No questions about it, my best breakfast this year was at bills in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. From the fantastic flat whites to the amazing ricotta hot-cakes, the delicious sweet corn cake to the homemade oatmeal, the breakfast was amazing and the service friendly. How I wish there was a bills near me!
|BEST IN THE PHILIPPINES|
Since I’m from Manila, I had to include two restaurants that really impressed me back home: Antonio’s and Cafe Juanita. Antonio’s is a no-brainer and on most foodies best list. It made the drive up to Tagaytay worth it and their fine dining and Colonial atmosphere is just the right mix of fancy and simple. Cafe Juanita is a bit off the beaten track but also worth the drive to Pasig for home-cooked Filipino food. This is the kind of food I crave while living abroad. It felt like I was back at my lola’s (grandmother’s) house having one of those long leisurely Sunday lunches.
|BEST IN SOUTHEAST ASIA|
Here in Bali, a restaurant that that’s a favorite for local food is Cafe Degan for classic Javanese cuisine in a classic wooden joglo (wooden house). Simple food and friendly service. They also have half their menu dedicated to Thai dishes as the chef used to work in Thailand. Whether you order from the Thai side of the menu or the Javanese side, you won’t be disappointed.
In Singapore, where I was almost every six weeks, my cousin took me to Ippudo where we had a fantastic noodle lunch – flavorful broth, al dente ramen, chunky pork belly – everything was good.
Two new places we visited this year were Bangkok and Beijing. In Bangkok, I had my first taste of the real flavors of Thai cuisine. I tried many types of Thai food and enjoyed most of them but it was chef David Thompson’s fine dining take on classic Thai street food at Nahm that left me with a clear idea of how sophisticated Thai food is.
In Beijing, we had the best Beijing duck (aka Peking duck) I’ve ever tasted at Made in China – extra crispy non-fatty skin with either sugar for dipping (a novelty!) or the traditional Hoisin-pancake-scallion-cucumber roll. And it wasn’t just the duck, the other dishes were also outstanding and it was the best Chinese meal I’d had all year.
|BEST IN THE AMERICAS|
In the Americas, we start down South where we made our usual pilgrimage to Buenos Aires and where surprisingly, we didn’t eat at our favorite El Mirasol as often as we usually do. Instead, we rediscovered a Recoleta classic – Munich (or as the locals call it – “el munitch”) where we had dinner almost every night and never got tired of their repertoire of classic dishes – a perfectly grilled matambre (pork steak), crispy papas paille (shoestring fries), a simple green salad, the retro Chicken Maryland and Chicken Kiev plus lots of other home-style dishes from the past and the impeccable service from the white-jacketed old-timers just added to the atmosphere.
Last but not least, we go back to breakfast where I just have to mention the best coffee I’ve had all year (lots of close seconds – Sambalatte in Las Vegas, bills in Sydney and Liberica in Jakarta) but this one topped my list and made my mornings better – Blue Bottle Coffee. The coffee was prepared with so much love and they took their time getting it right which just goes to show that after all these years, San Francisco’s foodie ways haven’t changed, it’s only gotten better. And with that I look forward to another year of eating and traveling. I hope that 2012 will be as food-filled as 2011 was. Happy Gourmet Travels!