The Best of 2013

Takashi Beef and Uni New YorkBig

I’d say that the reason my 2013 wrap-up isn’t coming out until mid-March of 2014 is because I had a food hangover, but that’s not true. Hangover connotes sick, ugly, gross feelings, and I have quite the opposite. Instead, I’ve retained glee, a glow, and an excitement about what more is to come. 2013 was a year of amazing eating: I visited four countries and six states, and feel that I can confidently declare I ate the best of all of them. But what were the best things that I ate, the best restaurants I went to, the best dining innovations I found? I have the answers for you. Best Place … [Read more...]

Feasting like a Princess in Queens

Spices on a Plate

"But where in New York can one find a woman with grace, elegance, taste and culture? A woman suitable for a king?" "Queens!" If anyone else grew up in a household with two brothers and only basic cable, you too have probably seen Coming to America over a thousand times and when the New York City borough of Queens is mentioned, this line is all that you can think of. No? Just me? Again? Alright, this is enough already. Seriously though, we did a food excavation of Queens on our most recent trip to New York. We had overlooked the boroughs on our last … [Read more...]

Locanda Verde and Staple and Fancy: On Restaurant Design

Locanda Verde Ricotta

The other day, as I sat in Staple and Fancy Mercantile and tried to pin point exactly what was so pleasant about where I was, it suddenly hit me: Like Locanda Verde in Manhattan, it seemed to be perfectly designed as a restaurant. Staple and Fancy is the latest addition to Ethan Stowell's restaurant empire in Seattle, while Locanda Verde is my favorite stop from an epic eating adventure I recently had in New York From the moment I stepped into Locanda Verde, I felt like it was the best designed restaurant into which I had ever stepped. Each design element (like, say, the random silver … [Read more...]

In Search of Greatness: Momofuku Ssam Bar

We came to Momofuku Ssam Bar because of the awards, accolades and heaps of praise I had heard. As we were seated, I realized I was going to like this place just looking at the menu "We do not serve vegetarian items." This is a good sign, I thought. Follow that up with an entire section entitled "Offal" and I was pleased as a pig in punch, or whatever the saying is. Immediately realizing I was not going to be able to order everything (unfortunate, because about 75% of the dishes offered looked amazing), I decided to allow Brett some input to narrow it down. We started with Maine Sea Urchin … [Read more...]

New York Part 2: Celebrity Worship brings me to Hagi

Anthony Bourdain, as many people know, is kind of a hero to me. And by kind of, I mostly mean I am endlessly envious of his job. Eating my way around the world is, unfortunately, something I must do on my own dime. He on the other hand gets to do it for free. Luckily each week I get to watch and live vicariously by watching him on television. When in New York, he went to an underground sake bar. Seeing as B and I love sake and this sounded cool, we decided to check it out and see if Tony (that's right, we are on a first name basis) really was eating as well as he made us believe. Hagi Sake Bar … [Read more...]

New York Part 1: Celebrity Worship–Centro Vinoteca and Otto

There are, I'm willing to admit, celebrity chefs whose food and personality I very much enjoy. One such example is the delight I get when I hear Alton Brown announce "Sous chef Anne Burell making one of her famous pastas" on Iron Chef. Ms. Burell works as Mario Batali's sous chef on the show, and I started making handmade pasta dough only after watching her endless parade of beautifully mixed doughs on my screen. Thus, I was not going to pass up a chance to dine at her latest culinary venture, Centro Vinoteca, while I was in New York. We arrived early for our reservation, having cut short our … [Read more...]