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Your top five meals of 2007

This idea blatantly stolen from the Chicago board, with a tip of the hat to Chicago Hound "Pugman".

No restrictions, other than perhaps keeping it in the area covered by this board. Any cuisine, any price range, any category, whatever. Just the top five meals that hit the spot on that day, at that time.

I'm not going to try to put mine in order:

1) First "post Doobie" meal at Penn Street Tavern. I still mourn the situation that led to Ras Doobie's departure, but I'm glad that Francine, the current ownership, and all others involved are keeping the Jamaican groove going.

2) Phat Pug Coal Fired Pizza - could be a great addition to the Baltimore pizza scene - now if they could just get their act together so the place stays around (assuming they've not succumbed already)

3) Iggie's Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. OK, I didn't eat at this one, I volunteered to help prepare, but I think it was a class act by some good people. Let's hope that this sort of community involvement becomes a trend.

4) My last attempt at Oriental Manor. Technically, this doesn't count as a meal, but it does top my list of strange experiences in a restaurant. I thought I'd walked onto the set of a John Woo movie - all that was missing was Chow Yun Fat in one of his "hardboiled cop" roles. OK, even if we count my last actual meal at Oriental Manor, it's still up near the top of the "weird restaurant experiences" list. Weird meal, great story!

5) Kountosouvli at Zorba's - sometimes you just have to go for your "comfort food"

Honorable mentions, outside area -
Pizza at Alfred's Tomato Pie in Blackwood, NJ - A lot closer than New Haven, just as good, and seeing Alfred in action when he's in a good mood is an experience not to be missed. Well worth the drive, and it's great to hear Alfred bellow out when I walk in the door, stopping all conversation "Hey, everybody! This is Ken, and he drives all the way from BALTIMORE for a pie!"

Deep dish sausage pizza at Gino's East in Chicago with my friend Dorothy. I hadn't heard from her in 17 years when she got back in touch, and it had been 20-some years since we had gone to Gino's East together in our college days. Like the credit card ads say - "priceless"!

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  1. My top meals this year were not mostly in this country, but I will limit to this area so we don't get in trouble:
    1. Braised veal at 2941
    2. Chocolate cake from Randolph Bakery (rich enough to be a whole meal)
    3. Tasting menu at the Greenbrier's Hemisphere
    4. Lobster burger and duck rillettes at faux gras terrine
    5. Mini burgers and pizza at Matchbox because when I am craving bad food that gives me all the worst in one meal!

    The real tops on my list: Commerc 24 in Barcelona, Fish Fry in Barbados, Kebab at some stand in Barcelona, My Aunt's bread pudding souffle (commanders palace recipe) and some little Italian restaurant I can't even remember the name in NY.

    1. Great topic!!

      These are just my DC-centric meals. I focused more on the restaurants and the overall meal then particular dishes.

      1) Hook-I had the trio of crudo, the one that stands out is the yellow-fin tuna tartar. For dinner I'm almost positive I had the Artic Char and was just blown away by how flavorful everything was.

      2) Anniversary Dinner at Eve (Bistro)- From start to finish this meal was extraordianry. I had been wanting to try it forever and our anniversary was the perfect excuse. The service is top notch and the food is rustic and well-thought out and has little surprises throughout the meal.

      3) Happy Hour Tapas at Taberna del Alberdero-This is the year that my bf introduced me to the Taberna Happy Hour special. There is nothing like hustling thorugh a busy day and then stepping foot into the relaxing Taberna atmosphere, sitting down at the bar, having the bartender bring over a glass of Spanish wine, and escaping into a plate of their spellbinding croquettes!

      4) Mussels and frites at Brasserie Beck- This just stands out because its something that has become very popular just done to perfection. It's uncomplicated but its done very, very well and it deserves a place on my list for that reason alone. I look forward to returning.

      5)Citronelle- I went for the first time this past Spring for my Dad's birthday when he came into town. This stands out mostly because the presenatation was so much fun and artistic. The food was great. In particular I remember the "mosaic" that my bf got as an appetizer...so beautiful. And the fun and playful "Citronelle Breakfast" for dessert. I've never seen anything like this and was completly surprised because our hilarious french waiter said I must get it and wouldn't explain to me what it was until it arrived at the table. A great surprise.

