I wasn't sure if anyone has done this yet for the year, but here are my top ten “new” (at least for me) tastes of 2007:
1. Pastrami sandwich (Wood Tavern). Available only at lunch, simply the best sandwich period.
2. Abalone and foie gras with yuza (Manresa): a surprising and perfect combination
3, Pork (Outstanding in the Field): The wood-roasted pork at this dinner, held at Devil’s Gulch Farm and prepared Nate Appleman of A16, was probably the best pork I have ever eaten. Just the fat alone, all crusty from the fire, was sublime.
4. Squid pizza with aioli (Pizzaiolo): again, an unlikely combination that works really well.
5. Barbequed Shrimp (Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen): Possible better than the NOLA original. Prefer the appetizer size, with bread, to the entrée over rice.
6. Chicken wings (Fonda): one of those dishes that you can’t stop thinking about. Only served after 9 p.m.
7. Eel banh mi (Sea Salt): Sea Salt does great sandwiches, but this tops the list.
8. Grilled lamb chops (Oliveto): This deceptively simple dish was the best lamb I ever had. Served with long ribs still attached, which you must eat with your hands to get off all of the fatty crusty bits.
9. Tie: Whole Black Bass Stuffed with Morel Mushrooms / Spelt fettuccine with Salted and Dried Swordfish Belly (Oliveto): Despite doing meat amazingly well (see above), Oliveto’s Oceanic Dinners always supply something amazing for my yearly list (last year it was the pasta dish with sea robin and dried octopus)…I can’t decide between the two.
10. Fried Chicken (Luka’s): I am a fried chicken fanatic and this find (served only at lunch) is near-perfect. Dark brown crust, slightly salty and sweet, surrounding the juiciest meat. Huge serving.
11. Bonus: Beef short ribs with Guinness film and peanuts (Alinea): okay, not in the Bay Area, but I had to add it in. The entire meal was mind-blowing.