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It is that time of the year again! You know, where we reminiscence on the best dishes we ate in 2013. Last year, we focused on the “Top Ten Dishes of 2012” but this year we wanted to have a few of our industry friends share their “most memorable dish” of 2013! It didn’t need to be the best thing you ate this year (because that would be very hard); just the one that remained on the brain several weeks later.

Felice Simmons Sloan, Urban Swank

The Dish: Duck Confit Sandwich
Restaurant: Local Foods

I guess you can say it was the year of the sandwich for me, because there were two that I could not stop thinking about or talking about. However, this one came out on top! I mean duck confit, aioli, and melted Brie all slammed up against one another between two pieces of bread…REALLY! Yes folks, that right there is what I call sandwich UTOPIA.

Eric Sandler, CultureMap

The Dish: Smoked Beef Ribs
Restaurant: Killen’s BBQ

I’ve had a good year food-wise, with lots of memorable meals & spectacular dishes. While it’s tempting to pick a course from a tasting menu or one-off special, the truth is that there’s only one dish I’ve been willing to drive 30 minutes and wait in line for an hour or more to consume. That’s the smoked beef rib at Killen’s BBQ. Smoky, tender, fatty, it embodies all of the qualities that make barbecue one of my favorite things to eat.

Manuel “Manny” De la Mora, Urban Swank

The Dish: Como en el 50
Restaurant: Tango & Malbec 

One of the more memorable dishes I had this year was during my wedding anniversary dinner. My wife and I had caught a glimpse of Tango & Malbec passing through the Galleria a couple of times so we decided to try it out and made a reservation for our anniversary. The ambiance of the restaurant was great and we decided to order the Como en el 50, which is essentially a sampler of multiple meats.  When the dish came out we were both impressed with the presentation (it came out on a flaming dish) and the food was excellent.

Leigh Evans, Girl Around Town

The Dish: Prime Boneless Short-Rib Steamed Buns
Restaurant: Nara

My most memorable dish this year were the Prime Boneless Short-Rib Steamed Buns from Nara. I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the Korean fusion restaurant. Everything I tasted there was some of the best food I’ve put in my mouth all year, but the steamed buns win as tip top dish – it’s what I imagine heaven tastes like.

Shanna Jones, Urban Swank

The Dish: S’mores Cappuccino
Restaurant: Fleming’s Steakhouse

I do this every year, but my most memorable dishes always involve chocolate! The super sweet and decandent, S’mores Cappuccino, is really something you have once a year. If you are watching your calorie intake, then stay clear; this is not the dessert for you. However, if you are like me and could care less, then try this on for size. Served in a giant Cappuccino cup, it is layered with torched marshmallow, sea-salted graham cracker crumbles, and as much molten fudge as one could stand. Want now.

Jennifer Molina, JennUncorked

The Dish: The Reuben
Restaurant: Brooklyn Athletic Club

Don’t judge, but THE Reuben at BAC is hands down my fave…and I have cravings. From the perfectly crisp marbled rye bread, to the inside goodness of the sauerkraut and stacked corned beef with just enough 1000 island dressing…Ok, I’m drooling again just describing this ridiculously amazing sandwich. I can’t even finish a complete sentence! Plus the fried egg adds the perfect complement of salty crunch! Whabaaaam…order up!

Dominique McGhee, Urban Swank

The Dish: Quinoa Falafel Burger
Restaurant: Amazon Grill

One of my most memorable dishes of the year was the Quinoa Falafel Burger at Amazon grill. For me, this dish/burger was memorable for multiple reasons. I was able to enjoy this dish with 3 people who have helped me in some way in life and during the last couple of years as a good blogger. David Cordua was the second person that I ever interviewed for my blog and I was now covering his new menu at Amazon Grill for my first writeup in 002Houston. It was great to be able to share that moment and growth with him as well as Jenn who has been both a friend and help along the way. Not to mention, the most important part that you care about…the burger really rocked!! This is a great vegetarian option that is loaded with flavor and is very satisfying. I would definitely recommend this to everyone.

Hank Lewis, Hank On Food

The Dish: Bobotie
Restaurant: Peli Peli

After doing A LOT of thinking and reflecting, the dish I chose as the most memorable was called a Bobotie, served at Peli Peli in Vintage Park, off of 249 and Louetta. The Bobotie is a cottage pie representing South Africa’s cultural heritage that contains multiple layers–a layer of curry at the bottom, for the Indian influence in South Africa, different meats and seasonings in the next layers representing the Netherlands and England, and topped with a Mango Chutney representing the African culture.  It was spicy, pungent, meaty, savoury, crunchy and a bit sweet with some heat. This dish, like all the main dishes at Peli Peli, are served with a bright red spicy and sweet Pepadew fruit and crunchy cabbage with savoury fennel on the side.

Joanna O’Leary, Urban Swank

The Dish: Baklava Cheesecake
Restaurant: Cafe Pita

I enjoyed many, many things (pirjan! musaka!) at Cafe Pita, Houston’s premier Bosnian restaurant, but eight months later I am still dreaming about the baklava cheesecake. Chef Omer at some point made the brilliant decisions to combine two already luscious desserts and the result is a decadent blend of rich cream, crisp honeyed pastry, and crunchy walnuts.  One of the finest fusion confections I have ever tasted.

Darla Guillen, Eater Houston

The Dish: Pork Tenderloin
Restaurant: La Balance

The dish that most stands out was the pork tenderloin with plum Bordelaise that I had at La Balance. It’s a shame that chef Jose Hernandez parted ways with that little Cinco Ranch restaurant, but I’ll be watching closely to see where he’s headed next. Update: Chef Hernandez is now the Executive Sous Chef at Etoile.

The Urban Swank Girls

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