Best Meal 2011

5 Jan

I have been thinking a lot about my best meal of 2011.  And I am having a really hard time.  We ate so well in Las Vegas – it’s remarkable how that city has become a proper food town.  Dinner at Joel Robuchon, in particular, was amazing.  Our meal at Tru was incredible, too (Abe’s favorite meal of the year).  And Graham Elliot surprised us with a lovely prelude to winter on our second visit there in 2011.  Still, I think my favorite meal might be our recent dinner at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, where we ate with Kim and Sunil on the next-to-last day of the year.

If you follow this blog you know how much I love Mario Batali.  Everything he (and his partner, Joe Bastianich) is involved with (from Vegas to New York City to an Italian food piazza (via New York City), is remarkable.  I think this is because at the heart of it, there is an authenticity.  Even when Chef Batali is being creative or contemporary, his foundation is authentically simple Italian cuisine, the food I grew up with, and I love that.

Osteria Mozza is no exception.  We were starving when we got there and we were with our dear friends – that always helps – but the food was beyond.  The menu is gorgeous – a careful selection of antipasti, various hand-pulled mozzarella and related cheeses, and many beautiful pasta dish choices.  There are also some beautiful meat dishes but we didn’t get that far.  We settled on first, second, and cheese courses, instead.  Difficult to choose just a few items, so we shared many.

Highlights included the steamed mussels with a light pomodoro (tomato) sauce, chilies, and herbs – easily some of the best mussels I’ve ever had (and again, if you follow the blog, you know mussels are a signature obsession);The burricotta with braised artichokes, pine nuts, currants, and mint pesto – creamy, earthy, sweet – OM – amazing.  Lovely presentation, too.Spinach tagliatelle with lamb ragu, olives, and mint – perfectly rich – clever depth of flavor with the savory lamb first, the salty olives, and finally the fresh mint.  Delicious.The bucatini all’ amatriciana (al dente, spicy) and butternut squash mezzalune (soft and sweet) were lovely, too.We had some nice sides, as well.  Broccoli with chilies and vinegar, and fried potatoes with rosemary.  Yum.  (Oh and a baby, too!)

By the end of the meal it was quite late so we opted out of dessert (typically against my religion but in this case, a very good idea – we were full, anyway).  I did, however, see Chef Batali’s olive oil cake on the menu – my favorite – next time!

Even without dessert, this meal, for me, was easily one of the very best of 2011.

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3 Responses to “Best Meal 2011”

  1. Kim January 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Next time dessert!!!!! C insists, haha!!!

  2. Lorin January 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    A restaurant named Tru. That’s worth a visit to try!

    • Diz January 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Yes! You guys have to come out here and we’ll definitely make Tru a stop on our Chicago tour!

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