I started off 2009 posting about my cousin's wedding, which really occurred near the end of 2008, but when I started my Dining: Best Of lists, it was too confusing to mention meals I ate that year if I hadn't blogged about it yet. Plus, since it's now taking me years to catch up, not to mention revisits, it's easiest to confine this list to memorable meals that I've blogged about that year. I do try to keep events somewhat in the proper timeline though, even if it takes me a while to write about it. So looking back at the meals I ate in 2009 was also a look back at where I went and what I ate and with whom. There were three trips to Portland (Actually, the first is a belated post about a 2008 visit), two trips to the San Francisco Bay Area, and a trip to the Southwest to see cliff dwellings.
I also ate seven courses of beef twice, filet mignon pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup), fancy dim sum, at my favorite ramen place which opened a location closer to home, a hamburger taco and stuffed sopaipillas, Navajo fry bread, and eight courses of fish. So all in all, not a bad year of eating.
But then there were the highlights. So in no particular order, except chronologically as I come across the posts:
Most heartwarming has to be cousin Q's older brother's wedding at Pearl Chinese Cuisine (Wedding Banquet) - San Diego. I'd known my cousin's wife for a quite a while before they got married, before they started dating even, back when they were just friends. Since he's one of my closest cousins, it was just a fun wedding to attend. Since then, they've spawned Pablo and Johannes.
Most quirky Sooo SoCal? Thai Elvis at Palms Thai Restaurant - Los Angeles (Hollywood). Does this really need an explanation? Awful acoustics so you can't hear him well because Thai Elvis is really quite good. The food was just average though.
Most unusual preparation of food at Bamboodles Restaurant - San Gabriel. Can't beat watching a guy bouncing on a giant bamboo pole to knead the dough to make noodles. I miss the green tea pork noodles and the spicy beef stew spinach noodles. And the $1 specials. So sad they closed.
Most bloodthirsty, the congealed blood pudding at Binh Dan Restaurant (De 7 Mon (Vietnamese Goat in 7 Courses)) - Westminster (Little Saigon). I'd always be repulsed when I saw adults eat Vietnamese congealed duck blood pudding when I was a kid. Way too scared to try it back then. But the goat blood pudding was surprisingly tasty. Also helped me knock off #94 of my 100 Vietnamese Foods to Try list. Just two left to go before I can cross off everything.
Spiciest. As in red-faced-and-gulping-a-pitcher-of-water hot were the Great Balls of Fire at Salvador Molly's - Portland - Oregon. Habanero cheese fritters with habanero dipping sauce? Owww! Just half of one fritter was incredibly painful. Also, pirate cooking?! The chef at Salvador Molly's sent me a nice email after my blog post saying how much fun she has working there, that the owners let her get creative in the kitchen.
Most new-to-me eats were a three-way tie between the bull testicles at Main Street Brewery & Restaurant - Cortez - Colorado
and the squid lips and pork rectum at Indian Restaurant - San Gabriel
and the Indonesian cow hooves and cow brain curry at Raso Minang - West Covina. Apparently, I will try anything once.
Most exclusive has to be the secret Club 33 - Disneyland - Anaheim. Closed guest list, members only, hidden microphones, and just a fun day at the amusement park with my little sister. One of my favorite posts ever.
I guess for me, memorable meals are the ones I share with family, that remind me of what I enjoy about living in SoCal, and that allow me to experience new foods. Here's to more good eats ahead.
1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today, Banh Bot Chien (Vietnamese Fried Rice Flour Cake).
4 years ago today, Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar.
5 years ago today, Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chile Sauce).