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that was the best meal i had all year

I was inspired by the Los Angeles thread what was the best meal of 2112. So this one is for everyone. What was your favorite meal this year and was it an occasion or did you find a great recipe? Anything goes. For me it was actually two, but they were for the same occasion. I was at a wedding for a friend out of town and the rehearsal dinner served prime rib and creamed spinach and baked potato. The salad was ice cold with a homemade ranch that I also used on the potato cuz it was just that good. The creamed spinach was the best I have ever had bar none. And the meat and horsey sauce were lip smacking. Just the right meat to fat ratio. The next day at the wedding they served lobster. Also perfect done just right in a catering service situation. Again ice cold salad and the side was charred corn on the cob. Everything was exellent. Later I found out they were one and the same restaurant/catering company. If i get back to Wolfboro NH I will eat there every night. Cannot remember the name of the place right now but they were outstanding. So now comes the million dollar question... what's yours?

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  1. Oh man, I might just say it was the dim sum at Orchids Garden in Las Vegas last weekend. We were dim sum starved after the LV strip sticker shock on everything there, so I looked online and found one with a lot of 4-5 stars. Honestly, the food was fantastic (except for the fried squid, it was very greasy, but it tasted good), the prices were really reasonable, and the staff was very attentive without being annoying. Also, there was no line to get in there, which is a clarion call to me after we'd spent two days in LV waiting in line to go up a damn escalator. A lovely little dim sum haven in crazy LV. That makes it one of the best this year due to low expectations and minimal to zero human humiliation, Las Vegas style.

    2 Replies
    1. re: EWSflash

      I have yet to try a dim sum restaurant because there isn't one here and I got outvoted in out of town situations so i quit voting with the ex. Where I am has alot of restaurants so it is surprising there isn't dim sum here.if I get a shot at trying one I will.

      1. re: suzigirl

        I'm surprised at how few there are around me, too. There are two in Tucson and not that many more in the whole Phoenix area, judging from a search I did a while back.

    2. Well for me, it wasn't a meal, but I recently tried the cheesecake at Phillips European in Rochester, NY ... and I swear ... it was like having a religious experience.

      1. Not this year, but was just remembering a very basic meal I was once served in Iceland on a day bus trip. We were herded into a big lunchroom. There was some kind of soup. Then came the main event, huge platters of chunks of steamed codfish that must have been swimming in the North Atlantic 30 minutes earlier. That, and big bowls of plain boiled potatoes that had a garden-fresh potatoey flavor, and pitchers of sweet melted butter to pour over them. That was it. Some sort of pudding or cake, I don't recall, and there must have been something to drink, but what I remember was absolutely plain ingredients (fish, potatoes, butter) of incomparable freshness and quality---without distractions of method or extraneous ingredients. There was a lesson in that meal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Querencia

          Querenica, I want that meal now! I can taste it in my head....

        2. I had a minor mechanical problem with my truck and had to spend an unscheduled night in Wyoming a couple of weeks ago, this very nice 50 something lady that worked at a C-store felt bad for me and took me to her home. She made me baked chicken and a box of rice-a-roni. Best meal I had all year (believe me!)

          1 Reply
          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

            Aww. That is very sweet. Its nice to hear about the good souls that are out there

          2. Tricky question. Not least as the year is not yet over and I'm eating a Michelin 2* meal tomorrow night.

            Tricky also because we had two supremely wonderful meals during the year. A 2* and a 3*. Different styles of cooking and different experiences, so it's difficult to make a straight comparison, so it'll have to be a tie between them:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832746

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863270

            1 Reply
            1. re: Harters

              Both meals sound divine. I can see why it would be difficult to pick one

            2. The special vegan tasting menu at Atelier Crenn in SF. Every bite was incredible. A truly memorable experience.

              1. I have to say, the best meal all year was/is the meal my husband and I have every Sunday night (a bit predictable?!?). Grilled salmon and marinated onions. Not fancy, not gourmet, but dependable, reliable and oh-so-good!

                Best of meal of all time? Potentiall the Frosted Flakes served on an airplane flight somewhere over the Pacific on my way (as a child) to Tahiti.

                1. Shunji (LA) tops my 2012 list. The liver and onions at Bouchon in Yountville last week was pretty special. Spaghetti carbonara at Roscioli in Rome is worthy of a 2012 mention.

                  1. My new fave comfort food, steak frites. I seared a hanger steak in a big, hot, salted pan, peppered it, and reduced red wine (cheap PN, I believe it was BV Coastal) around it. It was served rare with the last tablespoon of wine/pepper/salt reduction in a sort of rimless soup plate, nestled with the frites. The frites were paired with a lemony mayonnaise. It was all paired with a Chehalem '08 Pinot Noir. Dessert was more frites and mayo. Second dessert was a chocolate ice cream soda.

