Bonnibella's top 2010 food memories

Friday, December 31, 2010

I am recounting a wonderful and blessed 2010 food-filled year. 2010 began with a goal. A goal to stop "wanting" and start "doing". I always wanted to go visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park Studio and Falling Water. I always wanted to visit New Orleans. I always wanted to seal a "movie" dipped kiss on the Empire State Building. Ok, the last one did not happen this year but who knows what is in store for 2011.

I had some marvelous meals and new exploits in the food field. Here are my favorite meals/dishes for 2010.

Alinea, Chicago

Every time I re-read Alinea's menu (signed by the amazing Chef Achatz, thank you very much) I am able to relive my meal. Yes, the meal was so incredible I am able to recall my reactions, taste bud and general amusement for each dish. I was lucky to experience "the tour" tasting menu consisting of 26 courses before Alinea converted to one tasting menu choice.

Alinea - Course 19: Black TruffleAlinea - Course 7: King Crab pt 1

truffle explosion, king crab

The menu was fun, interactive, and unexpected in every way. My favorite was the 'king crab' course, king crab prepared 3 different ways (cold, warm, hot) with each course hiding from each other. The ultimate was when Chef Achatz prepared our dessert personally at our table.

New Orleans, LA

My first and very short trip to New Orleans will certainly not be my last. The warm October air, our hotel on Bourbon Street and cafe du monde open 24 hours. The vibrant energy and countless restaurant choices make New Orleans food destination worthy.

The highlight was our meal at Antoine's - the history, the magnificent and labyrinth restaurant, and the hospitality beats many Michelin star restaurants.

Antoine's, New Orleans - Oysters fochAntoine's, New Orleans - Cafe burlot


When I was a kid and played "stranded boat in the middle of Pacific ocean" we were allowed to only bring one food item on board. My choice was and still is a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) from Saigon Sandwiches. I love sandwiches - the simplicity of meats, vegetables and spread is enough to turn my frown upside down.

Tommy Dinic's, Philadelphia, PA - Pulled Pork Sandwich2010 marked a year where I ate out of my sandwich comfort zone. The pulled pork sandwich from Dinic's in Philadelphia literally melted like buttah or better yet, melted like ice cream on the sidewalk on a hot day. Primanti's famous french fries and coleslaw in the sandwich and Wholey's one pound fried fish sandwich in a Fish Market, in Pittsburgh, PA. The city of Pittsburgh really surprised me, the 'burgh offered a lively food scene, beautiful views, amazing museums and history.

Wholey Fish Market, Pittsburgh, PA - 1 pound fish sandwichPrimanti Brother's, Pittsburgh, PA - corned beef sandwich
Wholey's fish sandwich, Primanti's corned beef

Johnnie's Italian Beef in Elmwood, IL - Combo with red hots and Italian BeefAn Italian ice and Italian beef and red hot combination at Johnnie's in Elmwood Park, IL brought me back every night for one week straight.

My first muffaleta at Central Grocery Co. offered a soft, meaty, chewy, vinegary and olive-y sensation in one bite. The Mississippi River view and basking in the warm glowy sun as I was eating my sandwich was...perfect. Another New Orlean's unforgettable sandwich was the soft shell crab po'boy from Stanley's, just look at the size of that thing!

Central Grocery Co., New Orleans - Muffaletta by the MississippiStanley's, New Orleans - Soft Shell Crab Po'boy
Central Grocery's Muffaleta, Stanley's Soft Shell Crab Po'boy

The infamous Mousse and Fleur Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Grasde Sel at Hot Doug's. A foie gras and hot dog lover's dream.

Hot Doug's in Chicago - Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Foie Gras

Thomas Keller's Empire

  • The French Laundry - dialing at exactly 10am two months in advance, serene and quaint Yountville backdrop and a progression of refined dishes of fish, meat, vegetables and dessert.

