Best Bites of 2009

December 21, 2009

   Away for almost a month, eating only my own cooking, I find myself dreaming about the taste of New York. At odd moments the flavors of my favorite dishes come drifting into my mind.
    This morning I woke up to the taste of Marea’s sea urchin bruschetta, the rich golden roe encased in a glistening sheet of melting lardo. It is the single most indulgent dish I know.
     Right behind that came the memory of the first bite of a Gray’s Papaya hot dog, that snap when your teeth cut through the dog, the outside of the bun is still toasty, the onions still slightly warm.
How wonderful that would be with an Elio’s martini, so cold that a thin layer of ice floats across the top.
      Spaghetti neri at Esca, the only place i know that gets the balance of the squid ink, chiles and pasta exactly right.
      And now, suddenly, I must have the rice sticks with sausage and Chinese broccoli at Momofuku, a giant mouthful of heat and texture  And while I’m there, just a single bite of the slcik raw hamachi topped with its crisp salty crumbs.
        Caesar salad at Pearl, the most macho salad I know, all crunch and cheese, every bite dusted with garlic.
        Chiles with black beans at Grand Sichuan, pure fire when the chiles are right.
        The ridiculously wonderful $26 hamburger at Minetta Lane.
        A rare Porterhouse at Peter Luger.
        Uni chawan mushi at Sushi Zen.
        Pollo alla Diavolo at Lupa.
       I think it is time to make myself breakfast.  This morning: leftover pureed watercress topped with a poached egg, sprinkled with grated parmesan and a dash of Sriracha. Just the thing to celerate the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow, the days grow longer!

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