Some of my fondest memories of 2010 will be remembered through the distinct imprints that food has made on my senses. As I like to say, good food deserves to be discovered; therefore, I felt compelle
d to share these with you. So go ahead and feast on this… And I hope we get to meet in 2011 if we haven’t already!
Masarap Meat Pie – I entered this pie with a friend of mine for Megan Paska‘s Annual Winter Pie Bake-off in Brooklyn (the 3rd installment is coming up next month). It was the first time I’d ever made a pie crust and the first time I’d ever worked with leaf lard (thank you Meat Hook!). “Masarap” is the Filipino declaration of deliciousness; therefore, we had to put something truly special on the inside. Soooo….what was it? Nothing more than my dad’s secret pork rib tip adobo recipe that he’s perfected over the past 15 years. It got a great response at the event, and it’s a shame we didn’t win. I mean, look at that awesome pie decor! Made with a DIY marker cap = brilliant.
2010 James Beard Award Nomination for Best Web Series – I will never forget this historic day in food. curated.’s history. Only 6 months old and recognized for all the things I’d hoped it would stand for: passion, great storytelling and real people. This day showed me that if you truly work hard and follow your dreams, doors will open. They did. Many thanks to the great James Beard watching from above.
Filming the Pacific Northwest Oyster Harvest - I was literally eating oysters shucked right off the ground. I’ve never filmed on oyster farms like this before – so pristine, secluded and vast. And every time I hiked over a mountain of oysters with my red Hunter boots, I felt like I was committing a little Kumamoto/Kusshi oyster sin.
The 2010 NYC Food Film Festival – what an honor to showcase 5 of my food. curated. short films at this year’s Food Film Fest. Another dream I can check off my list, and what fun to get up in front of huge crowds to tell them about what I’m passionate about. Life is good.
The Filipino Food Crawl (Queens) – One of the things I truly enjoyed this year was bonding with fellow pinoy food peeps and educating curious eaters about what good pinoy food is. Namely: pork and lots of it. Many many thanks to the cooks at Ihawan, Krystal’s Cafe and Red Ribbon Bakery who are keeping it real in Queens. All essential food crawl spots in Woodside.
NYC Wine & Food Festival’s Sandwich Showdown with The Lobster Place - Competing in a sandwich cook-off against some of the top restaurants in New York was a natural high for me. And our creation was well-deserving of 2nd place. Meet The Over Indulger – a buttery, toasted top-split bun painted with duck foie gras and filled with chunky chunks of crisp green mango salad and tarragon spiced lobster meat. It was like eating liquid gold. Damn The Blue Ribbon for entering their Bone Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade Sandwich. Damn them for it being insufferably addictive. I hate myself for loving it as much as I did. That’s how competitive I am.
Food. Curated. becoming a real deal local NYC TV Show – best day of my storytelling life. Thanks again to NYC TV for believing in me and the inspirational message of my series. I am forever grateful. You can watch full episodes now online here!
BK Swappers – such a great concept that I think is going to catch on more in the coming years. Basically, you make homemade goods, then show up to this 4-times-a-year BK Swapping event to barter/trade for other homemade goods. No money is exchanged, just great conversations and lasting friendships.
Open Faced Lobsters – I know, they look a bit alien-like, but 1 1/2 pound Canadian lobsters broiled on the 1/2 shell is far better than cooking them whole in salted water. It’s my preferred cooking technique. And now I know how to do it.
Cook’s Illustrated Fried Chicken - honestly, the best fried chicken I’ve ever made at home. You’ll achieve that crunch to the skin you dream about. It’s also perfectly spiced. You can find it in their Sept/Oct 2010 issue.
Jennifer Perillo’s Buttermilk Pancake Recipe – I made this I don’t know how many times. I’m proclaiming it now, my pancake recipe for life.
Filipino Chicken Arroz Caldo – I pledged to teach myself how to cook more foods from my home country this year and the recipe I used, though tedious, results in quite possibly the most herbaceous, garlicky arroz caldo I’ve had to date. I add more ginger than the recipe calls for.
Chef Ross Hutchison’s Salt Baked Salmon – All I want to do is shake Chef Ross’s hand again for this fantastic salmon throw down. And then, maybe, just maybe name my first child after him. This fish was amazing. Just ask anyone at the Greenpoint potluck. Master salt-baking in 2011 is on my agenda.
Homemade Churros Recipe from New York Times Magazine – Churros are my #1 favorite dessert next to tiramisu. And finding good churros in NYC is a worthless effort that I keep hoping with change. Anyhow, given my frustrations, what I learned is that they are so easy, almost too easy, to make at home yourself, and as good as the real thing, especially with this particular recipe.
