•March 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment
As I enter March, a month perennially fraught with the anxieties of turning a year older, I find myself clinging to January and February a little tighter, wishing they had lasted a bit longer.
But I did more than my fair share of living in the first two months of this year. I’ll start with January.
Continue reading ‘travel: a bunker, a photo shoot, and some sprouts…’
•February 8, 2013 • 9 Comments
The title of this blog post is misleading.
Superlatives, like the word “best,” are dangerous. They’re almost always misused for profit.
I have been critical of lists that claim authority over the designation “the best in the world.” The absurdity of such declarations was captured brilliantly in the movie Elf, when Buddy discovers the “world’s best cup of coffee.” You should distrust anyone who tells you that something is “the best,” especially when done with a veneer of objectivity. I won’t do it. Instead, I will tell you up front: my annual “best of” lists – like this one, in which I share my ten best meals of 2012 – are nothing more than the opinion of one man.
My methodology is simple, but not really. I’ve tried to explain it every year. My last attempt remains my best:
Complete objectivity is a myth. I know you know this, and yet I feel compelled to repeat it. So, I’ll simply disclaim: this year’s list of my best restaurant meals – like every one of them in the past - is nothing more than a filtered figment. I wish I could account for the ticks and tacks that add up to the number before us. But I can’t.
Are these the most delicious meals I had this year? Not necessarily. Are they the most flawless? Not particularly. The most memorable? Perhaps, but not entirely.
For a variety of reasons – food being primary – the following ten meals set themselves apart from the rest.
Continue reading ‘best of 2012: the restaurant edition…’
•January 12, 2013 • 2 Comments
Last year, I asked: “Is pastry having a ‘moment?’”
The question was clearly rhetorical. And in the paragraphs that followed, I cited dozens of examples of why I thought it was so.
In 2012, pastry sustained its “moment” because chefs kept redefining and expanding its borders. They continued to explore uncharted territory, questioning tradition, and upending expectations.
Once an afterthought, with pastry chefs like Michael Laiskonis and Francisco Migoya spearheading events like the Killed By Dessert series, desserts have become just as important in our curent culinary dialogue as what traditionally comes before them in a meal. To acknowledge the growing appreciation for this branch of the culinary arts, last year, I gave my favorite desserts their own post and listing. This year, I do so again.
Continue reading ‘best desserts of 2012…’
•January 11, 2013 • 1 Comment
Seven years ago, I surveyed all of the dishes I had eaten in that year and compiled a list of my favorites, more for my own record than for posterity. Since, it has become an annual tradition.
2012 marked another spectacular year of eating for me. Once again, I traveled the world, visiting restaurants of all kinds and eating a great variety of food. For the eighth time, I gather my favorite dishes of the year in one post.
Continue reading ‘best dishes of 2012…’
•January 10, 2013 • 3 Comments
Forty-eight hours is not enough time to see, much less eat Oaxaca. Considered one of the two “kitchens of Mexico” (the other being Puebla), Oaxaca is one, giant, walkable culinary encyclopedia, every corner a page, every meal a story. The thought of mastering even a slice of its culinary variety is dizzying.
And yet, that is all the time that I had in Oaxaca on a short stop-over last June. When we arrived in the city (he from New York, I from Puebla), my friend Adam and I hit the ground eating. And we did not stop until we left, literally hailing a cab for the bus station from our table as we finished our last meal in the city.
The food in Oaxaca is like the food of no other place. At once crude and refined, it is a distillation of wordy history into pithy sentences with just as much meaning. Be not fooled by its simple appearance. There are no abbreviations in the lexicon of Oaxaca’s culinary language. There is only depth, only complexity, and only flavor.
Continue reading ‘review: rainbow of moles… (yu ne nisa)’
•January 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment
My December dining report is more of an addendum than a postscript to the preceding eleven months (which, together, I summarized and surveyed on this blog in an earlier post). Warning: it is voluminous.
I spent nearly the entire last month of 2012 away from home, leading an unrealistic, fantasy life of eating Michelin stars, drinking cult wines, living in the lap of Relais & Châteaux luxury, and, most importantly, connecting with friends, old and new. Just in case you’re wondering – yes, I know what a privileged life I lead. And I am tremendously grateful for it.
Continue reading ‘travel: addendum…’
•January 4, 2013 • 11 Comments
In the February, 2013 issue of Vanity Fair, Corby Kummer issued a long-winded, cynical, and, in my opinion, rather narrow-minded, criticism of tasting menus (“Tyranny – It’s What’s for Dinner“).
Here is my response to Mr. Kummer’s article.
Continue reading ‘rumination 27: tyranny of the masses…’