2017 was a thought-provoking year with constant ups and downs that I was able to withstand mostly because of the ability to compartmentalize and focus on the positive, that positive being mostly the joy of being able to eat, take pictures of food and share unforgettable culinary adventures with my dining companions. It may sound a little shallow, but it has made all the difference.
Listed below are my top ten restaurant dishes for 2017. Can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!
#10 – Cuban Flan with Oreo Crumble from Finka Table & Tap
Flan is probably one of my favorite desserts. This one was dense and creamy, with the unusual addition of crumbled Oreo cookies. Original and tasty.
# 9 – Shiroshoyu Ramen from Shokudo By World Resources Café
It was a wondrous bowl of ramen, such a dream to behold. The char siu pork, bamboo shoots, hard-boiled egg, burdock, “nori” seaweed, and fish cake were floating in a konbu broth, impeccably presented with a mass of thinly sliced scallions. The ramen was shyly peeking thru the broth, barely visible, almost flirting with the anticipation of being eaten. Pure love in a bowl.
# 8 – Carpaccio Di Polpo from Farinelli 1937
This octopus carpaccio was served with thinly sliced potatoes and topped with tomatoes and Tuscan kale. This was delicious, especially the combination of the octopus and the potato, who would have thought? A simple and hearty combination. There was a sauce on it, similar to mayonnaise, but I am not sure what was in it. All I know is that it was magical.
# 7 – Korean Fried Chicken from KYU
The Korean Fried Chicken was served with butter braised chicory. I am a lover of fried chicken, and this dish made my mouth rejoice. The chicken was on top of an orange-colored sauce that was delicious. Not sure what was in the sauce but it excellently complimented the chicken.
# 6 – “La Chalanita” Causa Tasting from La Mar by Gaston Acurio
We had the Causa Tasting called La Chalanita – causa tasting of two nikkei, two crab, and two salad causas served in a hand-carved traditional fisherman’s boat
Nikkei – aji amarillo pepper causa, salmon tartare, avocado, rocoto pepper sauce, cucumbers, ikura, nori
Crab – beet causa, blue crab, tobiko, avocado, huancaína sauce, cherry tomatoes, quail egg
Salad – aji amarillo pepper causa, sunchokes, beets, asparagus, avocado, huancaína sauce
# 5 – Lomo Saltado from La Mar by Gaston Acurio
The Lomo Saltado was out of this world – stir fried tenderloin, red onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, cilantro, thick cut fried potato wedges, rice with choclo. The meat was chunky yet tender, and all the ingredients came together like a good marriage.
# 4 – Angus Churrasco from Finka Table & Tap
Finka knows how to make churrasco – it’s in their bones, and served with sweet potato mash, truffled green beans, and Asian chimichurri made this dish even more exquisite.
# 3 – Chicken Pie from Istanbul Restaurant
There is nothing more delightful than Chicken Pie, and this Turkish version was outstanding. This is the second dish that I have tried this year that gave culinary goosebumps to my tongue. They looked like fat phyllo cigars and were filled with sautéed chicken with onions, red and green bell peppers, fresh spinach and select spices and olive oil. I could eat these all day, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, regular snack and midnight snack. The crunchy exterior combined with the magical chicken filling was nothing short of miraculous.
# 2 – Cast Iron Charred Calamari from Zest Restaurant
The Cast Iron Charred Calamari was phenomenal and served with grilled lemon, blistered shishito peppers, and preserved orange glaze. I cannot express in words what this dish did to me. It affected all my senses: my taste buds were tingling, eyes were fascinated by the green shishito peppers and the brilliant orange glaze, the nose was dancing, and my soul was riveted with gladness. I have never tasted calamari like this before, never-ever. It’s ridiculous – I am crying with happiness as I write this.
# 1 – Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf (Lo Mai Gai) from Kon Chau Chinese Restaurant
This dish is dear to my heart – my absolute favorite. What a genuinely delicious dish! The aroma of the lotus leaves themselves was enchanting – a mixture of mild tea and tobacco. Upon opening the package, a radiant whiff of steam crawls inside your nose and makes your mouth anxious with anticipation. The rice was packed with slices of sweet sausage and little chunks of pork – this lavish combination of ingredients left me sincerely fulfilled and so, so happy.
Undressing the Sticky Rice