my favorite meals from 2012

2012 for me was the year of food. Actually, come to think of it, every year for me is a year of food. 

But 2012 was a particularly special year of food. Graduating from culinary school and surrounding myself with food and cooking almost everyday was a big contributor. Getting married, traveling through Italy for our honeymoon, and moving to NYC also played a large part in having some amazing food experiences. 

Here is a list of my 16 favorite meals, restaurants, and recipes of 2012 (in no particular order - but to follow along with the images go left to right, top to bottom).

  • Summertime meals at home //  Our home cooked meals in the summer are my favorite. They usually consist of us sitting outside under the stars enjoying some kind of baked or grilled fish and lots and lots of fresh vegetables from the garden or the local farmers markets. Gosh do I miss summer right about now. 
  • Perilli Restaurant, ROME // During our honeymoon in Italy, Rome was our first stop, and as you can imagine we had some pretty amazing meals while we were there. Our favorite, however, was a not-so-fancy, local restaurant called Perilli. Easily some of the best pasta dishes and artichokes I have ever had.  
  • The Dessert Room @ Il Ricco, CAPRI // As our honeymoon continued, and so did the amazing food. Our next stop on our trip was to the island of Capri. The first lunch we had there was at a beach club and restaurant called Il Ricco which overlooked the Mediterranean. The meal was incredible, however, the real treat was when we were done they asked if we wanted dessert. Our first reaction was to pass, but then the waiter insisted that we took at look at the dessert room before we decided. A dessert room? Really? Heaven on earth. I think I tried one of everything.  
  • Little Yunnan, BEIJING // When we were in Beijing this November, my favortie day was when we toured the city by bike. Hands down the greatest way to see a city, and to build up a big appetite. Towards the end of the tour we were starving and thankfully our tour guide, Alexandra, had the perfect little cozy Schezuan place for us to eat. The food was so good ... so so spicy and authentic. If I ever find myself in Beijing again this would be the first place I would have lunch. 
  • Hartwood, TULUM // The Thursday night before our wedding we invited some of our closest friends to a dinner at Hartwood in the laid-back, beach town of Tulum, Mexico. The owners are a couple from Brooklyn who decided to give up the city life to follow their dream of opening a restaurant by the ocean. The fish they serve is caught the same day and hand picked by the owner. The vegetables all come from local farms. My kind of eating. Hartwood had some impressive press this year, and deservingly so. It is truly a special place. 
  • Mama Agata's Cooking School, RAVELLO // On the last part of our honeymoon, Michael surprised me with a day long cooking lesson with a well known Italian cook at her farmhouse which has been in their family for over 200 years. We learned how to make the most heavenly tomato sauce and the best eggplant parm I have ever had. The meal, nine courses, was out of this world.
  • lunches by Nadia + Angela during a photography retreat, WHISTLER // In August, you may remember I went on a photography retreat taught by Aran Goyoaga. While the experience in itself was amazing, so were the lunches prepared by Nadia and Angela. I still dreams about the panzanella we all enjoyed together on the top of the mountain, or the perfectly assembled and presented baguette sandwiches we ate at the lake house. Snacking on some of Aran's sweet creations once we were done photographing them was such a special treat too.  
  • lunch at Ottolenghi, LONDON (+his new cookbook) // This year I fell in love all over again with Ottolenghi and his food. I finally had the chance have lunch at one of his London restaurants. It was just as I would have imagined, like I was eating the recipes straight off the pages off his cookbook, Plenty, that I love so much. His new cookbook, Jerusalem, came out shortly after that trip and has easily become my favorite of 2012. 
  • pie making class at Haven's Kitchen, NYC // Haven's Kitchen has quickly become one of my favorite places in NYC. There's a beautiful little cafe in the front, a space for recreational cooking classes in the back, and a catering space upstairs. A few months back a good friend of mine suggested we take a pie making class there to sharpen our pie making skills. Well, we did more than sharpen those skills, we definitely learned the tricks to making the absolute best pie crust. Ever. 

Cheers to a happy + healthy + good food filled 2013!