VBW's Top 10 Savory Bites of 2011
These savory bites made a lasting impression on our Food editor
1) Rabbit and Dumplings at Contigo This delectable skillet of tender rabbit bathed in a savory sauce with toothsome, fresh vegetables under puffy biscuits was wonderful in 95-degree heat and even better in November.
2) Barbecue Short Ribs at J Mueller BBQ John Mueller's father and grandfather built their reputations on brisket and sausage, but John's big, meaty short ribs should help this third-generation pit master make his mark in Austin.
3) Bola Breakfast Pizza at the Downtown Farmers' Market The perfect way to start a Saturday morning of shopping. I'm excited about the rollout of its frozen pizza line.
4) Appetizers at Bartlett's Memories of both the roasted artichokes with rémoulade and the cheese plate with roasted grapes and whisper-thin, house-made crackers stayed with me all year.
5) Terry Conlan's Four-Cheese Fennel Gratin Topped With Toasted Pistachios It was fascinating to see how the seasonal food at my annual potluck birthday party changed when it was held belatedly in November. Chef Conlan's gratin was a showstopper.
6) Pastrami From Noble Pig Friends who are familiar with the best pastrami in the Big Apple swear this product is every bit as good. I don't know about that, but I do know this is great meat!
7) Fresh Flour Tortillas From Blanco Valley Farms Beware: One package of these delicious, delicate tortillas from the Barton Creek Farmers' Market could put you off all other flour tortillas forever.
8) Relleno de Camaron at El Alma Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas' food is every bit as tasty as it is beautifully presented. This stunning plate made me hungry for more.
9) Stuffed Pork Chop at Evangeline Cafe These porcine behemoths are truly remarkable and priced more affordably than comparable dishes at upscale steak houses.
10) Chips and Hot Sauce and Brisket Enchiladas at Vivo Lake Creek The chips and hot sauce were the best I tasted all year, and chef Paul Petersen's brisket enchiladas demonstrate his skill as a pit master and as a purveyor of authentic Tex-Mex dishes.