Another year gone by, another chance to look back fondly at the thousands of things we stuffed our faces with in 2011. After much internal debate, we’ve narrowed it down to just 10 — the very best new things we shoved in our mouths in 2011.
10. Tater Tot Poutine
Montreal’s greasiest, gravy-iest contribution to the food world, poutine officially became a trend back in 2010. It got even more amazing this year when chef Kyle Bailey of D.C.’s ChurchKey had the ingenious idea to replace the french fries with tater tots.
9. Kouign Amann
We first discovered this over-the-top traditional pastry, which is something like a croissant with twice as much butter and sugar, on a trip to Brittany, France this summer. Returning home, we were pleased to find it blowing up in the states. The best version we’ve tasted to far is the one above, from Starter Bakery in Oakland. It has also popped up at Dominique Ansel in New York and Bouchon Bakery in L.A.
8. Nouveau Filipino
Filipino food is among the most far-out in the world, so it was only a matter of time before it got a hipster update. From Adobo Hobo’s Filipino tacos in San Francisco to Maharlika’s spicy arroz caldo in New York (above), we’ll take all the creative Filipino cuisine we can get.
7. Buffalo Chicken Shake
We’ve always said that Liz Lemon gives the best food advice. What the 30 Rock character couldn’t have known when she spotted a buffalo chicken shake in one episode is that Lunch Blog KC would take her up on the challenge and actually make this in real life. Yes, that’s a shake made with heavy cream, milk, blue cheese, tomato juice, buffalo wing sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Best enjoyed with a side of cheesy blasters.
6. Deviled Everything
We shrugged when grandma-style deviled eggs started showing up on hip menus everywhere, but we couldn’t resist when chefs started getting deviled ridiculous, from the crab and caviar deviled eggs at B&O Brasserie in Baltimore (above) to BLT deviled eggs at Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen in San Francisco.
5.Bloody Beet Steak
Beets are just too delicious to always be relegated to salads. Finally someone has created a dish that lets the beet stand alone. The Farm and Fisherman in Philadelphia pan fries its beets under a brick for a nutty, caramelized flavor and juicy texture as bloody as any rare steak.
Sorry, folks, but the locavore wars are over. Chef Arabelle Meirlaen of Belgium’s Michelin-starred Li Cwerneu now serves the most back-to-the-earth dish possible. Her pot de légumes du moment consists of fresh veggies, herbs and, yes, dirt (kind of). The dirt in question is a product called charbon vegetal active. Chef Meirlaen combines it with sugar, salt and nuts to create the edible, growable soil.
3. Fried Ice Cream Burger
It may come as a shock to Texans, but the most inventive, most American new food at this year’s state fairs had to be the Florida State Fair’s burger with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle…and a scoop of cornflake-battered, deep fried ice cream. (Photo: Cheryl Reas)
If you’ll allow us to be so brash as to toot our own horn for a moment, we have to admit we enjoyed few things more this year than our series on alcoholic popsicles.
1. Foie Gras Jelly Doughnut
California may have banned foie gras, but it is thriving back in Brooklyn, where the country’s craziest chefs — the team behind Do or Dine — had the balls to serve up this pastry. There’s no gimmick or trick here. It’s just a delicious jelly doughnut infused with foie gras, and yes, it’s so crazy that it does work.
(Photo: Niche Food)