As the year comes to an end, I can say that it was filled with being full. Whether I was cracking crabs, tearing up some tacos or devouring my lifespan in sushi, this year brought me plenty of delectable and noteworthy dishes. Here are a few of my favorite bites from the year that was 2019.

Bam's Shrimp and Sausage Nachos
Bam’s Vegan, Shrimp and Sausage Nachos

Bam’s Vegan, Shrimp and Sausage Nachos

There are some things so good that you may find yourself searching for them in the daytime with a flashlight, and the Shrimp and Sausage Nachos from Bam’s Vegan meets that criteria. Though I am not a vegan, Brandon Waller, owner of Bam’s Vegan and his incredibly dedicated team are so skilled at their plant-based creations that even the meatiest of meat lovers will find themselves meatlessly mesmerized. Their Shrimp and Sausage Nachos are well seasoned and made with blackened house-made konjac root based shrimp, vegan sausage crumble, and a house cheese sauce that quite frankly gives “queso” a real run for its money. When he serves these at the Dallas Farmers Market, do yourself a favor, order 10. Located in The Shed Saturdays and Sundays, Dallas Farmers Market. $-$$

Cubano Egg Rolls Ebb and Flow
Ebb and Flow, Cubano Egg Rolls

Ebb and Flow, Cubano Egg Rolls

The Cubano Egg Rolls at Deep Ellum’s Ebb and Flow are the epitome of what happens when two classics make magic together. Made with all of the porky goodness you love in a Cuban, these egg rolls are a refreshing and deliciously different spin on the sandwich. They’re packed with pork and ham, wrapped in rice paper and then crisply fried to perfection. And just like that, two classics got an upgrade. 2651 Commerce St Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75226 $$

Mike's Chicken
Mike’s Chicken, 16 pc, Mixed

Mike’s Chicken, All of the Chicken

It’s true, I’d heard about the glory of Mike’s Chicken, but it wasn’t until this year that I’d actually set foot inside the joint. Folks are constantly coming in and out of this place, and for good reason. After ordering, they don’t tell you, “ See you tomorrow,” for no reason. The stuff is habit forming. The chicken doesn’t even pretend to be anything other than juicy, through and through, all while delightfully fried in a crispy, robustly flavored batter. One bite, and you’re cajoled into a crunchy colma. 4234 Maple Ave #2403, Dallas, TX 75219 $

Oysters Tolouse at Tolouse
Toulouse, Oysters Toulouse (Fried)

Toulouse, Oysters Toulouse (Fried or Baked)

I am a bit of a fried food freak, as has probably become apparent from reading this list. Open for several years with multiple locations, including Dallas, Plano, Austin and Houston, it’s obvious that this French style bistro knows exactly what they are doing. The menu has plenty of great options, but when it comes to visiting Toulouse I am a fool for the Oysters Toulouse. In this must have hors d’oeuvre, lightly battered half shell oysters lay politely on a creamy bed of spinach pernod that’s been tossed and beautified in bacon and parmesan cream. I used to go crazy for the fried version, but they’re just as delightful (maybe even more so) baked. Bonus: If you order these during their brunch, be sure to wash them down with one of their many champagne cocktails such as the Champagne Cocktail made with cognac, or their French 75. Various locations. $$

Hibiki Sushi
Hibiki Sushi, Sushi Roll

Hibiki Sushi, All of the Sushi I’ve Ever Eaten

At one point in my life I was eating sushi at least once a week. I’m still at that point in my life. Thankfully, the sushi chefs at Hibiki Sushi in Deep Ellum know just how to appease my cravings. Open for a little over a year, Hibiki has a rather expansive menu, with names that keep you giggling while you chomp away with your chopsticks and sip on your sake. Some of their notable rolls include I Love My Ass, Sex On The Beach and the Hibiki Special. My personal favorite is the Something Wrong #69, made with shrimp tempura and cucumber inside and spicy soft-shell crab outside, it’s topped with five different types of fish and their signature Screaming Orgasm Sauce. The staff is incredibly friendly here and as an added bonus, they have a pretty awesome happy hour. 2651 Commerce St #120, Dallas, TX 75226 $$

bellagreen, The Green Pizza
bellagreen, The Green Pizza

bellagreen, The Green Pizza

Pretty in green and beautiful cuisine, that’s the best way to describe bellagreen. With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, here you’ll find a stunning setup, and a scratch menu that ranges from gluten and dairy free to vegetarian. Made with organic Italian flour, The Green falls into the veggie category. It begins with a house made garlic-cream, then graciously gets topped with organic spinach dip, red pepper pesto, roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, parmesan and crushed red pepper. To round out the peppery pie, it’s finished with garlic olive oil and fresh basil. Tasting as good as it looks this pie is just as bella as it is green. Various locations $$

