These were the dishes that sang to me last year – the memory of their flavors wants to make me dance. Are they in order of excellence? Of course not – It’s all random.
Chirashi from Dragonfly Izakaya – 18 pieces chef’s selection sashimi over rice.
I am a fan of raw fish, so ordering the Chirashi was imperative – 18 pieces of sashimi over rice selected by the chef. The waiter came over to explain what each slice of fish was, but I was so mesmerized by the sheer beauty of this dish, that I did not pay any attention to a word he said. I kept staring at it, taking pictures of it, before even taking a bite.
This beautiful dish was loaded with ultra-fresh thick slices of fish, each slice with a different texture. Each slice soft, tender yet firm. Each slice smooth and brilliant like the morning sun. This was too delicious, an incredible abundance of magic in one bowl. All the fish was devoured – the rice came back home in a to-go box.
Chicken Karaage from Dragonfly Izakaya – Springer farms organic chicken, Japanese mayo, citric salt, sansho pepper.
We had to start with the Chicken Karaage, of course – Springer farms organic chicken, Japanese mayo, citric salt, sansho pepper. This proved to be such a favorite dish at our table that I barely got to snatch one piece. Presented before us, was an irresistible basket of chunky deep-fried chicken. One bite of this juicy chicken enveloped in a thick and crispy skin was enough to render me speechless. This alone was worth the trip.
Tiradito Nikkei from La Mar – Tuna tataki, candied tuna, chives, tamarind leche de tigre, sesame butter, pickled vegetables.
This dish was outstanding and simply impressive, each bite was the equivalent of a ton of deliciousness. This Peruvian style of Japanese sashimi was a superb way to start the meal. If I were rich, I would allow myself to get addicted to this.
Planchaza from La Mar – Scallops, Spanish octopus, jumbo shrimp, vegetables, anticuchera sauce.
The Planchaza was a super-incredible seafood feast in one dish– Scallops, Spanish octopus, jumbo shrimp, vegetables, and anticuchera sauce were assembled in a rich, juicy, crispy, tender, smoky, bold plate that was the ultimate gift to the senses. The seafood aroma steadily penetrating your nostrils and inviting you to eat more.
Butter Krab Roll from Pubbelly Sushi – Goma soy paper, kanikama, ponzu, warm clarified butter.
This is a popular item on the menu, and we did not have it the last time we were here. I was extremely curious to try it. It was such a weird and unusual looking roll – all these orange and white strands of crab wrapped in soy paper sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds. Don’t ask me if it was real crab or the fake one – all I know is that it was delicious
Salt & Pepper Squid from Pubbelly Sushi – Crispy garlic, shichimi, smoked ponzu
This is a dish I wish Mister B. were there to taste. He is such a fan of fried calamari, that crunchy mess of fried bits that you get in every restaurant, and he missed this truly wondrous, life-changing, and a magical dish of squid. I have never had squid like this before – the soft and crunchy texture slapped me on the face with a tsunami of umami, drowning my palate with such an intensity of deliciousness that the little one had to ask me if I was alright. She saw it in my eyes – I had reached squid nirvana.
Cauliflower Mac + Cheese from The Brick
The Roasted Cauliflower Mac + Cheese was made with Israeli couscous, cauliflower, smoked gouda, and panko. This dish packed a whole heap of intense flavors and was comforting, soothing, soft, and flavorful. It was definitely not for health nuts as it was very substantial. Even though only smoked gouda was on the list of ingredients, I swear I tasted some kind of blue cheese in there, but my taste buds can trick me sometimes. I have to try to make it at home.
Country Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Salad from Killian Café & Grill
The reality is that there was nothing special about this dish, but there was something special about this dish!. I could not stop eating it and before I knew it, the plate was empty. Whoever made this, made it with such love that my soul I felt it.
Elote – Mexican Grilled Corn from Tacos & Tattoos
Corn roasted over an open grill and coated with salt, chili powder, butter, cotija, lime juice, and mayonnaise or crema fresca.
Jerk Chicken Tacos Pastoreados from Tacos & Tattoos
There is nothing that can make a mouth happier than anything made “al pastor”. Every single element of the taco shined and sang like a well-tuned orchestra. Perfectly balanced flavors, great texture, all crowed with a chunky shower of pineapple pieces.
Honey Garlic Chicken Wings from Tacos and Tattoos
Simple wings right? NO – they were hot and salty and sweet and crunchy and soft and juicy. Not just a mere plate of fried chicken wings but an actual messy and beautiful culinary experience.
Old Jamaican Dukunoo from Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen
The Caribbean dessert is made from sweet potato, coconut, spices and brown sugar, all tied up in a banana leaf. It is then cooked in boiling water. This particular one was made with jimbilin (a type of gooseberry), crispy sweet potato and cinnamon cream. I have to say, with absolute certainty, that this was the best dessert I have tasted all year! I have never had Dukunoo before and now it is on my list of favorites.
*Cover photo – Solace By Fidostudio is a painting by Tom Fedro*