well...so today, for the first time in almost a year, i actually went back & checked out last year's top ten links & drinks list. in it, i described 2010 as an "often-shite year." hmm...i thought that 2011 was the often-shite year. who knew? 2011 was a year that, with that whole "lack of steady employment" thang going for me, i spent a LOT of time on the internet. on TWO separate occasions this year, i got my google reader down to ZERO. somebody please design me the appropriate nerd merit badge.
as is par for the course, much of my interwebz time was spent perusing food & drink sites, as i dreamed of all the things i could be cramming into my piehole. along the way, i came across a bunch of new blogs & tumblrs & whatnot, many of whom worked their way into the regular rotation.
all told, this year's list is comprised of eight new sites & two repeat members from last year's list. if you're looking to waste all your precious time on the internet, you can't go wrong with adding any of these sites to your daily regimen...enjoy!
the eatinist bitch - the first site on our 2011 list is helmed by a TOTAL bitch (of the eatinist variety)--the eatinist bitch. said bitch is a fellow new yorker who bakes for robicelli's & is friends with nachos ny folks & just seems to run in similar circles as i. as a result, she ended up doing a pair of guest posts right here on eat!drink!snack! this year. as for her site, it features a mix of tasty recipes, NYC food events & NYC eating out. as you might expect, the tone is TOTALLY BITCHY (in an eatinist way). it's ribald, no doubt.
food is the new rock - food & music OBVIOUSLY go together & in 2011, i came across two blogs that did a great job of weaving the two together. a few times a week, the first of the two--food is the new rock--provided me with important food/music nuggets like "jarobi from tribe called quest has a food blog" & "david chang says chefs work harder than musicians." personally, i used to obsess over bands & now i obsess over food, so the name makes a lot of sense, i suppose.
food junk - this is the first of two sites who returned from last year's list. in 2011, food junk continued to pen hilarious reviews featuring some of the oddest junk foods imaginable. on my 2010 list, i commented on the site's review of items such as harry potter pink coconut ice. this year, food junk didn't disappoint, eventually ending the year with a one-two punch of dried zombie skin & soylent green crackers. as it'sbeen since the blog's beginning, the photos still feature a mischievous stormtrooper who loves to play with the various junk food items up for review.
the impulsive buy - when it comes to having a eye on all foodstuffs new & amazingly strange, there's no better site than the impulsive buy, our second repeat site on our annual top ten list. whether it's announcing the release of whatever new monstrosity mcdonald's is peddling or reviewing the finer points of each & every pop tart flavor, they usually manage to tell a snarky tale of junk food adventure. as a bonus, a few of my posts got featured as part of their week in reviews & since they have a bajillion readers, that meant nice traffic spikes for eat!drink!snack! in the end, isn't that the only reason that any of us food bloggers write anyhow?
a hamburger today - for a good portion of 2011, i became sort of obsessed with burgers. if it wasn't day after day of five guys & petey's burger, it was an egg-topped burger for brunch at sweet afton or an attempt to make a badass burger using meat from fleisher's. during this time, i took much inspiration from the articles on serious eats' "a hamburger today" site. a good portion of the site is comprised of reviews of burger joints across the nation, reviews that make me want to make a better burger. if nothing, the pics are always fun to drool over.
eating the beats - the second blog that combines food & music on this years top ten list is one that i was introduced to by a former co-worker, the infamous marc whitman of live music blog fame. he happens to work with laura, who runs eating the beats & enjoys developing recipes inspired by bands & music, generally hip ones of the indie persuasion. a lot of the time, it's some band that i've never even heard of. for those who've heard me talk about music, this probably comes as quite the shock. she also gets gratitude for her pumpktoberfest recipe for pumpkin oatmeal cookies, the first ever recipe to be featured on eat!drink!snack!
insightful appetite - in my book, some of the more interesting food & drink sites are those based here in NYC. they're the ones that most realistically allow me to live vicariously through others. one of my favorite sites in this vain is insightful appetite, written by sofia frank, who writes about meals at every restaurant i wish i was eating at in NYC, foodventures throughout the city, recipes & the occasional dinner party. in the foodventure category, this year she whipped up recipes that took home the people's choice award at both the nachos ny guactacular AND salsa slam. hopefully she'll provide me with more vicarious adventures during the new year.
