The Palate Cleanser Made the Meal

No offense to Iron Chef Marc Forgione, but of a tasting menu sampled at his eponymous TriBeCa restaurant in April, a palate cleanser was most memorable — a Sichuan button. They're by no means a new thing — they've long been known to people in South America, Asia, and North Africa — and have been making inroads in the States for years. Regardless, Marc Forgione was the first time I'd had one. There was a slight tingling and numbing of the tongue, a chill, a temporary electric zip that made you smile, if also make you wonder if you hadn't just blown out your palate ahead of the next course. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.

Click for more of the Most Memorable Meals of 2011.