Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top Bites of 2013

Looking over Table Hopping's List of 2013 Restaurant Opening and Closings made me reminisce about some pretty good eats and salivate over those I haven't gotten around to checking out yet. Since the end of the year is a time to reflect, here are our "Best of" lists for 2013: 

Best new restaurant openings: 
  • The Hollow Bar + Kitchen: We can't rave enough about this place. It's by far our favorite new restaurant of 2013 and home to the best 518 burger. In fact, J and I both agreed at once that the Hollow Burger was the best bite of 2013 when All Over Albany approached us asking what was our favorite local thing to eat this year: AOA's Favorite Local Foods 2013
  • La Empanada Llama: Fried edible pillows of heaven. The savory empanadas are just as good as the sweet dessert ones. Don't forget to ask for the green sauce--it's a magical blend of garlic and cilantro that elevates each delicious fried bite. It's hard to pick our favorite empanadas but the spinach and cheese and nutella with banana are pretty awesome. 
  • Kim's Vietnamese Restaurant: There's no doubt that we're pho-natics and while we didn't quite see eye to eye with the TU's review, we still stand by that it's one of best pho in the Capital Region, at least from a Vietnamese perspective. 

Sad to see closed:
  • All Good Bakers: We love butter and while the vegan pastries weren't our cup of tea, AGB sure made killer grilled cheese sandwiches. I'll miss the Truffle Shuffle (a grilled baguette with Truffle Falls Cows Milk Cheese and lemon raspberry rhubarb jam). 
  • Shirley's Cafe: Poutine! This was the only place that made poutine with squeeky cheese curds and authentic Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. It was a taste of home for me. It's since been reincarnated as The Montreal Poutine Truck.
  • Yip's Chinese Restaurant: We only dined here a couple of times and while the Chinese food was mediocre, for whatever reason we loved their fried dumplings. The dumpling dough was chewy and crispy and the citrus soy sauce was the perfect dipping sauce. 

Looking forward to trying the most: 
  • Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar: Looks like All Good Baker's Chef Nick is now at Umana and the street food menu looks very promising. We're also looking forward to checking out the Sunday brunch menu. 
  • Rain Modern Chinese: Dim sum is becoming more and more popular and we love it. Our standby joints, Ala Shanghai and Hong Kong Bistro & Bakery, are both favorite of ours. While "modern" takes on classics can go horribly wrong or absolutely delicious, I'm still looking forward to tasting fusions like the foie gras soup dumplings. I have a fat tooth and there's no shame in it. 
  • Flavors of India: Now that J has a taste and hankering for Indian food, I'm looking forward to going here and of course trying the Indo-Chinese menu. The Chili Paneer and Gobi Manchurian has piqued my interest. 

Not so impressed openings: 

  • Bonefish Grill: Out of curiosity we went to a chain restaurant and were thoroughly disappointed. The bang bang shrimp had no bang. For a dish with schiracha, we at least expected a bit of kick. Plus for the price we paid, we expected a meal that was more than average. Both our fish dish didn't have much flavor and was just sad-looking and sad-tasting. However, service was decent. We would have much rather spent that money splurging on a boat of sushi. 

We've enjoyed being the new kids on the blogging block and are thankful for the positive support we've received from other regional food bloggers. We look forward to sharing more culinary adventures in the coming year! Thanks 2013 for making our bellies happy and cheers to more good eats in 2014! 

1 comment:

  1. FYI even though YIPS is closed, the new owners are maintaining the same chinese menu and recipes as before. though its been hit or miss from my experiences.