23 February 2012

Krik picks from the 101 ‘best’ restaurants

I came across a blog post for The Daily Meal’s list of the 101 best restaurants in America. I couldn’t help looking at the list and checking how many I’d eaten at and how many I’ve reviewed on Krik’s Picks.

Turns out not a lot. There are only two, actually, that I’ve posted on this blog. No. 65 on the Daily Meal’s list is minibar in DC. I went there in early 2010. I might argue that it should be higher on the list, but I certainly agree that it belongs there. The second restaurant on the list that I’ve reviewed on Krik’s Picks is Bouchon in the Napa Valley, CA.

Then, there a couple of close calls. The Daily Meal’s list has Frontera Grill in Chicago. I don’t have a review of Frontera, but I do have a review of Topolobompo, which is Rick Bayless’s sister restaurant to Frontera. In fact, I kind of had the impression that Topo is supposed to be superior to Frontera. But I can’t say from experience. Then the list has Jaleo in Las Vega. I’ve reviewed Jaleo in Washington, DC. I can’t imagine that Chef Jose Andres would do things dramatically different in Las Vegas compared to DC. But again, I can’t say from experience.

Then finally, there are two restaurants on The Daily Meal’s list that I’ve eaten at but never reviewed on my blog. In both cases, I wasn’t writing this blog when I at there. Since I started Krik’s Picks in August 2006, that tells you how long ago I’ve eaten at these two. The first was Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. At the time, it was the most expensive meal I’d ever ordered. Truth is, I had a bet with my former boss (now retired) whose home was in Philadelphia. I don’t even remember what the bet was for. But I was supposed to buy him the prix fixe dinner at Le Bec-Fin. It was an amazing meal. The second restaurant on the list that I haven’t reviewed on my blog is Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. The sad postscript for me is that I haven’t been to New Orleans since the hurricane. Time to go again, I say.

So it was kind of fun to go thru the list and reminisce about these fabulous restaurants and regret that I haven’t been to more of them. But I also have to question the selection criteria. I mean, after all, not a single Minnesota restaurant on the list? When earlier this week, so many Minnesota restaurants received nominations in one category or another for James Beard Foundation awards? Seems like at least one of them belongs on the list.

I also have to quibble about some of the choices. So I concede that I haven’t been to Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC, No. 83 on The Daily Meal’s list. But I’ve read enough about it to make me wonder, if President Obama didn’t eat there, would it really be rated that high? Hey Mr. President! Come to Minnesota. I’ll take you to Al’s Breakfast or Good Day Café. If you like diner food, either one of them I’m sure matches the quality and ambiance of Ben’s. I bet you’d even find a lot of people there who plan to vote for you.

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