And the Winner Is: Since the New Times Best of Phoenix supplement comes out next week, I thought I'd get the jump on it by putting together a personalized list of prize-winning platters. Here are my selections for the best dishes I've consumed over the past 12 months. Starters:
Chicken-in-the-blanket at Eddie's Grill--chicken sausage in mustard sage dough, with a cumin-and-pumpkinseed sour cream dipping sauce. Vietnamese crepes at Pearl of Asia--pork-and-shrimp-stuffed pancakes. Gnocchi at Avanti--ethereally light homemade potato-flour pasta dumplings. Corn risotto at Cafe Terra Cotta--fresh corn blended with Havarti cheese and jalapeo peppers. Smoked salmon quesadilla at Vincent Guerithault on Camelback--brilliant combination of flavors, including dill and horseradish cream. Foie gras at Christopher's--an exquisite morsel, garnished with truffle. Mussels at Nina L'Italiana Ristorante--tender bivalves in divine tomato sauce with scents of the Mediterranean. Lobster bisque at Chaparral Restaurant--heavenly lobster cream soup with puff pastry cap and dollop of caviar. Main Dishes:
Seafood nabemono at Mikado--eye-catching blend of seafood, prepared tableside in a subtle broth flavored with soy, sake and seaweed. Medallions of venison at Arizona Kitchen--gorgeous meat, drenched in a heart-stopping blackberry zinfandel cocoa sauce. Albacore tuna at Etienne's Different Pointe of View--perfectly cooked, macadamia-nut-encrusted slab, with mango salsa. Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob at Korean Restaurant--scorchingly hot stone pot layered with rice, veggies, beef, ground nuts and egg. Lamb agrassato at La Fontanella--juicy lamb shank, braised in Marsala wine accompanied by raisins, potatoes and pine nuts. Glendalian sub sandwich at Mike's Golden Crust--fresh-baked Italian loaf stuffed full of beef, grilled scallions, pepper, mushrooms, avocado and melted cheese. Filet mignon and broccoli at Marco Polo Cafe--meltingly tender grilled steak slices, with broccoli and snow peas, in lip-smacking hoisin oyster sauce. Rib-eye steak at Ruth's Chris Steak House--prime beef, sizzled in butter, not for the faint-hearted. Desserts: Pear tart at Rancho Pinot Grill--absolutely addicting, topped with homemade ginger ice cream.
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Chocolate chimichangas at La Pila--deep-fried critters stuffed with rich chocolate, dusted with powdered sugar. Arbol chile fudge brownie at Pion Grill--intense chocolate enhanced by vanilla bean white chocolate sauce. Galaktoboureko at Greekfest--warm custard pie, baked in phyllo dough, scented with cloves and honey. B-52 torte at RoxSand--overpowering chocolate laced with Kahla and Bailey's, topped with crushed pistachios. Poached pear at Such Is Life--low-key but potent, poached in wine, soaked in tequila and triple sec, served in fresh cream.