I love looking through Best Of/Top ‘Whatever Number’ lists of the year. It is hard to take the shining moments from an entire year and put them in a cohesive list. So, this is my best shot. It’s mostly the cream that rose to the top. Keep in mind that many good menus were probably accompanied by cocktails, lots of cocktails.
Favorite Moment of Food Discovery: Breakfast Burger with Keepin Up with the Joneses. Walking through the Downtown Farmers can be daunting, fighting the crowds of people on a hot morning inevitably without food or caffeine in your body yet. So when we made a random stop at the first food truck we saw, ordered the Breakfast Burger and took our first bite, I almost screamed. I’m not sure why eggs, cheese and bacon topping a charred burger patty was so mind-blowing but I think it was all in the delivery. It was so delicious we immediately got back in line to get a second, since sharing wasn’t an option.
Favorite New Social Media Trend: While we may have seen a few of these in 2016, I feel like these little videos were everywhere in 2017. Mini, quick & easy, cooking videos streaming on Facebook by companies such as Tasty, Buzzfeed Health, Delish took over my social media streams. If you’re like me, you watch them and hit save, possibly never to bring one to life in the kitchen but constantly tortured by all of the possibilities. (Sidenote: There has to be a name for the anxiety of being surrounded by countless enticing recipes that you will never have time/money to prepare no matter how you dice up your life. Naming this will be a goal for 2018.)
However, this one did make it to the kitchen, and then to multiple parties. It was as easy as watching the video, and impressive to all that encountered it.
Favorite Cocktail of the Year: Boulevardier. After coming across this recipe a few months ago, it quickly became this year’s favorite. If you dabble in Old Fashioneds, like Manhattans and are pretty fond of Negronis, this is your next best move.
Favorite Spirit: I never thought I’d say this but, Tequila! Maybe it was the increased visits to Caucho in Cedar Rapids for the chicharrones and spicy house margaritas, but it opened the gateway into the world of tequila. A spirit that I cut out of my life for years, not for bad decisions as one would imagine but just the visceral disagreement with my body, has now beed reintroduced with fury.
Favorite New Opening (locally): Dash Coffee Roasters. If you follow my instagram or Facebook, it’s clear that I head to Dash (one could say “too”) often. But not only have they encouraged a new love of black coffee, their kitchen kicks out some amazing breakfast treats. Bourbon bacon monkey bread, savory scones, mini pies, and not a bad sandwich on the board.
A VERY CLOSE second for Favorite New Opening is the Map Room. This once gross bar was rehabbed into a cozy, full of character brew pub. The menu is small but mighty offering poutine, flatbreads and burgers- you can’t go wrong with any choice you make there. The beer list is extensive, and they have the best named cocktails in the city. If you’re not a big hip hop fan, you may miss a few references but the product is delicious even if you only think “Boots with the Fur” sound like sensible footwear.
Favorite Food Purchase of the Year: Cobble Hill’s CSP. Cobble Hill launched their Community Supported Pig program this year, and I was one of the lucky recipients. I wrote about it at length here, but just know, it was worth every penny.
I’m sure as I think more about this, I’ll come up with an entire list of honorable mentions. In fact, I can feel them trickling in now. But as I look at this list now, I can see why I’ve enjoyed the ten pounds I collected this year. Cheers!