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Top 10 Whatever of 2009: Sklar, Brown, Rabinowitz

Top 10 Whatever of 2009: Sklar, Brown, Rabinowitz

There are a lot of lists going around about Top 10 films of the year, so I wanted to ask a bunch of film people to list their Top 10 “something else.” No movies, but their 10 favorite/best/notable things of 2009. This is the last assortment, so thanks everyone for following along. And, I will say that I asked several woman to participate but only the guys responded. Odd. Like these (hope you’re not too hungry!):

Todd Sklar, founder, Range Life Entertainment
(Range Life’s Top Ten Sandwiches of 2009, listed in city order by when we last ate them. Editor’s note: Todd sent photos of each, but I didn’t have room.)

1. Minneapolis, MN (three-way tie)
Golooney’s – Chicken Philly (Roasted Chicken, Grilled Onions, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Melted Provolone, Hot Pepper Relish, Mayo & Butter Sauce, all grilled together on a flat top) & Brianno’s – The Italiano (Smoked Prosciutto, Genoa, Coppacola, Fresh Mozz, Fresh Provel, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Oil & Seasoning on the absolute best bread on earth) & Caffery’s – Ranch Gobbler (Smoked Turkey, Cheddar, Muenster, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Peppercorn Ranch sauce, grilled on a wheat hoagie)

2. Milwaukee, WI
Comet Cafe – Meat Loaf Sandwich (Braised Homemade Meat Loaf topped with Bacon Chive Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Onions, Tomato, Bacon, Swiss, and served open-faced on two pieces of toasted rye, all smothered in beer gravy)

3. Chicago, IL
Milk & Honey Cafe – Rare Roast Beef (House Made Herb-Crusted Roast Beef, served medium-rare with Bib Lettuce, Tomato, Creamy Havarti, and Homemade Radish Slaw)

4. Austin, TX
Foodheads – Grilled Salami (Grilled Salami & Fresh Mozz served on toasted Sourdough with Fresh Spinach, Roma Tomatoes and dressed with a Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette)

5. Santa Fe, NM
Counter Culture Cafe – Grilled Salmon (Marinated Salmon dressed in Chipotle Aioli on a Ciabatta roll with Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Red Onion, Crumbled Blue Cheese and Balsamic Reduction)

6. Los Angeles, CA (tie)
Bay Cities Deli – The Godmother (Genoa, Mortadella, Coppacola, Prosciutto, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Oil & Vinegar, Fresh Smoked Mozz) & Larchmont Wine & Cheese – The #3 (Sopressata & Spanish Manchego with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Fresh Mixed Greens on Fresh Ciabatta)

7. Seattle, WA
Paseo – Cuban Roast (Slow roasted Pork Shoulder, covered in Caribbean Marinade & Seasoned Aioli, with Fresh Cilantro, Caramelized Onions, Pickled Jalapenos, Iceberg Lettuce, and pineapple wedge)

8. Kansas City, MO
Oklahoma Joe’s – The Z-man (Slow Roasted BBQ Brisket with Smoked Mozzarella & Onion Rings on a fresh Kaiser roll, and covered in their award winning BBQ sauce)

9. Columbia, MO
Sub Shop – The Vegetarian w/ Bacon (Mushrooms, Onions, Olives, Green Peppers, Lettuce, Tomato, Swiss, American, Mozzarella, and Mayo all on Homemade wheat bread and topped with Eight Thick-cut Crispy Strips of Applewood Bacon)

10. New York, NY (tie)
Alidoro – The Verona (Sopressata, M. Bel Paese, Roasted Red Peppers – NOTE; don’t be fooled, this sandwich is where the sidewalk ends as far as I’m concerned) & Papa Lima – Charlie Brown (Fresh Roast Chicken, Bacon, Arugula, Tomato, Basil, on wheat — NOTE; be a dude and add Havarti and get it toasted)

Todd Brown, editor, Twitch
(Top 10 album purchases of 2009)

The Antlers, Hospice
(I’m not sure what it is about this record but it just sort of burrows its way into my head and won’t get out. And, strangely, this is a good thing.)

