Goodbye Twelve, Hello Thirteen: The Hungry Novelist’s Year’s Bests

Best Restaurant Meal I Ate That I Didn’t Blog About: mixed salads at Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles

Joan's on Third

My pics don’t do the food justice – that might be why I didn’t post about how much I loved the sophisticated comfort food and the airy, casual ambience at Joan’s on Third in L.A. Among the delicious salads I tried as part of two different Salad Trio plates (only $12 for a heaping plateful) were a wonderful roasted potato salad with blue cheese dressing, a tarragon chicken salad, and a pretty and fresh shrimp salad with grapes and celery. I’m psyched to go back for more.


And hey, Ellen Pompeo (of Grey’s Anatomy fame) was eating at a communal table at Joan’s on one of the days I was there.

Best 2012 Restaurant Breakfast: the poached eggs with fennel pollen Hollandaise at Little Dom’s in L.A.

Poached Eggs at Little Dom's

Poached Eggs at Little Dom’s

Little Dom’s is another Los Angeles restaurant I’m eager to return to, for the breakfast eggs and potatoes, because I might see frequent customers Emily Van Camp and Josh Bowman (of Revenge fame) there, and for the delicious little olive oil cake I bought (and did not photograph) from the Little Dom’s deli after brunch. I ate that cake in two bites, without sharing it with my husband E, who is still sulking, I mean talking, about this, a year later. Now we have to go back, so I can buy us each two little cakes.

Best Toronto Restaurant Trend: The Ramen Invasion


It doesn’t even matter where this particular bowl of ramen is from (okay, it’s from Kinton Ramen, on Baldwin Street). The plethora of new authentic ramen restaurants that have arrived in town means there’s a very good and possibly great bowl of ramen available downtown at almost all times. Hell, keep that spicy broth away from me, and I’m even liking Kenzo Ramen these days. And Ramen Raijin. With, lucky me, several more new spots still left to try.

Best Frugal Gourmet Fare: The aperitivo buffet at Taverna del Campiello Remer in Venice, Italy


Amazing all you can eat risotto. For free. Read about it here.

Best 20th Century Recipe That Still Tasted Damn Good in 2012 : Chicken Chasseur

Chicken Chasseur Hungry Novelist Style

Chicken Chasseur Hungry Novelist Style

Because sometimes I actually cook.

Best New (to me) Burger and Food Truck: the burger and fries from Miho Gastrotruck in Carlsbad, California


My first exposure to a California style food truck was at Miho Gastrotruck, a Farm to Table operation that uses artisanal ingredients to produce a great tasting juicy burger and impeccable fries on the road. Worth going out of the way for when in the San Diego area.

And finally, because I’m not just hungry, I’m a novelist:

Best Thrillers I Read in 2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Alys Always by Harriet Lane

My current novel-in-progess is a psychological thriller, so I read several novels in that genre this year as part of my research. I disliked some, was meh on others, and liked a small number, of which the best, to my taste, were these two.


The much-lauded and buzzed-about Gone Girl, about a woman who goes missing, and the suspicions cast on her husband, gets pretty crazy and twisty in its last third, but I found it to be engrossing, well plotted, paced and written, and very memorable.


Alys Always, about a young newspaper subeditor (of a books section!) who happens upon a fatal car accident one night on a dark country road, is a quieter sort of thriller, with fewer extremes and no violence, but I loved its slow build, mounting suspense and unreliable narrator. It reminded me, in good ways, of another past favourite: Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal.