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2014: Year in Review

Happy New Year to all!

Most memorable meals in 2014 (in no particular order):

China King (Chinatown) - Their 3- course Peking duck meal is $39 and will serve 3-4 people. Is doesn't get better than a platter of duck skin.

Jaleo (Las Vegas) – Our tapas meal was delicious from start to finish, but the Pintxo moruno - Marinated and grilled lamb loin was my favorite dish of the night.

North (Providence) – Dr. Marc found a hair in his biscuit, and yet it still made the memorable meals list, so you know it has to be good.

Bouchon (Las Vegas) – This was the night the Steve proposed, so even a meal at McDonald's would have made the list, but even without the proposal, Thomas Keller’s French bistro, Bouchon served us an excellent meal.

Honorable Mentions:

Ribelle’s (Brookline) – the early bird special: 3 courses for $30, is now up to $35, but is absolutely still worth it.

Sarma (Somerville) – Everyone talks about the fried chicken, but the lamb sliders were even better.

Boston Chops (South End)- my birthday meal was at this “urban steak bistro”. They offer complimentary popovers and unlimited fries. Enough said.

Fat Choy (Las Vegas) – They have affordable and interesting Asian Fusion eats, the highlight of which was a short rib grilled cheese sandwich.

La Brasa (Somerville) –For weeks later, I was still telling everyone about how amazing Steve's pork Milanese was. I'm dreaming of it as I write this.

Pot au feu (Providence) - a cozy, subterranean French bistro. Steve and I had a quiet romantic meal, with delicious food and hot French bread.


Best Discoveries:


“The Fancy" at Mike and Patty's (Bay Village) - I love a good breakfast sandwich, and “The Fancy" (fried egg, bacon, cheddar, avocado, red onion, house mayo on toasted multigrain) is a contender for the best.

Grape leaves at Noor (Somerville) - Tender rice, well balanced flavors.

Crispy Rosemary Potatoes at Barbuto (Manhattan) - They were outstanding; fried crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They were dusted with pecorino and rosemary.


Stone Crab Claws at Joe’s (Miami) – No wonder the wait for a table can be hours, the claws are a perfect example of how simple preparation can let a great ingredient shine.

Cubano at Las Olas Café (Miami) – I had 3 Cubano that day. This one won.

Pork rib special at Alden & Harlow (Cambridge) - Our waiter explained that they save up the ribs from the pork belly dish and when they have about 30 racks, they make ribs, smoked and lacquered with Korean flavors.

Marinated lamb riblets at McKinnon's (Somerville)- Buy them, throw them on a hot grill, or in the oven for a simple, satisfying meal. Thank me later.

Lobster Roll at Bite in to Maine (Portland) – They serve both classic and non-traditional lobster rolls out of a food truck. We enjoyed our sandwiches at a nearby picnic table and relished the gentle breeze with the beautiful view of the water. It was a perfect Maine lunch.

Porchetta sandwich at Pennypackers (Somerville) -Their porchetta is made even better with the addition of a peach mostrada.

Tatnuck Engine #9 Pie at Corner Grille (Worcester) – This pizza (red sauce, roasted red peppers, sweet Italian sausage, caramelized onion, mild garlic peppers and cheese) was delicious. The crust was thin and crispy, with flavorful toppings.

Hot dogs at George’s Coney Island Lunch (Worcester) - They are grilled Kayem dogs, nestled in a steamed bun. “Up” or “all the way” will get you a stripe of yellow mustard, a ladle of all-meat chili and a generous amount of raw onion on top.

Steak tips at Newbridge Café (Chelsea) – it's a hole in the wall, and we got many uncomfortable looks (maybe for being an inter-racial couple??), but the famous steak tips have earned their reputation.

Pierogis at Patti's pierogis (Fall River)- these are the best I've have had, hand down. It's worth driving the 50 minutes from Boston.

Eggplant fries at Abby Lane (Boston) - It was the best rendition of a non-potato fry I’ve had; the exterior was light and crispy, concealing a creamy eggplant interior. There was a nice tzatziki dipping sauce, as well.

Sausage Supreme pizza at Bob and Timmy's (Providence) – a 14 inch grilled pizza, loaded with delicious, flavorful toppings atop thin, crispy crust perfumed with woodsmoke. It was outstanding.

Bacon at Kitchen (Providence) - It was a good quarter inch thick, really more of a bacon steak then a slice. It was perfectly cooked – crispy edge with a slight chew. It was meaty and scrumptious. Director Mike texted me weeks later to say that it had ruined all other bacons for him.

Moules frites at Bar Boulud (Boston) - The mussels were unbelievably plump and tender and the white wine, garlic, onion, and fennel broth was delicious although a tad salty.


Biggest disappointments:

Stacked donuts – I got up and waited in line fo 30 minutes at Stephanie Cmar's donut pop-up. The blood orange could have been any generic citrus glazed donut. The Bavarian crème filled was the real fail. The donut was heavy and dense. There was enough crème filling; I had 2 large bites of the hockey puck before I even saw the crème. It was over fried as well. What a disappointment.

Journeyman – There were some interesting bites during our 7 course meal, but when the bill comes in at $240 (the meal, 2 cocktails and tip), my expectations are high and Journeyman failed to meet them.


Late-night Ramen at Uni – I waited an hour at midnight for expensive, adequate ramen. If I'm going to wait that long for a bowl of noodles, I'm going to do it at Yume Wo Katare

Bagelsaurus – Don’t get me wrong – it's decent bagel, but for $2.50 and a 35 minutes wait, I'll go else where.

Juniper - Between the service gaffes, the higher prices, smaller portions and plastic wrap in my food, I think I will be sticking to Dave Becker's original restaurant, Sweet Basil.

RIP

Rendezvous – A Central Square staple for many years, I'll miss the Monday evenings tapas menu.

Mrs. Jones – I only discovered the excellent fried chicken wings this year, only to have them close months later.

For 2015:

I went to 11 restaurants on my 2014 list. I vow to make it to Angela's this year (it's been on the list for 5 years now).

1. West Bridge

2. Commonwealth

3. La Lechonera

4. Angela’s Café

5. Viale

6. Red Bird

7. Bastille Kitchen

8. Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions

9. Rino's Place

10. Sycamore

11. Steel & Rye

12. Mei Mei

13. Sono Sushi

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