1/15/2013 10:10:00 AM

Tell Us Your Best Meal Ever, Win $500

Maybe the best meal you've ever had was an epic blowout at a famous fine-dining restaurant. Or, maybe it was a low-key carpet picnic at your first new apartment. Either way - we want to hear about it. Based on the success of our last Best Meal Ever feature, we decided it was time for a little contest. Wow us with a tale of the best culinary experience you've ever had, and you can win a prize that will hopefully let you have an even better dining excursion.

All you have to do is log into your Gmail account, scroll down to the comment section below, and tell us the story of your best meal ever in 75 words or less. The contest closes on January 23 at 11:59 PM, at which point we'll pick our favorite story and award that person with a $500 gift card, which will hopefully be used to purchase more amazing meals.

You can see the full rules and regulations here. The comments will be judged on creativity, thoughtfulness and entertainment - in addition to the one lucky winner getting the dollars for dining, the most delectable descriptions will also be featured on our website. Good luck!

139 comments :

  1. My best meal ever was the first Thanksgiving I hosted with my husband. My mom was a chef and his mom is a great cook too, so there was a lot of pressure. It felt good to have my mom tell me she was proud of the job I did! That was 4 years ago, and I've hosted every year since. That first Thanksgiving was the start of a cherished family tradition.

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  2. IL Luogo Di Aimo E Nadia
    Milan. May. 2009
    That night lasts in my memory till present day
    The cab ride to a strange part of the city.
    The fact 6 co-workers bailed on the dinner.
    We sat. We ate. It was amazing.
    10 course tasting menu.
    The chef spoke broken English.
    I speak broken Italian.
    He had just won a world spaghetti "Best" Title.
    Dinner was beyond Amazing.
    Heavenly comes to mind.

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  3. The best meal ever was at Ad Hoc in Yountville. The four-course menu with wine pairings composed of Roasted Beet Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Lamb Meatballs, Pan Roasted Chicken, Mixed Cheese Plate, and a Berry Cheesecake. Each course was paired wonderfully to complete the meal. The chicken was so tender, you may as well classify it as Mashed Potato chicken. The cost was well worth the quantity received, and I have been itching to return to wine country every day since.

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  4. The best meal I've had is a 12oz aged NY Strip topped with herb butter and nestled on a swath of red wine reduced sauce with sauteed french green beans and a side of their truffled cheese grits paired with a glass of deep, red wine from Tuscarora Mill (Tuskies) in Leesburg, VA.

    It is a huge feat for most restaurants to prepare a medium rare steak; however, I have never ordered a steak from Tuskies that wasn't perfect. And the truffled cheese grits are probably the most amazing thing on Earth: fluffy, silky, dreamy. This is the perfect meal for any occasion. <3

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  5. Best meal in America has to be at http://www.laprovencerestaurant.com/ outside New Orleans. I could not tell you what I ate, it is irrelevant because everything was outstanding and fresh!

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  7. My best meal was a Vietnamese dinner of Bo 7 Mon (seven courses of beef). Every course involved so many intricate tastes: the raw beef salad, beef dipped in a vinegared fondue, beef meatballs around a skewer of sugar cane, the beef porridge, the beef wrapped in grape leaves, and others. It has been the best meal involving a meat that I have ever tasted in my life. What a barbaric thing steak now seems.

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  8. During the Persian Gulf War, The late King Fahd treated some of us to dinner along with General Swartzkopft. We were served Camel in the main course. Best meat I have ever tasted! 5x better than a rib eye steak.

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  9. A traditional Trinidad Sunday dinner:
    White rice
    Ground provisions
    Callaloo
    Stew chicken
    Macaroni pie
    Coleslaw
    Add family and enjoy

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  10. The best meal I have ever had was last valentines. We had steak and lobster with winter root vegetables and a flour less chocolate cake at Mayan cafe in Louisville. It was amazing. Lilly's bistro for our first wedding anniversary was a close second.

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  11. L'Azure Restaurant at The Crane Beach Resort in Barbados. The restaurant is on a cliff overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic. They had a Prix Menu with Lobster Bisque Soup, Lobster served five different styles, and Lemon Meringue Pie with raw sugar cane cut on top of the mounted Meringue with the a tart lemon taste. Perfect Location and perfect meal. While at dinner, a diplomatic European royalty group arrived and the Princess ate the same meal.

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  12. Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA tops my chart!

    My spouse and I had the eight course (in hindsight, the six course would have been more than enough) and started the meal with martinis, caviar, Canapes, and Amuse Bouche. Looking at the very small and beautiful plates you would think that at the end of the meal we would leave hungry...hardly the case!

    As we began the tasting course we were tempted to ask the sommelier to give us a wine pairing. Instead, we asked for a wine that could cover the meal. We were not disappointed.

    The meal continued with the following:

    Billi-Bi Soup with Tempura Mussel
    Quail Egg with Foie Gras-Black Truffle Jus. Rye and Caraway
    Nantucket Bay Scallps with Sweet Potato-Passion Fruit Puree and Turnips, Poke
    Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Smoked Soba Noodles and Mitsuba, Oolong Broth
    Roasted Beets with Cashews and Mandrians, Black Garlic Puree 'Nakamura Miso'
    Milk Poached Chicken with Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts, Uni Froth
    Braised Pork Cheek with Cabbage and Red Wine Truffled Risotto, Parmeasn
    Artisanal and Farmhouse Cheese Presented Tableside
    Coconut and Mango Sorbets, Kaffir Lime Poached Pinapple
    Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, Honeycomb Parfait
    Mignardises

    It was insanely good!

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  13. The best meal I ever had was on the first Valintine's Day my Husband and I spent together as newly-wed's. We started the evening with champagne and cavier, blini, creme fraiche , and chopped shallots. We then went on to cook an amazing cheese souffle and lobster americaine. And while showing of his cooking prowess, my darling new husband leaned back on the stove which still had the gas burning and lite his shirt on fire!

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  14. As the beautiful liquid flowed slowly down my hand, my eyes rolled back into my head, my toes curled, and a quiet moan found its way across my lips, I realised Super Duper Burger had the most amazing burger I have ever eaten. I also realized that I was being stared at by my good friend across the very small table. THE BEST meal I have ever had.

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  15. Its hard to pick the best meal ever because living in NYC every meal is unbelievable. And I dont have the funds to try Per Se or Le Bernadin... So with that being said... my best meal is not only because of good food but also because the place makes it a whole fun family experience. The Bo Ssam Meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar is the best most fun experience I've had. Not only was it the most juiciest pork, but the sides and accompaniments were fabulous. We also ordered a bunch of items off the menu including the best pork buns and rice cakes I've ever tasted. Hands down best experience and great to share with people you love.

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  16. My best meal was last spring at Talde in Brooklyn. My best friend and maid of honor in my wedding flew me out for a weekend visit a few months before my wedding. It was an unofficial bachelorette weekend spent eating, galavanting around (the Yankees were playing the Tigers and we are from Detroit!) and having girl talk before I tied the know. We met up with a few of her friends at Talde and we split a handful of dishes, things I never thought I would ever eat! It really was a lovely weekend and to top it off, the Tigers won!

