Best & Worst Bite of the Year
This is like the oscars but for food. 2023 is wrapping up, and we're getting reflective with our best and worst bites of the whole entire YEAR!
Featuring egg yolk shaved ice toppings, magic cucumbers, and a meditation on realizing that yes, there is such a thing as bad mac n cheese.
Best Bite / Worst Bite
ALL YEAR LONG!
Best: UGH IT'S SO HARD TO CHOOSE ONE THING!!! Okay fine, I think it was maybe the banana caramel soft serve dessert at Stretch Pizza?? I love ice cream so much. Actually no AH it was the lobster roll from Eventide in Portland. Sorry that's two.
Worst: Nachos from a restaurant called "Pizza & Stuff". Should've known.
Best: Has to be the cucumbers at Port Sa’id in NYC. I think our table went through six bowls. They were so simple, yet absolutely addicting. The cucumbers were chopped dressed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. I make them once a week at home with Drizzle. My friends who went to the dinner with me also talk about these cucumbers weekly. Magic cucumbers literally. It helps that these cucumbers also had myriad dips to eat them with, including tahini, hummus, and whipped feta. I will be thinking about those cucumbers for a very very long time.
Worst: Still cringe at my protein powder blended cottage cheese. Highly not recommended.
Best: Upside Down Pineapple Cake Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream from St. Anselm.
Worst: Whatever gave me food poisoning the week before Christmas (rude).
Best: The fluffiest, creamiest carrot cake from a quaint little restaurant in Saugatuck, MI called Pennyroyal. Still dreaming of that dessert and would drive 6 hours round-trip just to taste it again.
Worst: I still have a stomach ache from the Hot-N-Ready Little Caesars pizza at my nephews 5th birthday party.
Best: 2023 was filled with so many good bites that it was hard for me to simply just choose one. So I will add a few (asking for forgiveness, not permission on this one):
- Prime Seafood Palace (Matty Matheson's new spot in Toronto). Uni toasts, bread and butter, seafood, seafood, seafood!
- Tagliatelles at Frenchette... aka mushroom hand-made pasta and I still think about it to this day. Perfectly thin and al-dente!!
- Otway for the best burger, friendliest staff.
- M Shanghai is my go-to dim sum spot. The spicy pork soup dumplings change my life every time.
- Sticky toffee pudding at Four Horseman was the best dessert of the year for me.
- Margot (new spot in Fort Greene) has the best cocktail program in Brooklyn. Tbh everything there is incredible.
- Chez Ma Tante for pancakes fried in GHEE! I know I'm basic for this one but they are popular for a reason.
Ok I'm done, the list truly could go on.
Worst: A couple come to mind even though I have truly tried to forget. Last winter I had what seemed to be a great flaky savory pastry at the farmers market but after I bit into it, it was basically 2.5 inches of steamed spinach, not to mention it was cold and it was like 30 degrees out. That was a classic one and done bite of the year. 2nd one (truly couldn't not share) - I ordered a salad to go and there was glass in it. Needless to say, I'M A SURVIVOR!
Best: This is actually the hardest question ever considering my obsession with food. If I HAD to choose just one, I would say it's the Tuna Crispy Rice at my favorite spot in East Nashville called Noko. It's simple but truly so delicious. A perfectly bite sized fried rice base, topped with spicy tuna, a Serrano pepper, and a dollop of spicy aioli. SO good.
Worst: Probably all the airplane food I consumed this year. It always weirds me out and I feel regret about choosing the wrong option every. single. time.
Best: Locust's of Nashville shaved ice - Locust is a newer restaurant to the Nashville scene, their menu is always changing but one thing is constant—shaved ice. With honey, passionfruit, milk and an egg yolk. It doesn't sound good but it blew my mind. It was the best finale to an awesome dining experience.
Worst: My sister in law's mother's mac and cheese. I didn't know mac and cheese could be bad, but in November 2023 I was proven incorrect in a monumental way. My sister in law's family isn't much of a cheffing family, but I didn't know just how bleak things could get in a kitchen. My sister, her wife, and I were all sick with covid, so her mom very kindly brought over homemade baked mac and cheese. My sister in law jumped with joy for a home-cooked meal on a sick day, and I was also excited at the prospect of some baked mac until my sister looked at me and slyly and nodded her head no.
"How bad could it be?" I thought. It's literally only two ingredients. I opened the tinfoil to see kraft singles melted over elbow macaroni. Definitely looked weird but I'm not one to judge a book by the cover. I picked up a spoon and scooped into the orange goo.
What is that red stuff? Tomatoes? Canned tomatoes? In mac and cheese? I took a bite and the taste wasn't so much disgusting as it was confusing. The dish was somehow tasteless. waterlogged noodle meets essence of tomato juice and kraft singles.
Best: Does it count to put a bite that I haven't had yet but do have on my calendar? If all goes to plan (I'm a Virgo), the In-N-Out Double Double and Neapolitan shake I plan to inhale after landing in San Francisco tomorrow will top my list. If In-N-Out fails me for the first time in my life, I guess I'd have to say the Okonomiyaki at Subaco in Montmarte—had to order two.
Worst: The midnight Holy Cow cheeseburger order that unfortunately literally poisoned me.