Our Favorite Bites of 2017
We did a lot of eating last year.
That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, of course, since that's pretty much our job/reason for living. We got together some of the Olio team to discuss their 2017 highlights.
Every time I’m away from St. Louis I always make a point to eat sushi or fresh fish. This year I dined at Kai Zan in Chicago’s Humboldt Park area and can confidently say it was one of the best sushi experiences I’ve ever had.
Back home, I’ve been a repeat visitor at Mac’s Local Eats more times than I’m proud to admit. There is nothing better than a good burger and this is hands down my first choice for one in St. Louis. My order is two smashed beef patties with a pork patty in between, I always leave the dressing up to the chef and have never been disappointed. Oh, and the raclette cheese fries at Frankly Sausages.
For me, 2017 was the year of the goat. In May, I died and went to Michelin-starred pasta heaven at Tail Up Goat in DC. Though the three—yes, three—seasonal pastas I sampled were incredible, the standout was the asparagus appetizer with cured egg yolk, which is a fascinating concept (and mesmerizing Bon Appetit video). In September, I finally made it to the famed Girl & the Goat in Chicago, which lived up to high expectations with adventurously flavored small plates. It also introduced me to a glorious bread I didn’t know I needed in my life, which tasted exactly like a baked potato, down to the sour cream-esque chive butter. Back in Nashville, TKO wowed with the juiciest fried chicken I’ve had cooked to order outside of my granny’s kitchen. And in a city with many strong brunch contenders, Josephine has inched its way to the top of my list with help from its cast iron sticky buns.
I think 2017 was the year I ate the least amount of 'fine food' in the last decade of my life and I'm not mad about it. Of course, I had some amazing food at Sardella, Sidney Street, Henrietta Red, Vicia, and so on, but the dishes that have stuck with me the most were much more casual.
The ribs at Grace Meat & Three are the best ribs I've had in my life. Sweet, smoky, and cooked absolutely perfectly. Balkan Treat Box's collaboration pide with The Stellar Hog, called The Stellar Pide—their normal, incredible pide, but instead of ground meat, it's topped with chopped brisket from the Stellar Hog. Incredible. The Mac's Local Eat dry-aged smashed burgers, basically taking Carl's Drive-In and showing them what can happen with a little chef know-how. Any donut at Five Daughters in Nashville. After that, it's a toss up between Nudo House's Shroomed Out mushroom ramen and Publico's baked oysters with corn custard, crushed tortilla chips, smoked trout caviar, and radish (okay, that one is a little fancy).