Looking Back…

Looking Back
With 2015 in the books here’s a quick look at what was popular on the blog last year. The most-read post was a recipe: for ghugni (Bengali-style chickpeas). In general, individual recipe posts were read more than individual whisky reviews, but a clear majority of my readership remains most interested in whisky. The most-read whisky review was of the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015, which has been the most-read whisky review every month since it was posted in early August (and my review of the Cairdeas 2014 was also very popular). However, the most-read whisky-related post was not a review and was not even posted in 2015: it was, yet again, my piece from 2014 on Glendronach’s creative use of the term “single cask”.  And the post with which I began 2015, The Well-Rounded Single Malt Bar, also ended the year in the top 10. I am sorry to say that my “annoying” posts on Jim Murray, on ethics in whisky blogging, on distillery character and on the ridiculous Daily Beast article on Single Cask Nation were also read a lot.  

Restaurant reviews, as a category, seem to clearly be in third place. The most-read restaurant reviews posted in 2015 were of our dinner at Shunji, of my favourite restaurant meal of 2015, at Joe Beef, and of one of the best meals we ate in Minnesota, at Spoon and Stable. My review of one of the very worst restaurant meals I ate all year, at Travail, was also read quite a lot.

Here are the top 10 lists for the three categories into which the vast majority of my posts fall:

Whisky Reviews

  1. Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015
  2. Longmorn 41, 1969 (Gordon & MacPhail)
  3. Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014
  4. Bruichladdich, The Laddie 10
  5. Aberlour A’bunadh, Batches 27, 28, 38 and 40
  6. High West, A Midwinter Night’s Dram
  7. Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 001
  8. Glendronach 15, Revival
  9. Benriach 17, Solstice
  10. Four Roses Small Batch Ltd. Ed. 2014

Some surprises here: I had no idea the Cairdeas 2014 review was still being read or that there’d been so much interest in my reviews of A Midwinter’s Night’s Dram or the Benriach Solstice. I am not at all surprised, however, by the ranking of that A’bunadh review: despite having been made in the very early life of the blog it seems to have been read every single day since. Whisky geeks love their A’bunadh.

Recipes

  1. Ghugni: Chickpeas in a Bengali Style
  2. Red Bean Curry with Coconut Milk
  3. Rajma: Beans in a North Indian Style
  4. Chholar Dal
  5. Un-Tandoori Chicken
  6. Everyday Chicken Curry
  7. Spicy and Tangy Pork
  8. Kofta Curry
  9. Shorshe-bata Maach/ Fish in Mustard Paste
  10. Kali Dal

The top three recipes are for beans. No surprise there as my friend Steve Sando included links to these recipes in the Rancho Gordo newsletter in the months in which I posted them. And while the top four are vegetarian recipes there’s quite a bit of meat in there as well.

Restaurant Reviews

  1. El Triunfo (Northfield, MN)
  2. Shunji: Omakase (Los Angeles)
  3. Joe Beef (Montreal)
  4. Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis)
  5. Travail (Robbinsdale, MN)
  6. Scandinavian Buffet (Northfield, MN)
  7. La Huasteca (Minneapolis)
  8. Schwartz’s (Montreal)
  9. Bawarchi (Plymouth, MN)
  10. Piccolo V (Minneapolis)

The most-read restaurant review was another 2014 post: my review of El Triunfo, a small Mexican restaurant in Northfield, MN—this, I think, is due to a number of local outlets finding and linking to it this year. However, my review of the Scandinavian Buffet at St. Olaf College in Northfield also found many readers despite having been made quite late in the year. In general, it appears that my reviews of Minnesota restaurants are most popular. This suggests that my restaurant review readership is largely local.

I’m very pleased to see that my write-ups of some of the meals we most enjoyed eating were in the top 10. In my personal rankings, dinner at Joe Beef was my top meal of the year with that dinner at Piccolo in third place (our recent dinner at Mori is in second place but it’s only been up a day). Spoon and Stable was excellent as well. That dinner omakase at Shunji might sneak in but none of the others would be in my own top 10 for the year (though I am really rooting for La Huasteca to survive and thrive). Alas, there were some real low points as well: the travesty that was my dinner at Travail; a farce at Singapore; and mediocre to bad sushi at Sushi Fix and Kyatchi. But, on the whole, we ate quite well in 2015.

Anyway, thank you for joining me on the blog in 2015 and for putting up with this navel gazing. Over the weekend I’ll post my more usual look ahead to January (and also to 2016: I’m probably going to start something new this year).

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