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  17. Best meal ever would have to be when I'm in New York. I'm incredibly hooked on The Mermaid Inn. Think the last time I was there I had their calamari, some oysters, lobster roll and probably a few other things. Of course a meal is 100x better if your family is with you also, which mine typically is when I'm in New York. Wish there was a Mermaid Inn here in Michigan.

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  18. I decided to take a friend out on the town in Detroit and definitely had my best meal at this wonderful vegetarian place called Seva. The restaurant is located right in Midtown in an area that has now renewed and revived from what it once was. During the summer of 2012, I went there for the first time and ate outside on their back patio. Perfect weather, perfect ambiance and then to top it off the meal! We started with a tomato-basil soup which was to die for and an appetizer of their infamous yam fries and spicy mayo.

    I decided to go with the tofu pad thai as my entree and what a great choice it was. The tofu was cooked to perfection with all of the spices, cilantro, lime and chili paste! mmm...

    It's just nice to find great meals in cities like Detroit!

    Just thinking about that meal makes me want to go back!

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  19. Tokyo, Japan. Strange tapas and karaoke led to incredible back street ramen with a smashingly rich broth and “could this actually be perfect texture?” noodles. It only got better from here. It was my last night & with 4 hours to kill I went to Tsukiji fish market – a city sized seafood playground. I ate fresh off the boat toro sashimi, uni & ebi sushi at a small sushi bar right in the market. Perfection.

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  20. When the caller ID read ALINEA, I knew I'd be eating the most memorable meal of my life. I had goosebumps just making the reservation, simply because I never thought I'd get a call back after leaving a message. Walking into the plain looking entrance was a thrill in itself, because just walking down the hallway I knew I was about to embark on a culinary thrill ride. The experience was not only delicious but beautiful, ending with Grant Achatz himself exploding the dessert finale, the Chocolate Pinata, on our table. It was an incredible ending to a night I'll never forget.

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  21. After months of obsessing, scrolling through pictures, and obsessing once again, I arrived at ABaC, a restaurant nestled in a quiet corner of Barcelona. The highlights were glistening prawns atop a slab of Himalayan salt and stewed pigeon stuffing with foie gras so creamy and voluptuous it slowly slid to the back of my mouth and called me to swish it around a few times, like a fine wine, olive oil, or milkshake from Edzo's.

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  22. Food as Theatre; Graceful as ballet, Dramatic as opera. Degustation at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris- an orgiastic production, I'll likely never experience again. Like the movements of Beethoven's 6th, the Pastoral Symphony, seafood was briny, capricious, clean, Normandy Scallops in a simple Brown Butter and Breton Oysters in Champagne Aspic. Meat and Game was rich, velvety, scandalously luscious in particular Saddle of Rabbit in a sauce divinely incorporating mocha and berries. It was like consuming a Matisse Painting, and it's artfulness, it's abundance and it's extravagance is etched in my memory forever.

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  23. Two days before our dinner at Charlie Trotter’s, we received a call. The kitchen table was available. While the food exceeded our expectations, especially for not having eaten there for 25 years, the experience itself will never be bested. From Charlie sitting down with us for 72-hour braised short ribs, to the lights being extinguished and the entire kitchen banging pots and pans and singing happy birthday to my son, I enjoyed every second.

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  24. Honeymoon in South Africa – best meal of our lives at world-renowned La Colombe. Five-course tasting menu themed "The Elements" with courses representing Water, Earth, Wind, Fire and Love that included items like miso cured scallop (water), pine-smoked springbok (earth), etc. The meal tantalized every sense with the vineyard setting, transcendent wine pairings, stunning art-like presentations, and a server whose heartwarming personality plus staggering knowledge of and passion for the food made for an unforgettable evening-of-a-lifetime.

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  25. My best meal ever took place in Philadelphia at Bibou restaurant. My girlfriend and I shared a classic French meal-- truffle laden risotto, pig's foot stuffed with fois gras, fois gras with apricot three ways, sauteed soft shell crab, and creme brulee. It was phenomenal and amazingly satisfying.

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  26. An 8-course tasting dinner with my boyfriend at MarketHouse, where we never saw menus. The surprise element was amazing. My boyfriend is from Kentucky, like Chef Scott, so he appreciated Chef's elevated takes on Southern comfort foods like parmesan grits with wild boar belly and blueberries and butterscotch brioche bread pudding with toffee ice cream, cavity-inducingly sweet, but so shemomedjamo good, you can't help but lick the last bit of butterscotch from your spoon.

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  27. My best tasting menu ever was about 14 years ago in New York at Chanterelle (4 star restaurant now closed). A friend of mine was the sous chef, and when we walked in, they welcomed us warmly and said Dave wanted us to put ourselves in his hands, and we eagerly agreed! Every course that was brought out was amazing, and they were different--they put the thing I would like the most in front of me and the thing my husband would love by him. Highlights: Seafood sausage, pork terrine, tuna carpaccio, oxtail gelee, and the table full of petits fours to end. They included the perfect wines, then comped us all the food on our bill at the end. Spectacular, and we walked out, went up the Empire State Building, and my husband proposed to me....truly the best meal and day ever.

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  28. The best meal I had was a squid ink fried rice from Flor de Mayo on the Upper West Side. Flor de Mayo specializes in Chinese-Peruvian cuisines, so it's the best of both Chinese and Spanish food combined. In traditional Chinese fried rice, there are diced Chinese sausages, scrambled eggs, diced roast pork, and chopped scallions all blended and fried together with the rice. However, when you mix in squid bits and the ink that was left behind after the squid got scared, you get a bowlful of goodness! Every bite is a perfect bite, because you can taste every ingredient that was blended to make this unforgettable dish. Don't mind if your teeth gets stained, because after you complete the bowl of fried rice, you just want to lick your teeth to taste the remaining of the ink and to savor every flavor that was mixed into this fusion bowl of heaven!

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  29. Providence's Nine Course Tasting menu awakens my taste buds. The shot glass starter with a mini looking egg yolk, cold to the touch, and initially sweet, as the "yolk" breaks, Surprise! it's frozen orange juice, a cold burst envelopes your mouth as sweetness becomes sour and a blissful warmth runs through your body from the alcohol in the drink. Beginning to end the meal engages all of your senses for a memorable and worthwhile experience.

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  30. Blue Hill at Stone Barnes provided the most unique, sophisticated dining experience in my entire career of eating. The ten whimsical plates of amuse-bouche was just an introduction to the main event. Eight courses of the freshest farm vegetables, harvested just outside the door, delivered exceptional pairings of intoxicating flavors. From succulent beets in varying forms, such as beet ketchup teamed with parsnip “steak,” to the creamiest creamed spinach- they really nailed it.

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  31. Best meal I ever had was lobster roll and steamers at Pearl Oyster. First time, second time and after that same consistent mouth watering experience. Lobster roll is packed with lobster seasoned just so perfectly and roll is buttered to melt in your mouth. It comes with side of shoe string fries which gives the dish such perfection in every way. There steamers is my other favorite there. It's super juicy and tender. It comes with the clam broth. It's so good that I dunk my steamers each time and ssip the broth at the end. I am salivating just thinking about it. .Something you just can't get enough of. Speaking of Pearl Oyster lobster roll and steamers ....I am hungry.

