Wednesday, December 30, 2009

5 Things I Ate in 2009

2009 is coming to a close, so it's naturally time for a little reflection. I thought I'd start by noting some of the most memorable things I ate. No, nothing too exotic like bugs and corn fungus (that was sooo 2008), but still some tasty morsels nonetheless. Another caveat: There were of course many wonderful things to eat in 2009, and this list only scratches the surface.

So, in no particular order....

Foie Gras Loco Moco (Animal Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA)
The classic Hawaiian favorite spiffed up with a quail egg, kobe beef hamburger, and a generous slice of foie gras (oh yeah, and Spam!) Sounds weird, but so very tasty. Everyone looked at me funny when I ordered, but those looks turned jealous when it arrived! Herself blogged a much more detailed account of our meal if you're interested in reading more about it, here. (She's the primary food blogger in the household, after all!)

Pork Belly (Palate Restaurant, Glendale, CA)
I wish I could remember the exact name of the roast pork belly dish we ate at Palate, but my memory of it remains clear: crispy on the outside yet buttery and tender inside. We were there for a special cheese-themed menu, but when one of our dining companions spied the next table enjoying this, he just had to order it. And to think, we were about to start in on the dessert course as it arrived! No worries, I prefer salt to sweet anyway.

Salcisson Alsacienne "Hot dog" (Hot Doug's in Chicago)
Mmmm. Bacon sausage with triple creme brie, creme fraiche, and grilled onions. Oh, and duck fat fries.
It was an artery-hardening experience for the ages, and so very tasty. Hot Doug's was too crowded to eat it there, so we had to carry the dogs back to our friend's apartment before we devoured them. Those fries were still crispy, though!

Keira Knightly Dog & Salcisson Alsacienne

The dog in the foreground is the "Keira Knightley"-- a spicy polish-style dog. It was good, but didn't measure up to the gooey goodness of the Salcisson Alsacienne.

Bacon Fudge (Herself, our kitchen)

Herself loves developing recipes, and this was one of my favorites this year: a chocolate fudge with walnuts & bacon, plus a little sea salt sprinkled on top. It's seriously good stuff if you can handle the sweet/savory combo. It's not for everyone, but that just means more for me! It's very rich though, so usually one piece is more than enough.

Uzbeki Meal (Charlie Perry cooks in our kitchen)

Charlie Perry, food historian, writer, and regular contributor to the LA Times food section offered to come and cook an Uzbeki meal at our house as part of Herself's "52 Cuisines" series. There was Qowurma Palow (a beef pilaf), Ui Noni (flat bread), Oshqowoq manti (pumpkin dumplings), and the remarkable Anor Wa Piyaz Salatosi, a salad of onion and pomegranate. All of the food was excellent, but the onion salad really stands out not only for its striking appearance but also my surprise at just how tasty raw onions could be!

Sense a pattern? 4 out of 5 of these dishes contain pig (I'm counting the Spam in the Loco Moco regardless of how much pig it may or may not contain).  I'm a sucker for the oink. I've had incredible beef, wonderful duck (a whole blog in and of itself), but pork is my go-to buddy when I'm in a carnivorous mode.

So i guess 2009 was the Year of the Pig.

(as will 2010 be, no doubt!)

Honorable Mentions (ie, I remembered them too late for this list)
nduja: a spreadable Calabrian Salami, Epoisses from Epicure Imports, and Jasper Hill Farms Winnemere cheese. 

I'd better stop before this list becomes 5-0 things i ate... 

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