Here, editor in chief Dana Cowin reveals six incredible meals she had in 2011, and restaurant editor Kate Krader spotlights five top breakfast spots.
F&W’s Editors Picks
Dana Cowin’s Favorite Restaurant Meals of the Year
I got to go to Grant Achatz’s genius new restaurant, which changes every few months, and experience Thailand—including pad Thai and green papaya salad. nextrestaurant.com.
I made a pilgrimage to Denmark just to eat at chef René Redzepi’s visionary Noma. The experience was pure pleasure—from the service to the 13 courses—and it made me rethink what I know about food, restaurants and the natural world. noma.dk.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
Blumenthal’s restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental has few of the hallmarks of his molecular gastronomy. Instead, the menu focuses on historical dishes, like a saffron risotto circa 1390. dinnerbyheston.com
The magnificent blending of French technique, Asian aesthetic and international ingredients led to an extraordinary meal, with a different tea for each course.
Red Rooster, New York City
Food, art, style and scene all come together at Marcus Samuelsson’s excellent Harlem comfort-food spot. The Yard Bird fried chicken is perfect. redroosterharlem.com
Tertulia, New York City
Seamus Mullen’s super tapas include specials like smoky mackerel from the must-see custom grill. I love going at lunch when it’s quiet, and you can have an excellent fried seafood sandwich. tertulianyc.com.
Kate Krader’s Favorite Breakfast Spots of the Year
The Breslin. © Melissa Hom
The Breslin, New York City
Grapefruit doesn’t often play a starring role in my best breakfasts. But at the Breslin (which is better known for whole suckling pigs at night than citrus fruit in the a.m.), they have an amazing version topped simply with ginger & mint—as well as sublime ricotta pancakes with marinated berries.
Huckleberry, Los Angeles
If you can make it to Huckleberry by 11 a.m., which I finally did, you can take advantage of the breakfast menu. It features phenomenal green eggs and ham: basil-pesto-topped fried eggs with prosciutto, all on an English muffin.
Bacon-butterscotch doughnuts are at the very top of Nightwood’s brunch menu, and they’re absolutely scrumptious. If I could, in good conscience, eat a whole breakfast of just these doughnuts, I would.
Mile End, Brooklyn
As hard as it is to face a crowd of ravenous Brooklyn locals first thing in the morning, the reward is worth it. "Eggs mish mash" is a scrambled-egg dish packed with house-made lox or salami (it’s a super-hard choice). A more meat-oriented friend of mine goes crazy for the house-smoked meat hash.
Empire State South, Atlanta
The breakfast menu here isn’t big (in fact, it’s tiny). But the build-your-own-sandwich option makes it possible to have a fresh-baked biscuit with fried chicken and pimento cheese—add scrambled eggs for an extra $1. Plus, the restaurant serves Counter Culture coffee.