grub grade - if not for grub grade, i'd be completely in the dark about the goings on in the chik-fil-A universe. i'd have no idea what ridiculous new burger some fast food chain in the midwest that i've never heard of is releasing. i'd have no idea that little caesars still existed. oh! you say that popeyes has found a new way to bread their shrimp? lovely. in short, they keep me informed about the constantly-changing world of fast food so that i don't have to eat all that stuff for myself & balloon to farley-like proportions. thanks, grub grade.
robicelli's - robicelli's cupcakes are pretty damn admirable in themselves, but they also have themselves a tumblr account penned by one allison robicelli. while the site's main purpose is to keep folks updated on their ever-rotating schedule of cupcakes, it's also an opportunity for allison to ramble on about various topics. she was also kind enough to grant me a pumpktoberfest interview & in doing so, pretty much secured a spot on this list through sheer awesomeness & friendliness. now when's that robicelli's book coming out again?
junk food guy - by far, my favorite new blog of 2011 was that of d.c.'s junk food guy. the thing that initially drew me to his site was that he employed a similar style to my own, combining food & drink reviews with stories. what kept me coming back was the fact that, as far as i can tell, dude has a cal ripken-like streak going, as he puts together a brand new, respectable-lengthed & oft-hilarious post each & every day of the week. as a fellow blogger, i'm sort of jealous of his willpower & productivity.
since 2011 OBVIOUSLY sucked, it was a year where i did a whole bunch of drinking (of the alcoholic variety) & as such, just like last year, the good majority of this year's top ten drinks are of the beer variety. ALSO! as a testament to my 2011 laziness, out of my ten favorite drinks this year, half of them are beverages that i never even got around to covering here on eat!drink!snack! let's get to it...my TOP TEN DRINKS OF 2011!
|drink: dunkin donuts coffee (NEW)
for a while there, i was doing a pretty good job at the whole "no caffeine" thing. then, one day this summer, i just broke down & started buying iced coffees in an attempt to get my ass up & awake & out of bed. when i started back at work full time, with a 9am start time, i quickly became a medium dunkin donuts coffee with two sugars & a little milk regular at the dunkin donuts off union square. i know. i know. dunkin donuts coffee ain't exactly flavoful. it tastes like their donuts. still, i've become a slave to the pink & orange double D's. in fact, this past week, a friend was visiting from portland & after observing my habits, he declared dunkin donuts "my master"...so there you have it.
|drink: poland spring water (NEW)
whilst trying to drink more fluids & less of the soda variety, i drank a shitton of water this year. as an unintended FUCK YOU to the environment, all year long i've i carried around a poland spring bottle that begins with a bodega purchase & ends a few days later when i've refilled it a thousand times & the color on the label starts to fade. my favorite part about it is that, when the power of water is combined with my advancing age & tiny bladder, i get to make frequent trips to the bathroom. sure it's just water & that ain't all that exciting but c'mon man...it's one of the four classical elements.
|drink: lagunitas sucks holiday ale (NEW)
every winter for some time now, cali's lagunitas brewery has released their brown shugga', a syrupy-sweet, brown sugar-laden beer with a dark brown, roasted complexion. in 2011, they ran into a lil' snafu down at the pickle factory & had to cancel brewing the brown shugga' for the year. rather than skip making a winter seasonal, they came up with an alternative--the lagunitas sucks holiday ale. it's an imperial IPA with a strong citrus flavor coming from the hops, which incidentally, tasted fresh enough that i swore it was made with wet hops. while i really enjoy the brown shugga', on some level i sort of wish that this was the winter seasonal. hopefully they'll find a way to work it into the rotation again in 2012.
|drink: wolaver's alta gracia coffee porter (#180)
i'll say it right now. i'm a sucker for coffee beers. as someone still addicted to tobacco, coffee beers combine two things that taste awesome with a smoke. in the case of the wolaver's alta gracia coffee porter, an dark, organic beer from vermont, it also features a nice vanilla flavor that helps it taste amazingly great when paired with a scoop of ice cream. unfortunately, it's only available during the winter months but that means that it's available RIGHT NOW. get some while you can. drop some ice cream in it. JUST DO IT.
