Well, folks, another year has come and, well, is almost gone. And in true Chicago fashion, tonight’s wind chill is predicted to dip well below zero! If you’re heading out, bundle up, stay safe and try keep warm while you devise a way to revisit my top 10 favorite eats of 2009. Man, this was hard to do the say the least, especially since the last year had me traveling and eating my way through NYC, Baltimore, San Fran, San Diego, Milwaukee, Des Moines (of all places), Los Angeles and Chile. BUT, most of my favorite eats still ended up in the Chi. Here’s the top 10 in no particular order:
1). Three Little Pigs Sandwich, Silver Palm, Chicago —This was by far the best BST (Big Sandwich Tuesday), the crew experienced this year, our only regret? Not ordering a few for the table.
2). Steamed Pork Buns, Momofuku, NYC…overrated you say? BAH they changed my life, for reals.
3). Burata with Lovage, Roasted Fennel, English Pea Purée and Garlic Toast, Nightwood, Chicago — I went here over the summer and still dream about this appetizer, I know the menu is ever-changing there, but this one’s gotta stay, at least in the summer.
4). Chocolate Sabayon with Homemade Nutter Butters, Bristol, Chicago — Not sure what’s more unreal, the silky, perfectly light and rich chocolate sabayon served in the mini parfait glass, or the crunchy homemade nutter butters on the side that are worthy of being boxed up Girl Scout cookie-style and sold in bulk.
5). Corned Beef Sandwich, Jake’s Deli, Milwaukee— OK, it’s corned beef, but it was seriously the best corned beef sandwich I had ever had this year. Worth the drive to Milwaukee, at least for the local Miller’s Bakery rye bread and hand-sliced beef.
6). Crispy pata, Sunda, Chicago — When I saw this dish I wanted to grab the boiled and fried pork shank Fred Flintstone-style and gnaw it right off the bone, but the dainty and delicate watercress salad and garlic-foie gras gravy on the side are far too refined for such behavior, (geez). Anyway, the tender, juicy and somehow still crispy pork falls off the bone, so no need to get all caveman on this entrée I hope they keep on the menu.
7). Chick-fil-A, Racine, WI — Why does everyone talk about how good Chick-fil-A is but no one actually makes the trek out to Racine to eat the hand-breaded sandwich and awesome waffle fries? Or do they? Actually, when I made my way up there, there were fellow Chicagoans sitting right next to me in the food court mall who had done that very thing. It’s close to Mars Cheese Castle and Apple Holler, so you really have no excuse not to go. And who knows WHEN the supposed “Aurora” location is opening. Can’t they just ease up on the Jimmy Johns and open a Chick-fil-A in my neighborhood and be done with it?
8). Farmers Cheese Biscuits, Hot Chocolate, Chicago — A mini Staub filled with warm cheese biscuits and honey butter. At Hot Chocolate. Nuff said.
9). The Ron Bennington Cupcake, Molly’s Cupcakes, Chicago — The publishing of this post last spring got the blog a on-air mention by Sirius radio personality and comic Ron Bennington himself, and rightly so, because this cupcake rocks. Cupcakes are over, huh? Well the last time I checked, crushed butterscotch, chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, butterscotch chips and a peanut butter-butterscotch frosting center definitely ARE NOT (see pic).
10). Alinea, Chicago — Really, my top ten list could be made up of my entire meal here last spring, but I’m going to devote this slot to a tie between the black truffle ravioli and the chocolate course. Both amazing, visually stunning, and just a small part of the meal that blew me away the most this year.
Have a safe and happy new year and here’s to more deliciousness in 2010! Eat something out of control this year? Still reeling from it? Sound off in the comments!