December 30th, 2009

Year in Review: A Few of My Favorite Dishes


One day left in 2009. It was a good year for me with a wedding and all. I also had many memorable food moments, particularly in the later part of the year after I returned from wedding land to normal life. Throughout the year I tried many wonderful dishes that I crave often. In no particular order, here are the dishes that marked 2009 for me.

Char Grilled Prime Aged Spinalis at Talula

Served at Talula for the inaugural Cobaya dinner in August, this dish was one of the best I had all year. You couldn’t beat the tenderness, juiciness and amazing flavor of this cut of meat, which runs above the rib eye. It was served with a summer stone fruit panzanella, arugula, blackberry wine, and crispy shallots. That was my first time eating spinalis and here’s to hoping it won’t be my last.

Bento Box at NAOE

Chef Kevin Cory’s NAOE has to be one of the most exciting places to dine in the Miami area. His bento boxes change so there’s no telling what I may encounter on my next visit. Still, the four-compartment box, which goes for a very reasonable $26, has never disappointed or failed to excite my palate.

Oxtail with Figs at Red light

The fall-off-the-bone oxtail meat paired with the rich sweet flavor of figs was a winning combination for me, but it’s not always on the menu.

Taste of Lobster at Neomi’s Grill

Served as one of the entrée options during Miami Spice, the combo of the butter-poached lobster over potato skins with buttery Saint Andre cheese was luscious.

Creamy Polenta at Scarpetta

Creamy and delicious, accompanied by truffled mushrooms, this dish at Scarpetta has remained in my culinary memory since I visited for Miami Spice.

Chocolate Soup at Charlotte Bistro

Made with Venezuelan chocolate, the outside is crispy while the inside just melts like a soup. It’s rich, very rich, but pure chocolate decadence.

Yuzu Pop Tarts at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

It’s too hard to pick just one favorite dish at Michael’s but these pop tarts from the restaurant’s Sunday brunch menu, which debuted late this year, made an impression. Maybe it’s the whimsy or the act of eating something I associate with childhood even though I never ate pop tarts at home. Truly, I think it’s the yuzu filling, which definitely elevates these pastries from good to memorable.

There are so many other dishes that I loved this year, the pulpo crudo at Area 31, the huevos at Por Fin, the pan-fried breaded sole at The Cape Cod Room, the Sloppy Jose at GastroPod, the crispy pig ear salad at Michael’s, the squid and fluke tiradito at Fin during Cobaya dinner number 3, the butifarra at Sra. Martinez, the roasted mango duck at Hakkasan … I could probably go on so I’ll stop there and say, here’s to many more delectable dishes in 2010.

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5 Responses to “Year in Review: A Few of My Favorite Dishes”

  1. Spot on with your selections. Amen to NAOE, Red Light, Charlotte Bistro, and MGFD selections. I took at stab at my picks, they were: Tuna Tartare at Buena Vista Bistro, Foie Gras and Starfruit Jam Grilled Cheese at Red Light, and Lobster and Sea Urchin Risotto at Eos. Hard to pick a dish at NAOE but if I had to I’d actually say a piece of the salmon belly nigiri sushi. The hot rice with the cold salmon belly and the real wasabi is a piece of sushi unlike anything else you’ll get in Miami.

  2. I was disappointed that I didn’t order the foie gras and starfruit jam grilled cheese at Red Light when I saw it on the menu because the next time I went it wasn’t available. I’ve heard a lot about that risotto at Eos but I have yet to make it there. And yes, the salmon belly nigiri at NAOE is awesome.

  3. In my opinion, the uni risotto I had at Sra. Martinez the other night was oodles more unctuous and yummy than the one I had at EOS. But both very good and inventive regardless :)

    Paula, love the list. You really captured fantastic dishes! I can’t believe I haven’t tried the polenta (or been to) Scarpetta yet.

  4. I’m not quite wealthy enough to eat at lots of high priced restaurants. But, during Miami Spice I went to Scarpetta. The creamy polenta was amazing and the best dish I had in South Florida all year.

    I went to Momofuku Ssam Bar in NY and that was my favorite meal of the year. David Chang is a genius.

  5. I was happy to be with you for 5/7 of those dishes! That spinalis was unreal as was the tripe risotto that night. My favorite meal of the year.

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