best restaurants

Goodbye 2017

Well!  2017 exceeded all my hopes and aspirations of the culinary variety.  From New York to San Francisco to Atlanta to Miami to France to Prague to Vienna to London to New Orleans … this foodie has had more yummy food that words can describe in one blog post.

Certain trends popped up in my travels as  well as time spent at home in Fairfield county, that I would like to share. 

  1. Middle-eastern food is the “it” food right now.  It first got on my radar a few years back with advent of chef Einat Admony’s Balaboosta and Bar Bolonat in NYC, and Yotam Ottolenghi’s many restaurants  in the UK.  This year I saw this trend in full swing at The Barbary in London, Nur in NYC & Shaya in New Orleans.  The first two are a must on any foodie’s list.  Trust me.
  2. I thought Filippino food will be the most talked about cuisine this year – it seemed poised to be the center of attention.  But sadly, it didn’t quite take center-stage as expected.  But on a local level, it is good to see our favorite HAPA food truck back in the Stamford food scene after a little hiatus.
  3. Rose flavor showed up in a lot of sweet and savory bites I had this year.  My most favorite application was a very special semolina, pistachio, almond, rose water cake at Ottolenghi in Spitalfields London.  I loved it so much that I made it for Christmas eve this year.  Needless to say it was a crowd favorite.  Thank you Yotam!
  4. I believe Turmeric is the “it” spice right now.  I saw it in “golden milk” in grocery store shelves, in fusion dishes and of course always in Indian food.  It has lots of health benefits… so this year I started making my own tea spice with turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon.  It is a yummy concoction, one my friends and family can vouch for.
  5. I first heard about the InstantPot early this year.  It intrigued me.  A pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a steamer, a yogurt maker and so much more – all in one!  I have since purchased one, and tried a multitude of recipes in it.  My most favorite thing about this gadget is its ease of use and ease of cleaning afterward.  I also LOVE that after its done coking a dish, it keeps the food warm for up to 8 hours!  How perfect is that for week-nights?!  With lots of safety features built in, the thoughtful design and wide list of features of the InstantPot has made it the most prized possession in my kitchen.
  6. I recently received an OpenTable gift certificate – mine to use at any participating restaurant that uses OpenTable for reservations.  You can also buy an openTable gift certificate to a specific restaurant.  Just enter your gift card number when making your dinner reservation – and the rest will happen automatically.  What a perfect gift for a foodie!  Needless to say, our family exchanged many more this holiday season!  Only two caveats: not all restaurants are participating in this program yet and there is no way to just enter the gift card number in your OpenTable account, once and for all (so it can automatically take effect on your next reservation). 
  7. This year, I saw a LOT of friends and family switching to services like Blue Apron. I love the ease of these services and the lack of food wastage. With pre-measured ingredients for each recipe, my refrigerator is super clean and organized. I personally love Martha Stewart’s new service Marley Spoon.  So much so, that our family ordered our Thanksgiving meal kit from them.  It was awesome cooking Martha’s personal favorite recipes with friends and family.  The only thing I don’t like about these services is the disposal of ice packs and styrofoam boxes the food gets delivered in.


And now for the obligatory recap of my year’s favorites:

This year’s highlights (worldwide):

  1. Meal at Kiln London
  2. Meal at The Barbary, London
  3. Meal at Maypop, NOLA
  4. French Omelette at Spruce San Francisco
  5. Dessert Tasting menu at Patisserie Chanson, NYC
  6. Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan, NYC
  7. Cassia Venice Beach, CA
  8. Tasting menu at Brooklyn Fare, NYC
  9. MiniBar by Jose Andres (Washington DC) – Molecular gastronomy galore
  10. Thanksgiving meal kits for 10-12 people by Martha & Marley Spoon
  11. Laurant Gras pop up at Brushstroke, NYC

My Absolute Best Bites Worldwide

  1. Foie gras Royale with Parmesan Foam at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
  2. Ricotta ravioli from Borgatti’s Ravioli & Noodle in Bronx (Arthur Avenue).  This is not a new food item – but still so good.  
  3. Burrata and ginger granita for dessert at Atoboy
  4. Every course at Brooklyn Fare
  5. Eggplant Carpaccio at Nur
  6. The Slut at EggSlut
  7. Semolina, pistachio, almond, rose water cake at Ottolengi

My Absolute Best Bites In CT (not necessarily new restaurants)

  1. Biryani at Chutni Biryani
  2. Lamb Chops at Chutni Biryani
  3. Croissant at Pastry Hideaway in Wilton
  4. Ginger Lemon Scone at Pastry Hideaway in Wilton
  5. Sandwiches at Eggz Kitchen
  6. Saffron cream puffs at Hen & Heifer
  7. Hot Lobster Rolls at Westfair Fish & Chips
  8. Chili Oil dumplings at Mecha
  9. Pho Tai at Mecha
  10. Chocolate Croissant from Flour Water Salt Bakery

I'd love to know what you think....