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  32. Running down a street in Paris with my fiance, we were trying desperately to make it to our reservation at a well known restaurant only to be fifteen minutes late and denied. Bummed, we wandered down an alley and stumbled upon a tiny cafe spewing tables onto the sidewalk. Turned out to be the best duck and most romantic meal of my life with my love. Thank goodness we were late ;)

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  33. My best meal ever was at Le Bernardin. Truly a transporting dining experience. Food was delightful and the wait staff and sommelier seemed know what we were thinking even before we turned our eyes toward them.

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  34. Kent and I had just started dating when we had our first great meal together at Chicago's Naha. It was there he had his first taste of duck breast--moist, tender, sinfully meaty and entirely unexpected—and I learned that a key component of our best meal ever was the sheer happiness it brought my dining companion. He became my fiancé this month, and we have been searching for another meal like it ever since.

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  35. Our most fabulous meal was at Francescana, located in Modena, Italy. We were in Italy for 11 weeks in 2006.The chef is Massimo Bottura. It was a very rainy Monday for lunch with us and one other man the only patrons in the restaurant. We had 1. small plate of mortadella foam,2.leek tart with black truffle,3. parmigiano reggiano done 5 ways: foam, light fluff, a dense warm pudding, a cream under it all and a crisp piece that had been baked. Each part of the dish had the cheese aged a different amount of time,4.tortellini pasta dish, meat filled and sitting on another cream sauce of the cheese (but different than the last dish), 5. short ribs of pork which had been slow cooked for over 18 hours, accompanied by jellied mushroom
    pate and a sauce. Up until the 5th course, they poured a chardonnay that was outstanding along with frizzante water. With the 5th course, they switched to a red wine which was also fabulous. While we were talking to the waiter, Joel mentioned that we were in Italy for 11 weeks as part of our 40th anniversary celebration. For dessert they brought out a small cake that had a candle and 40 written on top. It was a very thin layer of sponge cake on both top and bottom, next to the bottom was a fruit puree and on top of that a light mousse of maybe marscapone cheese than the other layer of sponge cake and icing. It was all very light and delicious. With the bill, they brought a small tray of pastry which we hardly touched. We were just too stuffed.
    After he had brought the bill out, he also brought over to the table a bottle of balsamic vinegar that was produced in 1872 and gave us each a little taste. It was heavenly. I started talking to him about the balsamic that you can buy commercially–either in Italy or the States. He basically said that if you are buying something commercially made it is not going to be great even if you spend $100 for a small bottle. He said that only if you get high quality produced by an individual family will it be worth the money. He said that the restaurant could never attach a price to the vinegar we had just tasted so that they don’t try to sell it but merely give it to their customers for a taste.
    We knew that the meal would be expensive (we did not ask how much this was costing before we started): this tasting menu was 90 euros each with the wine costing another 20 and the water 8 with the cover charge of 5 each. Our total bill was 218, the most expensive lunch we have ever had but worth every euro. The wait staff was fabulous and we received a complete explanation of every dish as they were placed in front of us. Oh yes, Joel said that they had the best bread that he has had so far. We would recommend this restaurant to anyone who does not mind spending a lot of money for a great dining experience.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I missed the contest deadline and you went over the 75 word limit, but I reaaly enjoyed your post!

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  36. Thanksgiving dinner at e` by Jose Andres at the Cosmo in LV sounds great right? For a vegan and Gluten-Free couple we are "kitchens worst nightmare"! After emailing the restaurant they replied that they could create a 21 course Vegan, Gluten, & Dairy Free tasting menu for both of us!! Having dietary restrictions is tough and this is a test for any great chef! It was worth every penny and was the BEST MEAL EVER!!

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  37. Thym is a small French restaurant off the main drag of Montréal's restaurant row. Their new-French fare, written on a bistro-style blackboard, was my most exciting dinner. It was Spring, so their farm to table menu was blissfully full of local flavours. We had a grilled fiddlehead salad with wildflowers (waterfront harvested), a ruby-red gaspacho, and a perfectly portioned cut of duck, seared with a pink interior, drizzled with a subtly sweet sauce. Perfect.

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  38. Grandma used to make us three boys hamburger gravy over fried potatoes with a side of vegetables. The laughter and love from the dinner table was sincere the old stories and inspiration she and my grandad gave have been life long.
    What I'd give to sit with them and dine.
    Doug Sellers Hillsboro, Oregon.

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  39. I'm not very interested in food, I like to eat it, but I am not too focused on anything other then actually eating my food, unlike my entire family. My family likes to take pictures of food, blog about food, and I usually get too impatient to pose for a picture with a cupcake.
    A few weekends ago, a friend convinced me to go to a very nice restaurant in Amsterdam that had quite a waiting list. We finally get a reservation, and I order the special, which turned out to be amazing. I remember staring at the plate, and thinking the meal was wasted on me, and that I wished I could have magically packed it up and sent it across the ocean to my sister, who would have had a photo shoot with it and appreciated it. That thought lasted four seconds, and then I ate it.

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  40. New Orleans. Cochon. Between the Rabbit and Dumplings which are basically the best version of pot pie you've ever had, to the Fried Boudin Balls that are exploding with flavor and are perfectly deep fried, to the Sweet Potato and Pork Jowl Casserole which is creamy, rich, and salty, to just about everything else we ate makes for one of the best meals I've ever had.

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  41. My best meal was at a little restaurant in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada called Casa d'Oro. Home on leave from the Marine Corps, my husband had just proposed to me in uniform in a suite overlooking the Horseshoe and American Falls, and we dined at this restaurant to celebrate. The staff were fantastic, our meal was paid for by fellow customers, and the food was beyond our expectations. We go back year after year to celebrate our anniversary and it has continued to live up to its reputation every time. We have yet to find a better prime rib in all our travels.

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  42. Sunday fall afternoon: New York, the kind of fall day where the city is yours and no one else’s, wafts of summer still lingering in the air and what awaited me at my 6th floor walk up. My girlfriend an excellent cook had composed a crispy duck confit over beluga lentils creamed with apple celery root. The duck was dressed with brussels sprout leaves that had fallen from the sky with drops of pickled cranberries.

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  43. I had a stuffed lobster with cream sauce dish when I was is Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was at this wonderful restaurant at the top of a mountain, overlooking the lights of Montego Bay. This was about 15 years ago and I am still thinking about it! @mrsmarykennedy

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  44. Newly married, sitting under an umbrella at a café in the south of France, blinded by the glare of the Mediterranean. I grinned wickedly at my husband, reckless in a way only possible on vacation. “Let’s do it.” Thirty oysters. Thirty mussels. Baskets of baguette slices. Fresh cold butter and lemons and mignonette sauce. An icy bottle of local white wine. We were sunburned and giddy with the decadent thrill of it all.

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  45. Paesanos. Philadelphia's best kept secret. Cheese steaks wish they were this good. Hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop that treats you to uncompromising, unpretentious, gourmet offerings for less than $10. Walked in on a whim, ordered the lamb sausage, Gorgonzola, cherry mustarda, and arugula sandwich on fresh pita, and left literally singing the praises of the undisputed sandwich kings. Proved that you don't need to be 5 star to change food culture.

