A signature dish at Buddakan, the Edamame Dumplings here are to die for. Imagine a combination of mashed edamame and butter stuffed inside a dumpling, a dumpling that literally melts in your mouth so there isn’t much to chew on. Incredibly light and delicious. The Edamame Dumplings are reason alone to dine at Buddakan.
2. Elvis Cupcake @ Butter Lane Cupcakes, New York City (East Village)
As soon as someone mentions, “Elvis,” I immediately think of a banana and peanut butter combination. The Elvis Cupcake is essentially a banana cupcake topped off with creamy peanut butter frosting, the combination is moist and lethally delicious, and one of the BEST cupcakes I have ever had. The downfall is trekking all the way to the East Village for an Elvis Cupcake at Butter Lane Cupcakes.
3. Murgh Kolhapuri @ Tamarind, New York City (Flatiron)
A Maharashtrian style Indian chicken dish cooked with whole spices and lots of peppercorn. The chicken is tender and full of flavor, and the thick brown gravy is spicy and delicious. Tamarind serves up amazing Indian food and the Murgh Kolhapuri is one of the best Indian chicken dishes I’ve enjoyed.
4. Salmon @ La Piccola Fontana – El San Juan Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico
A filet of salmon topped with capers and kalamata olives in a tomato & garlic sauce is perfection at La Piccola Fontana! Frankly speaking, I was quite surprised to eat such exquisite Northern Italian food in Puerto Rico of all places being that the island is of Spanish influence. Surely, I’ll be recreating this dish at home, soon.
5. Truffle Macaroni & Cheese @ De Santos, New York City (West Village)
Mac & Cheese is my all time favorite American comfort food, and De Santos’ version is buttery, crunchy, not as creamy, and yet outstanding. It’s too bad this dish comes in a form of an appetizer, I would much rather order it as a meal.
6. The World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae @ Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, San Francisco (Ghirardelli Square)
On a recent visit to California, my sister and the gang hopped over to Ghirardelli Square where I enjoyed perhaps one of the best sundaes of my life. This classic sundae comes with vanilla ice-cream, tons of hot fudge (+ extra on the side), whipped cream, chopped almonds with a cherry on top. Worth.Every.Calorie!
7. Shrimp Drunken Noodles @ Sky Thai, Jersey City (Exchange Place)
A cute little Thai restaurant in the Financial district of Jersey City. I’ve dined at this lovely establishment twice, and both times I ordered their signature dish, the Drunken Noodles. Flavored with garlic, spice, and fragrant Thai basil leaves, this aromatic dish will awaken all your senses. Phenomenal!
8. Avocado Beignet @ Vermilion, New York City (Midtown East)
Vermilion is an Indo-Latin fusion restaurant in New York City’s Midtown East district. On one side is the the Blueberry Sorbet infused with cardamom, so light and delicious. On the other side we have a battered concoction of cream cheese, chocolate, and avocados, scrumptious combination when paired with the blueberry sorbet, you’ve got a melody of flavors so pleasing to the palette.
9. Dhaba Chicken Curry @ Dishoom, London (Covent Garden), UK
Another chicken dish that tops my list for 2012. Dhaba Chicken Curry is tender chicken cooked in a thick and dark gravy without a ton of oil. The result, outstanding! This dish alone will have me going back to London.
10. Panna Cotta with Caramelized Pear @ Thalassa, New York City (Tribeca)
Similar to the texture of flan, the panna cotta is slightly sweet with a mild custard flavor. The strawberries are marinated in a balsamic vinegar which really brings out the flavor in this dessert. Delicious, gorgeous presentation, and one of the classiest desserts I’ve tasted at this fantastic Greek restaurant.
11. Penne Funghi Tartufo @ Fig & Olive, New York City (Meatpacking District)
Penne pasta tossed with cremini mushrooms, black trumpet, parmesan, parsley, scallions, and then finished off with White Truffle Olive Oil, need I say more? A delectable pasta dish, however you need to be a mushroom lover to enjoy this dish. I plan on replicating this dish at home.
12. Salted Caramel Cupcake @ Georgetown Cupcake, New York City (Soho)
A beautiful bakery that finally opened up in Manhattan’s Soho district. The Salted Caramel Cupcake is extremely moist with creamy caramel frosting piled on high. In short, it was a combination of sweet and salty… love that in a cupcake.
13. Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream @ The Wolseley, London (St. James), UK
14. Mallorca @ Cafeteria Mallorca, San Juan (Old San Juan), Puerto Rico
Although I went to Puerto Rico for my friend’s bachelorette party, I shamefully admit food was a big incentive for me to visit la isla del encanto. Famous for their sweet, flaky, and buttery mallorcas, this is one breakfast everyone should indulge in when visiting San Juan. Combine this sweet treat with a cup of café con leche and you’ll be in total bliss.
15. Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
Yes, this isn’t a dish, nonetheless this pasta sauce is seriously one of the best pasta sauces out there, thanks to my friend, Marian, who introduced me Rao’s. Approximately $9 a bottle is a little hard to swallow, but I assure you the taste is well worth it. I love making this simple pasta dish with Rao’s Marinara Sauce drowning in lots of fresh basil leaves. Give Rao’s a chance and you too may be a convert for life.
TELL ME: What are some of the best things you ate in 2012? Dish, restaurant, location? Share the knowledge!