Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 5 Restaurants of 2010 - Reviews and inspiration on another year of eating

2010 was another great food year and for me personally it was an opportunity to eat all over at exciting restaurants old and new. Here is a quick peek back at some of my favorites and places I recommend if you are in town…
It was difficult to narrow a list to 5 when I took more than 20 trips and visited 50 (or more) restaurants. These places are geographically diverse, from the lower-east side of Manhattan, through Kentucky, up to Toronto and even out to the west coast.
Let’s get to it, you can find my reviews (if finished) on emulsifiedblog.com or follow a link in each title.
1.     Best Experience – Casa Mono (@casamono), Lower-east side, Manhattan - review
Rainy night in the city and I stepped off the 6 train and walked a couple of blocks to this place. Small, dark, intimate with wonderful smells and the sounds of wine corks popping. Tapas to share, but I was on my own and left very full and satisfied. I cannot wait to take my wife to this one.

2.     Best Food – Chalk Food + Wine, Covington, Kentucky - review
I had the chance to eat here 5 times in 2010 and sadly did not know it would be my last as they are now closed. The chef’s tasting menu never disappoints and these guys are doing Farm-to-Table right. Local beers always strike a chord and they feature a brew that ferments in Kentucky bourbon casks, superb. Please support more restaurants like this so they do no go away!

3.     Best Lunch, Vert, Denver, Colorado - review
After an unexpected (and nerve racking) ultrasound, my wife and I needed a place for lunch (we found out it was a girl!) Vert was an exciting find for us, like a French country kitchen where meticulous detail goes into each facet of the meal. Always fresh, new and high quality. It is definitely worth more than one visit.

4.     Place I am Most Excited for a Second Visit – Toro (@tororestaurant), Boston, Massachusetts
“Go to the North End” is what most tourists or people who live outside of Boston will hear when asking for food recommendations. Neigh! I say, go to the South Side, home of Toro. The energy is incredible here, so many people crushed inside a small space, yet you don’t want to leave. The Kitchen is spitting out unbelievable Tapas (get the corn!) and the drink list will ensure a cab ride home.

5.     Best Meal Outside the US – Lee, Toronto, Canada
I was in Canada for the Olympics! Well, kind of, I was in Toronto, which was not exactly around the corner from Olympic plaza. I did, however, get to watch some hockey games and really get a taste for the national sport. Lee’s signature dish will not disappoint, I LOVE coleslaw and this is the granddaddy of them all. Each family-style large plate fuses classic technique with fusion flavors – maybe ‘fusion’ will become something else in the new decade?

·      Best Meal That Was Not a Meal – VooDoo Doughnuts, Portland, Oregon
Bacon Maple Doughnut, I love you Portland
·      Best Food at a Farmer’s Market – Sister’s Pantry, Boulder, Colorado
9 a.m., 42° and the best brunch you can have are these steamed and fried dumplings. Cilantro Soy Sauce and enough hot chili to warm the coldest fingers.
·      Best Burger – Terry’s, Cincinnati, Ohio
This one was featured on Food Network’s Triple-D, it is a funky place that has the best burgers period, and filet mignon chili. The drive out of town is worth it.

Steve White is a former professional chef and Internet advertising executive who shares his thoughts on EmulsifiedBlog.com and is a contributor to FoodNuts.com. Suggestions? Have your own list? Write to him at: stevewhite323@gmail.com

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