1. Toasted cakes. From Blackbird's Tim Dahl I had a brilliant, crispy-on-the-outside, warm-and-soft-on-the-inside toasted gingerbread cake (topped with caraway ice cream and roasted pears). Boka pastry chef Elizabeth Dahl (Tim's wife) also served an exquisite toasted cake, but this time it was tarragon (topped with candied fennel and citrus and olive oil ice cream). This is a trend I'd like to see break out of the Dahl family.
2. My dream three-course meal. I ate more than just carbs at Art Smith's newish place, Table 52, but if I could go back and reconstruct an insanely indulgent but ideal meal, it would consist of 3 things: his warm, flaky goat cheese and herb biscuits straight from their little cast-iron skillet, the completely perfect three-cheese macaroni, and the very well publicized (and deservedly so) Hummingbird Cake, a tall banana layer cake with cream cheese frosting. Art Smith was Oprah's personal chef, and honestly, with food like this, I don't know how she could ever keep the weight off.