Howard’s Favorites of 2011

The Laphing at Phayul

It’s hard to believe 2011 is almost over. I’ve eaten so much food over the past 12 months that it’s hard to narrow down the best of what I ate. This was also the year that I started writing for Serious Eats: New York, and you can see my best-of round-up for them by clicking here. You can see my favorites of what I blogged here, after the jump.

Favorite Trip That Finally Happened: Flushing
Donny and I have been talking about going to the food courts in Flushing for years, and this year we finally did it.

These are an early contender for best-of-the-year dish, for me. Served at room temperature, the thick, chewy noodles are doused in a fiery chili oil, and paired with crisp, raw bean sprouts and zucchini.

Favorite Preview of a Brunch That No Longer Exists
On a visit to Paulie Gee’s he gave me a preview of his brunch pizza, topped with eggs. It’s a real shame the brunch is no longer being served.

The trick, Paul said, was to find just the right spot in the oven so that the pizza and the eggs cook at the same time. The pizzaiolo that night did the trick perfectly. The eggs tasted fresh and were cooked beautifully, with the yolks barely running out when I bit into them.

Favorite Local Business: Culture
With so many businesses in Park Slope closing, it was great to see one succeed, particularly one with such a great product.

I was blown away by how good it all was. The frozen yogurt actually tastes like yogurt, which I think is an incredible feat.

Favorite Discovery: Phayul
Thanks to the Village Voice, I discovered Phayul, an authentic Tibetan eatery in Jackson heights.

It took me a few tries to get the right pressure with the chopsticks so that I wouldn’t cut through them but wouldn’t allow them to slither out of my grasp. There’s not a lot of taste to them, even when doused in the chili sauce, but the cold jelly had a great texture and it was really fun to eat.

Best Two Lunches On The Same Day: Diner & The Roebling Tea Room
During my vacation I made it my mission to eat out as many times as possible. On one of those days I ate two lunches in a row, and they were both great.

Here the fried eggs were sitting on a bed of hominy, kale, roasted tomatoes, and kabocha squash. It was a masterful symphony of flavors and textures.

Favorite Single Bite: Kinder Egg at Comerç 24
During my time in Barcelona I ate at Comerç 24, serving cutting edge food like the Kinder Egg.

I dug through the custard-like first layer to find a rich mix of warm eggs, butter and truffles underneath. This was a dish that demands your attention, and is calculated to induce maximum pleasure.

Also good this year: fried pizza at Forcella, my birthday dinner at Barbuto, amazing donuts at Dough, breakfast at Cafe Sabarsky.

Thanks for reading this year, and I’ll see you in 2012!


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