Wish List 2011 – A Look Back

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.

  1. Mugaritz
  2. Restaurante Paco Morales –  Hotel Ferrero.
  3. The Sportsman
  4. The Fat Duck
  5. Next
  6. Speck
  7. Husk
  8. Avenues under Chef Curtis Duffy
  9. Elkano
  10. 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Country and had to choose between Elkano and Etxebarri, which had been on my list for a while before, to have actually been replaced by Elkano for 2011.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.


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2 Responses to Wish List 2011 – A Look Back

  1. Shola Olunloyo is my Uncle, I don’t know what you have been reading lately but Shola does not cook anymore, he is currently awaiting trial for assaulting my mother over an interview she did about him losing his restaurant with Speck, you should do more research on this before making such a list.

    • docsconz says:

      I know nothing about your allegations nor are they relevant to what I have written and posted here. Speck had been on my wish list for 2011. It never came to pass, leading to my great disappointment, since I know Shola Olunloyo to be an outstanding cook. As such, whenever Shola does open a restaurant, it will be on my wish list.

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