Top Dishes of 2011

by Antoinette Bruno and Will Blunt
Antoinette Bruno, Will Blunt, and Shannon Sturgis
December 2011

Dungeness Crab with Grated Ginger, Stewed Egg Custard, Black Truffle Dashi, and Yuzu Zest by Chef Isao Yamada of Brushstroke – New York, NY


Top 10 Dishes

Our year in eating spanned the gamut from cuisine steeped in history and creative exploration, to the kind of comfort food we’d gladly get on a train to taste again. Although our hundreds of tastings in 2011 included dishes we loved, these Top 10 are the ones we just can’t get out of our minds (and dreams).





Grapefruit Sorbet, Angostura Mousse, and Campari Pop Rocks by Pastry Chef Plinio Sandalio of Congress – Austin, TX


Top 10 Desserts

We may have seen a lack of pastry chefs in some of the smaller markets we’ve visited this year, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t taste with a few sweet chefs who really blew us away. In fact, we’ve rewarded more Rising Star Pastry Chef Awards in 2011 than ever before. From Kir Jensen’s comforting toasted coconut panna cotta at The Sugar Cube to the extravagant Smoked Popcorn dish from Corton’s Shawn Gawle our year of desserts definitely spoiled our sweet tooth, and raised the bar just a little higher for next year.



Sidewalker: Laird's Apple Brandy, Pennsylvania Maple Syrup, House-made Apple Cider Vinegar, and Lemon Juice poured over Hefeweizen by Mixologist Damon Boelte of Prime Meats – Brooklyn, NY


Top Five Cocktails

2011 saw mixolgists dropping some of the mixo-caricature of yore, making their mark on the culinary scene with a lack of pretension and heightened care for their cocktails (and guests). From puckery, amari-driven drinks to room temperature cocktails, we tasted a huge variety of drinks this year. And whether they had the smooth flavors of a barrel-aged Negroni at Portland’s Clyde Common or the creamy deliciousness of the Butternut Squash Flip from Mixologist Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar and Refuge, we’re ready to sip down a lot more of what the cocktail industry is offering up.