What can I say about 2021? In many respects, it was a little better than 2020. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to not take anything for granted and to not forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. And on the subject of simple pleasure, here is my annual list of the ten best things I consumed and posted about this year. I hope you enjoy. Happy New Year!
10. Crispy Ramen Egg from Afuri Ramen. This is egg-ceptional.
9. “The Danny Boy” Porkstrami Sandwich from The Bad Jew (at Smorgasburg). Some may say “oy vey” but I say “hooray” to this delicious pork pastrami that is certainly not kosher.
8. Chocolate Chess Pie from Goldburger. Checkmate!
7. Parmesan Crusted Halibut from Porta Via. The math doesn’t always work, but in this case fish plus cheese equals awesome.
6. “The Willie Mae” Fried Chicken Tender Sandwich from HiHo Cheeseburger. Who knew a chicken sandwich at one of LA’s top burger joints would be this amazing. HiHo is certainly no one trick pony.
5. Sticky Glazed Pork Shank from Girl & the Goat. Girl & the Goat is the best Chicago import since Cracker Jack, and this delectable take on on a Korean Ssam is my favorite dish on the menu.
4. Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with Parmesan from AOC. Chef Suzanne Goin has been serving these incredibly addictive, salty and sweet morsels for almost two decades and I have been consuming them for just as long.
3. Zucchini Chips with Herbed Yogurt from Greekman’s. Q: What is a zucchini’s favorite sport? A: Squash. The Zucchini Chips at Greekman’s are significantly better than that joke. In fact, they’re pretty f-ing amazing! Easily the best vegetable dish I consumed this year.
2. Trout Almondine from Petit Trois. I’m nuts about this dish!
1. Strawberry Donut from The Donut Man. These are slightly tart, wonderfully sweet and perfectly glazed. And the good news is you don’t have to drive all the way to Glendora anymore as they are now also made and sold downtown in Grand Central Market. It’s my favorite thing that I consumed and posted about this year.
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While a lot of Angelenos are aware of Sugarfish, the expansion effort of legendary Sushi Nazi, Kozurnori Nozawa, less people are familiar with Sushi Don, the outposts of esteemed Westside sushi restaurant, Sasabune. But those in the know come to Sushi Don to eat some of the highest quality sushi in LA at surprisingly low prices. Sushi Don serves many of the same melt-in-your-mouth sashimi, nigiri and rolls as Sasabune, but at a fraction of the price.Â Â The Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice at Sushi Don is the best I’ve ever had; better than that at Katsu-ya. Â Once you’ve had it, it is something you will crave all of the time. Â And the Albacore Special (fresh slices of albacore in ponzu sauce) is perfection. Then there’s the Blue Crab Hand Rolls. Â They are perfectly prepared with the freshest blue crab and warm rice and wrapped in crisp seaweed. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Sushi Don also serves their own homemade soy sauce!Â
There is no table service. You order at a counter and you can either take out or they will bring your sushi to you at one of the tables. The nice thing about this is that you can get in and out very quickly if you want. I go to the Valley Village location of Sushi Don (at 4816 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Valley Village; close to Studio City and North Hollywood), but I understand that there is now a second location in Pacific Palisades (at 970 Monument Street, Los Angeles).