      Honorable mention goes to the burger at Palena, a going-away dinner celebration at Equinox, grits from Georgia Browns, coconut cake at Creme, and the blackened chicken ceasar burritto I have become so obsessed with at California Tortilla (which I discovered for the first time this year!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Elyssa

        In no particular order:

        Red curry salmon from Thai X-ing
        Goan Fish Curry from Indique Heights
        A slice of pizza from Vace
        The entire procession of little starters from Komi
        The curry and apple mussels with frites from Beck

      2. 1. Sweetbreads at Eve.
        2. Chicken wings and mumbo sauce at (Evil) Danny's on H.
        3. Chirashi at Momo Sushi.
        4. Fried clams at Hank's in Old Town.
        5. White pizza at AV because it's the last anyone will ever have.

        1 Reply
        1. re: monkeyrotica

          AV! I forgot about them. They might have made my list, based on the "I was always curious, meant to go for years, went once, liked it, now I will never have another chance." aspect.

        2. Hard to put them in order, but...

          1) Tasting menu at Restaurant Eve (D.C.)
          2) Anniversary dinner at Charleston (Baltimore)
          3) Tomato festival dinner at Petit Louis (Baltimore)
          4) Meat orgy at Au Pied de Cochon (Montreal - yeah, not on this board, but I was on vacation!)
          5) Risotto cooking class/lunch at Bebo's Trattoria (D.C.)

          1. In no particular order:

            1. Cocoa braised short rib- 1789 Halloween Tasting Menu
            2. Rabbit- Cityzen
            3. Poached pullet egg in oxtail consomme with virginia ham and shaved truffles- Inn at Little Washington (easily one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life)
            4. Veal cheeks and sweetbreads- Blue duck tavern
            5. Smoked trout with sunchoke puree and pickled onion vinaigrette- Gramercy Tavern, NYC

            1. 1. LSU Tailgate: Brisket, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Cracklins (unfortunately I was a VT fan down there)
              2. Obelisk - can't remember the name of this exquisite soft cheese. Sensational.
              3. Taberna del Alabardero
              4. Colvin Run Tavern
              5. I'm going to get slack for this, but I love Anita's Enchiladas Rancheras. My ideal breakfast.

              2 Replies
                1. re: sbouldin

                  To the person who mentioned the incredible soft cheese eaten at Obleisk, it was most likely burrata, the most unbelievable cheese on the planet.

                  Here are my amazing restaurants/meals (the ones I remember) for '07:
                  (in no particular order)

                  pasta at Locanda
                  skate at West End Bistro
                  warm lobster roll and pork belly dumplings at The Source
                  duck with foie gras and everything else at Cashions
                  oysters at Hanks
                  just about every meal at Tabbard Inn

                2. Oohs and Aahs - grilled shrimp, greens, rice with gravy
                  Pyramids - spinach, eggplant, carrot salad, felafel, baba ganoush, kufta tagine.
                  Thai X-ing: Tofu soup, pad kana, salmon with red curry
                  Hong Kong Palace: large meal with eight other Chowhounds.
                  Bombay Curry Company: Spent over two hours with a friend here ordering every appetizer on the menu.

                  1. 1. The MiniBar...AMAZING!!!
                    2. Brunch at Hook (for my birthday!)...even my friends who do not normally like fish loved it, the crudite were amazing...and the place is beautiful (I for one love the curtain one must walk through to get to the bathroom)
                    3. Vidalia...impeccable service and amazing food...
                    4. Famoso...the most amazing antipasta with fresh fruit and prusciutto...my Italian side was very happy...
                    5. Five Guys...yummy!!!! I had heard about all the hype but after taking the LSATs it was exactly the kind of meal I needed.

                    and outside the area or the realm that everyone can go to:

                    making sushi with a good friend---we even tried eel
                    Teatro in Boston- again, Im a sucker for some good prusciutto
                    The Beef Barn in Greenville, NC---I love mentioning this place because the name throws people off, it is a very nice steak restaurant, if you ever find you way to Greenville its a place to try!

                    1. Folks, our goal here for this board is to share tips on great LOCAL chow. Please restrict your answers to restaurants that can be found in the DC/Baltimore area. If you'd you'd like to discuss your overall best meals of 2007, please start a new thread on the General Chowhounding Topics board. Thanks.

                      1. Baltimore: Jack's Bistro, Charleston and Joung Kak
                        DC: Komi, Hook and Creme Cafe

                        Okay, that's six. Sorry.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sweetpotater

                          Oh, yeah. I haven't eaten at Joung Kak in ages. They're awesome.

