It's gotta be done: the list of my favorite foods from 2012.

I'm in the middle of putting together this year's list of Dining Awards winners, so that helps (hey-suggestions welcome), but the list would undoubtedly be more accurate if I listed my favorite foods from the last 2 days or so. Fortunately, I keep a record, and looking back over it,  these were my faves this year, in no particular order:

A pristine Kumamoto oyster, garnished with a tiny dab of yuzu gel and a spot of hot sauce at Naked Fish, part of a kaiseki that included other wonders like outrageous kobe and delicate steamed egg custard.

The silky sheer ravioli stuffed with braised short rib and truffle at Elio Scanu's new Cucina Toscana. The revamped, post-Nassi menu is still emerging, but this is one of the new dishes.

Paella Valenciana with rabbit and sausage at Finca, where the food has gotten steadily better and better since opening, and it was damn good then.

Duck confit, chanterelles, lentils de Puy in a buckwheat crepe at the Paris. Like some kind of crazy gallic enchilada, this roll served to complement wines at a Latour tasting, wrapped up everything delectably French in one bite.

Corn cakes at Saffron Valley are nothing more than kernels of corn held together in a chickpea batter, then fried. I could eat a bushel of them.

Hot dog with kim chee at Sushi Blue. The grilled split wiener filled with crisp bacon bits and spicy kim tee served in a toasted bun might be the best spin on a hot dog, ever. 

Short rib and kim chee banh mi at Oh Mai. I haven't had banh mi like this before in Salt Lake City. The bread crust is crisp, hollowed out to accommodate a filling of spicy kim tee, rich beef, and crunchy pickled vegetables. This is actually a pic of the honey pork banh mi, but it gives the idea...



Strawberry balsamic popsicle and black pepper popsicle from Wasatch Pops & Snow Shack. The combination of fresh fruit augmented with balsamic and sparked with black pepper was the most refreshing cold treat I've had since childhood.

Oh-so-simple radish and butter sandwiches served by Caffe Niche at Tastemakers. A brilliant idea to resuscitate this French classic, which relies on the simplicity of perfection: good bread, great butter, organic radishes.

Couronne de Touraine from Caputo's with a flight of sparkling wine from beverage director Jimmy Santangelo, served at Copper Onion, which, as my friend Vanessa reminds me, offers one of the only truly artisanal cheese plates in the city.



Risotto del giorno at Valter's Osteria. Finished tableside with cheese and a flourishes, this has been the best risotto we've had in SLC, hitting that elusive sweet spot between cooked and creamy every time I've eaten it

Marinated baby octopus at Aristo's. Arms of octopus as thick as your thumb, white and tender and just drizzled with good olive oil, are among the best things the wine-dark sea has to offer.

Pappardelle with rich braised duck ragu at Sea Salt. Broad noodles slicked with fat duck goodness, mingled with braised duck meat, tomatoes and basil make you wish you had an Italian grandmother.