Countdown of the Top 25 U.S. Dishes of the Year
I wish I knew how many pounds of food I ate this year. Forget about my two trips to Europe where I easily ate my weight. In the U.S. alone, besides going to my typical New York haunts on a regular basis, I took a number of trips to Boston, a trip to Miami, a trip to Chicago, spent nearly two weeks in San Francisco on three different business trips, visited Los Angeles twice, and most recently had a three-day eating binge in Washington, D.C. One would think that with a list of cities as long as my arm I would have eaten in every great restaurant in the country. But even an iron man like me couldn't pull that off, and I had to settle for only eating in most of them.
Recently I was thinking about what information I could extract from the past year's dining experiences that readers would find useful. I always write an article called "My Year in Review of Dining," but based on when I published last year's article, this year's version isn't due to appear until sometime in April. Then I thought of making a list of the top restaurants, like Steve's list of the groovy restaurants of the year or something like that. But that isn't exactly new information either. The ratings for a restaurant are posted at the end of each review. What's so difficult about putting them in order? So after a few days of mulling it over, I had a brainstorm and I came up with the idea of compiling a countdown of my top 25 U.S. dishes of the year. First, it's a ranking that people don't normallly see—restaurants and their chefs are usually honored by a newspaper or guidebook awarding them stars or a numerical score. But I also thought that this was a different way of honoring a chef's excellence. Especially since the number of chefs who are working in the U.S. today, and who deserve recognition, is growing every day.