The move has been made and I’m working on getting comfortable in my new kitchen. I’m excited to start this new year in a new place and to see where my experiences take me and the blog.
I have to be honest. I can already feel things shifting a bit. I still want to cook with all the amazing ingredients that are now available to me, but I'm also in a place where there is some pretty amazing food (and drink) being made by others.
This year, along with recipes you are probably going to find more places dine and events to attend. I also hope to put the focus back on the global aspect of my blog. I have so much more to learn about the cuisines of other countries and it’s time to start trying more in my own kitchen.
Considering we’re already halfway through January, I really don’t want to look back and recap last year. But in 2012 I took part in 2 cross-country road trips, a trip to Toronto, a visit to New York City, a trip to Vegas, a day in Sonoma and Napa Valley and New Years Eve in Santa Barbara. Not to mention our explorations of Kentucky.
So, yeah. I have a few food recommendations for you.
So let’s not look back at the best eats of last year, but let’s look at it as where you need to eat and drink in 2013! These are my picks so start planning your road trip
Kansas City, KS - Oklahoma Joe's
We moved my husband out to California last September. That was road trip #1, to the north via I-80. What an amazing drive! I want to do it again already.
We didn’t have our food planned out, but left it to tips from friends and popular TV shows along the way. First up, Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City. It turns out Anthony Bourdain kind of likes the place too.
I like barbecue, but I’m not all crazy for it. And I don’t understand all the allegiances to different types. I like all of them for different reasons. But, oh my goodness. This food was amazing! My husband and I are still talking about it months later. The meat, the sauce, the hour-long line, the restaurant-in-a-gas-station atmosphere. It was one of the best meals I had all year.
My favorite was the burnt ends sandwich, and the beans were as perfect as they can get. Slightly meaty, loaded with barbecue flavor. I’m usually not a fan of ribs, but I’d order them again in a second.
Salt Lake City, UT - Red Iguana
We had no plan when we got to Salt Lake, but after checking out the FoodNetwork app we found the Red Iguana which had been on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It’s described as pre-Hispanic Mexican, and the big draw? 7 kinds of moles.
I got the Mole Verde. This wasn’t your classic, chocolately mole, but it was delicious. The chicken was so tender and the sauce was full of spicy flavor. My husband got the Mole Negro and this is what I think of when I think of mole - rich, dark, slightly spicy sauce. It was my favorite.
Toronto, Canada - Steam Whistle
In July last year, I made my first trip to Canada. It’s hard to believe I hadn’t been before! And yes, I know. Everyone is telling me that I need to see more places, but I LOVED Toronto. One of our favorite things was the local beer, Steam Whistle. We did the brewery tour, and the bar just happened to be one of the most affordable places to grab a beer so we hung out for a while and enjoyed it.
New York City - Momofuku Noodle Bar
I traveled to New York City in October for the first time since I was in high school. Needless to say, a lot has changed. Mainly that I now have a deep appreciation for good food. I recapped the trip last year, but a round up on where to eat in 2013 wouldn't be complete without a mention of Momofuku Noodle Bar. It was the first place I went when I got to the city, and I'm already planning to take my husband back this year.
The corn ramen was the special on my visit and it didn't disappoint. The blackboard lists the farms where a majority of the food is sourced, and with a huge bar for seating it is perfect for dining alone if you are traveling on business like I was.
Sonoma, CA - The Girl and The Fig
Over the Thanksgiving holiday we took our first trip to California wine country. Knowing we would be in Sonoma around lunch time, we did what every food-lover does. We ate at The Girl and The Fig. We made reservations for lunch, as you should too because although the restaurant was only half full when we arrived, every table was taken by the time we left.
We started with a cheese plate and that was good, but the best part of it was the dried fig cake made in house. It was delicious with the cheese.
I had a simple lunch of a tasty grilled cheese, but for me my husband's meal was the best. The pork belly sandwich with a slightly sweet apple slaw.
Stanford, KY - Bluebird Cafe
If you think a small-town, rural restaurant can’t compete with food-cities around the U.S., I encourage you to go to Bluebird. On a downtown street that barely has one stoplight, this place will amaze you. With locally sourced ingredients and a creative menu that would rival any restaurant in the big city, Bluebird serves Kentucky favorites with a twist.
Our first couple visits were for breakfast where I enjoyed the breakfast fries with smoked gouda sauce. We finally made it for lunch just before we moved - a fried green tomato BLT on a whole wheat sorghum bun. Yes, yum.
Santa Barbara, CA - East Beach Grill
We stayed in Santa Barbara on our final leg of the official move which also happened to be New Years Eve. (This time we took I-40 through the southern US.) Other than the wonderful ocean views, we experienced very little of what this awesome town has to offer. But we did manage to have pancakes on New Years morning. The East Beach Grill was close to our hotel, dog friendly and rumor had it they offered some amazing wheat germ pancakes. The rumors were true. I had a stack of blueberry and my husband a stack of strawberry while we relaxed outside with the pugs and enjoyed the view of the ocean.
Oakland, CA - Bocanova
There will be many more Oakland favorites to come, but I definitely found a place I love with only a few days of being here. Bocanova in Jack London Square has unique cocktails and one fine happy hour. One of my favorite appetizers is the Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs with Chipotle Aioli.
That about sums it up. Hopefully I've shared enough to keep you busy. And full. Recipes will resume soon, but for now I'll leave you with one of my favorite offerings at our Farmer's Market. Gorgeous greens with edible flowers. Happy New Year!
P.S. I was having some trouble with formatting on this post. The names of the cities and restaurants are links that will take you to the restaurant website.