2013 was another busy year for the 2foodtrippers. We spent time on three continents and on both coasts of the United States. We ate great food from food trucks to starred restaurants and everywhere in-between. Before we start the adventure that will be 2014, here’s our top 10 list year for the year.
Top 10 List 2013
1. Prettiest Plate – Plaice at Chapter One in Dublin
Mindi was blown away by her solo lunch tasting menu at this Dublin gem. The meal was exquisite on every level, but the fish course was especially delicious and beautiful with gorgeous coins of braised root vegetables and the perfect piece of bronzed flaky fish.
2. Best Sandwich – Tongue on Brioche at the Black Hoof in Toronto
We ordered the tongue sandwich because tongue is a popular protein in the extended Hirsch family. Well, we both adored this modern take on an old school specialty so much that we almost forgot about the delicious foie’ffles (a Canadian take on foie gras and waffles with maple pecan syrup – Oh yeah – that was the bomb too!)
3. Spiciest Dish – Chongquing Chicken Wings at Mission Chinese in New York City
We were warned that this was the spiciest dish on the menu. It was definitely spicy, but it was also delicious with nuclear bits of fried tripe. It brought back happy memories of our meals in Chengdu, and it made Daryl turn beet red. Score!
4. Best Bowl of Noodles – Soba at Matsugen in Tokyo
We went to Tokyo obsessed with ramen. We certainly had great ramen in Tokyo, but it’s the bowl of soba noodles that is seared in our memories. Was it the beautiful bowl, the perfectly constructed noodles or the melange of delicious ingredients? Who cares because we can attest that it was one perfect dish.
5. Tastiest Dessert – Raspberry Beer Cherry Religieuse at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City
They say that 2013 was the year of the cronut. Well, we arrived too late in the day to buy the croissant-donut hybrid. That’s ok – we hate lines anyway.
However, our visit led us to discover that the cronut is just one of many great pastries at the downtown Manhattan bakery. Though we didn’t try the infamous dessert, we thoroughly enjoyed Chef Ansel’s raspberry beer cherry religieuse pastry.
It was a blisteringly hot Manhattan day, but we felt cool as we shared this delectable dessert in the pattiserie’s air-conditioned backyard atrium.
6. Most Creative Coffee – Omotesando Koffee in Tokyo
Though we fell in love with the Starbucks Matcha Frappocino, our absolute favorite coffee in Tokyo was personally constructed by master barista Eichii Kunitomo at Omotesando Koffee.
We loved this tiny coffee haven so much that we returned for a second coffee sculpture with decorative streaks of chocolate and a light powdering of ground coffee.
7. Most Perfect Fried Chicken – Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans
We went to Tremé’s Willie Mae’s Scotch House because Coop’s was closed for renovations. It was a fortunate turn of events since we got to enjoy what may indeed be the best fried chicken in the universe.
The crispy chicken shattered into an burst of juiciness with every bite. Anytime we hear anyone brag about their favorite fried chicken, we now to have to ask: “Have you ever eaten at Willie Mae’s?”
8. Yummiest Breakfast – Sushi Bun in Tokyo
We ate the sushi breakfast at Sushi Bun in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market twice because one time just wasn’t enough. The restaurant was simple and sparse, which let the fish be the star. Also, the miso soup with tiny cockles was a briny revelation.
9. Most Appetizing Appetizer – Vitello Tonnato at Fork in Philadelphia
We had a spectacular birthday dinner for Daryl at this venerable restaurant. Chef Eli Kulp has raised the restaurant’s level even higher, and the vitello tonnato appetizer was our favorite dish of the meal. The brilliant, fresh version of the classic dish cast fresh tuna as the star with veal carpaccio in a supporting yet sublime role.
10. Four Star Street Food – Savory Tiger Prawns at the Nishiki Market in Kyoto
We grazed our way through the Nishiki Market, and our absolute favorite item was the spicy tiger prawn. Wow. This is our favorite version of “meat on a stick” yet.
There are so many other great dishes that we enjoyed in 2013, but these are the ones that stand out as the most memorable. We can’t wait to see what we 2014 holds in store for our dining and drinking enjoyment. Bring it on!
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.