Oh, what a year! Packed with tons of fabulous food, food festivals and foodie-centric travels! As I look back to the year past some memorable experiences and noteworthy highlights come to mind which I’d love to share with you – should you have opportunities to have these experiences.
FROM MY TRAVELS FAR & WIDE
My trip to Barcelona, Spain was exhilarating! I was thrilled to experience Ferran Adria’s and Albert Adria’s Tickets Bar – a completely novel concept designed to put a smile on the diner’s face with its innovative dishes. But, the dish that I was inspired to return home and immediately recreate was at Pinotxo tapas bar in La Boqueria Market – a simple yet incredibly delicious dish of garlicky clams tossed in eggs!
A visit to San Francisco brought me to experience middle-eastern eats at Chef Mourad Lahlou’s highly acclaimed Aziza. This was also my very first visit to the legendary Chez Panisse whose founder Alice Waters was a pioneer of the “Farm to Table” movement way back in the 70’s. “The Rebel Within” at Craftsman & Wolves in Mission District is an absolute must! ‘Nuff said!
Jaleo and Bazaar Meat by Jose Andrés in Las Vegas were utterly captivating dining experiences.
A glorious 2-week trip to Sydney and Melbourne earlier this month unveiled delightful Asian dining experiences. If you are in Sydney in the near future – be sure to check out Billy Kwong restaurant and their Steamed Pork Buns!!! Mmmmm mmmmm GOOOD!
DELICIOUS EATS JUST A SHORT DRIVE AWAY
On the local front, my year had started with 25-30 of my close foodie-friends coming over to join me in enjoying the one and only Cronut! It was a fabulous evening of Cronuts & Champagne – laden with delightful foodie-conversations and first reactions on biting into this very elusive treat. Dominique Ansel, you are a genius!
New York city is always a delight with its many hidden and not-so-hidden gems. I enjoyed an utterly memorable day with two of my fellow-foodies as we created our own Sichuan Pepper Trail taking us from Flushing Queens all the way down to Chinatown Manhattan. It was hard to pick favorites that day – because everything we ate was unique and it highlighted the Sichuan pepper in its own special way.
David Chang’s Ko and David Bouley’s Brushstroke were my highlights of multi-course tasting menus in NYC this year. Both experiences begin with seating the diners around the kitchen where all the action takes place – the next 2-3 hours I spent at each were utterly mesmerizing!
Man! I was so amazed to learn about an ingredient named Kuzu and its health benefits from Chef David Bouley at this year’s New York City Food & Wine Festival. I can’t wait to see it become more accessible in local grocery stores.
I am so excited about the recently launched MOFAD (Museum of Food & Drink) – it is a clear sign that food is the hottest trend right now. It’s the topic of most conversations… and that’s how things are going to stay for a long time to come.
My pals Amy & Ryan introduced me to Bufalina in Guilford. I LOVED this adorable little restaurant (all 325 sq. ft of it) which oozes warmth from its owners, its delicious pizza pies as well as it’s 900 degree wood fired oven!
Chef Mogan Anthony’s Mura Chicken Buns are mind-blowing! You can enjoy them at his Mura Ramen+Gastropub popping up every Sunday in Mt Kisco!
FROM FABULOUS FAIRFIELD COUNTY
Ah! My beloved Fairfield county! An area with a vibrant food scene. I am thrilled at the opening of Teff (Ethiopian cuisine) and La Esquina (Latin cuisine) in Stamford. These small family-owned and family-run businesses are simple with no-frills but they are serving up delicious food with their unique personal touch. In this day and age of chain restaurants and celebrity-chef-run-restaurant-empires (where the celebrity chef is hardly ever there) – I love the personal-touch that I enjoy in places like these.
Westport Farmer’s Market and their Fork It Over dinners are some of the most spectacular events in Fairfield county’s food scene. This year I enjoyed a truly memorable and seriously badass Fork-It-Over dinner at The Whelk (a collaboration between Whelk, Fleicher’s Craft Butchery, Saugatuck Grain & Grape and of course the Westport Farmer’s Market)! Ahhhhhmazing!!!!
The biggest and the baddest event in Fairfield county is of course the Greenwich Food+Wine Festival. There is so much going on during this three day festival. But your best value for money comes from the Grand Tasting tickets. It’s an entire Saturday of non-stop eating and drinking. Super fun!
As for my best bites in Fairfield county – you can check them out in this article on DailyVoice!