                        2. Not in order, but:

                          1. Crispy Squid at Thai Square - the larb gai or papaya salad round out the meal nicely.
                          2. The faux gras and kit kat dessert at Central
                          3. The sable and lentils at Hook, followed by donuts in nutella sauce
                          4. A lengthy dinner at Zataynia including their baba ganoush and zucchini patties.
                          5. The burger at Palena with a shared fry plate...right before I got engaged.

                          1. 1.Tersiguels....chateaubriand for 2 with organic veggies and crepe dessert- the whole experience was to die for. Best service I have had to date. In fact the meal was so incredible we sat in the car for an hour afterwards glowing. The waiter was such a charm he could have sold us old shoes to eat and we would have dug right in.

                            2. Charlie Palmer Steak for restaurant week. Sounds crazy but we had an excellent meal and were treated like gold. Somehow we hit the GOLD mine the night we went. Everything was spot on. I mean SPOT ON.

                            3. Antrim 1844 for my birthday in November. Elegant and exquisite. The leaves were turning and the walk in the gardens was incredible

                            4. CityZen. I was hesitant because I am such a VERY picky eater but this place is incredibly interesting. Thing on my plate I thought were decorations..were edible. Amazing.

                            5. 2 Amy's margerhita. Kept hearing about it and FINALLY got off our rumps and went and tried it. Wow. Just Wow.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ryzaroo

                              My best meals were so because they were shared with family and/or friends. That said, in no particular order:

                              Dinner with my wife, son, sister, and nephew at Dino for Restaurant Week. My nephew chose the restaurant, no me. Dean was the perfect host, offered a wonderful and unusual bottle of wine at wine madness prices and the food was fantastic.

                              A wine dinner with the DC Crü at Brasserie Beck in November. There were eight of us, (including my baby sister who flew up for the day because it was her birthday and I said I'd buy is she came) and they gave us the Chef's Table. The restauant service was exceptional. Thor, the bar manager, spent most of the night around our table making sure fresh glasses we availabe for every new taste, and inquiring which wines were to be served when, keeping the later champagnes on ice until it was their time. Ihsen, our server, was ever present but not in the way or oversolicitous. His recommendations and explantions of the dishes were expert and accurate. We brought 10 bottles of wine and the restaurant provided excellent wine service, over 80 glasses placed , removed and reset. We started at 7:30 and it was past midnight when we left and the evening was great. Thanks to all, including the servers and chefs who shared our wine and spent the time to make sure we had a fantastic meal.

                              Steamed crabs at a joint I can't remember the name of just north of Harve de Grace with my son and my wife's cousin. He (the cousin) is from Toronto and was here to play at a music festival. He'd never had crabs so we ordered a couple of dozen and pigged out. It was a classic, newspapers on the table, wooden mallets, and lots and lots of beer.

                              A romantic dinner for just my wife and I at Il Pizzico after a stressfull day at the office for both of us. It was great to relax and unwind with a great meal and a nice bottle of wine.

                              Dinner with my wife, mother, and three of my sisters at Firefly. We were seated right next to "the tree" brought two bottles of wine and purchased another there, had a great meal, and then shocked the waiter (and me) when my mother (who is in her 80s) and my sisters all tossed back shots of sambuca with their coffee.

                            2. I have a top 1 and then the rest:

                              Far and away best meal / experience of 2007: Welcome my brother back from Afghanistan meal at Duda's in Fells Point. Great food, great drink, great people. I posted the story a while ago on the board. For those of you who weren't able to make it to Duda's in 2007, put it at the top of the list for 2008.

                              The rest:
                              Pizza at 2 Amy's
                              The pasta and ragu at the now departed Saffron
                              Finding and then lamenting the loss of Artifact coffee
                              The baked cheese app at Samo's

                              1. Hmmmm...

                                1) Restaurant Week at PS7s last January. The duck breast entree was fantastic. SO's tuna tartare starter was beautiful and a taste sensation. Good service, delicious food and great value during RW. One of my best RW experiences in 4 years.

                                2) Gom Ba Wooh: We discovered this place this year and have enjoyed many meals there. Love the seafood pancake and all the dishes of panchan at the start of the meal. Cozy and warm atmosphere. Makes we want to go back now that it's cold.

