Your Favorite Dish of 2009?

You knew this was coming,  a slew of “best of” posts all over the internet. This is the question I am most curious about.

What was your favorite single dish out of everything you ate in 2009?

You can include a dish of any price range, any cuisine, any country, or even something you made yourself!

The thing that strikes me, is that, unlike years past, nothing is really jumping out in my mind. I’ll give it more thought, look back over old reviews and have my dining companions remind me but I’m drawing a bit of a blank here. I can think of some really good dishes – the lavender duck at Ten01 jumps to mind, as does the ravioli at Tabla, but I’m not quite sure about my favorite dish of the year.

How about you? Only one answer per person, so give it some thought.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. meimoya says

    It’s so hard to choose just one!
    Runners-up are the Seared Scallop with Romesco at Toro Bravo, Wasabi HarGao (steamed shrimp dumplings) in southern China, and a curried coconut seafood rice dish served au gratin in a whole coconut at a Vietnamese restaurant in China.
    The winner would have to be Hunanese-style YuTou with SiFen and YuTou, a whole fish head (actually a good third of the fish), one side covered in chopped red chilies, the other with chopped yellow/green chilies, served over glass noodles with taro balls in a delicious and mysterious broth-like sauce. Fiery heaven.
    The most memorable dish of the year and, interestingly enough, also the worst came in the middle of an elegant and indubitably expensive multi-course seafood banquet (Think four-star hotel, whole female crab with prized roe, prawns the size of bratwurst, orchids on plates, pickled vegetable sculptures.) was an odiferous pot of authentic ShaoXing Stinky Tofu. It lived up to its name and tasted, if possible, even worse than it smelled.

  2. Jack Yoss says

    Black truffle stuffed foie gras torchon coated in black truffle shavings from a street cart in Periguex. 2 euros.

    • justacook says


      Really?! only 2 euros?! time to go to france!!! I know the trip wont be that cheap but totally worth it… ill just eat foie and truffles the whole time!

      • Jack Yoss says

        Whoops that must have been the box wine talking. They were twenty euros each and had a whole small black truffle inside. We got to taste those for free as well as any other we liked. The rest were 2 euro to 4 euro each and instead of truffle had a dried fruit paste on the outside. They all are about 4 ounces each which is a steal. Thanks for the link Dude.

  3. JDG says

    My favorite “discovery” of the year is the yakisoba at Bamboo Sushi. Like many memorable dishes, this has a backstory: I was introduced to yakisoba in the 90’s at an Orange County chain of cheap ramen/soba lunch joints called Port Maru. The yakisoba there was almost dry, not at all saucy — well-seasoned stir fried wheat noodles served topped with chicken karaage and a mound of bright red slivered pickled ginger. No version I’ve had in the almost 20 years since then has lived up to that (my) standard, until I tried Bamboo’s this past year.

    So many of the things I ate in 2009 at Laurelhurst Market could qualify as my favorite version of each dish, but I will abide by the rules of the survey and refrain from listing them….

  4. Charlie says

    I’ve had some amazing meals this year. Finally made it to the French Laundry, Bouchon and several other Michelin rated restaurants. Have to admit that they didn’t disappoint but funny thing, the one meal that sticks out with me is the noodles at Du Kuh Bee. Simplicity and so satisfying. Or perhaps, whenever I’ve gone, I’ve had my beautiful girls with me.

  5. Ben Waterhouse says

    Pork cheeks at Beaker & Flask were by far my favorite single dish in Portland, but the steak tartare at Laurelhurst Market is a close second. But I really don’t think anything measured up to eating skewers of chicken hearts and garlic at a smoky second-story restaurant in a Tokyo suburb.

  6. Taylor Davis says

    Having a lovingly prepared meal of fresh picked porcini mushrooms cooked down with the owners olive oil and spread over bread in a thousand year old farm house at the base of Montepulciano

  7. Mithrandir says

    A dessert at Sel Gris, the name of which I cannot recall:

    A baked nectarine with a huckleberry sauce and a tiny scoop of Hood strawberry sorbet. And a sprig of mint. Sort of like a peach melba, except totally different.

  8. kelly says

    Grilled cheese sandwich and fries with a glass of champagne after 24 hours of labor. The Providence hospital cafeteria has never tasted so good.

    • Jeff Shultz says

      My sister sent me out for a McDonald’s #2 meal (two cheeseburgers, fries, coke) after her first child was born….

    • mzwong says

      It was Popeye’s fried chicken, biscuit and mashed potatoes for me, both times. I rarely want to eat that, but for some reason it does the trick post-baby!

      • sweetnsavory says

        A new thread-what did you eat after giving birth? A grilled cheese and tuna sandwich from Solley’s in LA, delivered to the nurse’s station across from the birthing room. Heaven.

  9. SpyForTheCia says

    Anything organic and vegetarian. Having spent much of this year auditing and studying carbon emissions as we all look for ways to take on the climate crisis, I have been struck by the reductions we would achieve by eating organic produce and avoiding meat, both very significant sources of carbon emissions. Plus, you lose weight when you eat vegetarian!

