It’s that time of year again. The last week of the year, I love reviewing my year of eats and attempting to come up with some best lists. This year, I plan on doing Best Bites in San Diego 2015, Overall Top Ten Best Bites 2015, Best Sweets 2015, and Top Ten Recipes 2015.
For my San Diego list, I narrowed it down to my top ten favorite savory bites and top five desserts. It’s always so hard to narrow it down to just a few, but I gave it my best shot:
Top Ten Savory Bites for San Diego
#10 BBQ Beef Bánh Mì from Food Shop
We haven’t had a chance to revisit this spot since it first opened and the subsequent chef shuffle, but when we ordered this sandwich to-go earlier this summer, we were very pleased with this cheffed up version of the classic banh mi.
#9 Butashiso from Yakitori Taisho
This intimate yakitori spot opened late last year and we’ve enjoyed most of what we’ve eaten here but the butashiso is one of our favorites. The burst of flavors from the shiso paste adds a unique touch to the pork belly.
We’ve done a lot of research trying to find the best lobster roll in San Diego. While I’m not quite yet done with my search, my favorite so far has come from Two for the Road, one of the top food trucks in San Diego. Their very traditional rendition of the lobster roll is well executed and it’s the most generous serving of lobster I’ve had so far in my lobster roll search.
#7 Beef Tongue Confit Tacos from Bracero
One of our best meals in San Diego this year was from Bracero. There are so many dishes here that we love so it’s hard to choose, but this beef tongue confit taco is one of our favorites. Served on their made-to-order tortillas, the beef tongue is amazingly tender.
#6 Duck Sugo Orrecchiette from Catania
Catania was also one of our favorite new restaurants to open in San Diego this year. We had many memorable dishes here, like the spot prawns, but if I had to choose just one dish, it would be the duck sugo orrencchiette. The fresh pasta is what really makes this dish.
#5 Honey Sesame Twice Fried K-Town Style Wings from StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee
Streetcar offers some solid fried chicken, with several styles to choose from. Our favorite though is their twice fried K-town style wings, flavored with honey sesame sauce. It’s unbelievably crispy and flavorful. We actually have been back so many times that I never did get around to blogging about the wings, but the above photo is one I shared on Instagram.
#4 Pork Black Ramen from Nishiki Ramen
We are beyond thrilled that Nishiki opened in San Diego. Still relatively new, they are continually adding more ramen options to their menu. The fresh made noodles have a delightful chewy factor that makes Nishiki’s ramen stand out against the rest of the ramen scene in San Diego. Our current favorite bowl is the Pork Black Ramen. It’s not the prettiest bowl, but that umami flavor from the black garlic oil is oh so good.
#3 Puerto Nuevo Lobster Grilled Cheese from Grater Grilled Cheese
One of my favorite photos of 2015 and one of my most favorite bites of 2015. I couldn’t have styled this photo better even if I tried (though I do regret not removing the paper wrapper from the top so you could see the perfectly golden crusty exterior). It was one of those magical shots where I opened up the sandwich and this is exactly what it looked like.
I make a lot of grilled cheese creations at home so I rarely am impressed or craving grilled cheese, but Grater Grilled Cheese changed all of that. All of the grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve eaten here have been excellent but my absolute favorite is their puerto nuevo style lobster grilled cheese. Five cheese blend, with chunks of butter fried lobster, snow crab and their signature Sierra Nevada pale ale chipotle aioli. Worth. Every. Calorie.
#2 Foie Gras Pot De Creme from Addison
We had so many memorable bites from our meal at Addison that it’s hard to choose a favorite. The foie gras dish stands out in my mind though because it was the first pairing of fruit with foie gras that I actually enjoyed.
#1 Wood Grilled Octopus from Bracero
Octopus has been the darling of the chef world, with nearly every restaurant offering their take. Our favorite preparation remains the ones offered at Chef Plascencia’s restaurants. Tender, with a slight smokey flavor, I always regret having to share a single bite of this dish.
Top Five Sweet Bites for San Diego
#5 Banana Bread Cold Brew from Holsem Coffee
We love the coffee menu at Holsem Coffee and our absolute favorite drink is their banana bread cold brew which tastes like they tossed a loaf of banana bread into the blender and poured it out into a cup over ice. It’s the perfect drink for banana bread lovers.
#4 Nutella Chocolate Pretzel Snow Ice from Iceskimo
What really impresses me about this Snow Ice Shop is their continued creativity. There always seems to be something new on the menu when we stop in and our current favorite is their Nutella Chocolate Pretzel creation. Chocolate and pretzel pieces are added halfway through the ice shaving, adding a wonderfully sweet, salty and crunchy combination to each bite.
#3 Le Parfait Signature from Le Parfait Paris
We visited this spot the very first day they opened downtown and it’s fun to see how they’ve grown. There are a lot of delicious sweets here but our favorites remain their cakes, especially Le Parfait Signature. Airy chocolate mousse, with a thin layer of praline crisp and an almond biscuit bottom.
#2 Torta Misu from Extraordinary Desserts
We always recommend or take out-of-town visitors here. The display of desserts is simply breathtaking and taste just as good as they appear. We have a few favorites, but our most memorable cake slice this year was the Torta Misu, layers of espresso soaked ricotta cake interspersed with mascarpone rum cream.
#1 Plum from Bracero
Or any dessert from Bracero, really. We’ve really loved the desserts we’ve tried and I only slightly favored this one because I loved the playfulness of textures and flavors.
Looking back, the 2015 San Diego dining scene was quite an exciting one with so many new favorite restaurants on our list. Let’s hope the delicious trend continues in 2016!