If you’re wondering how I’m not obese by now considering the way I eat, I wonder the same thing myself. Scientists should study this phenomenon. But how can you not eat well and heartily in most of the destinations I visited this year? My Favorite Eats of 2011 were of an unusual variety, mostly dishes I found in Australia and Hawaii, but this year I got back to the basics.
Dry rub ribs, Corky’s– When in Memphis the dish to try is the famous dry rub ribs and I found that no place serves you more or better ribs than Corky’s. The seasoning sticks to the roof of your mouth, but in a good way. Wash it down with a big glass of sweet tea.
Fried catfish, hushpuppies and fries, Flying Fish– I stumbled into this casual fish joint off Beale Street with Billy Bass singing fish covering the walls. I loved my fried catfish with a local Ghost River beer.
Biscuit, Loveless Cafe– This Nashville institution has the best breakfasts in town but people keep coming back for the biscuits with all the accoutrements. Their jams, jellies and sorghum go great on them.
Crab cake with asparagus and mashed potatoes, Ray’s on the River– I love this restaurant on the Chattahoochee River and always go with my grandmother. This meal is more food than I can ever consume, but always delicious. The crab cake is flaky and fresh, which is hard to come by so far from the ocean.
Spicy pork noodles, Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft– I can’t remember the real name for this dish, but it reminded me of my Unpronouncable Soup from rural Thailand. It had a broth, sliced pork and a very nice kick to it. It helped that the restaurant had a great view of the Atlanta skyline.
Kwanza bowl, WOW Food Truck– I was on a big food truck kick this year and it seemed that the trucks were at every event I went to, whether it be Foursquare Day, local festivals or Food Truck Friday. The kwanza bowl is roasted potatoes, shredded pork, bacon, cheese and a spicy green sauce. Deliciously porky.
Beignet sampler, Brenda’s French Soul Food– Scotti’s friend Hannah, a fellow Georgia girl, took us to this home cooking restaurant and insisted we order the beignet sampler. Three were sweet and one was savory: classic, apples and cinnamon, Ghiradelli chocolate, and crawfish.
Panna Pizza, Pizzeria Delfina– After a lot of Yelp searches, Scotti and I settled on a highly rated pizza restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco. We waited for a long time for our two barstools, but it was worth it. Not only did we have a front row seat to the making of our pie, but we ate every last bite of our arancini and Panna pizza, washed down with red wine. It had tomato sauce, freshly shaved parmesan and cream.
Chicken sausage, poached egg, polenta and tomato jam, Rose’s Cafe– After a blustery morning seeing off her brother at the Golden Gate Bridge, we needed to refuel and warm up. I chose a hearty brunch dish with an actual bowl of hot chocolate. It reminded me of something we would have in the south, but much more refined. Thanks to C’est Christine for the recommendation on Foursquare! It was featured on Taste of Travel!
Franceschina, Cafe Primar, Porto– The franceschina is a legendary sandwich, if you could even call it that. Slices of meat are placed between bread, coated in cheese and topped in a spicy gravy. Dozens of cafes around town sell them, often with a side of fries and a cheap Super Bock beer.
Veal with sauteed spinach and potato gratin, CS Vintage Hotel, Pinhao– My fellow travel bloggers and I were nursing hangovers after our last night at the Travel Bloggers Unite Conference when we took a cruise down the Douro Valley. I was finally feeling better when we sat down for a delicious lunch with even more delicious white wine to accompany it.
Sea Bass with Rice and Legumes, Mar de Sinos, Braga– Sometimes the best meals are the most simple. The fish was crispy with a brown butter sauce, which I mopped up with the rice.
Pork schnitzel with potato salad and cranberry sauce, Pauli Stubm Restaurant, Salzburg– I couldn’t visit Austria without having the famous schnitzel. It was a hearty portion and paired well with the cranberry sauce. I wasn’t big on the potato salad because it was cold and had onions, but the rest was lovely.
Potato soup, Paulaner Tent at Oktoberfest, Munich– I needed something to fill my belly before the madness of Oktoberfest. Thankfully I had three hours to kill before the first beer was served. The potato soup had all sorts of veggies and was warm and buttery.
Flammkuchen, Schlappen, Freiburg– This flatbread style dish was topped with bacon and cheese, two of my favorite ingredients.
Chicken doner kebab, Rosenthaler Cafe, Berlin– I couldn’t go to Berlin without trying a kebab, a Middle Eastern sandwich packed with lettuce, shaved meat and a sauce.
Almond Crusted Fish, Watzke Restaurant, Dresden– I wasn’t having the best day in Dresden, but I stopped at this restaurant for a beer and big meal. The massive roasted potatoes and salad only made this dish better.
Greek taco and jasmine rice, Dirty South, Berlin– I was in serious need of food from home when I found this Southern style bar in suburban Berlin. I ordered a Greek taco with chicken, feta cheese and lettuce with a side of rice and a strong margarita.
Lamb roast with vegetables and bread, The Royal Albert– Sammi, Emma and I stumbled into this local pub while we were waiting for our Wimdu apartment to be ready. They only offered a handful of items since it was a Sunday, but thankfully we ordered a huge Sunday roast for Sammi and I to split.
Ramen, Tonkatsu– Locals know best and when Dylan took me, Shaun and Erica, and Randy and Beth out for dinner before a blogging event, I knew I would be eating well. My bowl of ramen was bigger than my face and had a rich broth, slices of pork belly and the best soft-boiled egg I’ve ever had.
Fish and chips, The Golden Hind– I’ve alluded to this meal in other posts but I fervently believe these are the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. Sammi saw this fish shop while we were wandering around in Marylebone. It was packed and we ordered the specialty. The breading was nice and flaky but didn’t peel off in one sheet, as you find at some places.
Beignets, Cafe du Monde– I could eat beignets for breakfast every day if I knew it wouldn’t rot my teeth. Portions come with three of the French doughnuts topped with a mountain of powdered sugar. I don’t drink coffee, so I drank water to get the sweetness out of my mouth.
Toasted almond gelato, Sucre– I lusted after macaroons, cupcakes and tarts after deciding upon this odd flavor of gelato. It was, however, completely delicious.
Crab sandwich, Cake Cafe and Bakery– Upon recommendation from a friend, I ordered this AMAZING sandwich: crab meat, brie, spinach and bacon on thickly sliced challah bread.