Best Things I Ate This Year

Sriracha meatloaf. My husband Dave made a meatloaf with ground pork and beef and added lemongrass and green onions and a siracha-based sauce on top. Really, really good. I don't know why we only had this once. Good for sandwiches, too.

Pleasant House royal pies. These are personal savory pies fully enclosed in a crust. Taller and more like cylinders than pot pies. They were served at a Kinfolk farm dinner and the gentle people got intense in competition for certain flavors.

Pleasant House  royal pies, Nimble Well jadeite stand, photo by  Tru Studio

Pleasant House royal pies, Nimble Well jadeite stand, photo by Tru Studio

Katherine Anne hot chocolate--There are dozens of possible hot chocolate & marshmallow combinations. My favorite is Mexican hot chocolate with a salted caramel marshmallow. I feel like I could win a monster truck rally without a truck after drinking a full cup.

RIP: Two Brother's Long Haul, one of my favorite beers, a delicious session ale is no longer since Two Brother's has moved to a different brewing method.

For my friend Darcelle's birthday we went out to MK. I like the atmosphere and the staff was fantastic. My favorite thing was their lemony linguine with  patty pan squash.  I have been trying to reproduce it.

Ramen at Ramen Shop in Oakland is a perfect meal. There was a line before they opened for dinner. My ramen had  an egg, fresh corn, ground pork belly, greens,...lots of other stuff, with a dollop of squash blossom butter melting on top.

Salt potatoes. Apparently this comes from Upstate New York. You dump a ton of table salt into the water and boil new or fingerling potatoes. They come out with a crispy , perfectly salted skin and a creamy interior. I don't like much salt  and was skeptical before I tried these. Put pats of butter on the outside. This is the best way to make potatoes.

Bread pudding from Cook's Illustrated. This is really healthy so I make it regularly. The secret is to use challah and do not soak all the bread pieces; you embed some crispy pieces on top and then is all works out.

I juiced at home this year. Favorite mix is fennel, cucumber, ginger, green apple, lemon, parsley.

Green rice from Rick Bayless.  I made his 23 ingredient moles, but this is the recipe I go back to.  Boil rice with white onions, roast poblanos in the broiler, cut corn off the cob, add cilantro and queso fresco on top. Satisfying with a lot of flavor.

Mushroom gravy. The recipe doesn't really matter. You can sauté the mushrooms with onions and/or garlic or not, add the flour, and add whatever broth you want. You can add red or white wine with the broth. You can't really mess it up. I made it with shiitakes. With maitakes it's even better. 

Happy eating!

There's that aggressive lady going after the royal pies. Photo by  Tru Studio .

There's that aggressive lady going after the royal pies. Photo by Tru Studio.

All photos by Tru Studio, photos from Kinfolk farm dinner by Estera Events at Tryon Farm. Top photo of recipe card by Sarah Drake.