It’s been a weird year for me and food. I’ve lost my ability to ignore cookies and cake, my cubicle looks like a grocery store (the Jalapeno Ketchup guys just sent us a shipment of spicy goods), and I’m hopelessly addicted to Kroger brand saltines. A box of them sits on my desk. My excuse is that they go pretty much with everything.
Although these crackers and QT’s F’real milkshakes both rank pretty high on my list of favorite things to eat this year, I doubt any of you guys really care about either of them. I know, I know. Y’all have sophisticated taste buds. So, here it is: a semi-sophisticated list (in no particular order) of the best bites I put in my mouth in 2012.
1. The elotes from Taqueria El Si Hay. The wait takes forever because the elotes man shaves off fresh corn every time someone orders. The woman behind me talked these elotes up, and she was so, so right. $2.50 for a cup of hot corn, sour cream, cheese, and gobs of butter? So worth it.
2. Soup dumplings at Taiwan’s Din Tai Fung. Sorry, Royal China. Your xiao long bao, though excellent, don’t even come close.
3. Cloud nine pie at Emporium Pies. Probably my favorite pie in the whole world. One bite has so many surprises and textures to it. There’s frosty meringue, creamy caramel, and a toasty pretzel crust. It’s a perfect salty/sweet, crunchy/soft combination.
5. Tei-An‘s tonkatsu ramen. Amazing broth.
8. TP banh bao buns from Houston. My coworker brought these back and shared one with me. The meat ball on the inside of the bun has just the right amount of eggs and pepper.
10. Beet home fries from Paul Qui’s East Side King in Austin. Deep-fried roasted beets, kewpie mayo, schichimi togarashi, and green onion. I’m so glad Qui finally opened a brick-and-mortar ESK. That’s where I’ll be stuffing my face tonight.