OMG peoples! it's no longer 2010! f that year, right? i'm sure this one's going to be nothing but ponies & peonies, but before i can move on & properly embrace this new & magical year, i need to do my best to help perpetuate the end-of-year top ten list phenomenon. last year, while i named my top ten snacks of the year (alongside my fave tracks), i failed by neglecting to share my favorite drinks of the year with y'all...totally unprofessional of me. this year, i learned from my mistakes & have decided to use it as an opportunity to start a new tradition.
basically, i decided that i needed to come up with a "best of" category that rhymed with "drinks" & was worth writing about. although there have been enough kinks to create a top ten list, that'd just be silly & while i've seen a number of memorable sinks over the past year (library bar, i'm looking at your graffiti-covered ass!), i didn't think i'd have a lot to say about the matter. in the end, i figured i had no better option than to go with "links."
after all, i do visit a number of food websites each & every day, so here's the BRAND NEW tradition: my favorite ten food sites of he year...my favorite ten drinks of the year...MY TOP TEN LINKS & DRINKS!!! OMG NEW EOY TRADITION!!! srsly tho, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, these ten sites totally got my attention this year & in doing so, each gave me some form of inspiration that helped me keep this here documentation of my snacking & drinking afloat during what was an often-shite year. you should visit them too, punk! support food writing or die!
nachosny - do you love nachos? i sure hope so. the folks over at nachosny love nachos & love nyc & love to tell you which nachos totally rule & which nachos totally suck in nyc. full disclosure: ever since i started this lil' blog back in mid 2008, the nachosny peeps have been quite friendly to me. they started up around the same time & since then, we've swapped guest posts on each other's sites & i was a judge at this year's salsa slam. so, um...i'm biased but whatever. between their ability to document nachos as life & their super-fun events, i think it's justified.
my name is yeh - as a blogger, i'm well aware of the power of the gimmick when it comes to the success of your blog. i mean, just look at how well it worked for julie powell! my favorite food blog gimmick of 2010 came from my name is yeh, a blog by ms molly yeh (pronounced "yay"). i started following the blog some time back in the spring, when i came across her "restaurant challenge." the idea behind it: 52 new restaurants for the 52 weeks of 2010. over the past year, she's visited all sorts of restaurants, mostly in nyc & took copious artsy, over-saturated photos to accompany her posts, all of which are written ENTIRELY IN LOWERCASE LETTERS. I LOVE LOWERCASE LETTERS. also, it doesn't hurt that she's a cutey.
food junk - this one's a new blog on the scene, as it just started up this past august. each post features a somewhat humorous review of a different junk food item accompanied by nicely-shot close ups of the junk food. they often enter junk food territory that frightens even me, the experienced snacker. harry potter pink coconut ice? they try junk like that so you don't have to & every single time, one or two of their photos feature a stormtrooper. it's a simple & geniusly chuckleworthy technique.
the impulsive buy - i guess this site technically isn't a food blog but c'mon...most of the time, they're talking about food & drink. if you're like me & gain slightly-insane pleasure from purchasing the ridiculous foods & drinks that companies consistently splurge out onto the boardroom table, you'll love the impulsive buy. it's sarcastic & angry & full of good ol' american wisdom. they actually had a call for new writers recently & i thought to myself "ooh, that's sort of up my alley" but i think i got distracted by porn or a chocolate bar or holiday or something & next thing i knew, they introduced a half-dozen new writers, so i guess i missed my chance...good for them though. they crack me up.
serious eats - the folks at serious eats are all serious about their eats. seriously. case in point: when i was a judge at nachony's salsa slam back in september, one of the other judges was serious eats writer j. kenji alt-lopez. i chatted briefly with him a few times during the competition about our fave salsas there & while i was all "yeah, that one tastes cool," he was all talking about the ripeness & growing seasons of the different fruits & vegetables used in the salsas. so yeah...WAY more serious about their eats than i, which is fine with me. it's good to know that there are people out there who are smarter about food than i, people who write serious articles about "why foie gras is not unethical" & do so in an intelligent, informed manner.
my gut instinct - back in the early to mid aughts, i spent a few years working for ny press. it was a good era for the paper, an era where current rolling stone writer matt taibbi caused a slight shitstorm by penning the article "the 52 funniest things about the upcoming death of the pope." at this time, i met josh bernstein, one of the paper's food writers & one who often wrote about bars around the city. fast forward to 2010 & in my food blog readings i came across his name on a few articles & discovered that he had a blog of his own called "my gut instinct." reunited or something! a lot of the time it's only updated with links to articles that he's written for other sites, but those articles are always interesting.
