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2016: Year in Review

Happy New Year, everyone!

I doubt I will ever have a better year, food wise, in my life. I went to the food mecca of Charleston, ate my way through Italy for our honeymoon and discovered a world of Asian cuisine my roots did not prepare me for. So, it is no surprise my list is peppered with all my travels.

Most memorable meals in 2014 (in chronological order):

Husk (Charleston, SC) – Husk was the primary reason I picked Charleston for my bachelorette party. I still dream of the bowl of fried chicken skins.

Hei La Moon (Boston) - Ten courses for a traditional Chinese wedding banquet, surrounded by all our friends and family. I could not have asked for a more magical day.

Armando al Pantheon (Rome, Italy) – The romance of our honeymoon, the outstanding carbonara and my first wild chicory all together made an amazing meal.

Sora Margarita (Rome, Italy) – The cacio e pepe was the single best dish I had this year.

Trattoria al Gatto Nero (Burano, Italy) – 13 different types of seafood by the canal in Burano, an island in the Venetian lagoon.

Osteria alle Testiere (Venice, Italy) – Celebrating my birthday in Venice on my honeymoon with a magnificent meal. I could not have asked for more.

Maxwell Food Centre (Singapore) – So many foods and flavors that I grew up with, deconstructed and reconstructed in a way I have never experienced.

Pho Le (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – The flavors of the pho were so bright, fresh and delicious I wanted to cry.

Honorable Mentions

Slyman’s (Cleveland, OH) – I’m a sucker for a great pastrami

Brooklyn Crab (Brookyln, NY) – Crab, mallet, rooftop deck, perfect.

BiSq (Cambridge) – Our 6 course tasting menu was innovative, unique and delicious from start to finish.

Red Bird (Waltham) – A great meal, including “Torn & Fried” potatoes.

Best Discoveries:

Fried chicken at Martha Lou’s (Charleston, SC) – Soul food in a shack, including crispy and moist fried chicken.

Virginia ham biscuits at Callie’s hot little biscuits (Charleston, SC) – hot and fresh biscuits till 2am. What could be better?

Panzerotti at Luini Panzerotti (Milan, Italy) – I wanted to stay in Italy to learn to make this fried dough calzone hybrid and open up a small panzerotti shop in Boston.

Potato pizza al taglia at Forno (Rome, Italy) – It was so good I debated eating Steve’s piece without telling him about it, but I decided it was bad to start lying to my new husband on our honeymoon.

Pastrami at Moody’s deli (Waltham) – It’s pricey, but still cheaper than traveling to NY (or Cleveland).

Biggest disappointments

Greenhouse tavern (Cleveland, OH) – We ordered a whole pig’s head and it should have been glorious, but it the skin was flabby and there was an enormous amount of fat.

JNJ Turo Turo (Quincy) – It’s the only Filipino restaurant in the area, but the steam table offerings were mediocre at best.

The Pearl (Rockland, ME) – This probably belongs in the most memorable category because the meal and service was so awful, and our friends almost got in to a brawl with the owners.

Din Tai Fung (Singapore) – The original in Hong Kong has one Michelin star; this outpost was overpriced, and underwhelming.

Angela’s café – probably the biggest disappointment of the year, as I’ve been meaning to get to Angela’s for 5 years and the meats were dry and the guacamole was unreasonably expensive.

For 2016:

I went to 7 restaurants on my 2015 list. So many restaurants, so little time.

1. Townsman
2. La Lechonera
3. Hojoko
4. Tiger Mama
5. Kimchi Kitchen
6. Shepherd
7. Doretta Taverna
8. Ganko Ittetsu Ramen
9. Live noodles
10. Tasting counter
11. Babbo pizzeria
12. Cha Yen Thai Cookery

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