French Laundry in Yountville, CA

  • Ad Hoc's famous every other Monday night buttermilk fried chicken. We drove 1 and half hour to Napa on a Monday night just to get a taste of the fried chicken. My expectation was thrown out the window after my meal. The fried chicken was better than I could imagine, I can't say the same for many many other situations.

Ad Hoc - Buttermilk Fried chickenRaspberry beignet, Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas

  • Bouchon Bistro was a disappointment but the raspberry beignets was my breakfast savior.

  • I don't know how many times I've eaten at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville and Las Vegas. I will give a shout out to the doggie foie gras biscuit from my pom-chi, Momo. He goes absolutely crazy for the biscuit and can smell where I hide them, on top of a 6 ft shelf -- in a shoe box.

French Laundry - Shortbread as departing gift

San Francisco's new restaurants - Benu and Prospect

Funny, one of my favorite blogger Ulterior Epicure named Benu's black truffle risotto and uni one of his favorites dishes of 2010. I can not agree more, the dish was sumptuous and luxurious. I also won't forget the dish because I asked my pregnant friend who could not eat seafood, I asked if she missed it as the uni dish arrived. She exclaimed, "No shit, I mean, just look at that [uni dish]." I laughed so hard I cried.

Benu - San Francisco, uni risottoProspect, San Francisco - Pig Trotter with lobster relish
Uni risotto, pig trotter

Prospect's open airy space where is in between modern, minimalist, and fancy is my favorite new San Francisco restaurant. The fried pig trotter and lobster was a new flavor combination. The gelatious and crispy pig trotter paired with a sweet bouncy lobster made me roll my eyes to the back of my head.

Las Vegas, NV

I should really consider Las Vegas my second hometown as I travel there 3-5 times a year and love to venture off the strip. There are always new and exciting restaurant openings by famous chefs. Todd's English P.U.B's dirty chips - kettle chips, bacon lardon, blue cheese fondue and fried chicken liver. My sister and I greet each other "Duuuurrrty, duurty....chips!! Yes, so delicious it makes me roll my r's.

Todd's English P.U.B. - dirty chips, Las Vegas

Raku has become my "regular" place. Best homemade tofu. Don't ask why, just go and see for yourself.

Raku - Agadashi TofuRaku, Las Vegas - Homemade tofu

My 2011 wish list:

Attempt to make macarons at home.

Save enough for Joel Robuchon, The Mansion in Las Vegas.

New York City!

Big Sur, CA road trip.

Ashland, OR for Shakespeare theatre and Crater Lake.

Japanese cooking class.

Improve my Mandarin and Spanish.

Oprah and Stedman finally getting married.

Favorite home cooked meal?

Pig Offal Heaven. Blood Sausage with pig intestine casing

My mom's labor intensive pig blood sausage in pig intestine casing.

Pig offal heaven. Click on picture for more info


Lolia S said...

Those pictures are amazing (I'm hungry). You had quite the year in 2010. Happy New Year to you and Momo! Looking forward to your new food adventures :)

uhockey said...

Excellent site - can't believe I hadn't heard about this blog. Thanks for stopping by mine - and I need to get to Benu. :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow, its been a good year with some amazing eats. It will be hard for 2011 to top that, but I think you just might do it!
*kisses* HH

Kung Food Panda said...

Looks like you had a damn fine 2010! Hope you do make it out to NYC this year! :)

Bonnibella said...

Uhockey: Thanks for stopping by. Been a fan of your blog for awhile.

KFP: Can't wait to read your NYC post.

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said...

Fantastic round up - really enjoyed drooling over this post and lusting after all the places you've been to. Alinea as well as French Laundry? Lucky indeed!! Speaking of lucky - foie gras dog biccies? What a spoilt pooch!

james guanzon said...

Have you tried Raku in LV? Way off strip!!!

james guanzon said...

Have you tried Lotus of Siam for Thai food in Las Vegas?

I think this place will be my next home...

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