Since I spend nearly all of my disposable income (and time) going out to eat, I wanted to put together a list of my favorite meals from 2010. Most of these are tried and true favorites that I tend to go back to over and over again, but some are new (like the Sportello Bolognese and the Ginger Scallion Lobster at Peach Farm).
The only real criteria to making it onto the list would be that each dish exhibit truly amazing taste – meaning, in my opinion, a perfect combination of complementary flavors and textures. In short, it’s all supremely delicious and I would HIGHLY recommend anything and everything to you all.
Banana stuffed French toast at Zaftigs. Perfectly crisp on the outside, soft and pillow-like on the inside, this challah french toast filled with sweet gooey banana and topped with fresh, tart berries and savory date butter is just what you need to start off any lazy Sunday morning.
Pan-seared Scallops and English Pea Risotto at Lineage (note – seasonal dish). Mostly offered in the spring and summer months, Lineage does scallops right by patiently searing them to a rich caramel color, and serving with a delicate and creamy English pea risotto. The sweet crunch of crispy shallots on top make for a fantastic finish.
Egg Salad Sandwich at Matt Murphy’s. Roasted asparagus, pickled onions and smoked salmon make this into something you want to eat again and again and again.
Spicy Basil Pad Thai at Rod Dee. For those that are looking for pad thai turned WAY UP, try this on for size. Seasoned ground chicken, tons of crisp, stir-fried veggies, and a spicy basil peanut sauce make this my go-to on cold winter nights.
Clam Chowder or Lobster Bisque at Legal Sea Foods. The clam chowder strikes the perfect balance of rich and creamy to salty tender clams and potatoes; the lobster bisque is a sweet and buttery bowl of pure lobster lovers joy. Order a full bowl of either with caution!
Bolognese at Sportello. Barbara Lynch has outdone herself with this one. A warm and hearty sauce of tomato-y and meaty love perfectly tossed with the most spectacular homemade tagliatelle I’ve ever tasted. Rich, tender and toothsome, this is one meal you never want to end (or share).
Hot Buttered Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster. What seems to be one full lobster roughly chopped and tossed with at least one stick of butter, this roll is one best eaten with a fork. The butter combines beautifully with the scarlet seafood to make a thick pink-ish salty and savory sauce you want to mop up with the plateful of crispy skin-on french fries that accompany it. Wash it down with a cold, crisp glass of Albarino.
Linguini with Asparagus, Poached Egg and Truffle Cream at Stella. One word – bliss. The piping hot bowl of pasta and asparagus comes topped with a perfectly done poached egg. One tip – mix it all together immediately to get the rich and silky texture the chefs at Stella intend for this dish to achieve. The delicate and earthy flavor of truffle takes this pasta to to otherworldly heights.
Vegetarian Paella at Toro. Served exactly as you would find it in Valencia. On top, crispy saffron-hued rice and charred bits of veggies, but break in to find it’s soft center. Packed to the brim with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fresh peas, corn and mushrooms, this is pure goodness in a pan. Surprisingly, the half portion can feed two.
Mac + Cheese with Pancetta and Peas at Coda. Comfort food at it’s best. This enormous bowl of silky, cheesy macaroni flecked with soft bits of pancetta and sweet peas is a perfect meal for those nights you just don’t want to cook for yourself.
Ginger Scallion Lobster at Peach Farm (no website; 4 Tyler St. Boston). Within minutes of ordering, a steaming hot plate of pan-fried lobster will arrive at your table. Chock-full of flavor, and served still in its shell, (but cracked open for easy plucking!), this dish is best paired with the like-flavored ginger scallion lo-mein. You’ll find yourself licking your fingers after digging out the last of the gingery-hot bites of tender lobster, madly looking around wishing there were more.
Rigatoni Norcina – with ground sausage and a truffle cream sauce at Toscano. A classic northern Italian dish that is so decadent it should be indulged in only on special occasions. Housemade sausage is the highlight, and is ground up and mixed into the black truffle cream sauce. The thick ribbed rigatoni makes the perfect vessel for scooping up every last bit.
Duck Confit Flatbread at Woodward in the Ames Hotel – Light and crispy flatbread topped with smoky, tender duck, cranberries, onion and goat cheese. A symphony of flavors and textures – all in one bite.
Tomato Basil Sicilian Pizza at Pinocchio’s. The lightness of this pizza dough is truly a work of art. One 4″x4″ slice looks as if it should weigh three times what it does! It’s thick, yet airy and crisp (and doesn’t hurt the roof of your mouth when you bite down if you can believe it) and topped with just the right amount of thin-sliced fresh tomato, cheese, and thin ribbons of basil. Delish!
The Cuban Sandwich at Chez Henri. This golden and buttery pressed sandwich features soft and juicy slow-roasted pork, thin-sliced ham, and melted Gruyere cheese topped with the acidic bite of diced sweet pickles. Served alongside a heaping portion of fried plantains with salsa, share this wedge of heaven with a friend at the bar over a bottle of light Pinot Noir while imagining yourselves on an island paradise. (Note – this dish isn’t available in the restaurant’s main dining room.)