The 4 Best New Things I Ate in 2013

The greatest thing since sliced pizza: the garlic knot at Milo & Olive

The greatest thing since sliced pizza: the garlic knot at Milo & Olive in Santa Monica, California

There are plenty of mouth-watering distractions at Milo & Olive in Santa Monica, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. But I’m here for only one reason: something called a garlic knot. It features plentiful whole cloves of garlic roasted in confit fat, wrapped in pizza dough and then cooked in a wood-fired oven till slightly blistered. I tear this trussed treat apart with my hands, dipping chunks of the soft bread in the warm extra-virgin olive oil and a little dish of fresh tomato sauce they give me to try. Oh, my God, is this good, and only $7 for one of the best new things I’ve eaten in a long time.

Milo & Olive
2723 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, California
Daily, bakery opens at 7 am, restaurant 8 am-11 pm

The name alone, Hangtown Fry, makes me want to put it on this list. A celebratory dish for California gold miners in the late 1800s, it remains a signature San Francisco breakfast: a mixture of oysters, eggs and bacon cooked in a skillet. Brenda’s French Soul Food does an outstanding version, the crispy oysters blending wonderfully with the other ingredients and accompanied by some grits and a feathery biscuit.

Hanging out with some excellent hangtown fry at Brenda's French Soul Food in San Francisco

Hanging out with some excellent hangtown fry at Brenda’s French Soul Food in San Francisco

Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk Street, San Francisco
Monday-Tuesday 8 am-3 pm, Wednesday to Saturday 8 am-10 pm, Sunday 8 am-8 pm

The name, Healthy Bread, isn’t particularly inspired and scarcely prepares me for what is to come at Revelstoke B.C.’s outstanding La Baguette. Likewise, the ingredient list—including kamut flour, flax, coconut and dates—elicits more curiosity than excitement. Still, I’m in the mood for something light, and a $3.50 sandwich of toasted bread with melted cream or three-berry jam in the middle sounds about right. But the first bite blows me away, the wonderfully soft middle offset by the slight crunch of the oat-flake topping. And the flavours! I don’t know if I can ever go back to ordinary toast again.

Mind-blowingly good "healthy bread" toast at La Baguette in Revelstoke, B.C.

Mind-blowingly good “healthy bread” toast at La Baguette in Revelstoke, B.C.

La Baguette
103, 607 Victoria Road, Revelstoke, B.C.
Daily 6:30 am-7 pm

Chicken wings? Really? Well, when they’re a Vietnamese take on the standard bar food and they’re the biggest, juiciest, messiest, best wings I’ve ever tasted, then yes. At Portland’s legendary Pok Pok, the wings are marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried and then tossed with garlic, more fish sauce and my choice of spicy chile flakes. Pok Pok has a lot of other northern Thai choices that could make this new food list: charcoal-grilled eggplant salad, pork belly curry, lemongrass-stuffed game hen…

Fantastic, monster chicken wings with an Asian twist at Pok Pok

Fantastic, monster chicken wings with an Asian twist at Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division Street, Portland, Oregon
Daily 11:30 am-10 pm

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