|drink: heavy seas great'er pumpkin (pumpktoberfest #136)
every pumpktoberfest, i seem to come across one or two new pumpkin beers that really knock my socks off. in 09' there was the southern tier pumking & the shipyard smashed pumpkin. in 2010, there was the chelsea brewing co. pumpkin pie ale & the hoppin' frog frog's hollow double pumpkin ale. this year, i found myself returning again & again to heavy seas' great'er pumpkin ale, an imperial ale that was the final beer of this past pumpktoberfest season. it's a 9.0% ABV beer that's aged in bourbon barrels & is heavy on both the pumpkin & pumpkin pie spices. when it's available, it can also be found in "great pumpkin" form, where it's the same beer not aged in bourbon barrels. either way, it's pretty good...pretty strong but still pretty good.
|drink: bolthouse farms mocha cappuccino (NEW)
i know they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but out of sheer laziness i often employ the seriously bad habit of skipping breakfast & stemming the hunger with some sort of protein-heavy beverage. in early december, i came across bolthouse farms' mocha cappuccino drink, which has 8g of protein per 8oz serving of the stuff, alongside probably-lethal amounts of vitamins B6, B12 & C. although the protein helps me stem the hunger & wake up a bit, i'm really in it for the chocolate. if we've learned anything from bill cosby & count chocula & sonny the cuckoo bird, it's that chocolate is an essential part of a balanced breakfast.
|drink: pretty things baby tree (#182)
although it's mostly on this list for its great taste, i'd be lying if i said that pretty things' baby tree wasn't partially on this list for the sweet image that its name conjures up. bebes hanging from a tree? AWESOME. as for the beer, it's a dark quadruple that, although it's dark, is supposed to be a springtime ale available year round. it's brewed with a huge amount of california plums & these plums, along with the high alcohol content, give it a strong, fruity taste that's both pleasurable & a warning that polishing off an entire 22oz bottle of the stuff is likely going to help get you a nice buzz on. baby tree buzz!
|drink: jarritos toronja (only in ny #11)
a side product of the taco fixation that took hold of me during 2011 was that i ended up drinking a bunch of bottles of jarritos, the mexican soda that comes in flavors like tamarind & guava. out of all their flavors, my favorite is the toronja. for all you gringos out there, that means grapefruit flavored. think fresca but much better. as it is, i'm a big fan of fruit flavored sodas but the jarritos toronja blows most of them away. it's made with cane sugar which provides a sweetness that's clean & not syrupy like that of a soda that uses HFCS as a sweetener. it's one of the more truly refreshing sodas i've tried in some time.
|drink: founder's harvest ale (NEW)
although you might think that i know absolutely every single thing there possibly is to know about beer, the truth is that there's a lot that i don't know about it. 2011 was the year where i first realized what the deal was with wet hops vs dry hops in beer. it's simple, really. pretty much all year long, beers are made with dry hops except for a brief period during the fall, when they're harvested & inserted directly into the brewing process. out of all the wet hop brews i tried this year, founders' harvest ale was the one i tried that did the most with the wet hops. in this case, they help enhance the overall taste of the beer, resulting in a flavor that's both smooth & citrusy. too bad i have to wait until next fall to get my hands on some more.
|drink: sixpoint autumnation
by far, the beer that i had the most this year was sixpoint's first ever seasonal can--the autumnation. though it was around this fall for no more than two months, i drank enough of them during that time period to eclipse my consumption of any other beer all year long. it's sixpoint's pumpkin beer, one that bucks the usual trend of overly-spiced pumpkin beers by brewing it so that the squashiness of the pumpkin stands out. coupled with wet hops, ginger & white pepper, it helped redefine what a pumpkin beer meant to me. after trying dozens of essentially similar pumpkin beers, the autumnation was a pleasant surprise.
coming up next: OUR TOP TEN TRACKS & SNACKS OF 2011!