The Black Angels, Passover
(Yes, I know the record didn’t come out this year but I discovered the band this year and obsessively snapped up everything I could find. This is the one I turn to most – sixties acid rock at its absolute best.)

Elliott Brood, Mountain Meadows
(A local Toronto band, these boys describe themselves as death country. It’s an absolutely amazing live show and their latest record captures why.)

Fever Ray, Fever Ray
(Bizarre, otherworldly stuff.)

Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life
(Toronto hardcore punk rock lays waste to all comers.)

Grinderman, Grinderman
(I’m a late arrival to the world of Nick Cave but if he keeps producing stuff like this I’ll be a loyal one…)

Kings of Leon, Only By The Night
(Yeah, they don’t do anything particularly new but, damn, I just really, really like this record.)

Patrick Watson, Fireweed
(Montreal songwriter creates these incredible little nuggets and the live show has a surprising dose of Waits in the presentation. It’s a winning combination.)

Wintersleep, Welcome to The Night Sky
(East coast Canadian band – home is well represented here, it’s been a good year – are one of the best live bands in the world right now, neatly balancing power and raw emotion.)

Wolfmother, Cosmic Egg
(Everything old is new again…)

Mark Rabinowitz, journalist/blogger, Eating Is Fundamental
(Top 10 Food Experiences of 2009, presented in random order.)

Almond Restaurant’s roast chicken (Bridgehampton & NYC, NY) – Quite simply, the greatest chicken dish I have ever had. In its current state it’s served over a bed of cavolo nero (Tuscan black kale) and celery root puree with natural juices. Trust me.

Maine Shrimp season – This one’s easy. It’ll be on my list every year from now until the day I die. If I lived in Damascus, I’d figure out how to get Maine shrimp mailed to me. See my risotto recipe.

My first home-smoked pork butt – It took 11 hours, I didn’t have any meat syringes to inject marinade into the meat, had never smoked anything before and had a party full of discerning Southerners but I managed to pull it off. The sauce I had on hand from the next entry didn’t hurt.

De Valls Bluff, AR – Good lord. If this isn’t the town with the most world-class restaurants per capita, I don’t know what could be and it’s worth the 90 mile drive from Memphis. With fewer than 800 souls inhabiting the town, De Vall’s bluff has Craig Brothers’ Cafe for the best BBQ pork sandwich you’ll ever have and Mary’s Family Pie shop for some of the most delectable pies on earth. Try the chocolate. You’ll thank me.

Southern Chefs – John Currence, Mike Lata, Sean Brock, Frank Stitt and Chris Hastings. Currence’s mini-empire in Oxford, MS; Lata’s FIG (Food Is Good) in Charleston, SC; Brock’s 7 course tasting menu at McCrady’s, Charleston; Stitt’s parmesan souffle at Bottega in Birmingham, AL; and Hastings’ Fudge Farms Pork Shoulder Noodle Bowl with Poached Farm Egg at his Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. Maestros, all!

Round Swamp Farm (East Hampton, NY) – There are loads of farm stands out in these parts, but this family-run spot is head and shoulders above the rest. The family are farmers and fishers and the fish counter has a sign each day indicating what fish were brought in that morning my the local baymen. It can be pricey, but it’s the best local produce and fish and the friendliest place around.

Smitty’s Market (Lockhart, TX) – My first experience with real Texas BBQ was a serious exercise in excellence in meat. No plates, no forks. Plastic knives & Shiner Bock. And meat.

New Orleans – A city with its own cuisine. A city with a soul like no other and a city where you can eat a different meal every day for a year and still have something new to eat on New Year’s Day.

My first Hog Pickin’ – After a recent weekend food symposium down South, I was lucky enough to be invited to a hog picking. Basically a whole hog roast for about 40 people in a backyard. My host made his own BBQ sauce and the community gathered to feast. I’d never had it before, but I sure want to have it again!

Hominy Grill’s Hot Pepper Jelly (Charleston, SC) – I don’t know how I missed this bit of confectionary, but chef Robert Stehling’s preparation, complete with goat cheese and water crackers has become one of my party staples!

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