January 27, 2011

Fried Chicken & String Music

What's better than a fried chicken spread at the Billy Reid store in Nashville? How 'bout a secret in-store show by Old Crow Medicine Show?

January 18, 2011

Pier 76 Pizzeria - Staten Island, NY

Our new favorite pizzeria is just a 30-minute trip from Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry, only a couple blocks away from where the boat docks. The family that runs the place here (related to the Joe & Pat's family) gives southerners a run for their money in the hospitality department. Great pizza to boot.

The John Dory - New York, NY

The latest from the folks behind The Spotted Pig and The Breslin. Another winner here - octopus with aioli and potatoes, and the oyster pan roast (which seems to consist entirely of oysters, butter and cream), with a side of sea urchin toast. An early candidate for our Best Of 2011 list.

January 5, 2011

Jeff's 15 Best Meals Of 2010

We ate better than anybody has a right to in 2010. Any year that includes 24-hour stretch with meals at Blue Hill, Del Posto and Momofuku Ko is going to be a good one. It was too hard to rank these in order, so the list is chronological (apologies for terrible cell phone photos):

Mad For Chicken, New York, NY
Chicken Wings
When our friends at Chicken Fried Everything suggest joining them at hidden Korean fried chicken joints, we don't say no. 2010 was the Year Of 'KFC' for us - we ate our weight in wings from KyoChon and BonChon, but this was the best and most fun. If you can manage to find this second-story restaurant, accessed by narrow stairs in a nondescript lobby, don't miss it.Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Tarrytown, NY
Whole Meal

A truly amazing experience - even the train ride along a nearly-frozen Hudson River was enjoyable thanks to the beer vendor on the platform at Grand Central Station. I recommend a Budweiser tallboy for the 45-minute trip up to Tarrytown. We were stunned by the entire meal here - the five course tasting ended up being about 10 courses. Great service, perfect setting, and impossibly good food (venison and chocolate? Who knew?)Momofuku Ko, New York, NY
Whole Meal
We were lucky enough to snag one of the 12 seats here through the bizarre reservation system, and it didn't disappoint. The soundtrack should be mentioned as well - I recall Van Halen, Uncle Tupelo, and the Replacements in addition to who knows what else.Sushi Yasuda, New York, NY
This was the second time we've been here, and those are still the two best sushi meals I've ever had.Scott's BBQ, Hemingway, SC
Whole Hog BBQ
2010 was the year that we got to hang out with our new hero Rodney Scott at several food events across the country. Check out the insane amount of work that goes into his whole hog BBQ.Freemans, New York, NY
Whole Meal
A perpetually crowded Manhattan restaurant that was able to accommodate our entire staff, along with several spouses and friends, with no reservation at 9:00 on a Saturday night deserves a mention here.Faidley Seafood, Baltimore, MD
Crab Cake
I never knew until eating here that a real crab cake was a baseball-sized lump of crab meat and little else, rather than a hockey puck of bread crumbs, eggs, and a little bit of crab.Animal, Los Angeles, CA
Pig Tails In Buffalo Sauce; Poutine With Oxtail Gravy
Still one of the most fun restaurants in the country, due to the obvious joy that these guys cook with.Poole's Diner, Raleigh, NC
Whole Meal
If we weren't friends with Ashley Christensen, we would swear that she was trying to kill us with the amount of food that she sent out. This meal also included my favorite burger of the year, the Royale:The Breslin, New York, NY
Bacon Cheeseburger
Coming in at number two on the burger list. While this burger isn't available in the Breslin dining room itself, I discovered it on the Ace Hotel's room service menu, where the restaurant is located. It's absolutely worth booking a room there for this.Vandaag, New York, NY
Bitterballen (oxtail croquettes)
The best part of this dish was the sauce, that reminded me of cherry Life Savers, in the best possible way. A great cocktail program too:Osteria Morini, New York, NY
Squash Mezzalune
Another restaurant from Chef Michael White, whose Marea made our best-of list last year. This one's more casual, but every bit as good.Cochon Butcher, New Orleans, LA
Brussels Sprouts
Knowing these guys, I just assume that these are cooked in copious amounts of bacon fat. Whatever it is, keep it up.Antico Pizza, Atlanta, GA
I mainly requested this place for my birthday dinner so I could get enough people together to order basically everything on the menu. A total madhouse, and spot-on pizza as usual.
Galatoire's, New Orleans, LA
Friday Lunch
We had a 2.5 hour wait here before we were seated at our table. This was not a problem, as the upstairs bar where you wait is as much of a draw as the meal itself. I saw people visibly disappointed that they were being called to their table. i.e. being pulled away from the bar. Read here for a great piece on the Friday lunch.