I am by no means a food blogger, and outside of a few occasional instagrams, not the best food photographer either, but I do love reading about restaurants, trying new dishes, and thinking about food’s larger impact on our culture.

For the past few years, I’ve kept a running list of my favorite dishes and typically send an unsolicited email to my friends documenting my most memorable tastes. If you haven’t drowned from year-end re-caps yet, here are my Top 5 dishes:

Clams with Chorizo at Amada in Philadelphia. While sharing this dish in a series of courses with two of my best friends, I have never seen such a battle for spoonfuls of leftover broth: the blend of the sea and pork was perfect. 

Goat Heart with pureed eggplant, falafel and grilled figs, Barley Swine, Austin Texas. While visiting Julian Gold (great small chain of boutiques in Texas) I stopped in for one to two dishes at Barley Swine, and quickly found myself creating my own tasting menu because everything they served was fantastic. This dish was the most unique collection of flavors and textures that I had this year. 

Roasted Carrots with Mole Poblano with yogurt and watercress, Empellon Cocina, New York. Best vegetable dish I’ve ever eaten. 

Malfati with Chicken Liver Ragu, Frannys, Brooklyn. Had this dish after launching our shoe line at Sole Commerce in February. When I day-dream about a bowl of pasta in a meat sauce, this light yet rich dish is what comes to mind. 

Sweetbreads in Almond Sauce, Gema Penalva, Alicante Spain. This restaurant is owned by a relative of a woman that I work with in Spain. We finish each of my development trips with a meal at Gema Penalva and her sweetbreads are always cooked perfectly. I had never had an almond sauce mixed into such a savory dish, but as my co-worker Maria would say “For me, its fantastic”. If you are looking for some great international food photos, check her out on Instagram here

Note: I don’t like to take food photos at dinner when I’m with family or close friends so I unfortunately don’t have any of my own images of these dishes. I have credited the sources to the best of my knowledge. 

Tags: Food empellon