2012 was a big year of eating for me. I traveled to several different cities, tried new cuisines, interned for a food PR agency and moved to Paris. All of that equals eating on eating on eating. The list below started with 10 but after some serious trimming now features the five BEST (American*) meals that I devoured this year.
- Gruyere Popovers (Foreign & Domestic, Austin, TX) I don’t have very much popover experience but I’m pretty sure Foreign & Domestic has nailed it. If only I could find these perfectly fluffy puffs of pastry in Paris, I would have one every day. Even though they’re big enough to be meal alone, I was just as happy to feast on these popovers as an appetizer. You’d be dumb not to stop by and try one when in Austin. Read more here.
- BBQ Pulled Pork Biscuit (Murphy’s, Atlanta) The winner of the best brunch/hangover cure goes to the Virginia-Highlands treasure, Murphy’s. Their pulled pork biscuit features a heaping portion of BBQ pulled pork atop a jalapeno cheddar biscuit with poached eggs and Tabasco hollandaise. Whoever said BBQ wasn’t for breakfast was wrong. This dish is worth every minute you’ll have to spend in the gym working it off.
- Banana Pudding (Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Atlanta) When eating BBQ, you should always indulge in Southern desserts. When eating BBQ at Fox Bros., you should always order the banana pudding. I’m not sure if it’s the fresh banana taste, the delicate graham cracker crumble or the perfect amount of sweetness but the proof is in the pudding. I never knew an old fashioned treat like this could leave such a lasting impression on my tastebuds. Read more here.
- The Lindsey Lohan Hotdog (Senate, Cincinatti, OH) Head to a Reds game if you want a traditional ballpark frank. For a spin on the old classic, head to Cincinnati’s popular restaurant Senate for a modernized hotdog. While there are several inventive topping concoctions, I was sold with the Lindsey Lohan complete with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula and balsamic. This is a trend that I hope will spread like wildfire. Read more here.
- Bacon-Wrapped, Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates (Meehan’s Public House, Atlanta) When I saw them laying on the plate before me, I groaned in disgust. It turns out that I never gave dates a fair chance. While lunching at Meehan’s at Atlantic Station, I fell in love with the restaurant’s bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed dates appetizer. Each bite oozed with warm goat cheese while the sweet flavor of the date and salty crunch of the bacon pleased my palette. I loved it so much that I tried to recreate it with pineapple, which was surprisingly delicious!
*A separate European list to come!