My Top Five Dishes

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I agree with Wendy – picking your top five dishes is hard! I struggled with this for a few reasons – first, I went to so many amazing restaurants across the country this year that I was a little overwhelmed by where to begin; next, I was tempted to only pick things closer to home (comfort food factor?); and finally, because what makes something a dish? Does a scoop of ice cream count? If so, I’ll need to revise. 🙂

1. Miso Marinated Black Cod – Heathman Restaurant & Bar, Portland
As a frequent visitor to the Heathman Restaurant, I’ve always seen this on the menu but never tried it. One taste and I knew that overlooking this dish had been a critical error. The miso glaze on the cod is almost sweet – combined with the slightly garlicky buckwheat soba noodles this dish is close to perfection.

2. Heirloom Beets– Eleven Madison Park, New York
“Salad” may be a loose term when describing these beets. The presentation is gorgeous – it’s a little work of art. The Lynnhaven Farm Chevre Frais an almost an ethereal foam, the rye crumble adding the needed crunch and contrast, and the nasturtium leaves just the right amount of pepper.

Image: Food in Houston

3. Poached Eggs & Toast – Blue Bottle Café, San Francisco
I know this is a really ordinary dish to put on my top 5, but this is SO good. A thick slice of Acme toast, a local / organic poached egg, local creamery butter. I can’t explain what BB does to set this dish apart – but I would fly to San Francisco just to have it. Their coffee is good, too. 🙂

Image: Flickr

4. Crispy Gnocchi – Lovely Hula Hands, Portland
I hesitated to even put this on here, considering Lovely Hula Hands closed 12/31. But seeing as how this dish inspired many a visit, I had to add it to the list. The menu at LHH changed weekly, which meant the variations on the gnocchi did as well. I’ve had it with chicken sage sausage, with short ribs, with seasonal vegetables. In any incarnation, it was just incredible. Now that their pizza joint, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty, is open I’m hoping they’ll add it to the “salads and such” portion of the menu.

5. Steamed Pork Bun – Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York
Again, another really simple thing done well. Pork belly, pickled cucumbers, scallions, hoisin sauce – all wrapped taco-style in a soft, spongey bun. YUM.

Image: Snackish

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