Interesting that a lot of the comments have focused on the how, and why, and the with whom of the food…as opposed to the overall knock-your-socks off of the dish itself. I will continue in that vein.
First, just a couple weeks ago with my daughter at Del Posto in NYC. I received a timely offer for a “dinner with Lidia” As it turned out my daughter had just written a blog post for a course she is taking at Rutgers talking about how Lidia was her favorite chef, so in her words:
"I didn’t watch much TV growing up. We only had one in the house, and my dad was usually watching sports or some crime show that I was too afraid to watch. Sometimes, though, we would watch the cooking channel. Lidia reminded me of my aunts, so she was my favorite. I loved to watch her effortlessly roll out pasta dough on her spianatoia. “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” was probably the first (polite) Italian phrase I learned.
I have a picture somewhere of me dressed up as a gladiator, holding a sword, with Lidia on in the background. I think it is a very fitting picture. I also have this picture from the time I met Lidia at a book signing. I cried a little.
I think I’ve read every single one of Lidia’s cookbooks, cover to cover. I idolize her a bit. When I told my cousin, who worked in the restaurant business, that my dream job was to work for Lidia, he told me that she had a reputation in the industry for being notoriously difficult to work with. It burst my bubble, but only a little bit. I still fantasize(d) about travelling through Italy with Lidia, trying different dishes and doing research for her many restaurants and cookbooks…"
At that dinner (which btw, was ridiculously good from soup to nuts) they served 100 layer lasagne. When we saw that on the menu we both thought there was a bit of hyperbole involved, but no…we stopped counting at 50
There would be my single favorite dish of 2016.
My single favorite NJ dish would be homemade tautog (blackfish) ceviche. The fish was caught with my son, and the recipe was given to me by a Peruvian friend. Lots of love in this dish as well:
So there you have it, honorable mention would go to any number of meals at our kitchen table, or Barnacle’s or B2 bistro (the horror, I know… :D) where the 4 of us were together to enjoy a meal.
May all of your 2017’s be happy and healthy and full of food. For me, 2016 was too full of food so I need to do something about that.