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"!
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.
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!)
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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.)