Top 10 Meals or Dishes from 2010
10. Almondine Cookie Pistacia Vera (Columbus, O.) - While they are known for their fantastic French macarons, this little cookie took me by surprise...packs a real almond punch with a chewy, soft center.
9. Alex's Lemonade Stand Benefit (Philadelphia) - The entire event was top notch. Highlights included dishes from Nancy Silverton, Jose Garces, Gina DePalma, Mark Vetri and crew and Michael Solmononov. Hoping they repeat this event at the Naval Yard in 2011.
8. Lemon Cake Vittorio's (Cleveland, O.) - I admit I was skeptical when my friends said that this cake was really good...from now on, I will listen to my friends. This super moist, tasty cake is really good with some ice cream. The serving is large enough to share (or stretch out over a few days).
7. Roasted pumpkin w/ speck Flour + Water (San Francisco) - A heavenly combination. I know some people who have a family tradition of cooking speck over an open fire. They catch the fat drippings with some white bread and that's what they eat...doesn't sound fancy, but after having this dish, I understand the magical powers of speck.
6. Dulce Malted Milk Ice Cream w/ Frosted Almonds Humphrey Slocombe (San Francisco) - I went, I tried the exotic flavors (Peanut butter curry ice cream anyone?) and I pronounced this flavor as the winner. I am proud to acknowledge that Jake Godby, Humphrey Slocombe's creator and owner spent some time at The Ohio State University. His frosted almonds were the icing on this sundae...not to be missed.
5. Coconut Cream Tart Tartine (San Francisco) - I eyed this item from the long line in Tartine the first time I was there. Two years later and back in San Fran, I wasn't going to let this pass me by...I ate it for breakfast and it was worth every bite. Now I have their book and can't wait to try my hand at making this at home.
4. Butterscotch Chocolate Pot de Creme Town Hall (San Francisco) - We do all the research in the world prior to a trip, scoping out all the "must try" items and then we discover something on a fluke...this is one of those examples. We stumbled upon this place through some obscure internet posting and low and behold, we hit the jackpot. I'd venture to say that restaurants in San Francisco offer Pots de creme more than anywhere else in the world. This version is special though...butterscotch and chocolate custard with the richness cut by pieces of butterscotch chocolate crunch.
3. Sweet Potato Fries w/ Maple Dipping Sauce Blue Smoke (NYC) - Fries have ketchup and all sweet potato fries should have maple dipping sauce. The sleeper dish of the meal.
2. S'Mores 3 Birds (Cleveland, O.) - This may usurp Moxie's Baked Hot Chocolate as my favorite dessert in Cleveland...it's no ordinary s'mores. House made marshmallows and graham crackers are paired with a decadent, pudding-like chocolate cake...the only thing better is when I get this dessert to go so that I can torch the marshmallows on my stove top and then put every component together in a symphony of deliciousness. Props to Diana Jankowski, pastry chef at 3 Birds...she does not disappoint.
1. Entire Meal Zahav (Philadelphia) - The highlight meal of the year. If you go to Philly, do not miss this place and do not pass up the tasting menu. It's the best bang for your buck. Can't wait to go back and try their other tasting menu with the roasted lamb shoulder and their Turkish hummus. The crispy halloumi is not to be missed.
10 Favorite Home Eats & Products
10. Greenburg Smoked Turkey -Spotted in the NYT and WSJ, this was a Thanksgiving present from my hubby. After eating it, I don't know if I will ever make another turkey for the holidays again. I am hoarding some in my fridge for the winter.
9. Almond Cream Tart w/ Raspberries - Not only did this have one of my favorite flavors, almond, it also had my new favorite ingredient, which is what made it so good - mascarpone.
8. Sour Cherry Tortoni - I waited ever so patiently for the sour cherries to emerge at the Farmer's Market this summer and then I pounced! Takes some TLC to make, but this was one of my best desserts of the year.
7. Spumoni Cake - Hard to come by and not often done right, I've found some of the best spumoni in town at Crostatas. Even harder to find than good spumoni, is a spumoni ice cream cake, which is why my hubby had to take matters into his own hands (literally) and make one for me for my birthday. Spumoni and yellow cake...a match made in heaven.
6. Stramondo Pistachio Cream - My pistachio obsession continues. Pistachio paste is almost as hard to come by as a Spumoni ice cream cake in Cleveland (see number 7). This product, imported from Italy, has taken my pistachio fixation to a whole new level.
5. Malted Milk Ice Cream (D. Lebowitz) - Dave Lebowitz is touted for his Salted Caramel Ice cream, but in my opinion this is his best ice cream recipe. I made it over and over again this summer and each time it was more delicious than the time before.
4. Seriously Delicious Ribs (Food 52) - These go against my husband's Big Green Egg rib cooking style, but when the BGE is covered under 2 feet of snow, this recipe brings some real good BBQ flavor into your home. Super easy and as the recipe says, "Seriously delicious."
3. Baby Swiss Cheese (Northeast Pastures) - Amish cheese from right here in Ohio. The sharpest and tastiest swiss cheese I've ever had.
2. Lemon Curd (Talula's Table) - Nestled in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, you'll find this delightful specialty shop/cafe by day and restaurant by night. Their lemon curd is like none other...super smooth and super tangy. It made for some delightful raspberry lemon curd ice cream sundaes this past summer. So good that I bought two jars the 2nd time I was there.
1. Chewy Chocolate Chip Gingerbread cookies (Martha Stewart) - A last minute entry, discovered at the tail end of the holiday baking season. You might not think it, but chocolate and gingerbread really do go together. Thanks Martha.
Honorable mentions: I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the Macadamia Nut ice cream from Harry Waugh Dessert Room at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida. Reportedly they've been through 300+ versions of this recipe, trying to perfect it all along. I'm glad that they were persistent because it's darn near close to perfect.
Also, on a visit to Betabrand in San Francisco, some of the locals pointed us in the direction of another famous, although sometimes overlooked ice cream shop in town - Mitchell's. We were happy to discover their very purple Ube and the super tasty Macapuno (young coconut) ice creams.