  10. neener says

    Mixed seafood stew at an Italian seafood joint in Valetta, Malta. Langostine, razor clam, whole octopus, squid, rockfish, mussel, clam- all fresh caught less than 4 hours previous. The 6 bottles of Maltese wine and the Ocean view may have added to the experience.

  11. Heidi Yorkshire says

    In January, in Mexico’s beautiful colonial town of Patzcuaro, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Michoacan. The town’s huge market hall is on the smaller of the two main squares, which is also surrounded by food vendors, many of whom are the indigenous Purepecha people. One cool evening, I spotted a woman in a corner of the square, dressed in embroidered white skirt and blouse, typical costume, next to a brazier with a large black and green painted olla on the fire. Every so often she stirred the contents with a roughly carved wooden spoon. A group of people sat on small stools around her sidewalk table. We could see that she was ladeling out a thick liquid, a beautiful color, bright emerald green. She told me it was “atole de elote,” which would mean a cornmeal thickened broth/drink, with fresh corn. Why was it green? Of course, I had to have a cup. The aroma was herbal and heady, licorice and grass, the flavor popped with the kernels of sweet corn. The broth was made with wild fennel, which she said she gathered herself. It was like a magic potion. I almost thought I had hallucinated the whole thing, but we went back the next night, and she was there again.

  12. JandJ says

    No brainer for me. It was the beef duo at Daniel in NYC. It consists of a Red Wine Braised short rib with parsnip potato gratin accompanied by a seared tenderloin with Black Trumpet mushrooms. This is his signature dish and was worth the trip alone. Intense, rich, and perfectly presented.

  13. says

    Single best dish was steamed clams from Willapa Bay. We bought a huge bag of clams after a long day at playing tourist at the coast, driving from Astoria to Oysterville, WA on Long Beach. After a long rainy drive back home we boiled them in butter, cheap chardonnay, garlic, and parsley. Perfect finish to a great day, and the simplicity, warmth, and texture of the dish was unsurpassed by any restaurant meal I had all year.

  14. Aloha75 says

    I don’t make it into the city much, but when I do happen to be downtown I head straight to the Original for the voodoo doughnut burger. I was suprised that it was even written up in the New York Post, and yet a lot of Porltand people haven’t really heard of it or have been. I wish I could just wrap myself in that burger, I think I am going to make a special trip tonight and get one.

  15. Rouxster says

    Chorizo and shrimp(s) stuffed Branzino fillet at the River cafe in Brooklyn. The artistry in presentation was incredible and unlike anything I’ve seen in Stumptown.

  16. Jeff Shultz says

    Breaded & fried razor clams…. at my aunt’s house in Warrenton, OR. The tradition definitely adds to the flavor.

  17. AAK says

    -Papardelle w/ wild boar ragu at Giorgio’s (the most underrated restaurant in Portland)

    -Chorizo sopes at Autentica

    -Chicken wings at Pok Pok (yes, I only tried them for the first time recently)

    -Short ribs at The Slanted Door in San Francisco

  18. Mike Thelin says

    Crab with brown butter and amaranth at Castagna
    Twice cooked pork belly at Lucky Strike
    Grilled corn with poblano chili aioli at Beaker and Flask
    Seared foie gras with candied radishes at the Robert Reynolds Chef Studio

    Pan fried sweetbreads with spatzle at Joe Beef in Montreal
    Soup dumplings at Yang Sink in San Francisco
    Wood-fired oyster roast at Cochon in New Orleans (Thanks to Lizzy C. for the recommendation!)

  19. cookie says

    The lamb, roasted in an horno and accompanied by my first taste of malbec from nearby Cafayate, at a little open air restaurant in Amaicha del Valle, Tucuman, Argentina. This simple meal once again demonstrated the primacy of quality ingredients. Without that lamb, there is no way I could recreate this meal at home, although I have started to see malbec from Cafayate here in Portland.

    In second place might be a repeat appearance of the lamb popsicles at Vij’s, although I realize that’s so 2005. Still as good as ever though.

  20. ATrain says

    I had plenty of great dishes in restaurants in 2009, but my winner was a home cooked dish. I’ve been trying my hand at recreating family recipes (now that my mom has gone digital and passed along two generations of cookin’ knowledge). The zucchini moussaka that I made following my grandmother’s recipe with fresh monster zucchini from the farmers market in September was awesome. Too bad all my guests loved it, because I only had enough leftover for one additional meal. :P

  21. bikebroke says

    I have to say that the charcuterie I had at Metrovino the last week of ’09 was by far the best thing I had all year. There had to be like 10 items on it, each better than the last. The jalapeno jam with the homemade bacon was probably the highlight, but the fried shortrib terrine was jockying for top dog also.

  22. Lilikoi says

    The Short Rib Rendang with coconut rice at the Fatty Crab in NYC. I had it for lunch when I was there in November and have not been able to stop thinking about it since. I even attempted to make it at home two days later. Failure. Tangy, sweet, fall-apart ribs just sticky with shredded coconut and pounded lemongrass. Mouth watering…

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