Top 5's of 2011

December 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

To wrap up 2011, thought I’d do the Top 5 most memorable dishes and Top 5 most memorable (dining out) meals for me. The dining out ones are a bit harder to narrow down since there were many good ones. So let’s start with the most memorable dishes I made.

Dish Number 5: Cioppino

Along with some garlic toast and anchovy butter, this is one of the best seafood dishes for 2011. I loved the rich tomato broth and so good for anytime of the year.

Dish Number 4 : Cauliflower Fried Rice

With the Mister’s eating habits changing earlier in the year, it was certainly a challenge to come up with Paleo/Primal friendly recipes. I have to admit that some (maybe most?) of them were, well, let’s just say “forgettable” but there was one dish that I could eat all the time, cauliflower fried rice. I was completely caught by surprise at how good this dish was the first time I made it. Certainly a go-to for when I’m finally ready to cut back on all the bad carbs (yeah, right).

Dish Number 3: Blueberry Pie (with homemade lard crust)

Any pie would have made it in the top five but this one was certainly at the top of the uh…top list. What makes this pie so good was not only did I get the perfect filling consistency, it can be made anytime of the year thanks to frozen blueberries. Okay, the lard crust and it keeps for a very long time doesn’t hurt either. Did I ever mention that it can be frozen after baked?

Dish Number 2: Red Velvet Macarons

Is anyone surprised that this is on the top five list? My (rather late) discovery of these delicious cookies in 2011 started a whole new baking craze. I’ve baked a few other “meringue” baked goods during the year but these were a revelation, not only for the taste buds but baking skills for this year.

Dish Number 1: Lasagna with Meat Sauce

It might seem strange that such a common dish is number one on the list but I dream about this dish quite often. More often than any other dishes from this year. Even macarons. Even almond crescent cookies. Even lemon cheesecake bars. Okay, in all fairness, that last one I haven’t posted on yet and it certainly was one of the top contenders but I would forgo all others for this lasagna. What makes this dish stand out is the bechemel sauce and it’s semi-homemade. This is also one of the first dishes for me to make for 2012, hehe.

Eating out in 2011 was a bit different than the previous year since we didn’t go out as much. We also didn’t try as many new restaurants. But of the ones we did, these were the most memorable.

Dining Number 5: La Bastide Bistro

We’ve had several delicious dishes at La Bastide but the most memorable dish was the Rack of Lamb with Pommes Dauphine. Not only was this entire dish prepared to perfection, the price made it a no brainer. Oh those pommes dauphine!

Dining Number 4: Alforon

My first meal here was also my first Lebanese meal. It was a lot of firsts that day, including meeting Canine Cologne of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High. And who can forget that delicious garlic paste? Not I. The thought of that garlic paste induces an almost uncontrollable compulsion to “lick-the-bowl.” Oh baby! A very very close second was the Chicken Tawook. Delicious.

Dining Number 3: Coop’s West Texas Barbeque

This was the Dark Horse of the year. A bunch of us food bloggers went on a BBQ crawl in search for good (and real) BBQ in San Diego. Quite honestly, I didn’t think we find any. Having really gotten into smoking meat and grilling at home this year, going out for (ahem) BBQ has been more or less a joke. But Coop’s surprised me and many others. The ribs (and rib tips) were my favorite here.

Dining Number 2: Nazca Grill and Island Style Cafe

I came here with CC and TC the first time and it was so good that I had to bring the Mister to try it. Every dish that I’ve tried here has been a winner so it was really hard to choose just one. So I’m going to pick two. I think if I could only order one dish from this place, it would have to be Lomo Saltado.The beef was perfectly cooked with a slight kick and those fries were perfection.

My other choice is the chicken tamal. This was so good that even the Mister enjoyed it. Enough said.

Dining Number 1: Que Huong

We’ve only eaten here twice so far but both times were so good that we talked about the meals for weeks. The odd thing is that I don’t have a picture of the best dish we had here, which was the wild boar with lemongrass & red pepper. But really, all the dishes were lip-smacking good. This is the pork, shrimp and jack fruit salad, something we will always order here because it’s that good. This is one of the first restaurants that I have planned for us for 2012 since it’s been too long since we were last there.

So there you have it. When looking back at all these, 2011 was a very good year for good eating. Best part was that new and old friends shared some of these bests with me. Thank you all for stopping by this past year and I hope 2012 will bring you joy, prosperity and a full happy belly! Happy New Year!


§ 4 Responses to Top 5's of 2011

  • Dennis says:

    I remember the cioppino! Great list Carol. Have a great New Year.

  • hi c – i wanted to revisit your cioppino recipe and then bastardize it yet again.

    i’m making another batch of cioppino now! i have fennel this time but no leeks. no sausages or king crab legs like i said back in january.

    gotta throw in the cheap white wine ($3.99) and the seafood later. i’m going to let it simmer longer since i’m not in a rush.

    i’m so glad we met this year. you’re so fun to be with and we share a similar, shall i say, bawdy, sense of humor! plus, you cuss almost as much as i do and i can be myself! ha ha. our food outings have been fun as well!

    happy (early) new year! hope you got your chamango at teresita’s! i’m off to watch my dvr’d episodes of “the layover”!

    • CAB says:

      Thanks CC! It’s been a great year thanks to you. You’ve introduced me to so many new foods and places! And I did get my chamango, 2 in fact. One is in the freezer for later! I tried searching for places up here by me but closest is San Marcos and I read it’s not anything like Teresita’s.

      I use cheap white wines all the time but then those are the kind of wines I typically have on hand. Cioppino sounds so good right now.

      I’m sorry, did you say “almost as much as you?” Guess you haven’t watched any hockey with me, hehe. We’re watching reruns of Spartacus Blood and Sand. The new season starts at the end of Jan!!!

      Hope you, Bert and TC have a great new year!

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