It’s the last day of 2014 and I’m counting down my top ten favorite savory and sweet bites from dining out adventures this year. It was really hard to narrow down this list, but it was also fun to reminisce. Here we go!
#10 Cinnamon Roll Sammie from Sea & Smoke
It’s just the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The cinnamon roll bread also has everything you love in a cinnamon roll but without the mess.
#9 Pulpo Asado A Las Brasas from Romesco
Octopus was a big food trend of 2014, but Romesco’s version was my favorite. The octopus is tender, smoky, and simply dressed.
#8 Siren Sandwich from Supernatural Sandwiches
I don’t often rave about sandwiches, but I adore this sandwich shop and especially their flavorful Siren Sandwich, which consists of sauteed garlic Mexican white shrimp, served on a buttery toasted brioche bun, topped with aioli, local greens, tomatoes, white cheddar and a fiery “necromancer sauce.”
#7 Tennessee pork shoulder from Jack’s Bar-B-Que
We only brought one “souvenir” back from our Nashville visit and it was a pound of this moist, tender and smoky pulled pork shoulder meat. We finished it off later that night.
#6 Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings from Iron Pig Alehouse
These wings have such a great smoky flavor and the skin is extremely crisp. I could munch on these all day long.
#5 Pastrami Sandwich #19 from Langer’s Deli
I’ve missed New York style pastrami sandwiches so much and can’t believe that there is a version on the West Coast that rivals Katz’s. This is everything a pastrami sandwich should be and it nearly made me weep with joy when I bit in.
#4 Oysters & Pearls from Juniper & Ivy
There’s quite a few innovative dishes I enjoyed from Juniper & Ivy this year, but Chef Blais’ play on oysters & pearls is probably my favorite. From the presentation down to the taste, I enjoyed everything about this.
#3 Eggs on Toast from Republique
I still think about the soft uni egg scramble that I tasted earlier this year. I hope to taste it again.
#2 Egg Yolk Gnocchi/ Octopus ink shell pasta from Ink
We had two amazing pasta dishes from Ink this year (post coming soon). I can’t decide which one I like better, so we’ll call it a tie. The egg yolk gnocchi features soft gnocchi with delicate egg yolks wrapped in the center. The octopus ink shell pasta is flavorful, briny, and a little smoky. I couldn’t stop eating it.
#1 Meat Fruit from Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Our meal at Dinner was probably my favorite meal of 2014 and while everything we had was excellent, it’s the meat fruit that I want to taste again. Not only is it just beautifully crafted and almost too pretty to eat, but the texture is so silky smooth.
#6 Matcha soft serve from Matcha Love
I love matcha flavored desserts so I was excited that Matcha Love opened in San Diego this year, serving creamy matcha soft serve.
#5 Sea Salt and Caramel from Salt & Straw
The sea salt and caramel ribbons ice cream was rich, creamy, and thick. I fell in love with the texture of this ice cream, getting it twice in one day.
#4 French Cheesecake from Le Parfait Paris
I find the classic American cheesecake to be too rich and dense and often can’t eat more than a few bites. The French Cheesecake from Le Parfait Paris is nothing like that. It’s light, airy, with a sweet cheese flavor. Most of the desserts at Le Parfait Paris are exquisite, but this one remains my favorite.
#3 Yodel from Juniper & Ivy
I usually find the dessert course to be the most disappointing part of a nice restaurant meal and I often opt to skip dessert. But the chocolate yodel is one I feel compelled to get every time at Juniper & Ivy. I love the textures, the flavors and the richness of the deconstructed cake.
#2 Churros con Chocolate from Churros Calientes
I’ve never been to Spain, so I don’t know how this compares, but this was definitely my favorite churros experience to date. The little fried dough sticks taste almost sinful when dipped in the luxurious thick chocolate.
#1 Fried Jam Croissant from Albion
One of my biggest food related regrets of 2014 was not visiting Albion while I was in London because it is the home to the most amazing fried jam croissant. I got a taste of it at the Chowzter Awards ceremony when it won the World’s Tastiest Pastry, but I wish I had visited before that night so I could have stuffed myself with about a dozen of these. You can view better photos of the full croissant here.
Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. Happy New Year everyone!