Thursday, December 30, 2010

Banana Wonders about 2010

2010 has been a very transitional year. I moved from East Hollywood to Huntington Beach to Portland. I went from my fancy corporate banking job in downtown Los Angeles to being a student in Portland. I turned 30. In between there have been some noteworthy food/foodie exclamation points. 

It started with the marriage of my little brother. His amazing wife, and future patron saint, Anh, is Vietnamese, so I made a coconut galaktoboureko to merge Vietnamese and Greek flavors for the rehearsal dinner.

Then I went to Greece for a month, where I skied on Greek soil for the very first time and had the best moussaka in my life at Taverna Louizdis in Voulagmeni (Athenian beach town). 

I came back to Southern California to live with my Significant Parental Units in Huntington Beach and did my usual animal-product free (vegan) Greek Orthodox lent fasting. Then my beloved car, newly licensed as "NTOMATA" (Greek for "TOMATO") got totaled on the 405 Freeway by a Prius. I escaped with just muscular injuries. The car saved my life. I decided to go car-less for awhile and have been car-free since. 

I flew to Boston to visit one of my best friends, Judah, who was just finishing up his last year of medicine at Harvard. We ate cannolis then I took the train to Manhattan to visit some friends where I had a baby shark revelation at Stamatis in Astoria.

I celebrated my 100th blogiversary

I got deflowered at Ludobites 4.0 and then returned later in the summer for 5.0 with my favorite dish from both episodes being the Crab Coronet with Corona Granita from 4.0 (shown below).

I conducted an olive oil cake smack down for the LA based Eat My Blog charity bake sale to raise money for the LA Food Bank. The winning recipe was not made by a celebrity chef, but by someone in North Dakota. 

My friend, Diana, and I found brussel sprouts, dessert, and pizza better than Mozza in the OC. 

I finally (located, purchased...) ate an Ostrich egg!

I got summoned to sketch nude models whilst drinking champagne for Art Works in Hollywood. I think this was so they could write on their website "Sketching Bananas with Banana Wonder." Proof is here. 

I attempted to bring "Opa" back by making an Ouzo cupcakes with vissino cream cheese frosting and pistachios as a competitor in the exotic, novice category for the OC Cupcake Camp. I did not win, but I was still very happy with my unique flavor combination.

I made cheese for the very first time.

I conducted an empanada smack down. Results at the end of this post.

Then I moved to Portland for grad school. I love the Pacific Northwest:

I put on an epic seven course olive oil tasting menu for my friends,

Made gnocchi for the first time and had a burger after 11 months.

I turned 30 and organized an Ugly Sweater Dive Bar Crawl to celebrate.

I finished off the year in my new - old (since I moved back after going to undergrad in Portland) with homemade limoncello and plumcello that I had started making in Huntington Beach. Sadly, I didn't finish off my bucket list (failing to eat durian, chicken feet and poutine). I will be adding these plus more to my 2011 challenges!

Happy New Year! All the best in 2011!


Ivy said...

I've seen my foodie friends post reviews of how their blogs did the past year. This the most wonderful, interesting and enjoyable post I've read up to now. Congratulations Anna, keep it up!
(BTW pity NTOMATA became SALTZA = hope you can take black humour).
Chronia Polla kai Kali Chronia.

weezermonkey said...

Great year! I'm so glad to have met you this year. :)

Maria Verivaki said...

you are one of the most creative greek chefs on the blogosphere - congratulations on all your achievements, and happy new year!

Shaheen said...

Love the narrative with the photographs.

As I only found your blog a couple of months ago, it was good to see what you had been up to early in the year. May 2011 be good for you.

lydia said...

love this, Anna! what an accomplished (and yummy) year. 2011 will no doubt bring more rad things to you. x

Joyti said...

So much good stuff. Congratulations on going back to school. And your brother's wedding - it sounds like so much fun. And marrying Greek and Vietnamese flavors sounds magical!
I hope that you have a wonderful 2011.

Esi said...

Happy new year!! Sorry I missed you the other day, but the next time you're in town I better see you.

JustinM said...

That's a fantastic post. It's been a good year for the roses.

Helen said...

Oh wow, you should be so proud of all your culinary accomplishments! I am so amazed by your talents! Great post btw. Those food pics are amazing. For your Poutine adventure you HAVE to cross the border into Quebec. You can kill two birds with one stone and continue your search for the best almond croissant too! I hope 2011 brings you closer to your food and non-food related aspirations.

Happy New Year!

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy new year! I'm so glad to have found your blog!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Happy New Year, Anna. I loved your round-up. It was the most original I've come across today. Over and above great photos and recipes, you are also fun to read. Enjoy the remainder of the holiday. Blessings...Mary

Dewi said...

Have a Wonderful and Happy New Year to you and yours !

Banana Wonder said...

Ivy - Haha that's a good one! Maybe my next car will be named that if it's red ;)

Sharon - Glad to have met you!

Med Kiwi - Wow that is an amazing compliment. Thank you!

Mangocheeks - Thanks and you too! Glad I found your blog.

Lydia - Let's hope so and come visit PDX soon!

Indie.Tea - Thanks :)

Esi - Don't know when that will be, you have better chances of coming up here ;)

Justin - Thank you very much!

Helen - You are so right. I really need to get up to Quebec sometime soon. What's a good time of year to go??

Blond Duck - Why thank you! Happy New Year.

Mary - Thanks, that really means a lot to me!

Elra - Happy New Year and I can't wait to see what you'll be baking up this year.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a great year! Best wishes for 2011!



Helen said...

Quebec is the province but one of the oldest and largest cities in Quebec is 'Montreal' and it's very nice in the Summer.

I was there this past summer and pigged out on the almond croissants! I've also tried Poutine, but while I can't say it's a fave of mine, it's definitely worth sampling once. Poutine is known to locals as the hangover food to eat at 3 a.m. after all night drinking and partying.

If you don't mind the snow and cold, lots of people cross the border now for skiing:

Ruth Abatzoglou said...

Happy New Year from your significant Parental unit in HB.

Here's to another great year.

Love you always... unit MOM

Banana Wonder said...

Rosa - Many thanks :) Can't wait to see what your blog has in store for us this year.

Helen - Thanks for the ski info. I can't wait to explore Montreal and hopefully not eat poutine more than 2x in a week :/

Mom - Hope to see the Significant Parental Unit soon in P Town!

tasteofbeirut said...

This was fun reading; it reminded me of the "roman-photos" we used to read as teenagers. I wish you even more adventures in 2011.

elly said...

I love your license plate. Hilarious! What a great post, I had a lot of fun reading it (as I do all your other posts)! Happy 2011!

Banana Wonder said...

tasteofbeirut - I looked that up and couldn't find anything except some indie band?!

elly - aww thanks. Glad you appreciate my license plate.

Diana said...

Pizzeria Ortica was definitely one of my favorite meals of 2010! So glad I could be a part of this raging recap!

Banana Wonder said...

Diana - One day we shall return!!