So this is the time of year when we normally say things like "Wow, another year gone by already!" and "Can ya believe it's almost 2010?" and "Say there, how come you just broke my nose?" That last one is something you say if you've been ruminating on the quickness of 2009 in our vicinity, because it wasn't fast at all, to us. 2009 was a long, hellishly slow slog through... well, nevermind. No need to go over all the bad stuff again. Why not look on the bright side? And we did have a bright side this year: Our humble little food blog is doing better than it ever has before, largely thanks to the participation of you, the reader. Here are some highlights we've all enjoyed throughout the year, and then some other highlights that pissed people off with the burning anger of a thousand white-hot suns.
One of our favorite slideshows from this year was a lengthy exploration of why bacon is better than tofu. What we like about this particular slideshow is that The Feed's suggestion that "Tofu is the new bacon" could have been met with a rapid refute along the lines of "No, because tofu sucks and bacon does not." But that wasn't enough for us. We needed to painstakingly enumerate the ways in which bacon is better than tofu. We needed tofu hurt and humiliated and completely unwilling to show its ugly, organic face ever again. We think we succeeded.
Also popular were the 5 best foods to sneak into a movie theater, an article which ignited the comments section with nostalgic recollections to past sneakings, and quite a few chastisements for leaving out alcohol. You know what? Fair enough.
Ever see something during one of those movies and wish it was real? Us too. We provided a list of only 20 of the myriad possibilities, wishing we had some Slurm to wash down that Brawndo. Although we noticed we left out that ridiculous pink soft drink called "Tab" that used to show up in all the '80s movies. Curious for being so far-fetched, it's a drink we'd kind of like to try even while we laugh at such a ludicrous notion. "Tab"! Like anyone would drink such a thing!
Anvil was one of our favorite new places in 2009, and we really liked their list of 100 cocktails to try before you die. Flame war spread throughout the comments section faster than a spilled Flaming Dr Pepper spreads across the lap of an inspector with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, but at the end of the day, it was all about the drinking. So... we're assuming you guys all put your differences aside and went out and got hammered. That's how we like to imagine that flame war ending, please don't burst our bubble.
Our article on the top 5 creepiest Halloween candies was Tweeted by none other than Ashton Kutcher, whom we thank profusely, and our slideshow of Burger Porn must have been e-mailed to every meat-eater in this hemisphere.
One of the most fascinating comments sections to watch was the one for our article on Houston's 10 most overrated restaurants, which quickly devolved into a screaming match between people who felt we'd omitted a certain restaurant, people who felt we shouldn't have included a certain restaurant, and thinly disguised chefs / restaurant owners trying to stick up for themselves without giving away that they were chefs / restaurant owners. Towards the bottom, a guy named The Shank compares making a restaurant lose even a single customer to the collapse of the World Trade Center. Way to keep things in perspective, The Shank! You're the world's biggest horse's ass!
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Continuing with the controversial subjects, everybody had an opinion on forced valet parking. Most people hated it, a few people defended it, and a few restaurant owners showed up to continue this year's trend of crying like bitches whenever someone lobbed the slightest of criticisms their way. But at least that's not as creepy as the comments under our article for St. Arnold's One Pot Showdown, where, if you scroll down far enough, you get to see one of the commenters offer to spank another commenter. And we're fairly certain he was dead serious.
A few Bible-thumpers showed up to defend Joel Osteen when we pointed out that his Old Testament-inspired diet recommendations seem arbitrary and imbalanced. To be fair, though, quite a few of them thumped in our defense as well, and we were relieved to find that there are plenty among Houston's faithful who are as skeptical of Osteen's pick-and-choose brand of stadium religion as us heathens.
Finally, our love for Houstonians was cemented when we learned that you guys would rather have dogs in your restaurants than Guy Fieri. Have you ever been within two miles of that guy? Everything starts tasting like hairspray.
Our most popular item this year? A slideshow of photographs taken from a Farmer's Market in Monterrey, Mexico. Something about it really hit home with you guys, and that's another thing we love: Y'all really can't be predicted. You keep us on our toes. Don't ever change, Houston. Except for a couple of the nastier comments-section trolls... you guys can change. See you in 2010!