The 10 Best Things I Ate in 2012

The 10 Best Things I Ate in 2012
©Michael McNamara Photography

As 2012 comes to a close, it's time to look back on some of the most all-around stellar meals I had the pleasure of consuming in the Valley.

See also: - 9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix - 10 (Okay, 11) Best First Tastes of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

From the fancy to the more familiar, here are 10 my most memorable bites of 2012.

- Sushi from ShinBay

There are Japanese restaurants all over the Valley, but once you've dined at this 2012 James Beard Award semifinalist in Scottsdale, helmed by chef Shinji Kurita, you've reached the top of the mountain. Kurita's omakase, or chef's choice dinners, are nothing short of elegant works of art, meticulously prepared, and made with fresh, seasonal delicacies. And its final selection before dessert, the sushi, is especially impressive. The wild-caught fish hailing mostly from Japan and features the most delicate flavor. It's an indulgence worth every cent.

The 10 Best Things I Ate in 2012
Laura Hahnefeld

Ravioli from Dolce Vita Italian Grocer

With a penchant for top-notch ingredients and a way of turning the simple into the sublime, it's no wonder the ravioli from this new Italian grocery and deli in east Mesa is so exceptional. Courtesy of Walter and Marti Bergamaschi, owners of the adjoining Gelato Dolce Vita, the scratch-made ravioli is lusciously soft and may be filled with anything from ricotta and spinach drizzled in a silky butter and sage sauce, to heady garlic and butter, to seasonal butternut squash. Delicious.

The 10 Best Things I Ate in 2012
Laura Hahnefeld

Haemul Soon Du Bu at Café Ga Hyang

Fantastic Korean food that stays up late makes this gem in Glendale an anomaly. But no matter what time of day, the haemul soon du bu, a hot and spicy Korean stew made with seafood, vegetables, and silky pieces of tofu, is always a pleaser. It is an angry dish at first - arriving at the table steaming, boiling, and cooking the jiggling raw egg cracked on top of it. However, after it cools and the rice is added, which, like the tofu, soaks up the broth and cuts the heat, it's a deeply flavorful dish that makes its eater very happy, indeed.

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