just how beautiful Utah is. We had visited the national parks in Utah last summer, and while we were taken by the unique beauty of each park, we also thought the drives between the parks provided some beautiful scenery. I was reminded of this observation as I was photographing these scenes through our truck's windshield on our drive from Durango, CO, to Salt Lake City.
But on to the final segment of the Best Dining Experiences of 2009-2010.
Best of the Rest but Before Dessert
Best Meal Salad: First—the blackened ahi tuna topped with a cilantro, tomato, red onion, and ginger salsa with baby greens, artichoke heart, and herb vinaigrette at Shelby’s Bistro in Tubac, AZ (2/12); Second—the Thai steak and noodle salad with avocado, mango, and peanuts at Houston’s in Scottsdale, AZ (1/12); Third—the Southwest Caesar chipotle Caesar dressing and grilled salmon at Café a la C’Arte in Tucson (1/19); Fourth—the shrimp salad with caper vinaigrette at Café a la C’Arte in Tucson (2/19).
Best Fish: First—the wok-seared salmon filet rubbed with twenty-three spices and glazed with prickly pear and honey at Ocotillo Café in Tucson (2/19); Second—the salmon medallions at La Plazuela in Santa Fe (5/21); Third—the fish and chips at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, Alberta (6/25).
Best Chicken: First—the blue corn pumpkin chicken with a green chile and blue cheese polenta cake, black bean and yam hash, and jicama slaw at Ocotillo Café in Tucson (1/23); Second—the fried chicken at LoLo’s in Scottsdale (3/13); Third—the broasted chicken at the Nite Owl in Columbia Falls, MT (6/30); Fourth—the chicken pot pie at The Flying Star in Albuquerque (11/28); Fifth—the chicken pot pie at The 5 & Diner in Scottsdale (4/9).
Best Pizza: First—the ultra thin crust white Margherita with roma tomatoes and basil (our re-do of the Bistro Classic) at Oregano’s Pizza Bistro in Scottsdale and Tucson (12/13).
Best Meatloaf: First—the molasses-glazed Cadillac Meatloaf topped with chopped bacon, mushrooms, and onion straws at The 5 & Diner in Scottsdale (4/9); Second—the turkey meatloaf at Harry’s Roadhouse Café in Santa Fe (5/27).
Best French Fries: First—the Patatine Fritte with leek threads at Andreoli’s in Scottsdale 4/13); Second—the shoestring fries at Houston’s in Scottsdale (1/12); Third—the fried in rice oil fries at Bing’s Burger Station in Cottonwood, AZ (4/17); Fourth—the screwy fries (Idaho and sweet) at Lumpy’s in Albuquerque (6/2).
Best Green Vegetable: First and Only—the battered and fried green beans at P.H. Woods Brewhouse in Moreno Valley, CA (9/17).
Best Misc: The house-cured smoked salmon with potato latkes at Joe’s Diner in Santa Fe (5/13).
We are pleased to announce the first inductee into the Addie Hall of Fame--the pies at the Rock Springs Café in Black Canyon City, AZ. They have no competition and every one we have tasted – the coconut cream, the banana cream, the apple crumb, the peach crumb, the Jack Daniels pecan, and – especially – the blueberry crumb have no equal. Magnificent crust, fillings that are not too sweet, and a crumb topping full of pecan pieces. Entering the Addie Hall of Fame makes Rock Springs ineligible for future competition.
Best Pies: First—Carla Baca’s apple, pecan, caramel pie at Harla May’s Fat Boy Grill in Belen, NM (2/26); Second—the apple pie at the Flying Star in Albuquerque (11/28); Third—the pear raspberry ginger pie at the Ancient Way Café in Ramah, NM (6/6).
Best Cake: First—the mixed berry (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) buttermilk cake with cream cheese icing at Café a la C’Arte in Tucson (1/19); Second—the Mexican chocolate streusel cake at La Plazuela in Santa Fe (5/21).
Best Iced Dessert: First—the house-made Meyer lemon ice cream at Café Pasqual in Santa Fe (5/18); Second—the four scoop sampler (strawberry freeze, vanilla, peach, and lemon sherbet) at the Superior Dairy in Hanford, CA (9/13); Third—the sorbet sampler (black plum, coconut, champagne, and peach) at Orange Blossom Junction in Exeter, CA (8/8/); Fourth—the Mayan chocolate gelato at Crema Coffee & Creamery in Cottonwood, AZ (4/17).
Best Other Desserts: First (tie)—the goats’ milk caramel Churros Rellenos Cajita de Cabra drizzled with caramel and served with vanilla ice cream (named one of Phoenix’s top twenty-five restaurant dishes) at The Barrio Café in Phoenix (3/20) and the dessert sampler (crème brulee, raspberry sorbet, chocolate mousse, charlotte mousse, and mixed berries) at La Crepe Michele in Albuquerque (6/3); Second—the black pepper and vanilla ice cream Crepe au Poivre with Frangelico at La Crepe Michele in Albuquerque (5/31); Third—the chocolate bon bon at Ocatillo Café in Tucson (1/23); Fourth—the caramelized banana and jack fruit phyllo cigar with boysenberry syrup at The Ahwahnee Hotel (8/29); Fifth—the banana enchilada at Pepper’s Café in Las Cruces, NM (3/2).
Best Restaurants in Albuquerque: First—Asian Noodle Bar; Second—La Crepe Michele; Third – Mary & Tito’s.
Best Restaurants in the Phoenix Area: First—Andreoli Italian Grocer; Second—Houston’s; Third – The Barrio Café.
Best Restaurants in the Tucson Area: First—Shelby’s Bistro; Second (tie)—Ocotillo Café and Café a la C’Arte.
Restaurant Meal of the Year – Chuck’s (tie): the penne with andouille sausage, escarole, tomatoes, pine nuts, roasted garlic butter, and scallion threads at Ken & Sue’s in Durango, CO and the black bean burger made with whole and mashed beans, corn, diced red pepper, and cumin and served on a ciabatta roll with pepper jack cheese and sautéed red onion at Shelby’s Bistro in Tubac, AZ.
Restaurant Meal of the Year – Kate’s (tie): the blackened ahi tuna salad at Shelby’s Bistro in Tubac, AZ and the potato gnocchi with cremini mushrooms, asparagus, and gorgonzola cheese at Ken & Sue’s in Durango.
So, we begin our third year of travels with a visit to Salt Lake City.