                    1. The three meals of 2012 that came to my mind immediately were: peking duck, foie gras creme brulee, and a homemade tomato sauce with fresh pasta that my husband and i made at home together.
                      I'm going to EMP in a few weeks though and I imagine I'll be adding some dishes to that list!

                      1. Last year was easy. The crab feast with Alkapal and her hubby. One of the best meals ever.

                        This year I'll have to put forth two. One here in TO and the other on the road.

                        Early this year a place called Stack Smmmoked opened on what is our Main St. (Yonge St) I dropped in for a burger during burger week and was happy with what I saw. I returned a few months later for a few visits and blogged about it.
                        Not one meal per se but just finding this place has been great. I absolutely love it. Basically, it's a sandwich shop. Burgers, taco and more conventional sandwiches (some of the BBQ type) pretty much fill up the menu. Loving sandwiches it's really geared for me. So with that, the single best thing I've had from there is the Smoked Meat Sandwich. It's their spin on Montreal Smoked Meat (Basically a brisket corned like beef and smoked like pastrami). It is awesome. They make great M&C and their burger 2.0 is excellent.

                        On the road I'd have to say dinner at Nadine's in Pittsburgh was the best. We spit 3 sandwiches between the 2 of us. Fried baloney, meat ball and the open face roast beef featured on Triple D. All were great especially the roast beef. The place is a great dive bar and very friendly.

                        DT

                        1. My favourite lunch was at the Bar Room at the Modern in Manhattan last spring, and my favourite dinner was a meal of contemporary tapas at Cava in Toronto.

                          1. The best meal I had this year had nothing to do with famous and starred restaurants. I’m guess I'm impressed with all of you that have so many visits to those places that you just can’t decide which is best.

                            The best meal I had in 2012 was at our summer family gathering. We held it in an old and familiar place – a small island in southern Maryland where we spent many summers 25+ years ago. You have to haul everything over on a boat, and there is our history in such a ramshackle place, but it was the best meal of my year.

                            We all bring lots of great food, but it is the steamed crabs that are the best meal you ever have in any year. They are pulled from the water on that same morning, and we get some clams to steam, as well. We sat on picnic tables and cursed the bugs, but we did what we’ve done for many decades – Maryland crab feast by the water is the best meal you can have in any year, IMO!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Terrie H.

                              That sounds really nice. Thank you for sharing.

                            2. Hard to decide, i had some good food this year. In the end the winner is a meal with visiting aunt and cousins at Side Street Inn in Honolulu. The menu is what we call heavy Pupu's, each of the 10 of us ordered one dish apiece to share, plus we got a double order of Kim Chee Fried Rice. Since the family was leaving the next morning for Hawaii Island I got "stuck" with the leftovers, so I got to remember and enjoy the meal a few more times. We got a couple of types of fish, one or two beef dishes, clams (untouched by me), calamari, a couple of chicken dishes, and a pork dish or two.

                              Runner's up would be at Guelaguetza, an Oaxacan restaurant in Los Angeles with old and new friends - and food I sure can't get in Honolulu, wonderful Mole. Early in the year I visited one of Honolulu's premiere restaurant's, Alan Wong's and had a spectacular meal there with a fellow chowhound and his wife. But I expected that to be wonderful, somehow its the meals that are unexpectedly great that catch your attention. I also had a great birthday dinner with friends at Kilauea Lodge in Volcano on Hawaii Island. Finally and most recently Mexican Seafood at Luibueno's in Haleiwa on Oahu - fantastic ceviche, fish burrito, and margaritas with an old and dear friend here visiting.

                              1. Elk bourguignon. Chuck shoulder 'french butchered'. All the usual other ingredients except I used my own home made wine. I did a different take on the dish though. I ladled the finished bb into a large steam table pan (liberated from my old restaurant) and spread a couple of inches of mashed roasted garlic mashed potatoes on top. Into the oven. Oven roasted veg. with balsamic on the side.
                                We had another couple for dinner that night. They ate and ate and ate. They asked my wife: "Do you eat like this all the time"? My wife said: "Pretty much". Desert was fresh blue berries my wife and our guests had picked from our bushes in whipped cream

                                1. I was on vacation last month in upstate NY and my friend prepared steaks at home. I am still thinking about that steak. Don't know where she got them, or what cut they were, but they were possibly the best steaks I've ever had.

                                  Other best meal, last weekend. House of Brews in Huntington Beach. Fish Burrito.

