Our Year In Review | Most Memorable Tastes of 2012

January 1, 2013

Holy Macaroni! We ate A LOT in 2012! Perusing our restaurant and event profiles shows that we had a pretty big year of eating, imbibing, and all around good times. We've reviewed our year in food and now we share with you a few of our favorite things. Check out our list and be sure to give some of these items a try. You'll thank us later.

Walnut Shrimp
Del Mar Rendezvous' Walnut Shrimp - We came across this delicious item at the Del Mar Summer Solstice and couldn't get enough. The sweetness and crunch of the batter, the tender and juicy jumbo shrimp, all combined in a creamy sauce make for a perfect creation. Sweet and savory to the max, the walnut shrimp at Rendezvous is definitely worthy of a venture to the beautiful Del Mar Plaza.

Steakhouse at Azul's Filet - we went with the goliath 12 ounce filet mignon: perfectly charred, this buttery cut of meat was heavenly and made me proud to be a carnivore. We did have a sampler of delectable dipping sauces, but found them totally unnecessary, as the flesh is packed with flavor.

Whiskey Burger
Whiskey Girl's Whiskey Burger - We ordered this monstrosity because I thought it would be a fun dish to discuss in an article. I thought it would be a mess, but it was perfectly constructed, delicious and came with a shot of Jack. This is definitely a guilty pleasure worth sampling.

Restaurant 1833's Bacon Cheddar Biscuits - I still dream of these biscuits. With a nice outer crunch and a fluffy, flakey interior, these biscuits were handheld bombs of comfort. If you pass by Monterey, stop into 1833 for these bad boys and a glass of absinthe. Green fairy or not, the biscuits are dreamy.

Oscar's Shrimp Taco
Oscar's Mexican Seafood's Fish Taco AND Spicy Shrimp Taco - I tried to pick only one taco from Oscar's to put on the list but just couldn't. The battered fish taco is undoubtedly the best of its class, but the spicy shrimp taco may be the best taco ever. I had to include both. If you haven't tried Oscar's yet, get on it. It makes South Beach look like Long John Silvers.

Table 926's Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake - we're not generally 'dessert people', but this item is beyond mere dessert. Made with mandolin sliced Bahrain yellow dates, this 'cake' was so moist and flavorful.

Black bean burger
Pita Jungle's Chipotle Black Bean Burger - Veggie burgers used to be in the same category as decaf coffee and non-alcoholic beer (pointless substitutes), but Pita Jungle changed that with this concoction. This homemade black bean patty combines onions, garlic, cilantro, corn, bell peppers, carrots, oats, cranberries, jalapeno peppers, chipotle peppers, and a blend of spices to make for a flavor packed burger with the texture and consistency desired from the real thing.

Carnitas Snack Shack Sweet Chili and Spicy Pork Belly at A Taste of Summer - An otherwise 'meh' event, A Taste of Summer was made memorable by this dish, which was sweet, rich, and savory. I don't know how they make pork belly like they do, but Carnitas Snack Shack consistently outdoes the competition at such tasting events.

Octopus stew
Jsix's Octopus Stew - Generally fearful of the frequently rubbery texture of octopus, I didn't know what to expect out of Chef Graves' octopus stew, but it was fantastic. The octopus was beyond tender, and saturated with the citrusy and umami flavors of the broth. Pole beans, broccoli raab, 'lemon bean liquor' and bits of bacon and pastrami make this stew hearty and yet somehow still so refreshing.

Burlap's French Onion Eggdrop Soup - Good Lord I loved this soup, and with the amount of effort that goes into the broth (I can't even begin to explain), it's definitely labor of love in a bowl. Get it while it's hot (and on the menu), as Chef Sinsay is known to make changes.

Oysters Rockefeller
Top of the Market's Oysters Rockefeller - I was a oyster Rockefeller virgin before this, and I am certain that Top of the Market's version will never be topped - so delicious, creamy, rich, and comforting. I will most definitely return to ToM just for this. Everything else was awesome, but the Rockefeller...out of this world fantastic.

TJ Dog from La Puerta at Oysterfest - Okay, I love hot dogs. There, I said it. They make me happy and nostalgic and I love them for it. With that said, I didn't even know how great a hot dog could be if you wrap it in bacon, slather it in mayo and top it with peppers and onions. I ate two and had to stop myself from going back for more. Don't judge me, damnit!

How sexy is that?
Ciro's Buffalo Chicken Pizza - I was thinking about it the other day. I've probably had over a hundred slices over the course of the year. Ciro's is my go-to spot. I'm a regular there due to the restaurant's stellar craft beer selection, ridiculously cheap happy hour, and of course the Buffalo chicken slices. You cannot go wrong with $2 slices during happy hour (everyday from 3-6pm). Give it a whirl.

Wild Wings at Cass Street Bar & Grill - I generally don't like telling people about this place because I don't appreciate when my spots become ruined by crowds, but it's one of my favorites for a quick bite and a beer. A bit of a dive bar, Cass differentiates itself by offering awesome food. On the occasional Wednesday, they offer their Wild Wings dish: three slow cooked ham shanks are deep fried upon order, smothered in home made barbecue sauce (INCREDIBLE), then artfully placed atop a plate of pan fried potatoes. The meat just falls off the bone and tastes so, so good. If you happen upon Cass Street, see if this is on the menu, and get it!! That's an order.

The 'Beast'
NY on Rye's 'The Beast' at Bates Nut Farm Food Truck Festival - Grilled roast beef, honey orange horseradish sauce, port wine onion marmalade, and cheddar on toasted rye. Great sandwich! Do it.

Pastry Chef Ben Spungin's Macaroons at Pebble Beach Food & Wine - Once again, not a dessert person, but these were killer. Crispy on the outside, and crumbly creamy inside.

Chef Roy on the line!
Roy Yamaguchi's 48 Hour Short Rib at Los Angeles Food & Wine Grand Tasting - Having Roy Yamaguchi plate it for us was exciting enough to trick our taste buds into loving this offering, but it was genuinely incredible, super tender, and beautiful. Roy consistently had the longest line of the event, but I broke my 'no-line' rule THREE times to enjoy this dish.

Prepkitchen's London Burning - This is a list of our favorite foods, but I can justify nominating this spicy and savory gin cocktail as it was redolent of a light and refreshing guacamole: a perfect blend of lime, jalapeno, avocado and ice, adorned with a red chili pepper. Light but jam-packed with flavor, a 'meal' in itself.

So there you have it!  With such a scrumptious 2012, we cannot wait to see what 2013 has in store for us.  Be sure to follow SanDiegoVille on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to get the most up to date info about the fun happenings and delicious offerings in America's Finest City.