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  46. Flash back to 2011, I took my girlfriend to Vetri in Philly.
    James Beard award winning chef Marc Vetri and his princely pasta?
    "Yes, please!" she exclaimed as we entered through the doors.
    Seated at an intimate table for two, a tasting.
    But not without wines paired and prosecco poured.
    Foie gras, vegetable torta - nice start, indeed.
    Sweet onion crepe, redolent with truffle.
    Spinach gnocchi, hand crafted delight.
    Love is almond tortellini.
    Forget the bill.
    Best. Meal.
    Ever.

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  47. Six years ago today, I went on a first date to Boca in Cincinnati. We were both new to the city, heard it was good -- but didn't realize it was best-restaurant-in-the-city good. We laughed our way through the awkwardness and the shared tasting menu of yummy things we couldn’t identify. Clearly, he made an excellent first impression. Six years later, we’re married with our own little gourmet on the way.

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  48. Momofuku Ko on my birthday. Our seats were placed around their open kitchen, allowing us to watch and chat with whichever chef was in front of us. One dish in particular has made a lasting impression on my taste buds: pine nut brittle, Riesling gelee, and lychee, topped with shaved frozen foie gras. It was absolutely the most perfect dish I have ever had, and the most memorable birthday gift I have ever received.

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  49. Living in NYC, there are hundreds if not thousand of choices to pick from. But the one that sticks in my mind the most is our 10 month anniversary dinner in Gwynett St restaurant located on Williamsburg Brooklyn. It was really romantic and cozy inside with brick walls and candles everywhere. They have a tasting menu but we decided to go with a la carte. The duck and the chicken were superb and their famous whiskey bread were delicious. I can see why it's ranked so high on Zagat.

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  50. The best meal I ever had was at Phillips Seafood Restaurant in Baltimore, MD. That actually was one of my worst experiences as well. I visited the restaurant to dine on their exquisite cuisine. Being a seafood lover it was heaven tasting and mixing textures glazed salmon, claims, succulent shrimp, crab stuffed mushrooms. I can go on. Phillips is definitely a place to over indulge and I did to the point where my eyes lids and lips swelled like a blow fish. As you can tell I survived and still would recommend the restaurant to others.

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  51. The best meal of my life was at Oustau de Baumaniere in Provence. Thirty years ago, my wife and I came to this sedate spot in the valley of Les Baux for our honeymoon. We returned last year with our children and reminisced fondly of the past. While the 2 Michelin star food was gorgeous, and, while we enjoyed sitting on the terrace and watching the sunset, my family’s presence made the experience memorable.

    Also, the site says "anonymous," but my name is Terry Unterman

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  52. The smell of smokey meat hung in the air as my sister and I walked up to Salt Lick BBQ. I'd never had Texas barbecue, and this was the perfect initiation to the state's pride and joy. Perfect brisket, juicy sausage, and fall-apart pork were the highlights. It doesn't hurt that the meal was washed down with the best lemonade I've ever had, tart and fresh-squeezed. I can't wait to go back.

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  54. I dreaded my last birthday but dragged my heels to Graham Elliott for dinner. Inside were two of my friends, plus a surprise friend who'd secretly flown in. The surprises didn't stop as we enjoyed an inventive tasting menu (who knew foie gras + Poprocks = delicious?!) Even better than chartreuse at the end was laughing away the night with friends who showed me how much they cared and made turning 30 not so bad after all.

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  55. Our best meal ever was dining at the Ritz Carlton, McLean Virginia. The Chef, Sommelier, and General Manager joined us in a private dining room. We started with sunchoke soup with celery meringue, a beet salad with Great Hill blue cheese, shrimp and grits with dashi and smoked bacon, Wagyu Kobe Beef flown in from Japan, and desert, paired with exceptional wines and champagne. We spent three hours dining but the memory lasts a lifetime.

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  56. When my wife and I moved to Northern California from LA in 2008, I realized we were near wine country. For my 30th birthday, I decided I wanted to experience The French Laundry. I'd never had a meal more than $100/person before and I saved for months to be able to afford the experience. I was lucky enough to get the Saturday night before my birthday for dinner. We went to the Villagio Inn for a couples massage beforehand, and hanging out in the sauna got us nice and relaxed and very very hungry for dinner.

    We dressed to the nines. I'd never seen my wife more radiant than in that black dress (purchased specifically for this dinner). I wore my best black suit. The sun was just going down when we arrived and we briefly toured the grounds before going inside. We were greeted warmly, and taken upstairs to a corner table where we were served the absolute best food I've ever had in my entire life. The seared foie gras with toasted brioche completely blew my mind. Unfortunately in California we can't get it anymore but I'm glad I did then. All the wine we drank that night was incredible. By the time dessert rolled around, we were too stuffed to eat anything else. Thankfully they gave us lots of treats to take with us, as well as our menus and wooden clothespins featuring the restaurant's logo.

    The next morning, I woke up still full. By lunchtime, I realized that nothing I could go out and get for lunch would taste even remotely close to what I had that night, so I went to Costco and got a $1 hot dog. I fell into a deep food depression over the course of the next several weeks, where I simply didn't care what I ate. I could only look back on that meal as the first high-end dinner I'd ever had, and it was definitely a memorable experience. Eventually I started dining out again and learned to enjoy food, and have even been to more expensive restaurants since; but nothing, and I mean nothing, comes close to that first dinner at The French Laundry.

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  57. Whisknladle - Steamed Mussels & Fries

    The first bite literally stopped me in my tracks, the Earth stopped spinning on its axis. At that very moment, nothing else mattered. It was only about that dish and that single bite. It was at that very moment I realized what it took to bring all of these flavors together into one simple harmonious dish. It was at that moment that I fell in love.

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  58. My best meal or should I say cake was when she my wife would only tell me it would be something special. Working tirelessly all day in the kitchen. She crafted the best birthday cake. Not a masterpiece like that of Ace of Cakes standard, but the most velvety smooth cake to come from a box. Seeing a big smile from someone covered in flour and cake mix. I knew that all the love went into making it. That was the best cause it was made full of love and memories I will always remember.

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  59. My best meal ever was at Sushi Sasabune."No menus at the sushi bar” “you eat what the chef puts out" things like that. In our minds we were thinking EXTREME sushi. The first sushi they put out was mind blowing, it was as if a fish had babies with butter and what we ate was the cruel but delicious by-product.

    Then... We got the bill, 400 dollars! We were floored! But we agreed. Worth it.

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  60. New York City, December

    Tired from shopping, headed to Acapella (used our Zagat Guide). Escargot cooked in the marrow of a shank bone. Bone served on the plate took us by surprise but we tipped it over and enjoyed 5 bites of heaven. This was also when they could cook your meal by the table. Sauteed rock fish for main course. Dessert was their famous fruit desert for two cooked at tableside (sauteed in lots of brandy/cognac, I think. I was pretty 'congenial' by then). And, of course, Grappa.

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  61. Honeymoon in Italy. Any of those meals could qualify as BEST MEAL EVER. I have to go back to the ONE meal that led to a lifetime of favorite meals. I met my husband at work. While coworkers shared stories, lunches, and books my husband was happy sharing no more than the elevator. Until the day he offered me one of his powdered donuts. That donut was and will always remain MY BEST MEAL EVER.

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  62. As I lounged outside, my son, Colby, burst through the door, bearing a bowl of red jello. Not molded or garnished, this jello had been squished through his fingers and glopped into bowls.

    And yet, I was ecstatic. Colby, who has autism, had SERVED jello to me.

