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Musings on the Biggest Dining Surprises of the Year

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of industry types, writers, and readers. Single Best Meals, Top Newcomers, Top Standbys, The Year in One Word, and Best Dining Neighborhood were revealed earlier, and all will be answered by the time we turn off the lights on Thursday. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein:
A pleasant, if smokey, surprise: Wexler's. [Photo: Jennifer Yin, 6/19/09]

Christopher Kostow, Meadowood: The apparent celebration of sameness and meh

Ryan Farr, 4505 Meats: Folks were actually offended by David Chang's fig comment

Lissa Doumani, Terra/Ame: Definitely the cart/truck explosion, still confused.

Brock Keeling: SFist: People losing their collective shit over food from a fucking truck.

Joe Hargrave, Tacolicious: ?Just how badly Tony Bourdain’s depiction of San Francisco sucked.

Jan Newberry, San Francisco Magazine: That so many great new restaurants opened in a year when the predictions for the industry were all gloom and doom.

Jessica Battilana, 7x7: Sandwiches. I guess I should have seen it coming, economy, blah blah, but I was surprised to see a million sandwicheries open up last year. And glad too. I like a good sandwich. Also, I know a lot of restaurants closed last year, but I am surprised—and pleased—to see how many survived. It’s a testament to our town—people really like to eat. Restaurants and food are important here. That’s a nice reassurance.

Rajat Parr, RN74: How easily Bay Area diners have embraced esoteric wines.

Brett Emerson, Contigo: The increasing popularity of unconventional alternatives to restaurants (like gourmet food trucks), the growing use of Twitter and Facebook by restaurants to connect with their guests, the recent changes at A16/SPQR and Laiola, the sad closures of Eloise and Zinnia. Within our four walls, we've been happily surprised that many of our guests are as enthusiastic about Spanish and American artisanal hams and Spanish anchovies as we are. 

Nish Nadaraja, Yelp: 18 Reasons

Anna Weinberg, South: Scotch eggs @ Wexler's- very nostalgic for those of us from the Colonies.

Sarah Sung, UrbanDaddy: That there's still a demand for cupcakes.

Bruce Hill, Picco/Bix: Nombe.

James Oseland, Saveur: That Americans could cook at home. And do a pretty amazing job of it.

Lucchesi: I, for one, cannot believe: That there is still only one In-N-Out—sans drive-thru—in this entire city but there are 20 La Boulanges; That someone didn't write a 3000-word puff piece on a lemonade stand in Dolores Park; That places like Seasons, Silks and Asia de Cuba are still open; That Tony's Pizza is legit and in North Beach; That someone thought this was a good idea; and despite the lack of chance-taking this year, how consistently solid so many SF restaurants continue to be.

More dining surprises to share? To the comments you go.