Madison Park (NY, NY)
Roasted organic chicken with lemon and rosemary, spring vegetables

I am not a chicken lover. In fact, I stray away from chicken dishes most places. However, I always, ALWAYS order Eleven Madison Park's roast chicken without fail. I'm telling you it doesn't get better than this. Chicken rubbed with truffle stuffing under the skin?!?!

Wing Lai Yuen (NY, NY)
Spicy garlic sliced pork

Admittedly, the dan dan noodles at Wing Lai Yuen are incomparable. The sliced pork, though, is phenomenal. The sheets of pork are almost translucent and dressed in this spicy, salty, sweet, and tart sauce and covered in boatloads of minced garlic.

Per Se (NY, NY)
Pistachio "Bavarois," Bitter Chocolate "Marquise" and "Pain de GĂȘnes" with Mast Brothers’ Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate just satisfies all kinds of sweet tooths and pistachio is only the most awesome nut ever. Not only is this dish so well put together, it's bitter sweetness and richness is perfectly balanced. The end to a lovely meal and an even lovelier year.