    Thrusting out the bowl, his smile said it all. For the first time, Colby was performing an act of service, simply out of love.

    Best meal ever.

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  63. I attend college at Mt Sac in walnut California. I had an outstanding semester so my boyfriend wanted to surprise me for Valentine’s Day. He took me to Fig and Olive in Los Angeles. The place was beautiful! Our waiter shared an amazing story about President Barrack Obama dining there just two weeks prior for a fundraiser.
    Starter: A fig and goat cheese assortment
    Drinks: Beer/Cabernet
    Food: Salmon/Lamb Shanks
    Night’s Description: Delicious & Memorable

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  64. Peter Luger Steakhouse, Brooklyn: a rainy November evening, 2010. I was with my beautiful wife and my happily aging parents (“retirement. Travel!”) . We ordered sizzling bacon; thicker and more robust than any bacon we'd tried. Then my portion arrived - the Steak for 2. Sizzling in its luscious juices, served on an inclined iron skillet, the steak was pre-sliced into a dozen mini-steaks. Each bite was climactic. An enduring, extraordinary memory of culinary bliss.

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  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  66. In my travels backpacking through Europe with 3 college friends we ended up in Paris. Turns out none of us speak a lick of French but we had a great time and one meal started it all off … We spent the first day walking around mostly the Montmartre area of the city. On the walk back to the hostel we zig zagged through alleys and attempted to find Picasso’s house. Along the way we stopped at various vendors a cheese shop across the street from the Amelie café and a few baguettes that I swear were sold to us out of someone’s back stoop where the most memorable. After an exhausting day we attacked the hostels kitchen. The four of us whipped up a meal of massive proportions: Mixed cheeses and breads. Romaine, kale, micro-green and tomato salad. Spiced couscous. Braised chicken with peppers, onions & tomatoes. The aroma from the kitchen brought out our neighbors, who brought beverages and desserts the 15 of us sat and ate and drank for the next few hours. Sometimes cultural boundaries get in the way of new relationships but food and drink make amazing friends!

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  67. Being Iranian-American, my diet growing up contained lots of rice. When I moved to New York in 2007, I didn’t know how to make any of my childhood favorites, so I made it my mission to learn how to make zhereshk polo (barberry rice). After a phone call home, a trip to the store, and an hour in the kitchen, I produced aromatic, saffron-dyed rice, studded with ruby-colored, sweet-tart barberries. It immediately transported me home.

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  68. My best meal ever was when I met my husband:

    John and Liz, from the first time they saw each other, knew they wanted to be together. Liz was at a Mexican restaurant with a friend, enjoying a margarita and cheese enchaladas. Then, she saw a handsome boy smiling at her. Liz was Lovestruck.

    Then, Liz took a huge risk, got out her lipstick and put her phone number on a napkin. And John took a huge risk and asked her out. Liz was lucky he called because on their first date, they couldn’t stop talking.

    John and Liz are meant for each other because they feel it in their hearts and know it in their minds. There is something about the way they look at each other, they way they touch and the way they talk that radiates real love.

    Thank goodness Liz decided on that restaurant, for that meal. It really was the BEST MEAL EVER!

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  69. Street food (gaai bin dong) in Hong Kong of course. I went to Mong Kok and just roamed to find vendors carrying all my favorite: (fake) shark fin soup, fish and lettuce soup, skewered curry fish balls, pig skin, squid, beef tripe, stuffed peppers and mushrooms, and best of them all - stinky tofu!

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  70. Best ever meal was at ALEX at the Wynn Hotel in Vegas, celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Every course was perfect, every bite a melange of flavors that was heavenly. We enjoyed the meal so much that the Executive Chef came out to visit with us afterward. It was also the most expensive meal I've ever had, but I would spend that money again in a heartbeat in order to savor that food again. Sadly, six months after we visited, Wynn unceremoniously closed the restaurant. But, we are left with our indelible memories.

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  71. The best meal I ever had was with my great Uncle Fred. He was more like a grandfather because I never had one that I knew. I drove him home from a cemetery restoration festivity - he was a co-founder of the group. I drove him back to his house and we had ham sandwiches and 2 coors light cans a piece. He died a month later. A favorite meal is not always about the food!

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  72. The best meal I ever had was at Marrakesh. Its the most enjoyable experience at a restaurant solely because of the atmosphere coupled with the delicious unique food. I feel like I have escaped to Morrocco and its enchanting and exciting. What it comes down to, is you can be in a 5 star restaurant, having a picnic or in bed sick with soup. If you are with outstanding company, it overpowers everything else.

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  73. The best meal I ever had was at Marrakesh. Its the most enjoyable experience at a restaurant solely because of the atmosphere coupled with the delicious unique food. I feel like I have escaped to Morrocco and its enchanting and exciting. What it comes down to, is you can be in a 5 star restaurant, having a picnic or in bed sick with soup. If you are with outstanding company, it overpowers everything else.

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  74. Went to Illi in Flatiron. Great company and atmosphere and the food was fantastic. The lamb chops were so tender and the duck shwarma was out of this world. An added bonus was the giant bib I got to take home after I spilled bone marrow on my shirt.

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  75. Just a week into a month long backpacking trip, subsisting on a bland vegetarian diet, all my spare thoughts became those of the foods I was craving. After I returned to reality and before my flight home, I went to dinner at Red Robin, where I demolished a huge burger, fries, a milkshake, and more. A classic American meal. Unfortunately, my stomach wasn’t used to such a meal, and my flight home was quite uncomfortable.

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  76. Bretzelkonig in Zurich.
    Early Friday morning, June 2012.

    We're rushing to catch a train-boat-cogwheel route to Lucerne. An unexpected smell of freshly baked bread stopped my husband and I right in front of a street vendor. We went for what looked like prosciutto. In minutes we devouredthe softest, warmest, freshest, bigger than the size of my hand pretzel - nestled with thin slices of coppa, butter and salt.

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  77. A seafood shack by the beach on a family vacation to Cape Cod when I was six. My mother emerges, lobsters fresh out of the pot. We pull our car up to the sand and use the heat from the engine to melt a stick of butter in tinfoil. My father teaches me to break apart my first crustacean, the succulent meat and melted butter running down my wrists.

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  78. My best meal ever was at the CN Tower in Toronto. A cold December night 50 stories up in a rotating dining room, and $120 in monopoly money later, a rack of lamb sat in front of me and disappeared almost as fast as it arrived

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  79. I was 16, and had just shot a 200 pound pig in the head. Shaved it with a razor. Steamed in a hole, on a bed of hot stones, banana stumps, and ti leaves. Pulled it out hours later, and cut it down the middle. Ripped out strips of tender meat and blobs of hot fat, and mixed together with a dash of salt. Ate over a bed of sticky rice. Went to gormandizing heaven.

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  80. My best meal ever was at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. In the beautifully updated barns of the Rockefeller family, it’s an amazing farm-to-table prix fixe (5 or 8 courses) meal. Highlights:

    Cute menu (really a list of ingredients)
    Series of creatively displayed and tasty amuse bouche
    Ample wait-staff move about and serve as if doing a coordinated
    dance
    Excellent sommelier
    Perfectly prepared fresh pasta, veggies, and meats
    Following the delicious dessert course, more sweets

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  81. The best meal I had was most recently at SPQR San Francisco. We had to wait 40 minutes with reservations, but it was worth it when the food came. I had the puntarelle lettuce, marinated anchovy, radish, egg and fried guinea hen skin, followed by the dungeness crab and quinoa salad, baby beet, salsa verde and wild fennel vinegar, followed by the squid ink chittara, dungeness crab, shellfish broth and salmon roe, finishing with the sausage stuffed quail, spiced bread sauce, cipollini onion and persimmon. Need I say more? Absolutely mouth watering...

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  82. I am a shot of Aquavit, placed on a large table in Uppsala, Sweden. Ten people are seated at the table, Swedes welcoming an American visitor. A potluck of delectable dishes surrounds me – moose meat cooked tenderly; meatballs and lingonberry jam; crispbreads with caviar paste; a fresh rye loaf; blueberry soup. As Helan Går is raucously sung around me, my shot friends start disappearing. I go down knowing I was part of an amazing meal.

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  83. Had a wonderful/intimate sushi dinner at a little known place called Kiku in Baltimore. After that, we walked around the Inner Harbor where I proposed to my fiance!

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  84. A father and son didn’t speak for a year,
    So the little brother mediated their first meeting.
    In a tiny, unassuming restaurant,
    Over a plate of hummus, olives, and pita,
    The father and son interrupted, exaggerated, and insulted.
    At first, the plate wasn’t touched, but by end, only apologies and pits.
    During the best meal of his life,
    The little brother watched with wet eyes
    As his father and brother reunited.

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  85. Best meal ever........my honeymoon. Three days in Rome - a week in southern italy. My husband and I splurged and hired a driver for the two days of tourist bliss. After days of the most amazing food and wine and more food our driver offered a suggestion .........a short ride outside of Rome for the best lunch we will ever have. Don't remember the location or name but we readily agreed and all I remember is we passed Sophia Loren's villa en route to this restaurant - arrived. Interesting, did seem like a restaurant but in the back of the house were 10 tables .....and a husband and wife - no menu, no english, no choice - but they proceeded to bring out course after course, homemade pasta, antipasto and salad, chicken, fresh fish, homemade gelato and homemade cookies - it seemed if it would never end, each course served with appropriate accompaniments......and when it did end, my husband and I could barely move but were in heaven and both agreed it was the best meal and experience we have ever had.......while the experience remains one I will never forget - it has unfortunately outlived the marriage but I suspect while he man not think of me, he does think of this meal.

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  86. My sister's birthday dinner at Craft in NYC.
    The service intoxicated our palettes first before dinner choices were even decided.
    The cocktails were like custom drinks made from a secret magical tavern.
    Never experienced simple ingredients elevated to that point of paradise. I can still taste it after 3 months.

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  87. David Kinch's Manresa opened my eyes to a meal's connection to the larger world. From the farm that provided his produce (showcased through his “into the garden” sculpture of vegetation) to the Pacific coast's “tidal pools” (portrayed on his menu as a delicate soup filled with locally caught abalone, prawns and uni), Kinch's food sang of its time and place, connecting me to the effort and labor behind these flavors that sent me reeling.

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  88. Best meal ever: Rogue24 in Washington DC. A modernist restaurant, it features 24 courses. Yes, you read that correctly: 24.

    The open kitchen resides in the center of the room, allowing guests a full view of the show. Chef RJ Cooper hand-delivers plates to his guests, each dish more exquisite than the last. The precisely crafted flavors, the color, the placement, the shapes, the textures, everything stunningly creative.

    Wylie Dufresne, eat your heart out.

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  89. Le Louis XV in Monaco: just out of college, on my first Euro-trip and wearing an H&M outfit, I stumbled into the best meal of my life. Multiple attentive waiters, a glass of bubbly that was constantly replenished, a stool for my purse and the most delectable food. The passion fruit raviolis with a tea reduction will always be the happiest of endings. I was transported to another world, life and level of pleasure.

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  90. We traveled to Charleston just to eat at Husk.

    Imagine buttermilk rolls with benne seeds & pork fat butter; pork ribs with salt-n-vinegar pork rinds; fried chicken skins with hot sauce; pork with BBQ farro; country fried lamb; woodfire clams in country ham broth; Benton’s bacon cornbread (must be eaten to be believed). Each dish was such a delight – obviously made with so much heart and pride. We can’t wait to go back – hopefully soon!

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  91. My best and most memorable meal ever was at Crustacean in San Francisco. After arriving an hour late on cable cars from Fisherman’s Wharf, I ordered Roasted Dungeness Crab, while my husband chose a French ravioli dish. He finished his in five minutes and had to watch me eat and listen to my groans of pleasure for the next hour. I offered, but he had his pride, which I think he has regretted ever since!

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  92. My best meal ever was my birthday dinner last year at Woodfire Grill. Third time was the charm as Chef Kevin Gillespie was in the house. We enjoyed the chef's seven course grand tasting menu and Kevin's amazing creations included crab salad, cornmeal fried trout, wood grilled quail, pork loin and belly, and the best bite of all was the grilled lamb loin with moroccan couscous, spiced tomato confit, and cabbage braised with fig and pistachio. Every bite was perfection and showed an incredible range from serious classical dishes with a twist to whimsical plays on traditional southern cuisine. At the end of the meal, we were presented with a personalized menu, wishing me a Happy Birthday and signed by Chef Kevin himself.

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  93. Dengue fever after a biblically bad trip to India. No solid food for fifteen days. Liver a squishy mess. My first real meal was the hand-formed classic cheeseburger at the historic New York Luncheonette at 50th and Lex. Piping hot, melty American cheese. Superb beef grilled to Maillard-crispy joy. Buttery warm potato bun. Fries like deep fried velvet. Cole slaw I can't even talk about. I will never, ever forget.

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  94. My best friend and I were on a two-week vacation in Italy. After seeing Rome and Florence and over-dosing on paintings and statues of dead Jesus, we decided to take a tour of Chianti. A driver would have cost several hundred dollars, so we opted for a tiny manual transmission car and our navigation skills. Neither of us spoke Italian, but my best friend was fluent in Spanish, which was enough to help us figure out left from right at intersections and forked roads. Our first stop was an olive vineyard where we took a tour, got a lesson on how the best olive oils are made, and then had a tasting menu of olive oils, salumi and wines. We even got to see the prize of the vineyard: a cinghiale pig. We had such a great time with the tasting menu and chatting with our hosts that we got a late start to lunch at a Michelin 2-star restaurant. When we arrived at the restaurant, the lights were turned off and there were no patrons or staff in sight. Either lunch was over or there was a big mistake about our reservation. We walked back towards the kitchen and saw the host of the restaurant. She mildly rebuked us in Italian, saying that we were too late and the chef had gone home for the day because he didn't want to wait. A little stunned, we called our host who had booked the reservation for us and explained the situation. The host was so apologetic and within 10 minutes, drove over to the restaurant and said she'd lead us to a "bar" not far away. She said the food was "okay" and it would be better than nothing because we were hungry. After a 10-minute drive to the middle of an intersection where two rural roads met was a bar. We had no idea where we were and the establishment reminded me of the BBQ outposts that I crossed on occasion during drives through parts of Texas, complete with a dirt and gravel parking lot and a facade worn from decades of business. The host took us inside and walked us to a display of food -- all sorts of Italian food! We were told that the custom is to "point" at the food you want and they would prepare it and bring it to our table. We pointed to the lasagna and tiramisu to play it safe. From the first bite to the last, it was the best meal we ate in Italy. It was an unexpected shock! We had eaten at some very highly-rated restaurants in Rome and Florence - restaurants that we chose from an Italian Slow Food restaurant guide. But it was this meal at the bar that opened up our eyes to the pride and beauty that Italians imbue in their food and culture. It's a pride and beauty that can make a nondescript bar in the middle of nowhere turn out the best meal we had in Italy. After that meal, I resolved to come back as Italian in my next life. In the meantime, I'll be content to spend more vacations in Italy and finding more nondescript bars.

