A gigantic pile of unctuous smoked meats and sausages.
"Oh, who that ever lived and loved can look upon an egg unmoved?" asked the poet and humorist Clarence Day. It's a valid question, one that I asked myself repeatedly at two fantastic brunch contenders this year. Both Heritage Tavern and Tempest Oyster Bar lit up the weekend dining scene in 2014, making this the best after-farmers' market belly-busting season yet. At Heritage, this meant addictive, luxe eggs Benedicts with rösti potatoes; at Tempest, smoked whitefish omelets as well as lobster mac and cheese.
Weekend dim sum at Orient House was a highlight. It's "northern style" dim sum (heavier dough, more bakery-like items). While a pan-fried pork and scallion pastry probably contains enough calories for a week, it's the stuff of dreams, all crunch and umami. Equally crave-worthy are the big bamboo baskets of steamy bao (steamed buns).
La Taguara's churros, small bites of crispy cinnamon goodness dipped into dark chocolate, were surely one of the city's best snacks. Hong Kong Station's to-go orders of crispy pork and duck, sold by the pound, were another favorite.
There was a magical evening at Sol's on the Square, when Tuesday night's spicy Korean barbecue chicken was paired with Caribbean drinks made by then-Sol's bartender Ed Hong and the visiting Ed Hamilton, author of the Ministry of Rum blog. This made for an epic duet.
Things got deliciously weird on Restaurant Muramoto's menu with a return to izakaya-style. Fish face was the top of the list of delectables, eyeball included. The snapper head is a must-try, an accomplished dish of great subtlety, and one of the year's most memorable.
If gigantic piles of unctuous smoked meats and sausages with sauerkraut are more your thing, the Stalzy's Deli beer dinner with Karben4 last January was a Rabelaisian feast. A table covered in ribs, pork belly, kielbasa, veal sausage, new potatoes and cabbage accompanied a bevy of beers. Just when you thought you couldn't eat any more ham, another platter appeared. This was a Wisco-Germanic highlight of the year, which I hope takes place again in 2015.