This is one my favorite posts that I get to write each year. I am kicking off 2017 by sharing a list of the best things I ate in 2016! I also ate something so foul that for the first time I am sharing the worst thing I ate. Here you go, in no particular order, the most wonderful things I tasted in 2016:
The State Bird at State Bird (San Francisco) – the restaurant’s namesake dish consists of California’s State Bird, quail, that is perfectly tender and juicy inside and fried and crispy outside. It’s better than any fried chicken that I have tried.
The Creamsicle Torte at Bestia (LA) – I love the creativity of this dessert. Butter cake, coconut sorbet, sour tangerine sorbet, and Meyer lemon ice cream are layered together and topped with kumquat meringue and the result tastes just like a creamsicle – but better.
Raviolo at Schwa (Chicago) – A single quail egg shooter was served as the third course when I dined at Schwa. Eating the raviolo in one bite resulted in the warm yolk oozing out as you bite into the pasta, filling my mouth. It was a perfect bite and we could have eaten a dozen of these.
The Haddock Tacos at Salt & Honey (Kennebunkport) – Tacos are one of the loves of my life, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this isn’t the only taco on the list. I am not the biggest seafood fan, but these tacos are phenomenal. Light flaky fried haddock is topped with a housemade slaw, salsa fresco, and a sriracha aioli.
Bonuts at Biscuit Love (Nashville) – These doughnuts are made with biscuit dough and served in a pool of blueberry compote and topped with lemon mascarpone cream. There is a reason why they are famous.
The Goat Tacos at Birreria Zaragoza (Chicago) – I know, goat tacos seems super random, but you need to try this hole in the wall restaurant down by Midway Airport. This is a family owned restaurant where the menus doesn’t consist of much other than goat tacos, but that’s the reason for going. The goat is butchered in house and slow cooked with a spice rub and served with homemade tortillas and salsas.
The Pancakes at Kitchen Notes (Nashville) – The pancakes at Kitchen Notes are buttery and cake-like and toasted on the outside. They were the best pancakes I have tasted, and the rest of the brunch buffet was pretty fantastic.
The Brisket Tacos at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ (Austin) – This mashup of BBQ and Mexican foods is simply delicious. The tender shredded brisket was moist and flavorful and served in a flour tortilla with a slightly spicy sauce, and I added a little queso on top. One of the best things about Valentina’s might be that there was no line, which is a big deal in a city where people are known to stand in line for hours at restaurants.
The Josperised Aubergine at Palomar (London) – Palomar is a little gem beside London’s Picadilly Circus. The Israeli restaurant specializes in small plates that mix authentic Israeli cuisine with comfort food. The aubergine (eggplant, as we say in America) was grilled which intensified its flavor and served with feta emulsion, tomato, oregano, pine nuts, and topped with crispy shallots.
The Dulce de Liege Waffle at Waffle Luv (Salt Lake City) – This waffle made with churro dough and topped with caramel, strawberries, fried ice cream, and whipped cream might be reason enough to go to Salt Lake City.
Oh, and in case you are wondering about the worst thing I ate – the fermented shark I tried in Iceland is the worst thing that has ever happened to my taste buds.