Each December I compile a Wish List of restaurants that I haven’t yet been to that I hope to get to during the following year. Sometimes those hopes have real potential for becoming fulfilled and sometimes (mostly) they remain mere pipe dreams. In 2010 I managed to make it to 50% of the restaurants on my 2010 Wish List. I only made it to 3 of my top 10 on my wish list for 2011. Based on that, it might be easy to conclude that I didn’t get around much or that I didn’t have a great year of dining. Both conclusions couldn’t be further from the truth. I had what is likely my greatest year ever dining in 2011. I did get to 4 out of the remaining 5 from 2010, all but one of which carried over into 2011. The one that carried over that I still haven’t been to is The Fat Duck. At this rate I may never get there!
Here is my List for 2011 with those made in bold and italicized.
- Restaurante Paco Morales – Hotel Ferrero.
- The Sportsman
- The Fat Duck
- Avenues under Chef Curtis Duffy
- Red Medicine
The Sportsman and The Fat Duck remain high on my interest list. I just have to figure out how I can get back to England!
Much like when Paul Liebrandt was at Gilt in NYC, I hesitated too long and I missed the opportunity to eat at Avenues under Chef Curtis Duffy. He’s opening his own restaurant in 2012. As with Corton, I don’t think I’ll wait so long this time.
The saddest missed opportunity on my list was Shola Olunloyo’s highly anticipated Speck/Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia. Alas, shortly before it was to open, relationships disintegrated and it never came to pass. Regardless, whatever Shola does is on my “must get to” list.
I hoped to get back to South Carolina this year, but I just couldn’t make it happen. My hopes remain high for 2012.
Ironically, I was in the Basque Country and had to choose between Elkano and Etxebarri, which had been on my list for a while before, to have actually been replaced by Elkano for 2011. When push came to shove though, my curiosity for Etxebarri won out. I still really want to get to Elkano, but Etxebarri was no mistake.
I just missed Red Medicine in 2010, having been in LA just prior to its (delayed) opening. If I can get to LA in 2012, I’ll get to Red Medicine.
My list for 2012 is coming soon. There will be some holdovers, but a number of new restaurants as well as my culinary imagination has been taken to parts of the world that it previously had not been.