Top 10 New Foods of 2011

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.

Read More

Grind-Lick-Snort: A Belgian Chocolate Tour

choc8 choc18 choc15 choc13

choc10 choc19 choc2 choc6

choc17 choc9 choc7 choc3

While New York City is cinching and tucking its way through another Fashion Week, I’m reveling in my inner addict with leftovers from a recent trip to Belgium. Antwerp is considered by many to be northern Europe’s fashion capital, but I spent the majority of my time seeking out the definitive expression of the cacao bean. What first began as a concentrated study of flavor, texture and technique quickly melted into a bacchanalian whirlwind of pralines and bon bons. Chocolate is a big business in Belgium and each of the following artisans make their mark with unique interpretations from classic to camp:

Del Rey’s quaint shop was my first discovery upon arriving in Antwerp. Founded in the late 1940’s, the outpost specialize in pralines. The details of my tasting are blurry, as I ate my entire purchase before returning to my hotel. The store recently added ice cream cakes and other confections to their line-up, and while it’s certainly a far cry from the Baskin-Robbins freezer-burned cakes from my youth, there’s something to be said for a chocolatier sticking to chocolate.


La Maison des Chocolatiers is one of Belgium’s newest chocolate shops, uniting ten master chocolate-makers in a modern boutique that resides on the Grand Place in the heart of Brussels. They’re onto something good, having picked up the international award at the “Janus 2010 du Commerce,” which is more about retail design than chocolate-making, but hey, who doesn’t like a pretty box? Also noteworthy are the shop’s recreational discovery workshops and Belgian Academy of Handmade Chocolate launching in 2011.

Read More