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Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011 top ten food tour favorites and a big surprise

What began as a simple endeavor to track down some San Francisco food trucks turned into a year long quest to discover new restaurants and dishes Bay Area wide.

The photo montage below is the sum total of what my foodie friend Carl Mindling and I ate at 54 restaurants trying 96 entrees, appetizers, desserts and drinks during our 12 months of Northern California food tours.

But here's a big announcement: As much fun as they were we're pretty darn full so we've decided to take 2012 off when it comes to our monthly food tours. We mutually decided there's only so much food we can eat and next year we're moving on to to a new type of adventure: photo tours! We want to go out and photograph all kinds of cool places to visit and things to do. The range will be wide and hopefully interesting to you! They're also bound to include a breakfast, lunch or dinner so we'll share what we ate but it'll be one restaurant at a time instead of 5 places in one day.

I can't believe we ate the whole thing!

To pay tribute to the great dining experiences we shared, Carl suggested we each create a list of our top ten favorite things from our monthly food adventures in 2011. We chose four of the same items for our respective lists. Check out his Top Ten by CLICKING HERE. I knew this wouldn't be easy but here goes. . .

Artichoke Garlic Herb Bread at Norm's Bakery
"A Pescadero Food Tour: Where and What to Eat Off HWY 1"
Pescadero, CA

Green Curry Noodles at Charlie Hong Kong

Grilled Cheese Sandwich at In-N-Out Burger
"A Bay Area Cheap Eats and Secret Menu Food Adventure"
Mountain View, CA

Oven Roasted Egg, Creamy Leeks, Crescenza Cheese & Truffle Oil Flatbread at Vin Antico
San Rafael, CA

Vegetable Tempura Sushi at Fuki Sushi
"A Palo Alto, Epicurean Food Tour"
Palo Alto, CA

Green Onion Pancakes at O Chamé
"Where to Eat on Fourth Street"
Berkeley, CA

Corkscrew Onion Rings at Corkscrew Cafe
"Eating in the valley or by-the-sea, Carmel is the place to be"
Carmel Valley, CA

Vegetable Gnocchi at Nonni's Bistro
A Surprisingly Delicious Pleasanton Food Tour
Pleasanton, CA

Crimson Rhubarb Tart with Ginger Ice Cream at Chez Panisse Cafe
"Our May, East Bay, Berkeley and Oakland Food Adventure"
Berkeley, CA

Lemon Grass Tofu at Saigon
A Surprisingly Delicious Pleasanton Food Tour
Pleasanton, CA

Honorable Mentions would include:

The Monticello Macaroni & Cheese at Eddie Papas, The Pasta Shop's Cheese Bread, the Bubble and Squeak at Aunt Mary's Cafe, the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake at the Cascade Bar & Grille and the Pumpkin Borani at the Oasis Grille.

The concept was so simple, find new places and things to eat. I think we all get stuck in ruts eating at the same restaurants over and over again. Nothing wrong with that, I have my favorites too, but if you go just a few blocks or cities further, who knows what you'll discover.

In case you missed a few, here is our entire year in review:

January - Gourmet Meat Street Food & Vegetarian Food Truck Favorites

February - Beyond the Beach: A Santa Cruz Food Adventure

March - Cowgirl Creamery: A Northern California Cheese Adventure

April - Beyond Sushi: A South Bay Japanese Food Adventure

May - Our May, East Bay, Berkeley and Oakland Food Adventure

June - A Palo Alto, Epicurean Food Tour

July - A Bay Area Cheap Eats and Secret Menu Food Adventure

August - A Pescadero Food Tour: Where and What to Eat Off HWY 1

September - A Surprisingly Delicious Pleasanton Food Tour

October - Where to Eat: A Willow Glen Food Tour

November - Where to Eat on Fourth Street • Berkeley, CA

December - Eating in the valley or by-the-sea, Carmel is the place to be

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