                                3) Chicken and Waffles at Marvins. I wouldn't put the restaurant at the top of my list (though it is good), but I think every fried chicken eater out there should have trying chicken and waffles somewhere/anywhere as a new year's resolution.

                                4) Spicy beef bibim bap at Korean food cart at 14th and L. It's fresh, it's hot, it's good, it's a large portion. And the mother and son team are really nice.

                                5) I'm cheating and using my fifth spot as a catch all: amazing sauteed skate at Hank's oyster bar (the best piece of fish I've ever had?); summer-time crab-picking at local crab shacks; half-price late night raw bar at Old Ebbit Grill (such a strange, busy people-watching scene after hours); December's Nana's Sunday dinner at the Majestic (roast beef, gravy and chocolate pie, oh my!).

                                1. again no particular order:
                                  Obelisk (we were moving from dupont to the burbs and chose that for our last meal as DC residents); the fabulous cheese we had was called brunet
                                  1789 everytime we went
                                  Keswick Hall in Charlottesville (forget the name of the place but it's the total pkg)
                                  Chart House in Alex (monkfish was primo!)
                                  A bunch of casual great experiences like Paradiso, the bar at Dino's, Leb Tav

                                  1. 1. The discovery of Humbolt Fog Cheese at Cheestique (Alexandria)
                                    2. Lilliyana's Lamb Shank (Arlington)
                                    3. Spicy Garlic Korean Fried Chicken at Bon Chon Chicken (Alexandria)
                                    4. A dozen Oysters with Champagne Mignonette and a glass of Muscadet at Legal Seafood (Crystal City)
                                    5. Parrillada de pescado y marisco (seafood platter) at Jaleo (Crystal City)

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bumpthekoala

                                      Bon Bon Chicken: I forgot that place had opened. I'll have to make sure to get out there this year. And now I want to know what/where is Lilliyanas....

                                      1. re: takajin

                                        Actually I misspelled:
                                        5216 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22205

                                        And I would highly suggest Bon Chan

                                        1. re: bumpthekoala

                                          It was spelled Bon Chon. And the outpost in Germantown is (alas) closed -- don't know about the Alexandria location.

                                    2. Many people seem to list one dish; I think the best "meal" includes ambiance, service , wine, and companionship as well as the food. That said, my favoirte meals (in DC in 2007) were (not in order):

                                      1. Grilled cuttlefish, Lobster Risotto w/mushrooms, and Blueberry tart w/blueberry ice cream (Pesce)
                                      2. Scallop, corn, custard in egg shell; Tuna Carpaccio w/tomato sorbet; Foie Gras
                                      Roast Lobster w/blood orange. Sauterne reduction; Dover sole w/oyster sauce;
                                      Squab; Molten chocolate cake w/ice cream; Petit fours (La Paradou)

                                      3. Tuna tartare; Rockfish cerviche; Crabcake; Foie gras w/plum; Salmon; Blackberry tartlette; Melon ice cream; Petit fours (Charleston)

                                      4, Fritters, mushroom veloute; Cream of Kabocha Squash Soup with Granny Smith Apples, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Local Scallions; Egg Fettuccine with Matsutake Mushrooms and Shaved Alba Truffles, Roasted Shallots, Sage Butter and Parmesan Reggiano; Pan Roasted Muscovy Duck with Autumn Sage Stuffing, Apple-Celery Root Cream, Baby Spinach and Cipollini Onions; Vanilla ice cream with truffles and pinapple; Petit fours (Equinox)

                                      5. Single kumamato oyster with caviar; hamachi sashimi with house-made kim chee; seared scallop and sweetbread with a carmelized onion and sauce; duo of foie gras [torchon and seared] and a lobster and beans dish; intermezzo of pumpkin veloute with spice pecans; branzino served over a spicy tomato sauce with vegetables and tuna with barley and lobster mushrooms; apple sorbet; butterscotch crème brule with sauteed apples & chocolate cake (two small pieces) with raspberry ; bag of house-made chocolate candy (Black Salt Tasting Room)

                                      Not making the list only because I can't recall what the menus were are The Inn at Little Washington (tasting menu), Citronelle (tasting menu), and The Source. There were numerous honorable mentions, e.g., Makoto, Hook, La Chaumiere, Bistrot Lepic, Thai Square, Cityzen, .... Washington is a great town for fine dining !

                                      Bon Appetit !

