It seems like 2016 was a tough year for most people, including myself. World news and politics aside, it was stormy in my own life at times. But I now find myself at the end of another year, reflecting on the many positive moments. One of my favorite memories was sitting on a pebble beach near Hualien, Taiwan, watching my fiancé and my dad walk along the water and collect pebbles.
2016 was also full of delicious food experiences, both new and old. I visited Japan for my first time and had not one, but three kaiseki meals in Kyoto. I highly recommend experiencing Kyoto kaiseki at least once, but definitely not three back-to-back like I did. My belief about Japanese portions being small? Definitely not true with kaiseki.
To send off 2016, here were the most memorable dishes of my year:
Most Adventurous Dish: Seared Raw Chicken – Ichimatsu (市松), Osaka, Japan
Most Educational Dish: Chicken Egg Sac – also from Ichimatsu (市松), Osaka, Japan
Best Elevated Dish: Spicy Pork Sausage Rice Cakes – In Situ, San Francisco
Best Appetizer: Uni and Mochi – Kichisen, Kyoto, Japan
Best Dessert: Paint – Alinea, Chicago
Best Street Food: Nikuman – Nishiki Market, Kyoto, Japan
Best Failed Dish: Homemade attempt at Hoshigaki (Dried Persimmons)
Best Dish of 2016: Mr. A’s Homemade Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad – Our Engagement Picnic, Palo Alto
Other Memorable Honorable Mentions:
Salmon Tail, specifically the edible crispy tips – State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
The Rolling Stone – Estrella, Los Angeles
Waygu Cigars – Providence, Los Angeles
Burdock Root “Bark” – Mosu, San Francisco
Next up is a countdown of my favorite restaurant meals of 2016. Hint: One of them had a dish mentioned on this list.