The Best Things I Ate in 2011

Best Pizza in North America: the pizza at Pizzeria Mozza in L.A.

Even after eating a very good pie this month at the legendary Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (now open all day!), I still think the pizza at Mozza, reportedly created by baker Nancy Silverton in the Chris Bianco tradition, is the best, thanks to its puffy, crunchy yet chewy crust, and the delightful array of artisanal toppings on offer. I look forward to trying the Newport Beach branch of Pizzeria Mozza next month.

Best New Dish Discovery Adapted for Cooking at Home : Hawaiian Shrimp Tacos

Delicious shrimp tacos made in the style of Island Taco in Waimea, Kauai – with red cabbage, mango chutney and avocado, have definitely moved into the regular rotation chez moi, even if I do like them more than my husband and sons do.

Best Toronto Restaurant/Bakery Dessert Discovery: European-style donuts

The sfingi at Enoteca Sociale are a glorious full-on indulgence gilded with lemon curd and caramel.

The mini beignets at Thobors are just as good (and a little lighter) when hand-filled with the fruit preserve of your choice. They’re inexpensive (80 cents!) too.

Thobor's mini beignet

Best New York Restaurant Comfort Food: a ramen lunch set with fried chicken over rice at Ippudo.

A deeply satisfying meal no matter what the season, weather or lineup that must be endured to get to it.

Best Recipe for a Reimagined Traditional Meal That I Devised All By Myself: Simpler, zingier Thanksgiving dinner

A good helping of less is more.

Best New-to-me Take on A Foodstuff I Thought I Knew: Israeli hummus at Fattoush in Haifa.

Fattoush Hummus Baladia with Tahini

This hummus is decadent, gorgeous and continents apart in execution from any hummus I’ve made or eaten in North America. I’m still working on reproducing a comparable version of it in my own kitchen.

Best Store-Bought Food Discovery: Rick Stein’s Savoury Oat Biscuits

These oatcakes are wonders of nutty, oaty goodness and make a great lunch with a few slices of good cheese, a spoonful of spicy, fruity jelly, and a crisp apple sliced into wedges.

Best New Toronto Burger: The 6 oz. County Burger at County General

Like the new restaurant where it’s found, the County burger is small, cute, hipsterish, and full-flavoured without being garlicky or heartburn-inducing. The fries are excellent too. Beat the crowds and go on a weekday for an early lunch.

Here’s to another year of good eating in 2012!

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5 thoughts on “The Best Things I Ate in 2011

  1. Francois says:

    I tried pizza Mozza in LA. I enjoyed the ingredients (solid tomato sauce, good mozarella di buffala and fresh basil) but I found the crust far from perfect. I don’t know what dough they use there but the result is not light enough to me. Basically it’s an excellent “bakery” pizza. Honestly I can find many better pizzerias in New York, especially with all the authentic neapolitan-style emerging the last couple of years: Keste, Luzzo’s, Motorino, Lucali or the old di Fara…

    • hungrynovelist says:

      I agree that the crust at Mozza is on the bready side, but to my taste, it hits the sweet spot where crisp, crunchy and soft converge. i was underwhelmed the one time I went to Motorino in New York, liked the stracciatella pizza at Company a lot, and keep meaning to try Keste. Maybe next time I’m there …

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