My Year in Food – 2009

It’s been an incredible year, filled with some amazing food, so as we close out 2009, I thought it would be fun to count down my personal favorites for the year. Since I didn’t start my blog until May and many of you may not have discovered it until just recently, it’s possible you missed some of the best meals I’ve experienced this year.

I’ve gone all the way back through my calendar and narrowed it down to the Top 10. Food was of the utmost importance, but I also took into account the entire experience. Service can make or break a meal, no matter how unbelievable the food is, so those that got top honors excelled in that aspect as well.

Most of these meals I already blogged about, so I’ll link you back to them for a full story. However, a couple you didn’t really hear about at all, so I’ll expand more on them. #10 is one of those.


#10: Gramercy Tavern. NYC

When I got back from my New York trip this summer I had every intention of blogging about this meal, but never got around to it. And now, when I would love to tell you all about it, I can’t. Why, you ask? Well, just a few weeks ago I lost my little food journal I had been using for the past few months. It had every note from every meal I’ve eaten since May, this one included. Sadly, I don’t remember alot of the details, but I have photos, so I’ll share a few of them with you. What I do remember quite clearly is that the service at Gramercy Tavern was absolutely impeccable. It made our night. I also recall my friend Annika dubbing the rolls that began our meal “little puffballs from heaven”. Hopefully that gives you some indication of the level of the meal- if the rolls are from heaven, can you imagine what all the other courses tasted like??

Here’s a small sampling of what we had:

Fish Croquette

Barley Risotto

Mushroom Lasagna

And the best part of the whole experience? They have a $35 prix-fixe 3 course meal! I was shocked- I mean, c’mon, I’m in NYC at one of the top restaurants, and I get 3 courses for only $35? Craziness. Highly, highly recommend if you’re in the Big Apple.

#9: Fido: Wine 101, Nashville

A coffee shop wine class might seem a bit peculiar, but this was hands down the best wine tasting experience I’ve ever had. And the food? I was blown away. Chef John Stephenson used the freshest seasonal ingredients to prepare 5 or 6 tasting courses for us each night. A few standouts that I didn’t mention in previous writings:

Meatballs with Dates, Blue Cheese, and Local Pork over Organic Zucchini “Spaghetti and Local Oven Dried Juliette Tomato Sauce.

Benton’s Bacon BLT with Heirloom Tomato and Avocado

Fresh Linquine with Lemon Cream, Country Ham, Rainbow Chard, and Roasted Carrots

Mini Chorizo Burgers with Fig Mayo, Fennel Mustard, Gruyere, and Cordito Slaw with Amazing Fries

This class is an unbelievable value for the money. Click here for details on the 6 week course, and here to read more about some of the amazing dishes we had in the first few weeks.


#8: Lola, Cleveland

Surely you remember The Meatfest?

#7: Mushroom Risotto

with Pork Tenderloin in

Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce


Every fabulous meal doesn’t have to come from a well-known chef or restaurant- they can come right out of your own kitchen. I hate to toot my own horn, but this meal truly was one of the best meals of my entire year. I made my favorite gourmet mushroom risotto with pork tenderloin in a sun dried tomato cream sauce for my book club last February, and every single morsel was devoured. Girls had not only second helpings, but thirds! I tell you this not to brag, but to convince you that you MUST make this risotto as well as the Pork Tenderloin. Of course, I first need to share the pork recipe with you. Hold on to your pants- I promise you will have it very, very soon. Just stay tuned!

Come back tomorrow for Meals #6, 5, and 4, and then back again on Wednesday for my Top 3!