Eat Like Me: 2009′s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of
‘Shrimp and Grits at West End Bistro’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

Oh, you’re not sick of best-of lists yet? GREAT. Cause here’s another one.

You guys, I ate a lot of food in 2009. And I am a better, happier (fatter) person for it. The best part is, I did it for you – my fine fearless foodie reader – to tell you what you should eat and what you shouldn’t waste your money on. In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been doing this feature at the end of each month called Eat Like Me. It’s a feature that names all the places I’ve eaten that month, and then awards the best dishes, so that when you head out to spend your hard earned dollar, you know what is tasty to order. So I took all of those best dishes from the individual months, considered them nominees, and then named the best-of-the-best. Keep in mind that all of these were fantastic dishes (the best of the month! And considering how many places I’ve eaten since May, that’s saying a lot!) so it was a tough choice – I’d eat ALL of the dishes listed below any time, ever. So to the dishes on the list, and the Chefs who cooked them, you’re all winners in my book. (Aww, group hug!) But what I looked for when naming the best dish of 2009, I looked for dishes that made me go “ooooohhhh yeahhhh” when remembering it. The dish that made me squeal a little on the inside. The dish I’d reach for first when offered them all on a big platter.

Collecting and looking at this data, here are my general thoughts about what I loved in 2009. I love a nice sweet cocktail. I’m a girl, with a sweet tooth, what can I say? Also? I apparently love soup. I didn’t know how much I loved soup until I saw the total list. Fresh, house-baked bread will win me over. There’s quite a bit of cheese on this list – dishes that feature cheese and dishes that had cheese in them. Unique and fun textures also are indicators of a great dish. Bold flavors, and interesting food all have a place here.

But enough talk about the list, let’s get down to it. Without further ado, here’s my ideal meal of 2009 starting with a nice cocktail and ending with dessert.

Photo courtesy of
‘jamie’s manhattan’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

Best: The Magic Mojito at Cafe Atlantico
Runner Up: Fall punch at PS 7’s
Contestants: Mr. Hendricks at H Street Country Club, Champagne cocktail from The Gibson, Peach Tea at Westend Bistro, Honey Kiss at Domaso

Bread Basket
Best: Truffle Butter Rolls at Bourbon Steak
Runner Up: Pita at Zaytinya
Contestants: Hushpuppies and honey butter at Sou’wester, Olive Bread at Inox , Butter Flake Roll at Vidalia, Mixed Basket at Jackson 20

Best: Chilled Tomato Consommé at Westend Bistro
Runner Up: Singapore Slaw at Zentan
Contestants: Butter Lettuce Salad at Zola, Goat Cheese Salad from Belga Cafe,
Chilled corn soup from Charlie Palmer Steak, Spring Carrot Soup at Ardeo, Cheddar and Ale at Commonwealth Gastropub, Cornish Fish Soup at Againn

Best: Carrot Carmel with Virginia Scallop at Evening Star Cafe
Runner Up: Fish and Chips Sushi Roll from SEI
Contestants: Sweetbreads at 1789, Yucca at Masa 14, “Napa”Tizers at Brabo’s Tasting Room, Sweet Potato Fritters at Blue Ridge, Polipetti Carbonizza from Potenza

Best: Filet with Blue Cheese Sauce from Ray’s The Steaks
Runner Up: White Truffle Risotto from Tosca
Contestants: Quiche at Et Voila!, Veal Pasta at Bibiana, Turkey Burger from Good Stuff Eatery, Sticky Balls and Godzirra Roll at Sticky Rice, White Pie at Rustico

Best: Toffee Pudding from Againn
Runner Up: Plum Cobbler from Charlie Palmer Steak
Contestants: Ricotta Cheesecake from Palena, Toffee Chocolate Brownie Cake at Tallula, Oreo Biscotti gelato at Boccato Gelato and Espresso, Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich at Vegetate, Sticky Toffee Pudding at Commonwealth Gastropub

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Nicole Aguirre’

And for posterity’s sake, and to blow my own mind, I decided to collect where I’d been since I’d started writing this feature in May. Since writing the feature I’ve been listing all the places I go each month, so I copy/pasted the lists, alphabetized it, and then numbered it. For the record, the only reason I’m not 8 billion pounds is thanks to my ipod, my Mizuno running shoes, and Janet-the-best-personal-trainer-ever.

[Takes deep breath...]

Where I’ve been from May – December 2009:
1. 1789
2. 701 Restaurant
3. Againn
4. Art & Soul
5. Belga Café
6. Ben’s Chili Bowl
7. Bibiana
8. Blue Ridge
9. Boccato Gelato
10. Boulevard Woodgrill
11. Bourbon Steak
12. Brabo
13. Brabo’s Tasting Room
14. Busboys & Poets
15. Cafe Asia
16. Cafe Atlantico
17. Charlie Palmer Steak
18. Chart House
19. Co Co Sala
20. Commonwealth Gastropub
21. Dairy Godmother
22. Degrees Bar at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown
23. Domaso
24. Earl’s Sandwiches
25. Eat Bar
26. Eatonville
27. Equinox
28. Et Voila!
29. Evening Star Café
30. Eventide
31. Faccia Luna
32. Firefly
33. Fortune of Seven Corners
34. Georgia Brown’s
35. Good Stuff Eatery
36. Guajillo
37. Indigo Landing
38. Inox
39. Jackson 20
40. Jaleo
41. Johnny’s Half Shell
42. Kaz Sushi Bistro
43. Kellari
44. Kora
45. Levante’s
46. Los Tios
47. Marvin
48. Masa 14
49. Minh’s
50. Momoyama
51. Morton’s Steakhouse
52. Obelisk
53. Oval Room
54. Palena Café
55. Ping Pong Dim Sum
56. Piola
57. Pizzaria Paradisio
58. Poste
59. Potenza
60. PS 7’s
61. Ray’s The Steaks
62. Restaurant 3
63. Ristorante Tosca
64. Room 11
65. Rustico
66. Science Club
67. SEI
68. Social 14
69. Sonoma
70. Sou’Wester
71. Sticky Rice
72. Tabard Inn
73. Talulla
74. Taqueria National
75. The Gibson
76. Thomas Sweet
77. Vegetate
78. Veritas
79. Vidalia
80. Vinifera
81. Westend Bistro
82. Zengo
83. Zentan
84. Zola Wine Kitchen

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

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