First, a little comment on the photo, though it might be a little hard to see. I took this photo a few weeks ago at my local Kohl's department store. I was looking for some items for the new cat. Not knowing where they might keep pet stuff I just started cruising the aisles. I came across this scene. Yes, in the middle of the infant section with all sorts of cute clothes for newborns on one side, and all sorts of cute dresses for girl toddlers on the other side, was....A Margaritaville display. Complete with margarita mixes, bar equipment and margarita glasses for sale. Though I saw a few mothers that looked like they really needed a drink....Location, Location, Location....
I took a look at the recipes I've posted this past blog year of mine. One thing I noted was that I was less experimental this year than last. I attribute that to less time this past year to sit, plan and cook. If I'm going to take on a real cooking challenge I'd rather have the entire weekend to plan, shop and take my time preparing the dish. I found a lot more quick and easy meals have been prepared lately. Cheaper meals too, that didn't require costly ingredients that I needed to search out or that wouldn't be used again. A sign of the economy? They tell us that we are staying home and cooking more often than going out. But my mind says if that were true I'd be attempting much more labor intensive dishes. Something to ponder.
I also realized that I still haven't started on those 2009 Cooking resolutions, which is honestly, no surprise to me. Those resolutions are to cook with or use techniques that frighten me so it's typical that I'd put them off till the last minute. And I've been to a ton of restaurants this past year which I have yet to blog about (something about not being a critic makes it hard to critique). And we never really updated the look and feel of the blog which we have been meaning to do. Hopefully some of those things will be addressed during this third year of my cooking adventure. But in the meantime, in looking back over the past blog year, this is what stood out to me:
Best Food Experience: Our yearly trip to Las Vegas where our food ranged from deep fried Twinkies to high end gourmet stuff. (Note: If you watch Kathy Griffins show My Life On The D-List you'll see the place where we got the twinkies...Kathy took Bette Midler there...Bette liked the deep fried twinkies!).
Worst Food Experience: Probably the Great American Food and Music Festival. I realize it's probably by default because it was just last week. It just didn't live up to they hype.
Best Restaurant Meal: The Napa Rose at the Disneyland California Adventure Hotel. Great wine, wonderful food and we were there with family which made it an awesome meal. Honorable Mentions would be David Burkes in Vegas and Sushi Sam's in San Mateo.
Most Out of the Box Meal: Sushi Sam's. It was my first experience with omakase (chef's choice). As someone who doesn't really like fish, this was definitely risky on my part, but I really liked most of what the chef made for us (there were five of us at the sushi bar). Mr. L used to go to Sushi Sam's every Friday for about three years so I knew I could trust the chef to take care of me.
Favorite Cookbook: This was a tie. This is hard since I usually only cook one dish from each cookbook. But I cooked several dishes from The Food Network Kitchens Favorite Recipes and Martin Yan Quick & Easy and they were all pretty good.
Favorite Dish Cooked: Couldn't decide so I went with my top five (see next post).
Most Unexpected Food Moment: The lady at the table next to me in David Burkes passing out in my lap during dinner. Yeah, need to post about that one of these days.
Most Googled Post: Mortadella Sandwich. This is something Mr. L and I still make on a regular basis that was posted back in September of '07. I still get folks coming to my blog every day because of that post. The post also made it as a reference under Mortadella Sandwich in Wikipedia! Other recipes that get searched for a lot are: Twinki-Misu, Egg Salad with Dill, Baked Eggs in Ham Shells and Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese. Any crock pot recipe also seems to be popular right now.
Favorite Photo: I honestly don't spend much time "staging" my food photos. I usually just put them in a dish, find some light and take a photo. I haven't used (yet anyway) tweezers to position food items though I do try to wipe up crumbs and spills first. Rarely do I photoshop my photos (though this may change as I become more familiar with my MAC). Probably my favorite photo that I took was a photo that actually was staged. It was this photo of the Potato Crisps.
Best Food Find: Williams Sonomas Croissants Expensive, but really easy to bake (take them out of the freezer the night before, they are ready to be baked the next morning) and better than any premade
croissant I can get anywhere local that I know of.
Most Romantic Food Moment: Mr. L and I go to Rue Lepic restaurant in San Francisco every year for our anniversary. This year, the day we we went, it was almost 100 degrees in the city . Most places don't have the best air-conditioning and lots of restaurants were without patrons. We walked into an empty Rue Lepic and had the entire place (though it's small to start with) to ourselves for the entire meal. Our own personal waiter and our own personal chef. Great food. Good wine. Perfect meal.
Since food and wine are such a big part of our lives, there were many, many more wonderful moments, both at home and at restaurants, that Mr. L and I expeirenced this past year. I'm hoping for many more moments like those in the future.