snackish - some time earlier this year, i was doing one of those "who else likes snacks" web searches & came across snackish, a nyc-based food blog that focuses on "cheap food & tasty snacks," two things that i'm all about. the blog's really only updated a couple times every month but when it is, it's usually about some place right here in my city that i'd totally eat at or something that i'd totally put in my mouth. plus, when the blog portion of snackish isn't active, the twitter portion holds me over with snarky, oft-humorous insights into this ridiculous city. plus...cute glasses.
taquitos - as far as snacking websites go, taquitos is really the granddaddy of them all. their slogan is "serious about snacking" & since they first began, they've published close to 5000 paragraph-length reviews of all types of snacks. want to know a little more about all three degrees of doritos' "degree burn" series of chips? they've got you covered. a lot of the time, the reviews are all "this snack is good. we liked this snack. yawn yawn yawn" but for me, lack of writing skillz or not, every day taquitos brings a new, oft-ridiculous snack into my news feed & reminds me that the world of snacking is vast & exciting & often kinda scary.
beer universe - there aren't a ton of blogs out there who really get into the nature of the beer business & while beer universe doesn't exactly go in depth into the industry, they do manage to keep me up-to-date with various news & trends & interesting happenings in the vast universe of beer. on top of producing usually-interesting beer-related stories, they have a "beer of the week" feature & earlier this year they came out with an iphone app that's filled with info on thousands of beers. it's not the perfect beer website & if i tried harder i could probably find something better out there, but for now, for me, beer universe does the trick.
drive thru/stick a fork in it - although i live in nyc, this year i started following drive thru, a chicago-based food blog & stick a fork in it, the food blog of l.a.'s OC weekly. while i've been to chicago a few times, i've never been to l.a. & have no plans to any time soon. still, i get a kick out of reading about restaurants i'll likely never visit & food trends that may or may not have any relevance to my nyc experience. in the case of stick a fork in it, i get to keep up with their "taco bell crime of the week" column. it's niche journalism at its best.
NOW FOR THE DRINKS! at times in 2010, i really could've changed the name of this blog to eat!beer!snack!, as a good majority of the drinks i covered this past year were beers. as it happens, this year i made it a regular habit to try an average of one new beer almost every night. am i a lush or something? maybe i am...maybe i am. at least i'm discerning. this year, whilst consuming mass quantities of beer, i also rekindled my love of soda through discovering the bounty of caffeine-free, non-HFCS sodas out there. but yeah...i drank many crazy beers too. in VERY PARTICULAR ORDER, let's see the fave drinks!
|drink: tropicana OJ (#107, 2009 review)
they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. i have two friends who went on breakfast diets before their weddings. all you have to do is make sure that right when you wake up in the morn, you eat a good breakfast & get the ol' metabolism going. then you automatically lose weight & whatnot. while i suck at that, i'm awesome at having at least one big glass of OJ every single morning. it's always of the tropicana OJ with calcium & vitamin D variety, so i get a few essential nutrients (along with a bunch of sugar) bright & early in the morn. if nothing, it makes me feel okay about my overall-questionable dietary habits for at least a few minutes each day.
|drink: mexican coca-cola (flea at laff #9)
in a year where drinking soda meant searching out non-HFCS-laden sodas, i had myself a couple of bottles of mexican coca-cola, which is the same thing as the coca-cola available here in the u.s., except it's sweetened with cane sugar instead of HFCS. that's right americans...when it comes to one of our country's iconic soft drink brands, the mexicans have the better formula. at least our weed formula's still better than theirs. basically, for me the mexican coca-cola represents HFCS stupidity of the highest level & acts as a symbol of the 2010 takeover of my soda consumption by the non-HFCS ones.
|drink: mountain dew throwback (#146)
when it comes to mountain dew throwback, the punks in charge at pepsico are a bunch of cock teases. ever since they first introduced the "throwback" formula (which replaces HFCS with cane sugar) as a "limited" release back in april 2009, the company has made it available a number of times before disappearing it all pepsico latin american-stylee from shelves. finally, this december it returned to shelves with the "limited time" wording removed from the packaging. i guess that's a good sign, but if mid-2011 they all of the sudden pull it from shelves instead of pulling the friggin HFCS version from shelves like they should, i wouldn't be surprised in the least.
