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What made your best "dining experience ever" so special?

Tell us what made your best meal ever so special.

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  1. New Year's Eve+best friend/sister+great front staff+great vintage Bollinger Grand Annee champagne+great captain+great wait staff+great corner table+great double order seared foie gras+great lobster entree+great assortment of creme brulee+great Kracher sweet wine+great white truffle mushroom risotto gratis a la greatest chef Dante Boccuzzi of Aureole (IMHO)

    1. IMHO, company tends to trump all when talking of a complete "experience".

      1. Several years we had a reunion with the family one of my wife's friends from Shanghai in their home near Parsippany, NJ. The family was sheltering a Chinese Master Chef who had just finished a tour of duty at the Chinese Consulate in New York and wasn't quite ready to return to China. He whipped up an awesome feast for us all. The food and the joy of the reunion all blended together. That was probably my best "dining experience" to date.

        1. The best "experience" for me is not the best seat in a fancy restaurant its the joy of family and friends,mom's cooking and a poker table. I'll won't trade that for the world.

          1. My husband and I went to a five star restaurant on our honeymoon... the first and only 5 star experience we've had.

            For me, it was a combination of the food (holy cow), the respect (being doted over by half the restaurant), and the occassion (our honeymoon) that made it so magical and wonderful. My husband and I still talk about it quite frequently!

            1. Friends and family.

              As i have said in many posts, the food takes a back seat to the company in any situation. The food, the staff, the ambience all allow for the friends to enjoy a wonderful time together.

              My most memorable "dining experience" was sitting in an outdoor cafe staring at the Eiffel Tower with DW and two daughters when the fireworks went off in 2000 (not NYE). Ask me what I ate, no idea, but most memorable.

              1. I'll vote for company as well, but my top three have to have been at the Li Family Restaurant in Beijing, at Restaurant La Grange in Morzine, France, and many years ago, at the Four Seasons in New York. A date took me there when I was not long out of college. I was awestruck by the beauty and elegance of the place, the graciousness and perfection of the service, the presentation (I didn't know there was a word for beauty on a plate) and the sophisticated and delicious food. If I were to replicate that meal today, I do wonder what I would think.

                The best single item I have had recently was black truffle pizza at the Chesa Grischuna, in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Wow!

                1. I can only say that it was a mystical experience. Two friends and I on the patio of a no-longer-existent restaurant in Ojai. All of a sudden, everything snapped into some kind of otherworldly perfection for all 3 of us. It was like being in another dimension for about 5 minutes. We still can't explain it, but each of us remembers it vividly.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Snackish

                    That's beautiful. I often hear people describing a concert, opera, or even poetry reading along similar lines, but I wish more people would realize food can be the same way.

                    When my friend comes back from a 9 course meal at The Ritz in SF (where I came close to haveing that mystical experience you speak of) and tells me she's not stuffed silly and complains that a restaurant should feel ashamed for taking $700 dollars from her, it makes me want to wring her neck. She really didn't get the point, did she?

                    1. re: Snackish

                      I wonder what they were putting in their brownies...

                      1. re: Snackish

                        Are you talking about L'Auberge, the precursor to the current one? If so I completely agree. L'Auberge was my first wakeup call, the first lightning bolt to wake up my taste buds when I was 8 or 9 or so. My cosmopolite grandparents would take me there when they came into town several times a year. I hear the current incarnation is good, but I can't bring myself to go because I miss the old L'Auberge so much.

                      2. Being in Pisa with the person you love, at a restaurant where you are the only dinner reservation because the rest of the restaurant was booked by Italian Congress, who were all letting loose and having an awesome time, you're dining outside in what could be someone's backyard, they're lighting incense sticks around the garden, there's old, old buildings with vines crawling up them and old cracked venetian blinds barely hanging on, the sun is setting, the air is like bath water, the food is fantastic and rich, and the maitre'd simply tells you to drink as much of any bottle as you like and he'll charge you accordingly.
                        And then he charges you 30 euro.
                        And the whole meal (5 courses each, with different entrees and desserts) would have cost 3 times as much in France or the U.S. And the chestnut honey semifreddo with shaved almonds is probably the best thing I've eaten.
                        And then back to the hotel for...well...

                        1. 29th anniversary lunch at Le Gavroche in London. Wow! The room is gorgeous, service impeccable, fabulous food. It was all perfect. Got to get back there again.

                          http://www.le-gavroche.co.uk/

                          1. Dinner at Bouloud in Las Vegas at the Wynn. No, it isn't as good as Daniel, though it is close. This was the last family vacation that my mother was able to go on. She was forces to ride in a wheelchair for a lot of the trip because of breast cancer. My father, sister, mother and I laughed, ate, and tried our best to make the night last as long as it could. This was July, and my mother died in September at 43 years old. I thank God for the 19 years we spend together, and that meal remains one of my favorite memories of us.