Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Top Toast of 2014

After you move to New York, they say it takes two years to feel like you really belong there. 2014 was a year of transition and change, but when I felt uncertainty in my new city, it was often great meals with great people that provided the patient, compounding affirmations in my decision that kept me going and growing.

My top toasts of 2014 are thus varied: several homemade dishes and even one original recipe made the cut this year, along with some truly exemplary dining experiences from a Michelin starred restaurant to a truck in a field. However, all carry fond memories of those they were shared with.

10. Grilled Chicken BBQ Pizza (Homemade!)
In an effort to replicate that CPK recipe we all know so well, I grilled a chicken breast, shredded it with two forks and soaked the meat in Sweet Baby Ray's, then topped an olive-oil-brushed lightly-grilled crust with drizzled BBQ sauce, round mozzarella slices, red onion, cilantro, the chicken, and gouda. Consumed with Matt, Lisha, Jessie and Mom!

9. Goat Gouda Truffle Grilled Cheese, Rye House
Thanks to my friend Jake, my new dairy-based-obsession this year was goat gouda. Put it in between grilled bread drizzled in truffle oil, serve it with a Manhattan, and KNOCK ME OUT I'm done. Consumed with Kate and Erica.

8. Boozy Brunch Cookies (An Original Recipe!)
Are you the type who likes to get drunk off your dessert? Well look no further. In an effort to gain street cred at my company's annual Holiday Cookie Bake-Off, I upped the ante this year and put not only bacon in my cookies, but bourbon too. And maple syrup. But I have to say I think the kicker was really the maple-bourbon frosting (delightfully STRONG!) and the candied bacon garnish. Along with real street cred, I won the prize for "Most Original" (for the second year in a row!). Mission accomplished. The whole recipe can be found on my Tumblr here. Consumed with fabulous co-workers.

7. Mee Goreng, Café Asean
My friend Nicole introduced me to this really lovely little Malaysian restaurant in the West Village, which serves traditional dishes including this savory stir fry. A cross between Thai and Chinese, but completely delicious, totally fresh, and surprisingly affordable for that area! I've since returned several times.

6. ABC Kitchen
ABC Kitchen has been on my list since before I moved to New York. And when I finally had the chance to try it out for a work lunch, it did NOT disappoint. Luckily that team were sharers, and I truly was delighted by everything I tasted. Standouts included this dessert, the Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae garnished with caramel corn, and the Ricotta & Farm Egg Raviolo in brown butter sauce: one giant, incredibly rich ravioli with a soft egg and cheese inside... in butter. Full. Stop.

5. Pappardelle with Fresh Corn Pesto

I've kept this astonishingly delicious and easy summer pasta recipe to myself for way too long. After my friend Jake (again!) introduced me to it a few summers ago, it's become a seasonal staple. Serve it over soft, succulent ribbons of the best of all pastas - pappardelle. Preferably homemade. :P Consumed with good friends on the rooftop. See also: 30 Days of Rooftop, a goodbye serenade to the one redeeming feature of my old building.

4. Pure Thai Cookhouse
While this picture doesn't say much, trust me: Pure Thai Cookhouse in Hell's Kitchen is HANDS DOWN the best Thai in New York City. Yes, I'll keep an open mind. Sure, I might keep trying other places. But if you have a chance to eat here, TAKE IT. Menu highlights: Green Papaya Salad (pictured, low-light be damned), Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, Pad Thai, Mango Sticky Rice.

3. Egg & Sausage Pancake, Outer Borough (Smorgasburg)
The year's runner-up "best thing I ate from a truck" award goes to this DELIGHTFULLY sweet, savory, chewy, spicy roll from Outer Borough, a Smorgasburg staple. For the uninitiated, Smorgasburg is a huge food market held in Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays with close to a-hundred-some-odd stands, each specializing in exactly one very specific kind of food. Lots of them leverage cultural fusion (you can get pretty much every kind of taco you can imagine), and Outer Borough's mission is to serve great Taiwanese comfort food - with some twists for the American palate. Aside from the secret sauce, the thing that really makes this dish is the crispy-yet-chewy pancake it's rolled in. YUM. Consumed with Greg & Rosati, because if you visit me from out of town you can expect we're gonna hit the Smorg.

2. Gramercy Tavern

No pictures! Because that's their policy, and also the light was too dim to capture anything in a way that truly reflected its deliciousness (remember rule #1: can you get a good picture? If not, don't take it!). I joined my parents and siblings here for a magical night in September to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday (note: she is still skinnier and in better shape than both me and my sister). We did the tasting menu and it did not disappoint; my highlight was the squid ink tagliatelle with lobster. Like any good restaurant they continue to change their menu with the seasons, so naturally I can't wait to go back and be delighted anew. Plus, they have a cookbook! People who buy me presents, pls take note.

1. Chipotle Pork Rolled Quesadilla, Calexico
This immaculate piece of heaven was hands down the best thing I put in my mouth in 2014 (no joke). Sweet, bar-b-quey chipotle pulled pork oozes together with melted cheddar, pickled red onions and Monterey jack cheeses, inside a rolled and toasted flour tortilla. Served with a side of chipotle "crack" sauce to make certain that your head sufficiently explodes. 5/5 will eat again. And again. And again. Consumed with Lisha at the Vendys!


For more frequent food updates including where I'm eating, what I'm cooking, drool-inducing pictures and so forth, follow my blog Things I Ate in New York on Tumblr and check back here for longer, less-frequent recaps and updates.

Happy noshing!

- Lisa

No comments: