2/09/2012 05:03:00 PM

Best Meal Ever: An Epic Look At Favorite Meals

Coi Restaurant, San Francisco, Image via Coi Website
The three words "best meal ever" bring back a flood of memories - the mind starts paging through the index of dinners at fancy restaurants, impromptu meals prepared by the family in the kitchen, first bites of a food that changed the trajectory of a life. Is it the cuisine that makes a meal the best ever? The company? A combination of the two? Our Best Meal Ever contest garnered hundreds of such stories, and we decided to expand the call to chefs, food world celebrities and other notables. After a lot of agonizing on the part of participants, we collected some of the most evocative Best Meal Ever tales into the slideshow below - if you have a Best Meal Ever to share, please make us drool in the comments.

25 comments :

  1. Babbo in Boston - my wife and I had our first date that and here we are 8 years later with 3 kids!

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  2. The best meal ever is when you have everything you like the best, prepared perfectly.
    Mine was at La Mer Germaine, on the harbor waterfront road in Villefrance. Soupe de Poisson, Loup de Mer, Haricot Verde, along with a Premier Cru Chablis. When the waiter asked about dessert, I said "My favorite dessert is Tarte au Mirabelle ala Mode, but I know Mirabelle is very seasonal." He said ---"un minute" --- and went to the kitchen. He returned and said --- " It is just coming out fo the oven!". (the "un cafe" was just as it should be also. PERFECTION!!!!

    Manny Morden

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  3. Le Castel in San Francisco, not sure if it is still open as this was 32 years ago but that's how much it marked me, it was my dad's 50th b-day and he ordered in advance, we just sat down and they served us saumon in papillote: salmon in a pastry shell in lobster sauce and for desert a raspberry souffle, unforgettable.

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  4. The best meal that I have ever experienced was a late lunch at the French Laundry in Yountville, California with my wife and our best friends. Chef Thomas Keller and his staff presented our table with delightful treats which were carefully crafted with ingredients fresh from his garden. I will cherish this experience for years to come.

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  5. Lol, if you think about it really really hard, how can anyone's "best meal" be prepared by some one other than oneself? Who else can know the exact degree of saltiness, spice, sweetness,mthan one self?

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  6. Readers of this may also enjoy our Chefs Feed app, a free app that tells you where and what the best chefs in the United States eat: http://www.chefsfeed.com/

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  7. At a dinner in Los Angeles prepared by Ken Frank, I requested a side of steamed vegetables. He served a small plate of exquisitely prepared, exquisitely presented steamed peas. The were as beautiful and as subtle as fine pearls, fragrant, complex, finely proportioned. This was about 25 years ago, one dish that resulted in an unforgettable dinner!

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  8. Are you serious?... In N' Out Burger, of course !

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  9. Jose Andres' Minibar in DC for Valentine's Day. Molecular gastronomy is sexxxxxxy. And impressive. Particularly in a setting where each course is made right in front of you at a restaurant which only seats six!

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  10. For those Burger Lovers try the following.
    Jakes burger or Garret in San Jose Campbell, saratoga or
    Cupertino. Old style and classic.
    Happy Hound in Los Gatos
    Any hamburger without the following is a sandwich not a burger.
    A grilled bun soft to the bite
    a meat patty
    sliced onion red or yellow not chopped
    sliced tomato
    Iceberg lettuce not shredded
    Slice of cheese melted on burger
    Secret sauce of some kind.
    No bacon no egg no jalapenos no other
    modern day garbage to make it bigger.
    Now go out and find it. this is classic 50's Style.
    And if your not into Burgers try Michi cuisine
    in Campbell for amazing delicacies.

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  11. Well, of course, its Goodstone Inn & Estate, Middleburg, VA. Romantic setting in the quiet horse country and the BEST food you will ever eat, prepared to perfection by Chef William Walden.

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  12. I think that my best meal that I have had to date would have to be my last birthday meal at corton . Each flight of wine and course were paired perfectly. If you haven't had it before I highly suggest putting it on your list. Thanks Chef Paul Liebrandt.

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  13. Best Ever Meal- R2L, in 2 LIberty Place, Philadelphia, PA. Fantastic dining experience from beginning to end....

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  14. My best meal ever was a combination of fantastic food paired with very nice wines and wonderful dinner companions. My wife and I were touring Australia with another couple. We were invited to join someone I had met the previous year and his wife for dinner at Tetsuya's in Sydney. Our new friends had mentioned we would be dining there to a chef friend of theirs. As a result, Tetsuya's went even further than usual with two extra courses and champagne to begin. We started at 7:30 p.m. and after the last morsel couldn't understand how it could possibly be 1:30 a.m. the next day!

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  15. Two come to mind; Federal 21 in Nantucket (while my son was working there fresh out of the CIA) and elements in Princeton NJ. Both were just remarkable!!

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  16. for my birthday my husband gave me a bathtub full of shrimp shumai-- best.meal.ever.

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  17. the first time i discovered uni at 15 east

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  18. A word to the wise eaters, and their friends if female.... Be careful when eating up at Lake Tahoe at the Harvey's casino Mexican restaurant Cabo Wabo's. Our friend was given a substance in her bowel of meatball soup. It made her suffer similar symptoms as the 'horse drug' Ketamine, a weird violent illness with the ability to render a woman "unable to use / function motor skills, or remember where she is or what is going on at all for hours and hours! Just a warning to ladies out for what you intend to be a night out with friends.
    Be careful.

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    Replies
    1. She ate a BOWEL of meat ball soup? No wonder she got sick.

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  19. Breakfast at Brennan's, in New Orleans. Incredible baked apple, fabulous milk punch, Eggs Hussarde (Best entree I've ever had in my life, and I'm not an egg lover), and I can't remember if I had Crepes Fitzgerald or Babans Foster. In addition the bread and chicory coffee were fantastic. Took at least 2 hours, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
    This was before Katrina.

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  20. Massamino's in Boston. Small home made Italian like you'd never believe. There were so many of our family at the table some of us were nearly in the kitchen. Great service and cuisine. A great Mom and Pop establishment.

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  21. Barndiva in Healdsburg- I'm a local, I come here again and again when I want a special night out. Restaurant is so cozy and comfortable. Food is always amazing. Scallops are absolutely perfect- I dream of them. Dragonfly cocktail- delicious. Can't wait to return for another 'best meal I've ever had!'

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  22. As the saying goes you are only as good as your last meal. That being said without a doubt Nahid Ahmed's cuisine ALWAYS delights and surprises one, surprises you in that how can he keep on serving an even better dish than the last......

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