Barbacoa Taco, Twisted Trumpo
Twisted Trumpo, Barbacoa Taco

Twisted Trumpo, Barbacoa Anything

Barbacoa is a hard thing to get right. Sometimes it’s too dry. Other times, the meat may be tender but the seasoning falls short, creating a lackluster but beefy experience. The barbacoa tacos at Twisted Trumpo somehow get all of this right. Served with grilled onions and jalapenos, they maintain the proper amount of greasiness. The shredded beef is tender, flavorful and at times, a weekly infatuation. And, in case you are a little on the soulless side and aren’t a fan of street tacos, don’t worry, you too can still experience the shredded meat via their quesadillas, torta’s, burritos and even the loaded fries. Thankfully, all paths lead to blissful barbacoa. Downtown Dallas, Garland TX. $

Churro Doughnuts, TacoLingo
TacoLingo Tex-Mex, Churro Doughnuts

TacoLingo Tex-Mex, Churro Doughnuts

Recently opened in Downtown Dallas, TacoLingo Tex-Mex specializes in rather interesting tacos. From Carne Asada and Carnitas, to their one of a kind Cheeseburger Taco, the menu offers a variety of gringo forward and classical shells. While the tacos and enchiladas are pretty delightful, it’s their House-made Churro Doughnuts that are exceptionally exceptional. Served piping hot, they are crisp, sugary and cinnamony on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. To add to the sweet tooth satisfaction, the doughnuts are served with a sea salt caramel sauce and spiced hot cocoa. This is the sugary combination your waistline has been waiting for. 2301 N Akard St Ste 270, Dallas, TX 75201 $$

Oyster Mushrooms, Peace. Love. Eatz
Peace. Love. & Eatz, “Oyster” Shrooms

Peace. Love. & Eatz, Everything

This year, the black owned vegan scene grew exponentially, providing plenty of healthy options without sacrificing the flavors we love. One of the best to do it in DFW is Peace. Love. & Eatz. Owner James McGee has an inspiring story, and it’s something that can be tasted in all of his dishes. Primarily known as a smoothie bar, he offers a variety of hearty bites that makes meat a complete afterthought. His “oyster” shrooms in the Jerk Bowl have a batter that can’t be beat, paired with the savory cilantro rice and black beans, the dish rounds out with lightly fried sweet plantains. It’s a taste of peace, love and paradise. 324 E Belt Line Rd #205, DeSoto, TX 75115 $$

Photo courtesy of nevafindsfood
Photo courtesy of nevafindsfood

Brunchaholics, Crawfish Grilled Cheese with Tomato Basil Soup

In the past year or so, Brunchaholics has developed an increasingly loyal fan base. When visiting the Dallas Farmers Market, it’s not uncommon to see a plethora of tapping toes, folded arms and grinning faces patiently waiting to devour whatever Chef Jessie Washington and his crew have created. He’s received plenty of notoriety for his Soul Food Burrito, which is full of collard greens, fried catfish or chicken and creamy mac and cheese. Think Sunday supper wrapped up in a big flour tortilla. While that may be his most popular item, I was recently tastefully taken aback by his Crawfish Grilled Cheese Sandwich with tomato basil soup. The sourdough bread is crispy, buttery and perfectly houses melty gruyere, cheddar cheese and crawfish. Dip it in his lush soup and you have a comfort food creation that’s bite after bite of rapture. Located in The Shed Saturdays and Sundays, Dallas Farmers Market. $-$$

Caribbean Cabana Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls
Caribbean Cabana, Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls

Caribbean Cabana, Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls

There are some masterful things going on with egg rolls these days, hence there being two that made my list. When it comes to Jamaican food, Caribbean Cabana spicefully appeases appetites with curry chicken patties, roti’s and their infamous oxtails. Not long ago, they introduced an appetizer that I simply cannot get enough of, the Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls. Served two to an order, they are filled with peppery cabbage, and mounds of tender, savory jerk chicken. Note that they do not carry the egg rolls every day, so be sure to check their specials board. And if you’re still hungry, go ahead and order the jerk wings too. Located in Dallas Farmers Market. $

TJs Seared Scallops
Home cooked scallops

TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill, Scallops

There is an art to searing a scallop properly. First, you have to have the right kind of pan, second, you need to get your butter ratio right, and most importantly, you’ve got to have some damn fine scallops. TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill has been around for several years, but it wasn’t until this year that I discovered the majesty of their scallops. Though I’ve never actually eaten at the restaurant, the market offers several fresh seafood items, ranging from oysters, plump crab claws and sumptuous looking fish, but the scallops are on another level of big, breathtaking brilliance. Large, thick and meaty, you can pair them with a creamy white wine sauce over a bed of pasta, or simply sear them up and treat yourself to a plateful of happiness. 4212 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219 $$ TXMB