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  95. Our intimate candlelit table within the deco walls of a 1920s renovated church: Mark’s. A finely-orchestrated dish provocative in presentation and amalgamated flavors: The textured walnut crust melds with the succulent tandoori lamb loin. Its lusciousness and silken pliancy is emboldened with a port peppercorn reduction. The loin slices are arranged around the warmly pungent yellow and black lentils, complementing the savory red pepper flan wrapped with a delicate slice of smoked eggplant.

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  96. While studying abroad, my best friend and I stumbled across a restaurant in the oldest vineyard in Prague. We sat on an open terrace that overlooked the city’s red tile rooftops as the sun set on the capital city. Digging into the beef rump with cream sauce, dumplings, and cranberry coulis, I immediately knew it would be quite some time before I could ever have such an excellent meal again.

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  97. A great meal = quality, variety, some hard work, and amazing people to share it with. I helped pioneer the resurrection of Taste of DC in 2011, a huge task, with the most passionate people ever. 50+ restaurants later, it was showtime: Columbus Day Weekend. While it was chaotic, the most memorable part was getting to experience delectable specialties, from bacon mac & cheese to gumbo to ice cream cookie sandwiches! Rewarding, tantalizing and meaningful.

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  98. Perfect meals require perfect alignment: food, service, stars. Mine was in Florence at Frescobaldi. My young children and I stopped on a whim, an exhausted, gelato-sticky mess. Though my brood could have prompted “regret,” a new table suddenly appeared under the stars. Course after sublime course, the waiters plied me with unlisted wines and my children with bespoke treats. On any day, Frescobaldi would have merited a Michelin star. This night, the stars were infinite.

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  99. The smoke alarm blared throughout my apartment.
    I stood in the kitchen picking burnt cheese out of what was intended to be chicken parmesan.
    Taking a bite, pasty marinara and chunks of brick-like chicken filled my mouth.
    It was the first meal I ever cooked by myself.
    It was disgusting...
    It defined my young adulthood...
    It was the BEST MEAL EVER!
    Outside, fire trucks were pulling up.
    Two words came to my mind: "PURE EPICNESS".

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  100. My best meal ever was on Andros Island, Greece at "The Farm." It's a small restaurant in the middle of a farm. After our party of 12 was seated, the men were led to an area with the live animals. We picked out dinner...a baby goat, a rabbit and 2 chickens. Over the next 4 hours as we enjoyed fine greek wines, each animal was prepared "Greek Style." The bbq goat was the highlight.

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  101. Food: 27 - Decor: 25 - Service: 25 - Cost $52

    My best meal ever was at Seastar Restaurant in Seattle, WA. I rate this establishment "Excellent" on all levels. The night involved 5-courses showcasing Northwest's most sought-after ingredient – the black truffle. The locally harvested and artfully crafted dishes ranged from seared scallops with shaved black truffles to black truffle mashed potatoes, each paired perfectly with wines selected by wine director and advanced sommelier Erik Liedholm. Divine. Period.

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  102. Though not the best food I’d ever had, my first Indian dinner after 2 months of no Indian food was the best meal I ever had. When you’re used to something & then deprived of it, even a shadow will do. I was left alone in peace, a bowlful of chicken curry & rice my “welcome back home”. I was so ravenous & grateful, I chowed through to the bone-marrow, not something I usually do.

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  103. You would think that this would be a nearly impossible feat; choose and describe your most favorite meal, and to make it more interesting let's attempt to jam that into a 75 word paragraph. Well, I have news for you - it may not be as difficult as it seems. Mineral, a seasonal and locally-sourced vegetarian restaurant in the old gold / new wine town of Murphys, CA holds the gold for my all-time favorite meal. Ask anyone, carnivores and veggies alike, they will tell you that a Mineral garden burger is the best burger that has ever graced their lips. And why wouldn't it be with it's all-from-scratch tumeric-laced buns, a surprising home-made veganaise, ultra-fresh veggies and we cannot forget the crowning jewel: a spicy, smokey and incredibly flavorful vegan patty. The only reason you can't call the burger "vegan" is due to the delicious, though optional, white cheddar and fried egg that craft this burger into its' all around perfection. I may just have to brave the 8 hour drive to have another for lunch tomorrow...

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  104. My wife’s greatest dinner started by preparing the refrigerated items –NY cheesecake, and an agar-agar gelatin. Agar was easy, the cheesecake wasn’t. After a difficult prep, I helped to start anew when the springform leaked in bain-marie. After standing in the kitchen for seven hours all we had finished was terrible agar and great cheesecake. For dinner we had fantastic cheesecake, while cooling our sore feet in rubbery agar, and had laughs for a lifetime.

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  105. When I was younger, my birthday celebrations always served crispy pata. I looked forward to getting older because I had a whole, fried to a crunch, pig leg waiting for me to sink my teeth into it. With one bite, tender meat oozing of sweet and salty juices would infuse into my taste buds. I would smile with pork fat glistening from my lips. This comfort food is home. My mother made this for me.

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  106. A mile from the great restaurants of San Sebastian, Spain, my mother-in-law lives in a small flat with her grown sons. She feeds us one by one in the tiny kitchen. First a salad of lettuce, tomato and onion dressed with sunflower oil, cheap vinegar and salt. Then a plate of her lentils, stewed with rice, a potato and sausage. Baguette and wine out of a box. Mandarins and chicory-coffee for dessert. I feel love.

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  108. My mother (whose family prides themselves on eating five ears of corn at a go) sought some refinement on her palate, and took me for a lunch at MoMA’s The Modern. The main course duck was served with a halo of vegetables diced flawlessly by some magical elf-chef, but the glistening foie-gras, basking beneath a freeze-dried raspberry and pistachio butter accompaniment so awoke my imagination – truly a worthy companion to Monet’s Waterlilies three stories up.

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  109. Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia. Everything—absolutely everything was perfect and delicious. The amazing herb infused G&T and light brioche with ramp butter started off a fresh, decadent meal. My seared scallops with pickled broccoli and Sardinian couscous were amazing. The broccoli was the freshest and most complex-tasting thing I have ever eaten. I finished the meal with a pear sorbet with cranberries and granola that made it feel like summer in the middle of December.

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  110. From the minute we walked in the door, to the four-hour meal, to the lovely souvenir upon our exit, the entire experience was impeccable. The sommelier described each wine--walking us through the tastes in every course. The turbo was light and delicate, the lobster was decadently rich and luscious, and the duck was so succulent that it was, without a doubt, the best dish I have ever eaten. Eleven Madison Park, thank you.