|drink: boylan bottling co. black cherry soda (NEW)
while virgil's black cherry cream soda got a lot of play in my fridge (more to come on that), it wasn't always easily available. that's where boylan bottling co's black cherry soda came in. the bodegas around the corner from my house are pretty much always fully stocked with the stuff, meaning that black cherry goodness is always but a brief stroll away. a bottle of virgil's usually requires a subway ride. boylan's been brewing their sodas since the friggin harrison administration (1891). that's a hell of a long time. i mean, really...bonus points for you if you actually know president harrison's first name. anyway, boylan's been making their soda for parts of three centuries & currently, all their sodas are made with cane sugar & out of all of them, the black cherry version is the pinnacle of their sodas.
|drink: mcneill's champ ale (#160)
here's how i discovered mcneill's champ ale: i was at american beer distributors in brooklyn's fancy cobble hill nabe, surveying the shelves when a man walked up & stood next to me staring at a display of beers from brattleboro, VT's mcneill's brewery. he was all "wow. they have that in bottles now?" he went on to explain to me that he only knew them as a brewpub in brattleboro & was wicked psyched to see that their beer was now available a short walk from his apartment. i took his word for it & forked over $5 for my first bottle of the stuff...the champ ale. it's a flavorful, affordable, drinkable beer & throughout the year, i drank quite a few. thanks random guy at american beer.
|drink: dogfish head/stone brewing/victory brewing saison du BUFF (NEW)
earlier this year, i finally checked out beer wars, a film that speaks about the role of both huge corporations & craft breweries in the beer industry. in 2010, after talking about doing so for years, three of these craft brewers--dogfish head brewery, stone brewery & victory brewing--got together & created the saison du buff, a uniquely-flavored beer that was replicated at all three breweries this year. in the spirit of simon & garfunkel, it's a beer that's brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme, a combo that gives it a crisp flavor while still retaining a light feel. while i don't think the flavor is for everyone, for a few months this year it was my favorite beer. get it while you can.
|drink: chelsea brewing co. pumpkin pie ale (pumpktoberfest #25)
this year, during our second annual pumpktoberfest season, i sampled a whole bunch of new pumpkin beers & most of the time, it was like i was trying the same pumpkin beer over & over again. then late in the month i headed to the west side of manhattan to try out chelsea brewing co's pumpkin pie ale. given the name & my inherent negativity, i was expecting some spicetastic monstrosity of a beer but instead was pleasantly surprised. it was sweet & yummy & incredibly pielike. in fact, after trying it that one night back in october, bierkraft had it on tap & i got myself multiple growlers of it. if not for the next drink on the list, this would've been my fave new beer of the pumpktoberfest season.
|drink: hoppin' frog frog's hollow double pumpkin ale (pumpktoberfest #27)
...so for me, the star this pumpktoberfest season was the hoppin' frog frog's hollow double pumpkin ale. last year, top pumpktoberfest honors went to the southern tier pumking & until i tried the hoppin' frog near the end of the month, i didn't think there was another pumpkin beer that rivaled the pumking. it's a flavorful take on the pumpkin beer, a beer that's brewed with a nice mix of spices, pumpkin & hops and an overall taste & feel that's actually similar to the pumking. for a brewery that's won medals at the great american beer festival, it's a great new addition to their line of beers. best of all, it means i don't have to get the pumking every single time i want to go fancy during pumpktoberfest.
|drink: cigar city brewing co jai alai i.p.a. (NEW)
while i've yet to actually pen a proper review of cigar city brewing's jai alai i.p.a., i have a full simpson hand's worth of pics of it paired with one snack or another, pairings like the one to the left that missed the cut. i first came across the jai alai i.p.a. late in the pumpktoberfest season, when i visited manhattan's rattle & hum to sample sixpoint's pumpkin beer. my companion, who only started drinking beer a few years back but has developed a somewhat refined palette for the stuff, got herself a pint of the jai alai i.p.a. & spoke highly of it. then i explained what i knew about the sport of jai alai to her, tried a sip of her beer & instantly agreed with her. it's hoppy & flavorful & when it started showing up in the coolers of my beer stores this year, i definitely bought a lot of them. i don't even care that it's from tampa, FL (aka u.s. armpit #137).
|drink: virgil's black cherry cream soda (#174)
as i explained back in early december, these days my snack-drink double fantasy includes a cold bottle of virgil's black cherry cream soda. as such, it's my #1 DRINK OF 2010!!! until quite recently, i wasn't a big fan of cream sodas but virgil's changed that. then i lapsed into a black cherry soda phase & discovered that virgil's made a black cherry version of their cream soda. it was all over from there. it's all-natural and sweet & creamy & lovely and well worth the $2-3 a bottle it usually goes for. most sodas are best served on ice, but this one's so good it doesn't even need it. its flavor is enough for me. if you see a bottle of it, give it a try. you won't be disappointed.
stay tuned for our TOP TEN TRACKS & SNACKS OF 2010!