Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorites of 2012

This blog isn't quite dead yet. Sorry I've neglected it and I'll try to do better in 2013.

So here I sit on New Years Eve and I've been reading many "My Favorite Dishes of 2013" lists. Many of these are very astute observations from serious food people. So I won't bother to recite a best things I ate list here.  But I would like to list my favorite places to eat. Most are in Chicago, a few aren't. These are place you should go to.
I'm listing them in no particular order and I'll let tell you just a bit about each. You may agree with me, you may not, but it's my list.

Here we go.

-The Bristol If you live here you've likely heard of it. If you haven't you need to get out more. This 4 year old farm to table restaurant continues to crank out some of my favorite food anywhere.

-Vera Chef Mark Mendez presents amazing, contemporary tapas in the friendly dining room run by his charming wife Liz.

-Yusho Yakitori inspired dishes elevated by the talents of Chef Mathias Merges, former Chef de Cuisine of now shuttered Charlie Trotters. They're also cranking out some of the best craft cocktails in the city.

- Antepima Here's a place you don't hear much about in social media or on chat boards. This Andersonville Italian spot serves up some fantastic, traditional fare, focusing on local and seasonal ingredients.

- Chalkboard Here's another spot you won't hear much about on Twitter, but Chef Gilbert Langlois is doing some really good stuff in his North Center restaurant. Elegant, at times delicate, fare with a slight southern twist.

- Katsu The best place in Chicago for Sushi. Period.

- St. John Bread and Wine After dining here in July, while in London on business, I understand why chefs around the globe revere Chef Fergus Henderson as some sort of culinary Buddha. If you go to London and don't eat here, we can't be friends.

- Lotus of Siam I thought I knew Thai food, until I ate here. If you find yourself in Las Vegas, get off the strip and prepare to be rocked by what I think is the best Thai food I've ever eaten.

- Incanto Sort of like an Italian version of The Bristol in San Francisco, where Chef Chris Cosentino is bringing the joys of offal to the Bay Area.

In the words of Jack Burton, driver of The Pork Chop Express "I don't claim to have been everywhere of to have done everything" so I'm sure there are all sorts of places that could easily have made this list but these are places I love, that are serving great food and run by great people who care about what they're doing. If you haven't been to these get to them in 2013.

Happy New Year