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the best things i ate in 2014

the best things i ate in 2014

catbird-seat.jpg

To put it mildly: 2014 was a busy year. We hit up six countries, 11 states and 25 different cities/towns/huts. We traveled to Asia for our honeymoon, then back to Asia again with my family (more on that later), and threw in a trip to the Chilean desert to kiss the year goodbye (more on that too). I learned about proper barbecue, thai curries, and sushi. I ate llama and ostrich. I found out I was allergic to jackfruit (!). The most important thing I learned about food this year is how special it is to eat a dish in its birthplace. I understand now why the concept of "meat and three" is almost holy in Nashville. There is a reason why people wake up at 3 AM to see the tuna market at Tsukiji in Tokyo. And why on earth pastel de choclo hasn't become a "thing" here in New York yet, I do not know.

Here are the best things I ate in 2014, in chronological order.

The tasting menu at The Catbird Seat, Nashville

catbird seat

This was our first night in Nashville and we didn't sit down until about 10 PM. No matter: every course on this tasting menu was unique and delicious. Read more here.

Tree nut ragu at Rolf and Daughters, Nashville

rolf and daughters

I have tried to recreate this dish at home with medium success. I never knew a vegetarian sauce could be so rich and so unforgettable.

Okonomiyaki at Sometaro, Tokyo

okonomiyaki

The Japanese do everything well, so I shouldn't be surprised that a make-your-own savory pancake restaurant was one of the highlights of our trip. Read more about the Tokyo stop on our honeymoon here.

Omakase at Sushi Mizutani, Tokyo

mizutani

We didn't take pictures during the meal, but here we are with Chef Mizutani!

Mango sticky rice in Chinatown, Bangkok

mango sticky rice

Oh, God. It is hard to eat mangoes in the US after going to Asia. Also, where can I find those crunchy things?

Crab curry at Nahm, Bangkok

nahm crab curry

Nahm was voted #1 in Asia by the sometimes-controversial Pellegrino list, but I have to agree. This was some of the best curry we had in all of Thailand.

Khao Soi at Four Seasons Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai

khao soi

It looks messy because I made it myself! The recipe was the same as what we had at FS Chiang Rai (but that one was actually cooked by a chef). The best version of this dish that I've found in the US is at Sripraphai in Queens. Read more about the Chiang Mai leg of our honeymoon here.

Brunch at Crimson Sparrow, Hudson

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 4.52.53 PM

Unfortunately I don't think this place is serving brunch on a regular basis anymore, but check their website for when they do on special occasions.

Lobster macaroni and cheese, Brick Alley Pub, Newport

mac and cheeseI mean, just look at that photo. Do I need to say anything else?

Barbecue (and everything) at Blackberry Farm, Walland

blackberry farm

This place once was voted best hotel food in America. You can read more about our trip here.

Polenta at Sportello, Boston

sportello

They had two variations on the menu, porcini or lamb ragu. I couldn't decide, so I got both.

Lobster roll at Eventide Oyster Co., Portland

eventide oyster

These petite rolls were served on what tasted like bao bun. Incredible.

Breakfast tacos at Juan in a Million, Austin

juan in a million

Mike and I have yet to find a serviceable version here in NYC. How I miss that yellow cheese. Read more about our trip here.

Musakhan at Tanoreen, Brooklyn

tanoreen

The trip to Bay Ridge is absolutely worth it for everything on this menu. The flatbread was especially memorable.

Pork bun at Tim Ho Wan, Manila

tim ho wan bun

This place is billed as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. The original is in Hong Kong, but there happened to be an outpost within walking distance of our hotel. I will dream about the crackly, sugared top of that bun forever.

Dim Sum, Lung King Heen, Hong Kong

lung king heen

Pictured above is the beautiful barbecued pork. Not pictured: the ga-ga harbor view from the restaurant.

The tasting menu at Borago, Santiago

borago

Creative, wacky platings, but the flavors were simple and excellent. Everything was sourced from inside Chile.

Pastel de choclo at Tierra Atacama, Atacama

pastel de choclo

This Chilean dish featured spiced ground chicken underneath a lovely blanket of sweet corn puree. From my preliminary research, it doesn't look like any restaurants in NYC carry it. New Year's resolution: make my own version.

That's a wrap, folks! I can't wait to see what 2015 holds.

trip report: manila

trip report: manila

kitchensurfing

kitchensurfing