Can you believe 2009 is almost over? I love writing my “favorites of the year” post (links for 2008 and 2007) because it’s a great way for me to reflect on my year of dining out. This year, I found a couple of restaurants that have become favorites (new openings as well as NYC staples). Next year, I have given myself quite the task: dining at every Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. Instead of writing only about restaurant favorites, I’m also including some favorite recipes that I created this year. I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and see you in 2010!
I love frittatas because you can make them with any vegetables you have in the fridge – I love using leeks, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and bacon! This is a super fast brunch dish, fills up you and all of your guests, and only requires one pan. Definitely a favorite – you don’t even need a shopping list to make the dish – just shop your fridge!
Favorite Sandwich: ‘wichcraft’s Pole caught tuna sandwich (my version):
After shopping near Rockefeller center, I stopped by the ‘wichcraft in the basement of 30 Rock and was drawn to the pole caught tuna sandwich. The saltiness from the olives and the crunch from the fennel was too amazingly delicious that I went home and immediately recreated the simple sandwich. The sandwich is packed with protein and veggies and a great meal (or snack). You should definitely try to recreate the sandwich (especially if you don’t want to pay $9 for the sandwich at ‘wichcraft!)
Favorite Salad: Rao’s Seafood Salad:
Okay, so it is very difficult to get reservations at Rao’s and I will probably never dine there again, but I still have dreams about their seafood salad (a huge thank you to Sara for getting us a table for the evening!) A combination of lobster, shrimp, and squid tossed with some lemon, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. Simple to recreate at home (I have yet to do so) and definitely the best (and probably most expensive) salad I ate in 2009.
Favorite Burger of 2009 (and possibly ever): Minetta Tavern’s Black Label Burger:
It’s difficult for non-celebrities to get a reservation at a decent hour now, but I snuck my family in for a reservation before it was a celebrity hub and had the opportunity to sample their black label burger. The burger is juicy, flavorful, and absolutely sublime. Lou’s new apartment is around the block, so I will definitely be making more visits to Lou AND Minetta Tavern’s bar (which serves food and doesn’t accept reservations).
Favorite Chicken of 2009: Sakagura’s free range chicken with sea salt:
Chicken isn’t a dish I usually order when I go out to eat, but the free range chicken at Sakagura is a dish that MUST be ordered. The chicken is juicy, tender, and has a slightly crispy skin that is very delicious with a pinch of salt. I love it, my mom loves it, and my friend Angie loves it, too!
Favorite Pasta of 2009: Dell’Anima’s TAJARIN alla carbonara:
Dell’Anima hand makes all of their pasta and the pasta alla carbonara is my favorite. When I dined there, I sat at the chef’s counter and watched them prepare my dish carefully and deliberately. The pasta is quickly cooked and topped with freshly shaved pecorino. Extra points for Dell’Anima for weighing all of the pasta portions beforehand to make sure everyone gets an equal serving.
Favorite Preparation of Fish: Jean-Georges’ Skate with chateau chalon sauce:
I love skate (especially the way Jean-Georges prepares the fish). The use of chateau chalon sauce adds a great acidity to the fish that makes it very memorable and delicious. I wanted to use a post from Le Bernardin, but sadly, it was a meal I enjoyed in 2008.
Favorite Momofuku Group Dinner: Bo Ssam:
My first bo ssam:
Everyone at dinner:
When I first moved here in 2006, I didn’t understand why people would stand on 1st Ave in the freezing cold for a seat in Momofuku Noodle Bar (especially since their ramen was overcooked and VERY expensive!) I’m glad David Chang has branched out to other types of meals and found myself particularly enjoying the bo ssam meal. It was tough to decide, especially since I’m a big fan of his Southern style fried chicken at Momofuku Noodle Bar. I decided bo ssam won out for 2009 because I’ve had some experiences with undercooked chicken during the fried chicken dinners AND because I only like half of his preparation of fried chicken (Southern fried chicken = awesome, Korean style = not so awesome).
Favorite holiday party of 2009: Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday; everyone celebrates it and there is ALWAYS good food at the table. This year, at our 2nd annual Thanksgiving dinner, we made it potluck style and David and I spatchcocked the turkey for moister results. This was also the most fun meal to photograph – I mean, if this image doesn’t say Thanksgiving to you, I don’t know what does:
The post on spatchcocking a turkey can be found here.
And David and I showing off our results:
Favorite Food Event of 2009: Cupcake Cagematch:
Remember that time I thought it would be a good idea to make people eat so many cupcakes that they refused to ever eat cupcakes again? Good times. The cupcake cagematch was just an idea that my friends helped me bring to life – a huge thank you to everyone that participated, especially Dan and Lou for helping me with the data results.
Favorite Dinner Party of 2009: Dumpling wrapping party:
Not only did the post come with lots of pictures of us making dumplings, but it also comes with a recipe for EXTREMELY delicious dumplings (and two ways to cook them!) I love dumpling parties because they require so little prep work but the results are always amazing.
So, what were some of your favorite meals of 2009? Any new restaurants you discovered that you think are worth mentioning? I hope you had a wonderful year and I can’t wait for what 2010 will bring!