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Best of 2013

December 31, 2013

It is that time of year again!  I am happy to say that I was able to find a little more time to cook and conquered making duck magret as well as uni toast with lardo and spaghetti with uni and basil.  


I even signed up for a fish CSA and tried my hand cooking a few new types of fish like porgie, skate, and monkfish.


Playing sous chef to a fantastic chef, we used the long breaks throughout the year to churn out a few of fabulous meals including a garlicky thyme studded pork chop and juicy rib eye over fresh corn polenta and stewed tomatoes.



Of course, the ice cream maker was also put to good use and churned out a batch of banana ice cream with chocolate specks, watermelon sorbet, and sweet potato ice cream with torched marshmallows.



Even with all this cooking, I managed to find time and room in my stomach to check out some of the best newcomers to the city’s restaurant scene.  Chez Sardine, The Butterfly, and Carbone remain my favorites this year.  Who can resist the over the top cheekiness of Carbone, the flakiest biscuits and fried chicken from The Butterfly or the fabulously creative dishes at Chez Sardine?  It just happens that both are from three of my favorite restaurant empires in New York.  Guess some can do no wrong.





I also spent a fair amount of time discovering Brooklyn’s dining scene which included frequenting Smorgasburg quite a few times this summer.  Another reason I crossed over the Hudson so many times was to visit a new favorite modern steakhouse, St. Anselma spot I wished I had discovered years earlier.  Of course, I also enjoyed some of my best meals at not a traditional restaurant per se but at the lovely NY Bite Clubincluding a suckling pig roast and a lovely tasting menu.




2013 was also a year of tasting menus again!  This time around, I ventured far and wide in order to find one of the best priced omakases at Tanoshi in the UES.  Then was lucky enough to contrasted the cozy little spot to the elegant setting of Ichimura at Brushstroke.  And even dined alone at the ever so difficult to obtain reservation at Yuji Ramen for Yuji’s most innovative ramen tasting.



As for my non-New York bites, I had quite a year of eating that took me from Seattle to San Francisco to LA to Toronto to DC and this was just in the North America alone!  Not only did I have an amazing brunch at Revel, I revisited the Ferry Building and made it to Animal for a taste of LA.  In DC, I made it to Mike Isabella’s Italian small plate Graffiato and had a pretty fantastic meal at Buca in Toronto.




As for international travel, through my two trips abroad, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the cuisine of Berlin from modern German food to little nibbles here and there.



And in China, I was forever enjoying classics in my homeland from breakfast classics like you tiao to soup dumplings, something I can never get enough of, whether with crab and pork filling or pan fried until golden brown.



I don’t think 2013 can ever be spoken about food wise without the word Cronut associated with it.  This was the craze of the year with hundreds lining up at the crack of dawn for one of these hybrid breakfast.  I am not ashamed to admit that I also waited in line for an hour and half but I knew that whatever Mr. Dominique Ansel creates will be delicious.  This flaky combination of a donut and croissant was no exception but not sure if anything is worth waiting in the snow and sleet like others have done.


Finally, I think I will always remember 2013 not only because it was a year full of so many fun and exciting new restaurants and kitchen adventures for me but because it will be forever remembered through the Food Project 365.  Day after day, I took a picture of food, whether directly or indirectly related.  Some days were extremely exciting while others were a little banal.  While this had been challenging at times, it has also been extremely rewarding and I now have 365 photos documenting my entire year of eating.  While I will not feel obligated to capture a picture a day, I will still be toting my camera(s) around with me everywhere, to capture and remember every delicious bite and moment.

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