BEST RESTAURANT TREND - 2005
All right, so nobody ever went broke complimenting their audience, but still. You've dazzled us over the last few years. You have shown an amazing willingness to support great chefs working in odd environments (when Auriga was dingy, out-of-the-way Singapore!, Saigon, Udupi, etc.). You've embraced once-foreign cuisine without missing a beat (Spanish tapas at Solera, sushi everywhere, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches everywhere, and so on). You have shown an amazing, truly breathtaking fearlessness and passion toward dishes the rest of the American population finds terrifying (roasted Brussels sprouts at Tryg's, whole horse mackerel sashimi at Origami, sweetbreads everywhere). In fact, in a decade, you, you fantastic restaurant-going adventurers, you have changed a city famous for white-on-white meals into one of the most intriguing, most diverse, most surprising food cities in the country. California will always be ahead of us in terms of produce and wine (hey, the stuff grows on trees out there), and a couple of global centers like New York or Miami will always outpace us simply because of their vast, surging rivers of population, but hot damn. We have far better, far more, and far different restaurants here than anyone has a right to expect, and it's all because you are fearless, awesome, bold, occasionally even, dare we say, sensuous, and you put your money where your mouth is. Take a bow!