2013: The Year in Food

My wife and I love food. Eating and drinking together and with friends is one of the ways we experience the grandeur of God and the beauty of his creation. It’s the subject (one of them) of my recent book, Gray Matters

Because we've been blessed with some amazing dining-out experiences this year, I thought I'd re-live them through two lists: the top ten savory bites of the year, and the top ten sweets. All of these restaurants I heartily recommend!


  1. AQ (San Francisco): Pork three ways, with Spring herbs and lettuces, onion caramel, black vinegar and peanut “soil.”
  2. Providence (Los Angeles): Prime New York Steak, German butterball fondant, brussel sprouts and bone marrow
  3. Bestia (Los Angeles): Cavatelli alla Norcina with ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage, black truffles and grana padano
  4. Bandolero (Washington D.C.): Crab Taquito crudo: purple potatoes, fresnos, red onions, coconut curry reduction
  5. Alma (Los Angeles): Halibut confit, fermented corn, cherry tomato
  6. Absinthe (San Francisco): Yam & goat cheese ravioli: wonton wrapper, walnuts, brussel sprouts, maitake mushrooms, brown butter sage sauce
  7. Hart and the Hunter (Los Angeles): Smoked Trout, boiled egg, herb salad avocado toast
  8. Banker’s Hill (San Diego): Jidori buttermilk fried chicken with pepperjack mac n’ cheese and chipotle glaze
  9. Hart and the Hunter (Los Angeles): Butter biscuits with honey cinnamon butter and blackberries
  10. Son of a Gun (Los Angeles) Broadbent’s country ham, honey butter, hush puppies


  1. Spago (Los Angeles): Pumpkin souffle with ginger ice cream and pomegranate citrus salad
  2. Alma (Los Angeles): Sunchoke “split” with caramelized sunchokes, “wood” ice cream, roasted marshmallows and “ash” meringue
  3. AQ (San Francisco): Buttermilk panna cotta, lemon verbena, green strawberry, poppyseed
  4. Baked and Wired (Washington D.C.): Ice cream “sammie” with double chocolate cookies and salted caramel ice cream.
  5. Providence (Los Angeles): Sable Breton: Financier, chestnut jam, vanilla mousse
  6. Terrace Restaurant (Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos): Triple chocolate terrine with orange, hazelnuts and tart berry sorbet).
  7. Bestia (Los Angeles): Valrhona fair trade bittersweet chocolate budino tart with salted caramel, cacao crust, olive oil and sea salt
  8. Ray’s Stark Bar (Los Angeles): Chocolate Four Ways
  9. Sidecar Donuts (Costa Mesa): Oregon huckleberry cake doughnut with huckleberry glaze
  10. Cafe 109 (Fullerton): Chocolate banana “Doissant.”