2015: A Retrospective of Bites

Well, we’re here in 2016, and before I post about my trip to India and other general musings on life, snacks, kale, Gisele and Tom’s (non) eating habits, and the like, I thought it best to review some of the tastiest things I ate in 2015. Without further ado and in no particular order…

1. Rice Salad at Thip Khao (Washington, DC)I’ve rhapsodized about this before–the crunchy slivers of pig’s ear, and the freshness of herbs, and spiciness that provided a gentle burn throughout. Truly so fantastic. Review here.

2. Pizza at Di Fara (New York)

Excuse the atrocious picture BUT, few things will drag one to the depths of Midwood, Brooklyn–this expertly made pizza will do it. The sauce (with tomatoes imported from Italy, of course) is probably the most incredible part of it, not to mention the owner who is in his 80s (above) and still touches almost every pie.

3. Beef & Bone Marrow Pie at Chi Spacca (Los Angeles)
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I kept hearing about this pie from my brother, and once I finally tried it, every expectation was fulfilled. It’s unctuous and flaky and super-savory all at once. Go get it, if you can.

4. Corn Arepas with an Egg (Medellín, Colombia)

I vividly remember saying, aloud, at the breakfast table “these are a revelation.” The sweet, slightly charred corn flavor and the rich egg yolk are just next level delicious. More here.

5. Fried Chicken “Coq Au Vin” at Convivial (Washington, DC)
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So, the picture doesn’t adequately display how fantastically tasty this dish was, but believe me it was. The rich winey sauce coated the fried chicken, it was so sinful and…now I’m ravenous.

6. Suckling Pig with Orange Sauce at Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)

The orange sauce (with a clove of roasted black garlic) and slightly ever so charred cabbage were perfect counterpoints to the crispy, caramelized pork. But, I also must mention that the potato chips seen in the top right corner were inside an edible bag. So yes, I just bit into the whole thing. Magical. Full Lisbon eating guide here.

7. Smothered Shrimp and Grits at Narobia’s Grits and Gravy (Savannah, GA)

I wish I could say we stumbled across this down home Savannah spot, but the truth is I’d been dying to try it for a few months, and the moment I knew we’d be heading to this Southern town, I insisted on going there. The smoky, smothered shrimp were so unbelievably fresh and sweet over luscious, creamy grits. Read more here.

8. Red Wine Braised Artichokes and Parmesan Custard at Vernick Food & Drink (Philadelphia)

Every year, I make at least one trip to Philly, and each time I’m wowed by the food. This dish, one of many at Vernick Food & Drink was so ideal to spoon up on a cold winter evening. Parmesan and red wine go together so well, of course, and I loved the interesting combination here. Full Philly writeup here.

9. Khmer Pancake at Ithaca Farmer’s Market (Ithaca, NY)IMG_9445Back for my college reunion, I made sure to re-live the massive amounts of eating I did in my four years. On weekends at Ithaca’s famed Farmers Market, I almost always ordered a Khmer pancake at the Cambodian stall. Filled with pork, sliced vegetables and vermicelli noodles, it’s absolutely one of my favorite bites this year, and perhaps ever. More here.

10. Pork Sausage with Coconut-Chile Sauce and Lychees at Rose’s Luxury (Washington, DC)pork-sausage-with-coconut-chile-sauce-and-lychees-940x600I’ve been wanting to try the notoriously impossible-to-get-into DC restaurant Rose’s Luxury for a year or two at this point, and on a rainy December night we got lucky. This dish was transcendental. Stirring all the ingredients together, you got the pungent red onion, ever so slightly spongy lychees, coconut froth, and meaty thai sausage. Want to make it? Here’s the recipe.

[Rose’s Luxury Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit]

Izakaya Seki…and some pixelated dancing onigiri

I know I’ve briefly mentioned Izakaya Seki but it’s definitely time to get more in-depth on this U Street gem. Whenever I get the hankering for sushi (which is far too often, thanks to my time in New York), I check my wallet, wait a few more days, watch this pixelated onigiri, and then head to Seki.tumblr_n3zj98UImx1snc5kxo1_500 The décor is a combination of minimal sushi bar (downstairs), and industrial-chic Portland hipster (upstairs.) We usually head upstairs, and craft a meal of both sashimi and some of their hot preparations.
On a recent weekday evening, we were ravenous by 5pm (standard.) We showed up to Seki around 6 knowing that for once we wouldn’t have a wait. What we didn’t know, though, was that they have a terrific Happy Hour deal–$5 for beer or their super refresca shochu-grapefruit sparkling beverage and a tuna sashimi snack. Naturally, we went through about five or six (ten?) of these snack/drink combos in addition to our early bird special. Our server was impressed to say the least. The tuna:

Our geriatric feast included the medium sized sashimi selection. The toro and prawn were particularly velvety and stand-out.

Smoky-sweet eel was kept light by a refreshing sesame-studded cucumber salad. Kind of like superior, more delicate eel-cucumber roll…sans rice of course.

I was immediately tempted by sticky bulgogi-style beef short ribs. The bone made the meat all the more flavorful and supple. Yes, I said supple.

We also had their warm soba in a light yet densely-flavored dashi, which I sadly didn’t photograph. (Okay, I’m lying, the photo was…really bad.)

Back to Seki we’ll go, as soon as my wallet recovers, because my sushi addiction won’t ever dissipate. I’ll just be here watching the pixelated sushi dancing.

Izakaya Seki
1117 V Street NW
(202) 588‑5841

 

What to Order at Doi Moi

DC friends and visitors: have you been to Doi Moi yet? If not, go there immediately, if yes, go there immediately.

I’ve now been twice and am nothing short of obsessed with this South East Asian joint in Logan Circle. The inside looks like a restaurant and a Mac store had a lovechild—think all white errythang, with some artful orchids and a wide-open kitchen.

What To Order:
Khao Soi (curried noodle dish)
Papaya Salad (go on, be a basic B and enjoy it)
Whole Fried Fish (don’t miss!)
Sticky Rice with Mango
Lemongrass Soft Serve (see below)

*all photos courtesy of Doi Moi

1800 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
202.733.5131