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Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila's favorite meals of 2008

December 31, 2008 |  4:38 am


Normally, we don't spend a lot of time feeling bad for S. Irene Virbila. After all, as The Times' restaurant critic, she has arguably the best job at the paper. But we did not envy her latest assignment: Putting together a list of her top meals in 2008. As she writes:

It's impossible to capture the delights and terrors of a year of eating out in Los Angeles in a single short list. Some meals I'd rather forget, thank you. But others, the ones that yielded dishes that are still fresh and vibrant in memory, are the ones I'd like to repeat given the chance.

Casting my mind back over the last year, when I think of dishes or meals I really would like to have again, I come up with a dozen that stand out. This isn't a listing of the best restaurants necessarily, or even the best dishes -- I didn't read back over the notes I'd made on the  hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dishes I tasted in the course of a year as The Times' restaurant critic. But these are the ones that stick out in my mind, in some cases even months after I tasted them.

Get Virbila's list here.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo caption: Gjelina's in Venice makes the cut. Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times