                                  1. It was Khao Man Gai at a grocery/restaurant called Thai Fresh in Austin. It's just amazing how much flavor can come from just that pile of chicken, rice, and the little sauce container.
                                    That meal was a happy surprise. We had gone to Austin on a food truck self-tour, eaten all sorts of great things, and got a flat tire one the way out of town. This place was near the tire shop, and had a nice outdoor area to sit with the gatorhound. It ended up as my best meal 2012!
                                    http://thai-fresh.com/

                                    1. The Carpaccio at The Angus Zone in St.Agapit Quebec. It is sliced tissue paper thin (you can actually see through it!) and it melts in your mouth.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                                        I love carpaccio. There is a place where I am that has it on the menu that is really good. Ice cold everything including the plate. Some places miss that step. And the olive oil and balsamic are top quality

                                        1. re: suzigirl

                                          I'm so with you. When it's good, it's REALLY great. And memorable.

                                          1. re: chefathome

                                            I really is. It can be a real treat with the buttery meat and the salty cheese and caper berries. Lovely

                                            1. re: suzigirl

                                              It really is a beautiful thing. Thinking about the most recent version I had (excellent) transports me in one second flat. I can just taste it. The textures and flavours are just so, well, perfect. :)

                                              1. re: chefathome

                                                The first time I hat it was a horror but being the trooper that I am I tried it again. I am glad because I have had some real gems

                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                  You two and Carpaccio need to get a room. ;)

                                      2. There are just sooooooo many. One meal in Paris was particularly great - veal head, rabbit pate, grouse mousse...but I'd choose a meal in Croatia over that.

                                        The porcinis were freshly picked and lightly grilled, the restaurant makes its own grassy green olive oil (the restaurant overlooks the groves, fruit trees and so on), there was soft cottage cheese over which the oil was drizzled, freshly-picked fresh herbs and produce...it was divine. They were generous with the fresh white truffles. The octopus was succulent and plump - buttery tender. The scallops with roe were barely touched; the squid ink risotto? Painfully wonderful. Same with the uni. All plucked from the sea nearby. The ultimate in freshness. The service was impeccable as were the views. It was like being in paradise! Did I mention they also have their own vineyards?

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: chefathome

                                          That truly sounds unforgetable. My mouth is watering and that's not just a figure of speach

                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                            It was sublime. Absolutely wonderful! Can't wait to return in the spring.

                                            1. re: chefathome

                                              I wanna go. I am pretty small. You can sneak me in your luggage.

                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                How's May 2 for you? That's when our flights are booked.

                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                  I bet it is beautiful in May. Sounds perfect. :-)

                                                  1. re: suzigirl

                                                    It is truly lovely. We spend each May and October there so you have your pick! :)

                                          2. re: chefathome

                                            Hi, I will be spending two weeks in Croatia in September. Four of those nights are in Istria. I'm assuming that the restaurant you are describing is in Istria, due to the description of the oil, vineyards, truffles, etc. Care to tell me the name of the restaurant? It sounds fantastic.

                                            Also, do you have any other recommendations? I've done a lot of research on Croatia (it is my first trip), and I have a long list of possibilities. I'm trying to narrow them down.

                                            Thanks.

                                            1. re: chefathome

                                              Do you know the name & location of that restaurant? I'll be in Croatia for all of May. Thanks!

                                            2. I have had a number of lovely meals this year, but the one that springs most immediately to mind was in Venice. My parents came to visit me in Europe and I took them on a two week trip through some of the great cities, and by the time we got to Venice we were pretty worn out. We had three days there and two of them were rainy and dismal, and some of the food was not so great.

                                              On the third day, I had planned an excursion to the outer islands of Murano and Burano, with a stop on the island of Torcello for lunch at Venissa. The weather was gorgeous that day, but with beautiful weather comes HORDES of tourists, and the vaporetto from Murano to Burano was INSANELY packed. I could tell my parents were reaching the end of their rope, until I told them to get off the boat at Torcello. We were the only passengers that disembarked there, and we literally had the island ALL to ourselves - to the point where I wasn't sure I was in the right place. We wandered up the sidewalk until we came to a gap in the fence that serves as an entrance to the grounds of Venissa and our jaws just dropped.

                                              The restaurant is set on the tip of the island, surrounded by its own small vineyard and gardens. We were served exquisite food and lovely wine from their own vines on the patio. It was like being in a whole other world, without another tourist in sight (a couple more people came as the afternoon wore on, but for the first half of our meal we had the place to ourselves). I don't remember everything we ate, but I know there was impeccably fresh seafood, wonderful and interesting cheeses, and a fabulous pork belly with baby artichokes. After lunch we walked around the vineyard and soaked up the sun, and looked at the multi-colored houses of Burano without dealing with the crowds. Just a spectacular day, largely because I know how much my parents enjoyed it. I have a very cute picture of them standing under a trellis in the vineyard that brings back the memory perfectly!

                                              1. Winter 'boat camping' with my wife. Echo Bay Saturna Is.
                                                Those are Dungeness crabs taken from the trap minutes before slow sautéing in clarified 'brown butter' and a drop of Madera served with a glass of ehrenfelser