To wrap up 2011, thought I’d do the Top 5 most memorable dishes and Top 5 most memorable (dining out) meals for me. The dining out ones are a bit harder to narrow down since there were many good ones. So let’s start with the most memorable dishes I made.
Dish Number 5: Cioppino
Along with some garlic toast and anchovy butter, this is one of the best seafood dishes for 2011. I loved the rich tomato broth and so good for anytime of the year.
Dish Number 4 : Cauliflower Fried Rice
With the Mister’s eating habits changing earlier in the year, it was certainly a challenge to come up with Paleo/Primal friendly recipes. I have to admit that some (maybe most?) of them were, well, let’s just say “forgettable” but there was one dish that I could eat all the time, cauliflower fried rice. I was completely caught by surprise at how good this dish was the first time I made it. Certainly a go-to for when I’m finally ready to cut back on all the bad carbs (yeah, right).
Dish Number 3: Blueberry Pie (with homemade lard crust)
Any pie would have made it in the top five but this one was certainly at the top of the uh…top list. What makes this pie so good was not only did I get the perfect filling consistency, it can be made anytime of the year thanks to frozen blueberries. Okay, the lard crust and it keeps for a very long time doesn’t hurt either. Did I ever mention that it can be frozen after baked?
Dish Number 2: Red Velvet Macarons
Is anyone surprised that this is on the top five list? My (rather late) discovery of these delicious cookies in 2011 started a whole new baking craze. I’ve baked a few other “meringue” baked goods during the year but these were a revelation, not only for the taste buds but baking skills for this year.
Dish Number 1: Lasagna with Meat Sauce
It might seem strange that such a common dish is number one on the list but I dream about this dish quite often. More often than any other dishes from this year. Even macarons. Even almond crescent cookies. Even lemon cheesecake bars. Okay, in all fairness, that last one I haven’t posted on yet and it certainly was one of the top contenders but I would forgo all others for this lasagna. What makes this dish stand out is the bechemel sauce and it’s semi-homemade. This is also one of the first dishes for me to make for 2012, hehe.
Eating out in 2011 was a bit different than the previous year since we didn’t go out as much. We also didn’t try as many new restaurants. But of the ones we did, these were the most memorable.
Dining Number 5: La Bastide Bistro
We’ve had several delicious dishes at La Bastide but the most memorable dish was the Rack of Lamb with Pommes Dauphine. Not only was this entire dish prepared to perfection, the price made it a no brainer. Oh those pommes dauphine!
Dining Number 4: Alforon
My first meal here was also my first Lebanese meal. It was a lot of firsts that day, including meeting Canine Cologne of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High. And who can forget that delicious garlic paste? Not I. The thought of that garlic paste induces an almost uncontrollable compulsion to “lick-the-bowl.” Oh baby! A very very close second was the Chicken Tawook. Delicious.
Dining Number 3: Coop’s West Texas Barbeque
This was the Dark Horse of the year. A bunch of us food bloggers went on a BBQ crawl in search for good (and real) BBQ in San Diego. Quite honestly, I didn’t think we find any. Having really gotten into smoking meat and grilling at home this year, going out for (ahem) BBQ has been more or less a joke. But Coop’s surprised me and many others. The ribs (and rib tips) were my favorite here.
Dining Number 2: Nazca Grill and Island Style Cafe
I came here with CC and TC the first time and it was so good that I had to bring the Mister to try it. Every dish that I’ve tried here has been a winner so it was really hard to choose just one. So I’m going to pick two. I think if I could only order one dish from this place, it would have to be Lomo Saltado.The beef was perfectly cooked with a slight kick and those fries were perfection.
My other choice is the chicken tamal. This was so good that even the Mister enjoyed it. Enough said.
Dining Number 1: Que Huong
We’ve only eaten here twice so far but both times were so good that we talked about the meals for weeks. The odd thing is that I don’t have a picture of the best dish we had here, which was the wild boar with lemongrass & red pepper. But really, all the dishes were lip-smacking good. This is the pork, shrimp and jack fruit salad, something we will always order here because it’s that good. This is one of the first restaurants that I have planned for us for 2012 since it’s been too long since we were last there.
So there you have it. When looking back at all these, 2011 was a very good year for good eating. Best part was that new and old friends shared some of these bests with me. Thank you all for stopping by this past year and I hope 2012 will bring you joy, prosperity and a full happy belly! Happy New Year!