Eating the nine-course tasting menu on my birthday at Per Se with my girlfriend Angela was definitely one of the culinary highlights of our 2011. If you dream about food, if your pursuit is dishes, iconic and otherwise, Thomas Keller's Oysters and Pearls at Per Se in New York City is one of those dishes you've seen, heard, and dreamed about. And the sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and sterling white sturgeon caviar tastes as good as it looks, and better than you imagined. There's a luxurious mouthfeel and plump, buttery oysters, and as you're eating it, you're simultaneously frustrated by and grateful for the small mother-of-pearl spoon it was served with. After all, you could eat a much, much bigger portion, and the spoon at least forces you to slow down. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.