The 2017 On The Eaten Path Year in Review
At the beginning of last year, I decided that I was going to share my love of food with the world. I started this blog to share every great dish I discover, eat, and cook. Somehow along the way, I got so enamored with cooking that I haven’t shared nearly enough of my food discoveries. Today that changes. With no further ado, here is The 2017 On The Eaten Path Year in Review
Most Unique Dish of 2017
The first, and one of the best, memorable meal of the year was my mom’s birthday dinner at Bistro L’Hermitage in Woodbridge, Virginia. This hidden gem is an excellent classic French restaurant that is a great change of pace for a suburb filled with strip malls and chain restaurants. Everything I had there was good, but the dish that wins this award is the Escargots. I’m a fairly adventurous eater, but I had never had the opportunity to eat escargot. Served in a rich buttery garlic sauce with shiitake mushrooms and pork belly, the escargots were tender, buttery, and delicious.
Best Culinary Amusement Park
The Westside Market in Cleveland, Ohio is the Disney World for foodies. It pretty much has everything you could possibly want from local butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and cheesemakers. If you are hungry, you can get a bratwurst, beef jerky, or all the fresh fruit you can possibly eat. The main event at the Westside Market is Steve’s Gyro’s. I’ve had plenty of gyros over the years, but none of them were even close to the one I got from Steve’s. You’ll have to stand in an absurd line, follow all the rules, and try not to spill the overfilled sandwich all over your shirt, but you will be glad you did.
I’m not going to tell you guys how many times I went to brunch this year, but this was the hardest category to narrow down. I loved the Crab Arepas Benedict at Palette 22 and the Goat’s Cheese Loukamades at Zaytinia, but best brunch I had all year was the Taste the South brunch at Succotash at the National Harbor in Oxen Hill, Maryland.
The Taste the South brunch is Sticky Buns, a Fried Green Tomato Salad, Biscuits & Gravy (The best I’ve ever had), Fried Chicken and Waffles, Warm Potato Salad or Collards, Kimchi, and Country Ham (those greens were divine), and Butter Pecan Cookies ‘N’ Crem for $22.00. Go back and read that sentence, I’ll wait . . . yep, you read that right, all of that delicious food is $22.00.
Best Food Adventure
I went to Brooklyn in August and tried to eat every possible bite of food available. My friends and I woke up on Sunday morning and walked over to the Brooklyn Flea market where we shared a bunch of sandwiches and snacks including a Taiwanese Pork Bao. The Taiwanese Pork Bao was a slice of roasted pork belly on a super soft bao bun topped with crushed peanuts. It was so simple but absolutely delicious. The pork was slathered in a sweet sauce and was incredibly tender. The peanuts provided a texture contrast and the flavor of the peanuts was the perfect compliment to the sweet, rich, pork.
Later in the day, we hopped a cab to Prospect Park and explored Smorgusburg. My favorite dish was Roast Pork Mofongo. Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish of garlicky, mashed plantains that is absurdly delicious. We also split a bowl of Mexican Street Corn that was the perfect balance of sweet corn, tart lime and spicy cayenne peper.
Next up, we headed over the bridge to Manhattan and explored Chinatown. We had a really good pork bun, some great spicy lamb noodles, and some crispy roast pork belly and Peking duck. All of them were delicious, but that crispy pork belly was my favorite. It wasn’t anything complicated, but it was just perfectly tender meat with skin that was as thin and crunchy as a potato chip.
The Best Thing I Ate in 2017
As I was planning my trip to Brooklyn I received an Instagram message from my sister about a restaurant that serves a 9-course Bacon Omakase. I knew I had to try it, and let me tell you, I’m glad I did. Omakase is Japanese for “Chef’s Choice,” but the Omakase at Belly NYC is much more of a tasting menu. These are not dishes that the chef thought up on the spot, the items stay on the menu for a month. Everything is well thought out and well prepared so even your least favorite items will be interesting.