My Best Bites of 2013

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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!

Another Austin highlight was the cocktails and bar bites at Pulutan @quiaustin. My fave was the Filipino kinilaw -- a bright, tropical yellowtail ceviche made with hearts of palm, coconut milk, cilantro, red onion, lime, chiles, and coconut vinegar. I was so inspired by the unique, sweet acidity of the coco vinegar that I just ordered some and can't WAIT to cook with it at home! Further proof that coconuts are the superior fruit...and that Austin is a great food city. (Photo via @quiaustin) #discoveramerica #foodstoriesusa
Had an amazing time checking out @keithkreeger's stunning studio in Austin. He does earthenware for big dogs like @quiaustin @giadadelaurentiis @olamaieaustin and @uchiaustin. I swooped up some of these matte black and gold beauties (+ a few others from his super talented apprentice Eliana Bernard) and can't WAIT to play with them in the kitchen back home! Yay, new toys!!! #discoveramerica #foodstoriesusa
The fried chicken Sunday supper at Dai Due is going down as one of my top meals of the year for sure! Their succulent yogurt marinated/wet brined fried chicken with crispy, savory breading is so frickin finger lickin good. And those jalapeño butter pickles need to be jarred and sold, stat. Plus they serve local tipples like my new fave, a super rare, elegantly floral IPA from Lone Pint called Yellow Rose. Jesse and Tamara are KILLING IT and have really created something special -- a true Texas gem. (Photo via @daidue) #discoveramerica #foodstoriesusa
Big ol' beef ribs, mac n cheese, green beans, pickles and a Lone Star consumed to the tunes of the great Johnny Cash -- as it should be when in you're Texas. #discoveramerica #foodstoriesusa
Migas, chorizo, and Wrangler breakfast tacos at Torchy's, plus an epic game of ping pong with @mkretovics. Austin, you are GOOD. Keep it up and you're gonna have yourself a repeat customer! #discoveramerica #foodstoriesusa
Straight off the plane to Austin, we stopped by the incredible La Barbecue. Thankfully it was pouring rain so there was still 'que and free keg beer left at 5 pm -- a miracle for this insanely popular spot. Pitmaster John Lewis just happened to be around stoking the smoker, and he took some time to show us around, talk shop, share some off the radar restaurant recs -- and couple shots of Fireball. Couldn't ask for a warmer welcome to Texas! #discoveramerica #foodstoriesusa
I’m celebrating a Great Big Birthday today, and can’t help but reflect on the blessings life’s brought me: the incredible places I’ve been; the seemingly insurmountable walls I've hit but found the courage to climb; and the loving friends and family that have been there through it all. Instead of being overcome with the fear of getting “old,” I'm excited to see what experiences the future has to offer, what new people will cross my path, and how they will shape me into the woman I will become. From where I stand, it's not about getting older, it's about getting closer to Greatness.
Wanna learn to make succulent, juicy Chinese pork dumplings like a pro? Check out the video @simmerdowntown and I did in China with the kind chefs @waldorfastoria and you'll be makin jiaozi in no time! Link is in my profile.
Playin it Ku with the redonkulously good Taiwanese shave ice @SLSlasvegas. The coconut was seriously some of the best I've had... impossibly light, fluffy and airy with a taste of the tropics. Their mochi literally are amaze balls. Yet another Vegas must-eat with @letmeeatcake @tybentsen.
Just two badass babes eatin some brisket...nothing to see here! Until the series for @younghollywood @Hulu comes out, that is. Always a pleasure getting goofy and eating good food with you, @nikkinovak.
Hand pulled noodle action at Ku Noodle by @chefjoseandres @slslasvegas @vegas. The belt noodles, Cantonese long beans and sui mai are SO flipping good!! Be sure to save room for Taiwanese shave ice, too.
Caviar tacos topped with uni? Yeah baby! Not gonna lie, @roserabbitlie nails old school Vegas with a modern twist -- and incredible entertainment to boot. Definitely a MUST in Sin City!
Oh Cleo, you're always a stunner, no matter the city.
Black bass en ecailles with baby spinach and a pomegranate vinaigrette -- part of the @josiahcitrin's incredibly beautiful tasting menu at Melisse for @POMwonderful. Had a blast picking up the camera and really shooting for the first time in a while. This was one of my fave shots.
Check out the latest in our #WomenInFood video series, where we feature chef Niki Nakayama of N/Naka. She explains the reverent culinary art form of kaiseki and the development of her professional skills as a female in traditional Japanese kitchens.  And did I mention there's #uni?
How about some game meat for game day, guys? My bison chili with #sriracha and #beer proves why bison is currently one of my fave proteins. Also in the lineup -- stoneground cornbread and honey butter. Recipe is up on z blog.
Food friends, help! How do you get a red lip to stay on when you're an eater? I have finally (kinda) grown up and realized I might need to up my game beyond Chapstick and it keeps coming off. What's a girl to do?!? ????????????
#Thisisfall right here folks. Chanterelles and pomegranate arils atop some seared hangar steak. Leftovers lunch never looked so good! Thx for the inspiration @dashandbella @food52 @butchersandbarbers and @pomwonderful!
Why yes, @rachelleblanco, I would love to share a @BottegaLouie violet macaron with you!
Take a peek at the dizzyingly delicious pastries at the new Gjusta bakery, like this olive oil lemon poppyseed cake w blueberry cream cheese swirl. Link to a gallery full of @nicole_rucker's #sweets, smoked treats, and more in my profile.

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