Top 10 Eats of 2009

My Top 10 eats that make me smile. (And yes, those are coffee beans.)

Some people like to look back at the year to ponder, scrutinize and revel in their accomplishments.

I like to look back at the year to relive moments in time that I can’t forget because, well, they just tasted so darned good.

Yes, here’s my list of the top 10 dishes I had in 2009.

Oh, it was hard to narrow it down to just 10, believe me. I hemmed and hawed about which would make the cut and which wouldn’t because there were so many bites over the past 12 months that I truly savored.

In the end, I decided to limit it to the meals I ate out, rather than cooked at home. The dishes that made the list were ones that I still savor in my memory, again and again. They’re ones that I would rush out to eat once more in a heart beat. They are — in a word — unforgettable.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Everyone wants to eat at Ad Hoc on fried chicken night -- for good reason.

1. The justly famous fried chicken at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc restaurant in Yountville.

Luscious pork belly, hoisin sauce and scallions make this a bite of heaven.

2. Pork belly buns at David Chang’s insanely popular Momofuku restaurants in New York.

This will make you excited about tuna sandwiches again.

3. Albacore tuna salad sandwich with fennel and chipotle mayo at the teeny-tiny Sentinel sandwich joint in San Francisco.

Pasta with -- of all things -- Bing cherries.

4. Casonsei (rectangular ravioli stuffed with veal sausage) with the unexpected, delightful addition of fresh Bing cherries at Quattro at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto.

Sweet, slightly crunchy spot prawns.

5. Sweet, refreshing local spot prawns, served crudo-style, with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and piment d’espelette at Saison in San Francisco.

The richest, most decadent souffle ever.

6. Black pepper and Parmesan souffle with Dungeness crab and uni fondue. A supremely luxurious dish from the Plumed Horse in Saratoga.

An earthenware crock holds stuffed squid cooked in their own ink.

7. Tender-as-can-be stuffed calamari braised in their own jet-black ink at Poggio in Sausalito.

Seared, tender gnocchi with the most intense duck flavor.

8. Seared, tender gnocchi topped with a sublime duck-chestnut ragu at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Yountville.

A gourmet taco -- done Korean-style.

9. The incomparable Korean short rib taco, an explosion of flavors and textures, from the roaming Kogi Bbq taco trucks in Los Angeles.

The smoothest flan that puts all others to shame.

10. The flan that has raised the bar for all other flans. Find it at Parcel 104 in Santa Clara.

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Date: Friday, 1. January 2010 5:33
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, General, Great Finds, Restaurants, Thomas Keller/French Laundry/Et Al

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  1. 1

    What wonderful dishes!

    Best wishes for 2010!



  2. 2

    The dishes look & sound unforgettable indeed!

    Happy 2010! ;)

  3. 3

    Every single dish looks delicious–I can see why each one earned a place on your Top 10 list. I’m particularly craving the TK fried chicken and the Kogi taco. Awesome.

  4. 4

    oh wow… what a great round up! Happy new year!

  5. 5

    C – you are a girl after my own heart! I love this round up, and this post makes me miss the bay area even more! Poggio was my favorite neighborhood restaurant when I was living in Sausalito. Just visited Bottega, but I’ll have to go back for the duck chestnut ragu. I’m looking forward to making the rounds to the other places you’ve mentioned. I’d love to hear what you think of this place Kaygetsu in Palo Alto. I haven’t been, but heard quite a bit of buzz on my recent visit to SF. Happy new year! I’m looking forward to sharing in all of the delicious meals you’ll have in 2010!

  6. 6

    Wow! Great list! Everything looks delicious! I like the fact that you have items from around the country, and not just the Bay Area/Napa. I love it – around the world with food!


    Happy New Year! May each new place you try be better than the previous one!

  7. 7

    Christine: Kaygetsu is magical. (By the way, it’s actually in Menlo Park, in a very nondescript strip mall.) The kaiseki meal is truly extraordinary in terms of taste and presentation. Each plate is like a piece of art. Had I eaten at Kaygetsu in 2009, I’m sure something from there would have made the list. As it is, you’re already getting me thinking that I need to go back there THIS year.

    Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to all the fabulous tastes awaiting us in 2010.

  8. 8

    We were in Saratoga but no time for dinner at Plumed Horse…but I so want to try that appetizer!

  9. 9

    Plumed Horse would have been on our list of places to eat out in 09…either that or Parcel 104. Guess we’ll have to wait until we get back…

  10. 10

    One place to visit, all together, only 10 of your top and perfect posts.. the flan just fabulous :)

    Happy New Year to You!



  11. 11

    Your post makes me desperately want to hop on a plane to the US and try them all out! Happy New Year Carolyn! :D

  12. 12

    Hey Carolyn, just wanted to drop by to say Happy New Year!!!

    Thanks for the recs :)

  13. 13

    i love the leading photo, how did you make it? rocks? black jelly beans? that is quite a round up of your top ten tastes for 2009 food gal! Beautiful photos, very inspiring!

  14. 14

    Foodhoe: Those are actually coffee beans. ;)
    And let me tell you, they sure like to roll around a lot. I kept saying to them, “Hold still! Hold still!” They didn’t seem to listen too well, though. LOL

  15. 15

    ***DROOL***, especially with the beautiful crab souffle. My warmest wishes to you Carolyn!

  16. 16

    Yummy dishes all. Have a wonderful 2010!

  17. 17

    Happy New Year!

  18. 18

    You’ve definitely had a delicious year! Can’t wait for more great eats this new year, Carolyn!

  19. 19

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cathy Curtis, BayGourmet. BayGourmet said: From @foodgal top ten eats of 2009 […]

  20. 20

    Oh my . . I am sooo hungry right now looking at these photos. Note to self: don’t read food blogs right before dinner! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy New Year!

  21. 21

    Thank you! You’ve just created my top 10 list for 2010 – I want to make sure I have all of these covered. By the time you do the Top 10 eats of 2010, I hope to be caught up.

  22. 22

    Happy New Year! With all the great food you eat I’m impressed you were able to narrow it down to just 10. I’ll be referring back to this list the next time I’m out there.

  23. 23

    What a great list of eats! Happy New Year to you Carolyn and may 2010 be full of even more amazing meals!

  24. 24

    best flan in the world at parcel

  25. 25

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  26. 26

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by snex: Malo inspiracije pred drugi rucak 2010. Food Gal – Top 10 eats of 2009:

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