My Best Bites of 2013

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bajancutters

The flying fish cutters from Cuz’s fish shack in Barbados were one of my favorite bites of the year, bar none. Especially with that bangin’ Bajan hot sauce. Can’t wait for more travels in 2014!

For us crazies in editorial-land, the end of the year only means one thing. No, it’s not holidays or parties or even mistletoe (dang it!), though those are fun too. It’s time for LISTS! Lot and lots of lists. Honestly creating these can get exhausting, but as evidenced by good ol’ Google analytics, people love ‘em. They’re serviceable for readers, and quite frankly, useful for me as a writer. Especially one like this, which serves as a sort of diary of all the awesome things I’ve seen and eaten this year. More importantly, it reminds me of all the inspiring people who created these awesome bites that stand out so strongly in my mind.

Because I’m the Food Editor at LAist, My Best Bites of 2013 piece is based here in L.A., however I  was able to sneak in a few honorable mentions from around the globe at the end there.

Posting this here is also the start of more frequent posting of my work here on my personal site. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the new year. But for now, enjoy your holidays. I’ll see you in 2014!

Happy #NationalTequilaDay! Beat the heat w these pineapple jalapeño margaritas I made for @pomwonderful. Recipe is on their Tumblr!
East meets Southwest in this kale & Brussels sprouts salad w/cilantro mint vinaigrette. Recipe is on my blog @ www.kristasimmons.com!
Oh Bludso's, you've had my heart from the start. #dontmesswithtexas #bbq #foodporn #brisket #weekendeats
The chaat and saag paneer @BadmaashLA were off the chainz delicious and def my fav dishes, but this chai-spiced pot de creme was just too darn pretty not to post.
Discovered a local lunch gem! $9.75 chix plate is a steal: teriyaki chicken breast with rice, spicy salmon roll, shooter of butternut squash soup, salad, and a mini dessert.
So happy to be home cookin after another weekend on the road! Thx to @researchchef for the San Marzanos & onions; @craignsimmons for the homegrown Gilroy garlic; @urbanschmurban for the seedlings; and @mkretovics for helping me grow the gorgeous garden and always bringing the prettiest petals from @clementinefloralworks. I 💙LA.
Finally, a soliton to the age old question of where the heck to find a really great bagel in LA. The lox @wexlersdeli make me miss Russ & Daughters just a little bit less too. Absolutely freaking stellar.
Friends! Today I'm Instagraming #MyDayInFood from Emei, China over at @saveurmag. Head on over for all sorts of hot, spicy Sichuan food porn. 🍜💥🍛
Rise and shine! This fantastic baked egg shakshouka with chorizo from @ggetla is an aces way to start your Monday. That sourdough toast is crack doh. Try to stop. I dare you.
The signs don't lie: white nectarines from Arnett are SO sweet and luscious right now. Get some!
Best falafel and shwarma I've had since Azuri Cafe in NYC. Bonus points for the bangin baba, pickles, and refreshing watermelon agua frescas!
Spinach with clams, Shanghainese fried eel, shen jian bao. Love the more subtle, sweet & sour flavors in Shanghai. Great seafood too!
Learned another way to make mapo tofu in Ermei. This one is more my style -- it's less soupy and uses more of the gentle and piney green Sichuan peppercorns instead of loading up on the wild red ones. (Don't worry, you'll still feel the tingle!)
Harvesting some Chinese long beans before yoga with chef Terrence Crandall, whose gorgeous rooftop garden is inspired by the time he spent at French Laundry. Loved this little taste of Cali in Shanghai!
Xaio long bao might be the dumpling du jour, but these are the old school Shanghaise shen jian bao are the jam. Love that crackly pan fried bottom!
Totally feelin that #Shanghai swagger. This room is DOPE. Check out the view of The Bund, and the chockies!!! ❤️😍🇨🇳
My tongue is still tingling from the Sichuan peppercorns in this mapo tofu I learned to make at the Sichuan Cooking School in Chengdu. Fun fact: the word "ma" actually means numbing. This one sure lived up to it. Yeehaw!
A throwback to what was by far my best bite in Beijing--jiang bing. Coincidence my favorite stall's colors were the same as In-N-Out? I think not! Same crunchy iceberg lettuce too, and a "special sauce!" No animal style tho, which was welcome because veggie snacks are hard to come by here.
Tropical fruit + a quick swim is my favorite way to start the day. What's your fave power brekkie peeps?
Shu Qing is my panda hero. She is known for being extremely clever, and her particular talent is finding food. The only difference between us is she gets to take a 10 hour nap after every meal, and has a cuddly little cub. I would very much like both of these things, but right now I'd settle for a catnap and a teddy bear. #jetlag #sickiebear #ineednyquil

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