S. Irene Virbila Looks Back on 2011's Best; Gold Spies Curly Fries

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David LeFevre's Manhattan Beach Post lands on both critics "best-of 2011" lists Photo: M.B. Post

We're apparently still wrapped-up in wrap-up season, as S. Irene Virbila smacks baby new year's backside with a look back at her favorite meals of 2011. She vaults Jeff Cerciello's roasted chicken over Farmshop's ballyhooed fried bird, takes in a meal in the Basque Country's Asador Etxebarri, and tosses a mean salad before getting lathered up in Kevin Bludso's brisket and "vinegary, slightly sweet barbecue sauce." M.B. Post, Rivera, Short Order, and Hungry Cat also take top local honors, while Virbila treasures meals abroad at Boston's Oleana, Frisco's Cotogna, and Jose Andres' Jaleo in Vegas. [LAT]

"In a year when Los Angeles cooking came together with a coherence it probably hasn't seen since the mid-1980s," Jonathan Gold pinpoints Spice Table as the direct-on-target bulls-eye of our current dining scene. He rounds up his own favorite top ten list of best dishes, nodding to Soban's ganjang gejang, Lukshon's stuffed squid, Jordan Kahn's congee, and Tsujita's tsukemen, among other Asian-influenced bites, a baco, and M.B. Post's blissful bacon-buttermilk biscuits. [LAW]

Elsewhere, El Senor de Oro susses out the curly fries scene, spilling a load of options for the likely "writhing mass of greasy, no doubt previously frozen fries" including Mo's, Dolores, and Daglas. But in the end, Mr. Gold feels a food truck will best serve the need for the loopity fries, suggesting a Missouri-refugee try a rover called Fresh Fries, "where they serve Qs by the sputtering coneful." [LAW]