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Statesman’s & Chronicle’s Top Ten Lists of 2014

The best way to distill year’s best eats is in list form.

St. Philip
St. Philip
Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

The last day of 2014 means it’s time for year-end lists. Statesman critic Matthew Odam rounded up a list of his favorite dishes of the year, including produce haven Gardner’s ribeye, Kin & Comfort’s Asian and Southern fusion magic with their tom kah shrimp and grit, and a brand new vegetable star: St. Philip’s golden cauliflower.

Could the team behind Uchi and Uchiko do for cauliflower what it did for Brussels sprouts at Uchiko? If early returns are any indication, it seems they’ve once again unlocked the formula on how to make a long-derided vegetable worthy of a return visit. Here the cruciferous vegetable is flash-fried to a bronzed crunch that elicits the cauliflower’s sweetness, which is matched by golden raisins.

The Chronicle unleashed their ten lists of top tens. There's Virginia B. Wood’s usual sweets and savory lists (LaV’s macarons and Olamaie’s secret biscuits), Melanie Haupt’s favorite vegeterian dishes (Veracruz All Natural’s migas tacos, East Side King’s avocado bun), Claudia Alarcon’s best affordable fine dining spots (Barlata’s happy hour, Dai Due’s ladies steak night), and Mick Vann’s list of great international restaurants (A+A Sichuan China, Chapli Kababs n Curries). Food editor Brandon Watson picked out Austin’s top trends, from the Southern explosion, bake sales, to crazy collaborations:

Whether it was Micklethwait getting cozy with Austin Eastciders, Delysia Chocolatier smoking salts in Franklin Barbecue's pits, or Michi Ramen getting freaky with Via 313's pizza, Frankenstein's monster never seemed so edible.

Rachel Feit also put together a list of what she calls "Oddities, Frivolities, and Absurdities in Austin food," which spanned fancypants ice cubes from Half Step, Drink.Well, and No Va, super slow eggs, to Red Star Southern’s exclusive table:

Why pay to be pampered in some snooty restaurant when, for $85 a seat, the Red Star Southern trailer will wine and dine you on a picnic bench in the Grackle's courtyard?

Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn gathered his most unforgettable meaty bites of the year from all over the state. The only Austin place on the list is La Barbecue’s sausage:

Central Texas isn’t short on great sausage, but it’s hard to find a better version than what John Lewis is making at La Barbecue. Known as "hot guts," they have some heat and a great snap from the natural casing. They’re also ridiculously juicy.