2017 brought new restaurants, reopenings, old favorites and some creative pop-ups. Here are photos of the 10 most memorable things I ate in Fort Worth in 2017 in no particular order...well, maybe in order of how I’d like them to appear on my dream New Years Eve dinner table tonight. Keep in mind, many of these dishes are seasonal, so you may not find them year-round, but these restaurants all have other options that may just make your 2018 favorites list.
Waters, Ahi Tuna Tartare Waters reopened in its gorgeous Sundance Square location in March. My first bite at the new location is still my go-to as a starter or accompaniment for a drink at the bar - tuna with green tomato cucumber relish, avocado and a zesty roasted red pepper aioli.
Tokyo Cafe, Brisket Bao Buns Always seeming to reinvent itself, Tokyo Cafe has an ever evolving menu and this collaboration with Billy's Oak Acres brisket is one that I hope sticks around. Definitely pay a visit to Billy's to try the brisket on its own, then try it in this perfectly tender steamed bao bun with rich black garlic taro sauce.
SAAP Lao Kitchen, Lao-style Beef Jerky I first tried this jerky that is best described as meat candy at SAAP's pop-up at Collective Brewery in May. Now you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home as SAAP offers its Lao-style beef jerky via its online store. Sign up for their newsletter to find out when the next Fort Worth pop-up will take place.
Clay Pigeon, Ribeye I prefer to order items I'm less inclined to make for myself at home, however, I don't know that I can duplicate the perfection of the ribeye at Clay Pigeon...or those whipped potatoes. If you're lucky, you'll find a night where the spinalis is featured giving you a plate full of the most treasured tender cap of the ribeye.
Piattello Italian Kitchen, Spaghetti Pomodoro Coming up on its one year anniversary, Piattello is the highlight of Waterside. You may want to pass on this dish thinking it's "just pasta with tomato sauce," but if you want to know what love tastes like, it's this sauce. Be careful of offering others a taste before you've had your fill; your dish will get passed around the table and don't be shocked to find that when it returns, your love is gone.
Cannon Chinese Kitchen, Fried Rainbow Trout Covered in a light crust with perfectly crispy skin, this flaky fish is served with an addictive black vinegar and ginger soy sauce. Great for sharing, but even better for keeping all to yourself.
Ellerbe Fine Foods, Rainbow Trout Although many look to Ellerbe for celebratory meals, a Wednesday night suited me just fine to treat myself to this trout with creamed spinach, new potatoes, corn and cabbage slaw stuffed with lemon and herbs.
Little Red Wasp, Reuben Sandwich Corned beef brisket is cured in house and topped with a tangy slaw made with their special "wasp sauce" that has a little kick of Sriracha. Make sure to order a side of housemade chips with ranch!
Magdalena’s, Paella Rivaling any paella I've had in Spain, the June supper club at Magdalena's featuring a seafood paella topped with a lemony aioli that was a feast for the senses. Although you can't drop in and get this just any time, you also won't be disappointed with the seasonal menus that change monthly. Magdalena's hosts several supper and breakfast clubs each month in their event space and patio (when weather allows). Sign up for their email list to get in the know for next year's paella night!
Hot Box Biscuit Club, One for my Homies Pie All of my favorite things in one dessert - chocolate, pecans and TX whiskey all inside a perfectly flakey pie crust. Do you see that yummy goo in the far left corner of the pie? That's like the ooey gooeyness of a pecan pie in there.This may just be my favorite dessert of all time and I hope it makes another appearance on a 2018 pop-up menu. Hint, hint, HBBC!! Sign up for their email list here and respond fast. They only hold one or two brunches a month and seats go within minutes!
I look forward to seeking out the the best eats of 2018! Happy New Year!