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Dakota Guy

                                        I don't remember exactly what we had, but my second best meal this year was at La Chaumiere on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the best meal was the night before at Marcel's. Washington is indeed a great town for fine dining. We try to get down there at least a couple of times a year (we're in Baltimore).

                                      2. One of my top 5 meals in 2007 had to be the dinner tonight at Hollywood East on the Blvd. After a looooong day a the restaurant, Kay & I got there at a little after 11 and expected to be turned away. But they welcomed us warmly. The wiater was new and very concerned that we enjoyed ourselves. Here is what we had:

                                        Pork & watercress soup- incredible flavors if a little lukewarm temperature wine.
                                        Baby clams in black bean sauce. Kay wanted to take home the sauce poured over rice after we were done eating the huge number of small, briny, fresh tasting clams. The sauce had hot peppers, soy, black beans and dried tangerine peel slivers! Great!
                                        Baby bok choy with black mushrooms and garlic. Simple perfection. Black mushrooms stirfried in a thickened sauce of the mushroom liquid, soy, ginger, garlic atom lots of steamed baby bok choy with browned garlic slices.
                                        5 huge scalpos on the half shell steamed with ginger & green onion. Chewy bands, nice row and incredible fresh scallops. They could have used 2-3 drops of soy and maybe 1/4 tsp of sesame oil each, but they were so simple, fresh & stark.

                                        We left fat, dumber & happy for $76 including 3 beers.

                                        Dean, Owner, Dino

                                        1. 1. Le Paradou - Washington, D.C. (11 course tasting menu - the second time)
                                          2. Le Paradou - Washington, D.C. (11 course tasting menu - the first time)
                                          3. Spago - Maui (tasting menu)
                                          4. WD-50 - New York City (tasting menu)
                                          5. The Inn at Little Washington - Washington, Virginia

                                          1. RESTAURANT 3: Japanese sea bass
                                            SETTO BELLO: spaghetti allo scoglio
                                            ARGIA: spaghetti and meatballs
                                            CRYSTAL THAI: kway teow kui (stir fried noodles with chicken, pork and shrimp)—not on menu so ask for it.
                                            RAY’S THE CLASSICS: ribeye

                                            1. Where in Blackwood is Alfred's?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: jharris

                                                9 South Black Horse Pike (AKA 168, IIRC)
                                                Get off NJT exit 3, go about 5 miles in the direction away from Philly (SE?)
                                                When you get to Blackwood, it's about 100 feet past the Church Street stop light, across the street from the drug store (Eckerd's?) and a couple doors away from the library.

                                                Last info I had on hours was 3:30-1030 Tues-Sat.
                                                856 228 1234, unless the number has changed (doubtful)

                                                He does the New Haven style thin crust, and as is typical, there is some charring on the crust, and usually a slightly damp spot in the middle where the moisture from the toppings and cheese soaks the thinnest part of the crust - all familiar to those who've had New Haven/Neapolitan style. He will work with you, though, if you convey to him that you like extra crisp, or a little less done, or whatever.

                                                Also, this is not a "load on the toppings and cheese" kind of place. Alfred shoots for a balance between toppings and crust, rather than the crust merely being a conveyance mechanism for the pile of stuff on top. I like that "no single thing dominates" style, but some don't. As with any pizza rec, I'd suggest first-timers take a look at a pie that's being served to somebody else to see if it looks like your kind of thing.

                                                Lastly, tell Alfred that "Ken from Baltimore" sent you. He gets a kick out it when he hears that I'm spreading the word beyond the local area.

                                              2. Just focused on the dishes here. In no particular order...

                                                Herbed roast chicken w/au jus at Overwood
                                                Crabcake appetizer at Majestic
                                                Filet, mashed potatoes, and coconut pie at Capital Grille
                                                Polenta w/pancetta at Dino
                                                Warm bread w/roasted elephant garlic & Siciliana pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso

                                                Hard to pick just 5!

                                                1. All Baltimore
                                                  no particular order but what stands out as I sit here in a decidedly comfort food mood:
                                                  Irish Nachos at Maggie Moore's
                                                  Scallops at Peter's Inn
                                                  My wedding at the zoo caterered by Wickey's
                                                  Oyster's at Woodberry Kitchen
                                                  Spinach Pie at Samos

                                                  Honorable mentions:
                                                  Fired pickles Rocket to Venus
                                                  Vegetable Quesadilla Dissy Issies
                                                  Brunch at B