Happy Holidays everyone! We once again are approaching the end of a year and are happy to report that we all have had many fun, unexpected, and wonderful culinary experiences to savor. The four of us have got together here to share with you some of our favorites. We'd like to also wish you and your family a great happy 2014!
I think my favorite eating experience of 2013 can best be summarized by the pleasure I found in eating more fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
One of my constant goals to improve my diet has been to really get my “5-a-day”, and most of it in its fresh and raw form. So, I’ve been eating fresh fruits or (less often) vegetables every day as snacks, have made fruit salads for lunch, got into (almost) daily juicing, and often had fresh salad with dinner. Eating fruits fresh from the bush or tree has been the greatest pleasure of all. We got to pick blueberries and currants in my neighbors’ garden, barberries right in front of our house (I know Marjan and her mom envy me for that luxury), and eat figs fresh from the tree at our Mallorca trip. It just feels so good to put nature’s sweets into your mouth, tasting every sunbeam the fruit has seen and turned into divine goodness.
Eating more of my food fresh without cooking or baking comes with the great benefit of less time spent in the kitchen (something that comes in very handy when you have two small children at home). It also makes me feel so much better and healthier. I shed my pregnancy pounds in no time and generally feel more energized than ever. For sure something I will take with me into the New Year.
"Don't hate me for what I have to say: I know I sound like a spoiled Southern Californian, but really, more than ever before, I am so grateful to live and eat in sun filled Cali!"
For the first time in my adult life, I don’t have that deep desire to travel to the ends of the earth to be thrilled and inspired by international culinary experiences. I can find it all within a one hour driving radius!
This year, I have come to the conclusion that certain countries have influenced decades of gastronomy based on demanding palates. I remember in the 1970’s, the French cornered the market with perfect technique, sauces, and souffles. In the 80’s, we couldn’t get enough of pastas, pestos, and balsamic in everything salad. My personal favorite was in the 90’s as we learned how to infuse Asian dishes with the classics, hence ‘fusion’ explosion was felt all over the culinary world. As we held our breath wondering if the world would come to an end with the Y2K or December 12, 2012, I am happy we all survived it to experience the joy of American cuisine! In the past couple of years, I have enjoyed exploring food right here in the USA! It seems in America’s 275 year history, we have found creative ways to perfect and showcase American classics such as country fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, Memphis BBQ, the dog, and grilled cheese sandwich; but also dishes from abroad such as artisan pizza, fish 'n chips, and the ever so versatile taco.
In 2013, I have had such a great time exploring local restaurants which have taken these classic dishes and served them in their own unique style and flavor. Therefore, some of my favorite culinary experiences for 2013 have been exploring restaurants in southern California such as Playground for mind blowing creative dishes, Inc. for the most inventive and perfected culinary experience, Jay Bees for mouth watering BBQ sandwiches, Blu Jam Café for the best French toast, Baco Mercat for creating the baco sandwich, and Herringbone for fish 'n chips that simply melts in your mouth. These are just to name a few!
2014 has a lot to live up to! I am looking forward to packing the in the flavors with the extra pounds! Worth every minute of exercising!
The siren screamed for at least half an hour. The red and amber lights were blindingly flashing the whole block. (I'll save you from what the emergency was in the building across the patio we are in.) Yet everyone was enjoying the dishes at Bestia, including myself. Order a lot of small plates and definitely their pasta and you couldn't go wrong. Downtown Los Angeles is a great neighborhood for dining out these days.
It's a bit shocking for a westsider like me to admit that her two of my favorite restaurants this year are nowhere near Westside. As a frequent visitor of Manhattan Beach I had never felt connected to any of the restaurants in the area until Manhattan Beach Post came along. Not only is the ambiance of the restaurant something I adore, the dishes are simply the best version of what I imagine them to be. Just a wonderful place for dinner!
As I'm writing this post, several places come to mind that have brought me some really enjoyable dining experiences this year, including: Del Posto in Manhattan, Coquetta and Commonwealth in San Francisco, as well as Redd in Napa Valley.
A good meal is only as good as your company. I've had some really fantastic meals with the few most important people in my life and that's what matters most. As a final note, if you have had a good year and you are still looking for a great cause to give to, give this a try. FINCA is a platform I believe in. Can't wait to get out there and dine more! Best wishes!
2013 Chicago's best ( the drum roll ) restaurant on my list is... Girl and The Goat! The food, service, and the rustic, dark ambience all work great together. Make sure you have a list of good recommended dishes you want to order before you sit down which I did.
Cheers to all the great food experience in 2013 and here we come 2014 hungry and eager!
Read Sun's review of Girl and The Goat that is coming up in just a few days! Happy holidays!