The Test Kitchen’s Meatball Recipe – say wha? You form the meatballs and bake them before you add the sauce? No frying? And they come out shaped like perfect little mouth-watering meat orbs? Yes please. Do print this recipe.
Grilled Peaches – two words: grilled peaches. Now add that to two other words: ice cream. Now you have yourself some fine summer dessert. Pat yourself on the back now. That was easy!
RANDOM FOOD FINDS:
The Red Hook Food Vendors – I would be a happier person if I could eat a Soler Dominican pupusa platter everyday. My only thought about this authentic collection of Latino food vendors is WHY OH WHY have I not been coming here all along! 10 years in NYC and I finally discover The Red Hook Food Vendors. Shame on me.
My Photo with Tedone Latticini - I feel so fortunate to have known and met the famous 90-year-old mozzarella maker before she retired and closed up shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this year. This picture means a lot to me. My only sadness is that I didn’t get to tell her story before she said goodbye…
Jones Pizza Soda – This product goes down as the most disgusting thing I allowed into my body in 2010. If you see it, just put your head down and walk the other way.
Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke (Maui) – People kept pushing this on me like drugs, and now I get why. Which makes me wonder why I cannot find this here in New York. We need a POKE bar! Or a mobile POKE truck! Do you hear me food gods? POKE is the new black.
Fridge Menu Chalkboard Magnet from Etsy – there’s something about not having to open your fridge and knowing what’s in it. This little invention makes menu planning way more fun too!
Totto Ramen’s Chicken Paitan Ramen Bowl – I should have held my breath before saying nothing could be better than Ippudo’s ramen. And if you know me, you know I bow at the feet of the Ippudo chefs. Well, my friends, I now have a new master. His name is Totto. Last name Ramen.
Smoked Herring Caesar Salad & Bone Marrow Escargot at M.Wells Diner (Queens) – This should be on everyone’s must eat list for 2011. Not much to say here except you’d be kinda-dumb not to make the schlep out to LIC to try these two dishes. May as well start the new year on a wise note. Nothing like regret.
ARTISAN/FARMER’S MARKET DISCOVERIES:
Robicelli’s Cupcakes – the best. I give major props for creativity and for putting the time in to make that delicious buttercream frosting. They were also one of my favorite stories I produced this year.
Napoli Bakery’s Lard Bread – shhhhhhhhhh. This is still something I’d like to keep a secret. I die for this bread. It’s littered with lardy pieces of crisp pork meat and goes down with a beer like none other. Might be the best thing within walking distance from my apartment. PS – they sell out around noon time. And these babies are only available on Saturdays.
Bola’s Crunchy Almond Granola – my latest breakfast addiction. I’ve probably taken down over 12 bags since I discovered this brand a few months ago. It’s as good as Early Bird Granola, but crunchier. It’s got more of a pop that holds well in yogurt. You’ll like this. Trust me.
Swiss Chard - Yup, just plain old swiss chard. No joke. I passed over cooking this all my life thinking it wouldn’t be so interesting, until this year, and I now discovered it’s my #1 go-to for a roasted fish bedding. The texture and rich green flavor compliments seafood in the best way possible. I want a I (heart) Swiss Chard t-shirt.
Jerusalem Artichokes – I don’t know why I was ever intimidated by these nutty potato imposters. I ended up cooking a lot of jerusalem artichokes once I understood their versatility and flavor. They are just so nutty and oily I can’t get over it. I think this year I’ll try to make it in soup form.
Spring Lake Farm’s Grassfed Beef Burgers and Porterhouse Steaks – This meat makes a statement in every bite. Certainly a movement in food I can get behind. Happy animals = better meat. And no one can tell you better than the farmer himself…check it out.
Foodzie’s Monthly Artisan Food Tasting Box – sampling artisan goods from around the country doesn’t get any easier than this. Join the club like I did!
Sweet Tango Apples – like biting into a crisp red grape at it’s prime. That’s exactly what my brain was telling me when I ate it. This was the most interesting heirloom apple I tried this fall. And if you are lucky enough to find it. Buy some.
The Tamale Lady in McCarren Park on Saturdays – warm, reliable, moist, flavorful, spicy…and the most wonderful pre-breakfast breakfast. That right, I eat these BEFORE breakfast. That’s why I need to do things like run more. I have turned on many friends to the allure of her chicken, spicy pork and vegetable tamales. And your turn is right around the corner.
Well, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed my food ramblings. And cheers to more great food finds in 2011. Remember, if you’re going somewhere fun, bring me along! And don’t forget to follow me on facebook! All the fun chatty food conversations I have happens there. Happy Eating!