Life came at us like a Roman chariot race this year, and what a year it was. Craig’s movie The Skeleton Twins premiered at Sundance in January, and since then it’s taken us all around the world–me as far as Edinburgh and Berlin, Craig as far as Hong Kong–and even now our lives still feel like they’re moving at warp speed. That said, I always enjoy these moments in December when I can look back on the year that was and soak it all in. Normally, I do a ranking of the Best Things That I Cooked and The Best Things That I Ate, but this year I’m just choosing ten of my favorite food moments (chronologically). Let’s get to it.
This post is sponsored by Wisconsin Cheese which is hosting The 2013 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown where you can win a $4,000 Gourmet Kitchenware Package. What really got me excited to participate was the opportunity for me to come up with the best grilled cheese I know how to make. And while I’ve made gourmet grilled cheese on my Gourmet Grilled Cheese night, I’ve never mastered the straightforward all-American grilled cheese. Until now.
I know you’re probably sick of these end-of-the-year listicles, but after a year that took me all over the country, I just had to do a list of the 10 best dishes that I ate this year. I ate so much good food, in fact, that 2012 may very well have been the best eating year of my life. I mean, I went to The French Laundry this year (for our friend Diana’s 30th birthday) so that would make good sense. But most of these meals, as you you’ll see, weren’t super fancy… Many, in fact, were quite cheap. What I’m proudest of in considering this list is how I sussed out such exceptional food in so many different cities: I have you (especially those of you on Twitter) to thank for that. And now, without further ado, the 10 best things that I ate in 2012.
You’ve gotta admit, I cooked some really good things this year. So many, in fact, that narrowing this list down to ten took some work. But I’m confident that these ten dishes are the dishes that dazzled the most, the ones that made me pat myself on the back most vigorously, praising my myself in a British accent: “Well done, my lad, well done!” So join me for a gay romp through a year of cooking in my new L.A. kitchen.
It’s not every year that you finish a cookbook, move to a new city and find a used DVD of Doug Henning’s “The Magic Show” at Amoeba Music. But that’s what 2011 delivered, along with trips to Portland, Oregon, California (where I ate with many food bloggers), Atlanta and–a personal favorite–New Orleans, Louisiana. (We fell in love with it.) Come along with me, then, as we explore the year’s highlights before we tumble into 2012.
Who invites friends over for dinner rolls?
On Thursday night, I did that very thing. I texted our friends who live in our building and said, “Hot dinner rolls and honey if you want right now!” It was a strange text, one that I thought might be met with radio silence. But one friend, our friend Rob, said “Yes!” and came over moments later to experience the best dinner rolls I’d ever made. And he was not disappointed.
Recently, I had my friends Rob and Kath over for dinner. They live in our building and we were chatting about the neighborhood, our favorite places to eat and, inevitably, The New French came up. “You know it’s funny,” I said. “At first I didn’t love The New French, but recently I discovered their tuna sandwich and it’s seriously the best tuna sandwich of my life.”
“You didn’t just discover it,” said Rob.
“You blogged about it,” he insisted. “Last year.”
Craig’s sister Kristin and I joke that I should have a catchphrase, that when I meet new people I should declare, with mock-sincerity: “Food is my passion.” Ok, maybe you have to be there for that concept to be funny, but regardless, food IS my passion and this year I feel like my cooking is entering the realm of “he’s no amateur.” Sure, I had my doozies. Remember my burnt sticky buns? My flambé incident? And yesterday, I made hummus for lunch in my blender and added way too much chickpea water so the result was rather pukey. But otherwise? I’m riding high on a wave of culinary competence. And these, my friends, are my Top 10 success stories of 2009. Are you ready? Let’s get cooking.