It's that time of year, sharing my 15 Best Things I Ate in 2018. I wasn't too adventurous this year, and so I basically just ate vegetarian, chicken, and fish, plus some beef and lamb. Most of my time was spent between New York and California, plus a week long vacation to Portugal where I enjoyed some incredible dishes. I also managed to find my two favorite pizza spots in the Big Apple. Without further ado, here are the 15 best things I ate in 2018! 🙂
NOTE: 15 Best List is NOT in any particular order.
1. Makhan Malai @ Indian Accent, New York City (midtown west)
Imagine, whipped cream flavored with saffron, rose, jaggery, and topped with almonds. This dessert was light as air and I felt as though I was eating clouds. The Makhan Malai was easily the best thing I ate in 2018. Indian Accent serves outstanding Indian fusion food and comes in as my most favorite restaurant of 2018. Everything on their menu is creative and beautifully presented. I left here feeling so satisfied and happy. IMO, Indian Accent is the best Indian restaurant in Manhattan. Go here for a true culinary experience, you won't be sorry!
2. Sauteed Scallops with Portabello Mushrooms Risotto @ Cantinho do Avillez, Porto, Portugal
I had to fly all the way to Porto to experience one of the best dishes of 2018. This Portabello Mushrooms Risotto was creamy, buttery, and so decadent. Even my mushroom-hater hubby LOVED this dish because it simply melted in your mouth. The shaved Parmesan cheese and sauteed scallops were a wonderful touch to this highly memorable dish.
3. Louisiana Gumbos Ya Ya @ The Palace Grill, Santa Barbara, CA
Aside from it's beauty and slower pace, another reason to visit Santa Barbara is for this outstanding gumbo that was slightly spicy and loaded with black pepper. The Palace Grill serves up incredible Cajun-Creole cuisine. Both my husband and I were so impressed how all the dishes had so much flavor without a ton of spice. Believe the hype!
4. Spaghetti @ L'Artusi, New York City (west village)
One of the best dishes I’ve ever had and the most popular item at L’Artusi is their Spaghetti which is tossed in butter, garlic, green chilies, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs. This decadent entree is slightly rich and extremely flavorful. L'Artusi books up fast, you need to reserve a spot at least a month in advance. One of my favorite Italian restaurants in New York City!
5. Mushroom Spaghetti @ Catch, West Hollywood, CA
I've been to the one in NYC, but Catch LA has a far better ambiance than the one in New York. It's one of my favorite restaurants of 2018 in West Hollywood, practically every dish here was outstanding. My most favorite one of all was the Mushroom Spaghetti prepared with mushrooms, sugar snap peas, roasted tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and truffle oil. It's insane, you must try it!
6. Bread Pudding @ Sal Grosso, Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is a pastry lover's paradise, and I ate so much dessert there, sometimes even twice a day. My most favorite dessert was this Bread Pudding at Sal Grosso Tavern located in the Alfama district. It's moist, rich, and soft on the inside and crispy on top. I particularly loved the sweet & salty combo.
7. Codfish Cakes (Bolinhos de Bacalhau) @ Terra Nova, Porto, Portugal
Terra Nova was my most favorite restaurant in Porto, and their fried codfish appetizer was outstanding. We had a tasting sample, hence my husband and I shared the codfish all the way to the right. Don't leave here without ordering the Panna Cotta, it's amazing too!
8. Royal Pad Thai @ Thai Villa, New York City (flatiron)
Thai Villa is the BEST Thai restaurant I've ever been to, and it's in New York City. The ambiance at this restaurant is classy and zen-like, and the food is out of this world. My husband and I shared our last date at Thai Villa before I officially moved to California. The one dish you just can't leave without trying is the Royal Pad Thai... it's spicy, sweet, and sour.
9. Miso Black Cod @ Nobu, Newport Beach, CA (and other locations)
One of the best fish dishes I've ever had, Nobu's Miso Black Cod is buttery, a delicate fish that is slightly sweet and melts in your mouth. This dish is pricey, and the portion is small, but it's a signature dish and a must-do. Nobu has locations worldwide.
10. The Guac Burger @ By Chloe, New York City (soho, and other locations)
A black bean quinoa sweet potato patty, this vegan guac burger was the most incredible burger, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if it were beef. The secret is in the chipotle aioli sauce and refreshing guacamole.
11. Blackened Halibut @ Mastro's Ocean Club, Newport Beach, CA (and other locations)
When it comes to fish, halibut is not my first choice, so this dish was surprisingly good. Blackened Halibut in combination with a tartar sauce perfectly complemented the flavors in this dish. A must-do at Mastro's along with their decadent Butter Cake.
12. Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich @ The Deck, Laguna Beach, CA
If you can't already tell, I love fish! This ultimate fish sandwich sits over rustic ciabatta bread, tomatoes, arugula, cabbage slaw, and shallots. The cajun sauce is the perfect complement to this sandwich. Grab a drink while you're at it, and enjoy the best ocean view your money can buy at The Deck.
13. Margherita Pizza @ Roberta's, New York City (brooklyn, midtown east)
New York Pizza is amazing. That's the one thing I miss most now that I live in California. I thank my Instagram followers for leading me to this popular spot in both Brooklyn and Manhattan - Roberta's! Roberta's Margherita Pizza is incredible and the soft crust is to die for. Between the two pizza places I tried on my most recent trip to Manhattan, Roberta's was slightly better between the two. Fresh delicious pizza, grab a large pie, it's worth it. Secret is, the Bee Sting Pizza is the best!
14. Fresca Pizza @ Rubirosa, New York City (nolita)
Want thin crust pizza? Head on over to Rubirosa... the other pizza spot I tried and it was incredible. The secret is in the sauce, it's out of this world. The first bite sent me to heaven, it's fresh and so delicious. Definitely a must-do when visiting Manhattan. I can't wait to try the Vodka and Bianca pizza on my next trip.
15. Potato Tikki @ Baar Baar, New York City (east village)
Chef Sujan Sarkar's Baar Baar opened up in December 2017 and I finally dined here this past Christmas. Baar Baar serves contemporary Indian cuisine and is one of the finest Indian restaurants in New York. This potato tikki is topped with kale and spinach tempura and then drizzled with tamarind and green chutneys, and then finished off with a sour yogurt mousse and boondi (fried crunch). I sure will be coming here Baar Baar (translation... again and again).
Hot Chocolate @ No Chewing Allowed, New York (holiday markets only)
The best hot chocolate I've had to date, and it's only available during the holiday season in New York City, however WTC Oculus may have a location. No Chewing Allowed's Hot Chocolate is thick, creamy, dark, rich, and not too sweet. Even my Instagram followers would agree since some of them took my advice and loved it.
And that's it. Hope you enjoyed the 15 best things I ate in 2018. Until next year! 🙂