Food is such a glorious, God-given focal point of life. Out of gratefulness for having it in such abundance and regularity, why not honor the memory of its high points this year? The following are my favorite 15 instances of Epicurean delight from the last year, in chronological order.
YBF (Whittier, CA, January): Cheese course. Asagio cup with apple gelée and cave aged gruyere, blue cheese ice cream with maderia poached fig and wildflower sage honey, Brioche macaron with Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog goat cheese.
Tory Row (Cambridge, MA., March): Confit duck salad. With poached cherries, pickled shallots, frisee, arugula, pink vinaigrette.
Bongo Room (Chicago, April): Croissant sandwich. Grilled croissant with melted muenster & crisp bacon, with one egg any style & hash browns.
Urth Caffe (Los Angeles, June): Urth Bread Pudding. Topped with caramelized bananas in a bowl of steamed milk.
Georges (La Jolla, CA, July): English Pea Risotto: With pea shoots, Parmesan and truffle oil.
Nickel Diner (Los Angeles, July): Maple Bacon Donut. As strange and wonderful as you imagine it will be!
Magnolia Bakery (Los Angeles, August): Banana Pudding, Catered at my book release party. The best banana pudding ever!
Napa Rose (Anaheim, August): Wood-fried pizzetta. Smoked American prosciutto, red flame grapes, caramelized onions, & Cambozola cheese.
Frank (Toronto, August): Baked St. Maure raw milk goats cheese and caramelized onions baked in puff pastry on a salad of wild arugula and roasted baby heirloom beets.
Made in China (Beijing, October): Peking Duck with sesame pancakes, and for dessert, friend wonton filled with banana and chocolate, drizzled with coconut cream sauce.
Roppongi (La Jolla, CA, November): Asian Tapas. Indian Spiced Kefir cheese with flatbread, Mongolian shredded duck quesadillas, "Hot Rock" thin-sliced steak with Sesame Goma sauce, "La Jolla Sunset" sushi roll (Spicy Dungeness crab, salmon, avocado, Meyer lemon, honey-miso glaze, rasberry coulis).
LA Mill Coffee (Silver Lake, CA, December): Orange Infused Cappuccino with Cacao, paired with a cherry creme fraiche scone.
The Park (Echo Park, CA, December): Braised Vintage Brisket. With red wine sauce, sautéed escarole with caramelized apples & potato latkes. My birthday dinner!
Forage (Silver Lake, CA, December): Orange Persimmon Ricotta Cake. With neighborhood oranges and organic dry-farmed Hachiya persimmons from Starr Ranch in Paso Robles. My birthday cake!
The Olde Ship (Fullerton, CA, December): Traditional British Christmas menu. Roast Breast of Duck glazed with a rich red currant & port reduction sauce, served with Croquette Potatoes, Roast Parsnips, Fresh Buttered Brussels Sprouts and Carrots Vichy. Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding served with heavy cream.