It was time. If Yelp and CitySearch can have Best of Lists, so can I. Being that I am a bit of a food snob, I thought it would be only practical I share my opinion with you.
Let’s talk food, shall we? From Honey, What’s Cooking, here is my Best of 2011 – 15 best things I ate.
Penne alla Arrabiata @ Le Milo's, Nice (Rue Massena), France
Can you believe I had to go all the way to France to enjoy the best Italian dish of my life. Ironic? I think so! Keep in mind though, Nice is only ½ hour away from the Italian border and the regional cuisine here is refered to as Nicoise. It was this Penne alla Arrabiata with kalamata olives that did me in. This particular dish was flavored with a ton of fresh garlic and parsley. Perfection and my most favorite dish of 2011!
Enchiladas Verdes con Pollo @ San Angel Inn, Orlando (Epcot Center-Disney World), FL
The shredded chicken was well cooked, tender, and extremely flavorful. Combine that with a verde sauce, crema, black beans, and rice, and you've got yourself one sensational Mexican dish. Don’t forget the margaritas! Overall, amazing food, service, and décor at San Angel Inn.
Tostones con Mojo @ Havana Alma de Cuba, New York City (West Village), NY
This romantic Cuban restaurant holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the very first restaurants in NYC my husband took me to. The food here is excellent, however the one item that stands out is the Tostones con Mojo. The mojo sauce is a salted butter and garlic sauce. The combination is unbelievably good.
Pizza @ Mack n Manco, Ocean City, NJ
Each year my family heads to Ocean City for a week and they bring me back a pie of the original pizza from Mack n Manco. The secret is in their sauce. MnM, seriously gives New York City pizza some much needed competition. It's amazing!
Shahi Tukara @ Devi, New York City (Union Square), NY
The best Indian dessert I've had to date - Shahi Tukara which literally means “royal piece.” It is a crispy saffron bread pudding topped with cardamom cream and candied almonds. Technically I ate this dessert in December 2010 on my niece’s first birthday party at Devi, but the dates are close enough and it was just too amazing to pass up in the Best of 2011.
Smoky Chicken Quesadilla with Poblano Crema @ Hell's Kitchen New York City (Midtown West), NY
Although I'm not a fan of the restaurant, this was the best quesadilla I ever had. Smoky and shredded roasted chicken melted with Jack cheese and topped off with crema ~ OMG! It’s too bad their servings are stingy.
Penne Alla Vodka @ Lavo, Las Vegas (Palazzo Hotel), NV
On a fabulous all girls trip to Sin City, my friend, Jhiane, ordered this Italian dish – penne cooked in a vodka sauce with peas, prosciutto, and finished off with a dollop of heavy cream. See how the cream is slowly melting into the dish. Her dish was outstanding! In general, Lavo is perfection – great ambience, upscale decor, excellent drinks, food, and dessert (I recommend Strawberry Shortcake).
Spinach & Mushroom Croissant @ Le Boulanger, San Jose, CA
We’ve all heard about buttery sweet croissants, but have you tried a buttery vegetable croissant? That’s what I tasted at Le Boulanger, a French café in the Silicon Valley region. It was unhealthy and loaded with butter, but worth every bite.
Napolean @ Boulangerie Patisserie, Orlando (Epcot Center-Disney World), FL
Surprisingly, my husband chose this dessert for us to share – flaky buttery wafers with layers of cream in between. The cream was light as air, yet there was a slight crunch in every bite. Wonderful. Head over to the French pavilion at Epcot Center where the French windows with flower pots will have you reminiscing about Paris. Ahhhhh!
Basil Chicken Fried Rice @ More, Jersey City, NJ
When it comes to food, my husband never experiments. So by default at every Asian restaurant, he orders the same dish, Chicken Fried Rice. And naturally, every time he orders it I dig in, but the best bite of all was at a Thai restaurant in Jersey City. This Basil Chicken Fried Rice is slightly spicy and extremely flavorful.
Pumpkin Cupcake @ Billy's Bakery, New York City (Chelsea/Tribeca), NY
The seasonal Pumpkin Cupcake at Billy’s Bakery is what I look forward to every fall. The cream cheese frosting seals the deal on this all American classic.
Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Oil @ Cafeteria, New York City (Chelsea), NY
To date, this is the best mac and cheese I have ever had, and I’m sure the truffle oil has something to do with it. There was something extra in this dish, perhaps extra garlic, that made this dish unmistakably delicious. If you’re gonna indulge, head on to Cafeteria. (it’s the one in the center.)
Mashed Potatoes @ Sosa Borella, New York City (Midtown West), NY
Sosa Borella is a fabulous Italian Argentine restaurant with excellent drinks and food, in addition to its romantic aura. The side dish to order here are the Mashed Potatoes which are so creamy and buttery – they literally melt in your mouth. I also recommend the complimentary starter and Terracota Shrimp. So good!
Guacamole @ Dos Caminos, New York City (Midtown East/Meatpacking/Gramercy/Soho), NY
I make a mean guacamole, and I owe credit to Dos Caminos. If you’re lucky, the waiters at Dos will make fresh guacamole right in front of you. Of course, at this point I completely ignore my company and memorize their technique. Seriously, the best guac!
Caramel Fleur de Sel Macaron @ La Maison du Macaron, New York City (Chelsea), NY
I tried my first macaron in 2011. The best one I’ve had is the Caramel Fleur de Sel which is a salted caramel flavor in combination with the sweetness from the macaron. Light and airy. (it’s the one on the left.)
TELL ME: What are some of the best things you ever ate in 2011? And tell us the restaurant & city?