Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
Archive for the 'Potpourri' Category
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The most magical part of making bun bo Hue happens around hour three when the beef, pork, and lemongrass broth is transformed into the familiar fiery orange soup. A sizzling mixture of vegetable oil, scallions, fish sauce, and paprika imparts the broth with its characteristically bright hue and rich, umami flavor. A heavy dose of fermented shrimp paste, along with a touch of sugar and salt, add the finishing touches to the broth.
After procuring two pounds of apricots and setting aside an evening without commitments, I set out to make my first lazy man’s jam. First, I pulled apart the fruit using my bare hands, leaving the skins on and removing the pits, then I made a simple syrup and macerated half the fruit in it. More fruit, a whole vanilla bean, and a squeeze of lemon juice later, I had a dangerously delicious apricot jam on my hands. I couldn’t believe how awesomely simple it all was.
Comprised of just five ingredients—fish sauce, sugar, salt, black pepper, and shallots—this easy marinade treats pork to a sweet, salty, and wholly umami bath. Soaked overnight, then grilled over hot flames, the ribs’ exterior caramelizes beautifully, while the innards remain tender and flavorful.
2013 was most definitely The Year of the Doughnut on Gastronomy. Old school rings, new school thangs, and everything in between—I was an equal opportunity deep-fried dough lover these past 365 days. Thus, it should come as no surprise that nearly half of this year’s 10 best sweets were served up golden and glazed. Without further ado, here are the 10 best sweets that I ate this year…
Sea Salt Ice Cream with Caramel Ribbons from Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon
When salt and caramel collide, the result is usually more sweet than savory, but here, the scales tipped in favor of all that is good and salty. My first lick brought a rush of perfectly salted cream, followed by a deep and intense pull of caramel.
Huckleberry Doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee in Costa Mesa, California
With bits of real berries embedded in the dough and glaze, the doughnut tasted genuinely fruity through and through. The cake doughnut, light as ever, really delivered. Sidecar’s signature flavor is astonishingly great.
As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect upon the dishes that defined my year in delicious. The City of Angels fed me well, as always, contributing to half of the list—Eastside, represent! Travels to Shanghai, Tokyo, Chengdu, and Portland rounded out the top ten. While last minute trips to Las Vegas and Charleston provided some solid contenders, all were ultimately shut out this year—it’s tough competing for my noodle-loving heart.
Thank you for reading Gastronomy, and without further ado, here are the 10 best savory dishes that I ate this year…
Ikura from Sushi Kanesaka in Tokyo, Japan
Impeccably fresh salmon eggs do not pop when bitten into. Instead, each orb smoothly unleashes its oily sheen with the gentlest of pressure, flooding the palate with oceanic bliss. Topped with grated yuzu zest and served over warm rice, the ikura was unforgettable.
Bun Mam from Hà Tiên Quán in San Gabriel, California
An anchovy-laced brew brimming with pork belly, chunks of catfish, shrimp, Japanese eggplant, and chives won my heart completely with its heady, unabashed funk. Hidden beneath the dark broth were smooth and slippery rice noodles.