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  111. On a cold Chicago evening, we gathered at Michael Jordan’s well-renowned restaurant. The wait was brief but just long enough to get our mouths watering. Many ordered the succulent Filet Mignon but I, however, dared to try the Caramelized Sea Scallops over a beef and barley risotto, the both of which are then generously topped with a pinot noir sauce. Upon my first bite, I enjoyed an explosion of savory pleasure that I’ll never forget.

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  112. Binkley's in Cave Creek, Arizona is a very inconspicuous place...but it is the location of the best meal I've ever eaten and the best dining experience I've ever had.

    A multi-course tasting menu with wine or beer pairings on our anniversary was amazing! In addition to the courses on the menu, small courses in between were added by the chef. One of them was a tiny sloppy joe, about the size of my thumbnail, that was delicious!! My first course was a smoked oyster and it arrived under a glass. When the glass was removed, smoke wafted out. It was delicious. Each course was just as unique and innovative as the first and beautifully and artfully served. This was not just about food (although the food was amazing), but about presentation and creativity.

    Cave Creek is known as a "cowboy town" and Binkley's is right across the street (in a small strip mall-type location) from a rustic bar called the Buffalo Chip with live bull riding two nights a week. My husband and I own a vacation home in Cave Creek and frequently went to the Buffalo Chip. For years we never even noticed Binkley's. A friend recommended it and we are so glad we experienced it. We plan to go back whenever we get the chance!

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  113. The night wasn’t warm, but the rooftop heaters were a nice touch. I ordered wagyu sliders, you: short ribs. There was one beer, then another. You wanted bourbon. We lingered over the menu for another round of appetizers. You pointed to ceviche while I was aiming for the pork belly bun. Our hands brushed against one another and we paused midair, probably longer than we should have. That was the second I knew.

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  114. Best meal ever... back home at Mom and Dad's. Chinese New Year Dinner. So many courses to this meal, but always perfect and the best. Tender and moist perfectly poached Chinese White Hacked Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil, juicy Squab in Soy Sauce, tender Braised Chinese Black Mushrooms, Sauteed Arrowroot with Lap Cheong and Chinese Celery, succulent Cantonese Style Lobster and many more wonderful dishes. Simple home cooked comfort foods with family are the best!!!

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  115. Taillevent ca. 1975, when it may have been supreme even in France. We started with my favorite dish, truffe sous les cendres (nice-sized truffle baked in a hearth in puff paste w pate de fois gras), and ended with the best eau de vie I've ever tasted, compliments of the chef who saw two perspiring everyday guests amid his expense-account clientele; when we asked why, the waiter said, "Because you like good things."

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  116. There are times when the best meal does not have to be an expensive restaurant meal. I don't think money or a fancy restaurant is the most important criteria.
    My favorite is plain and simple made by my wife. She starts out with breading Canadian bacon with Panko Crumbs and fries the Canadian bacon. She then has creamed corn and mashed potatoes. A tossed salad starts the meal off. It’s not fancy but my favorite.

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  117. You'd think my most memorable meal would involve an impossibly high Zagat rating and someone tasked with brushing crumbs away, but I will always remember Neely's BBQ. Pre-TV fame, off a Memphis Highway they left an indelible mark on my tastebuds. BBQ Spaghetti to more cuts of meat than I could fathom. We ate to capacity knowing we had to cram back into a car and forge on leftovers as a delicious vinegary bargaining chip.

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  118. Sipping on champagne at Paris’s landmark restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower,soul stirring pumpkin soup, lulled by sea bass in a frothy sea of foamy luxury: understated yet elegant old world charm transporting me to gourmet’s lap with my baba rum accentuated with Cognac, then crescendo to marriage de frère tea, madeleine, macaroons releasing endorphins, finally reaching an orgasmic high point of my life: a surreal experience I would love to relive in gastronomic heaven .

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  119. My best meal was with my love in Australia after getting lost in the jungle earlier in the day. We found a lovely little mexican restaurant and had margaritas and tacos on the beach. It was heaven.

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  120. It was my third visit to Chicago in April 2011 and I was not sure if I would be here again. I wanted to celebrate my last evening by having steak that I would remember forever. I walked to Smith & Wollensky which not only served me awesome steak but brought me luck as well. The next day I was interviewed for a job and the rest is history. Chicago is home now.

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  121. My best meal ever was when we were in Las Vegas with our two daughters the week between Christmas and New Years. One daughter's birthday is mid December and one is early January so I decided to look for a special meal in Vegas to celebrate. Since one loves to cook and one loves to eat it seemed like the perfect gift for both. I made reservations at Emeril's in the MGM casino. They have a chef's table dinner that was unbelievable. It starts with the Somelier as your host. Then the chef comes out to present and review the tasting menu. There was course after course each one more tasty and magnificent than the last. The service was impeccable, the food was not only phenomenal but the presentation was superb. My daughters took a picture of each course. The somelier gave us his card and said any time we had a question about any wine anywhere to call him for advice. That was 5 years ago and to this day if you randomly ask my wife or either child their best meal ever, without hesitation you will hear about the chef's table at Emeril's!

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  122. Old Ebbitt Grill - Washington, DC - Spring 2001

    It’s the first weekend trip away with the woman I’ve who’ll become my wife. We spend Friday afternoon at the Tidal Basin admiring the cherry blossoms. Since it’s Lent, we start with a raw platter of clams and oysters, then both have the most amazing crabcakes ever. We’ll celebrate our tenth anniversary this year, and I’ve been trying to replicate those crabcakes every Valentine’s Day since.

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  123. My best meal ever was Jean Georges. Not for the pomp & circumstance, the spectacular dining room or the epic food, but the rock I had just had placed on my finger! After proposing to me, my foodie husband whisked me off to JJ, a bottle of champagne or two deep I might add. Giggly and floating on cloud nine. I kept finding excusing to say "my fianceeeee!" throughout the course of our wait at the bar, while pounding the mixed nuts and more champagne. A slightly longer wait (and nuts & champagne) than anticipated and we finally landed at our table and simply floated through every course of the meal. Frankly it would be wonderful to win this contest and relive the meal since the aforementioned champagne makes the memory of the delicacies, well, slightly hazy...Luckily we have pictures of every course to jog our memories....

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  124. When we traveled to France we spent four days in the medieval walled town of Avignon. Near one of the town gates is Les Halles, a large indoor market where you can buy all kinds of meats, cheeses, wines and specialty foods. One morning we went to Les Halles and bought bread, cheeses, charcuterie, olives, wine and -- specially for my 6-year-old son -- chocolates. The guy at the olive counter flirted shamelessly with my college-age niece (of course she loved it). When we had a full bag we went upstairs to the parking garage, got the car and drove to Loumarin, a charming town of tawny stone houses on narrow winding streets. At the edge of town is a low stone wall bordering a pasture, across from a 12th-century abbey. We sat on the wall and opened our picnic. I've eaten at hundreds of fancy restaurants and just as many neat little spots, but this meal stands out as most memorable.

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  125. My best meal so far was at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais in Franshoek outside Cape Town, South Africa. Suggested to me by chef Stephan Pyles of Dallas, The Tasting Room is a culinary experience rarely found: interactive, entertaining and full of the heart and soul of the chef. Each of a dozen courses revealed new surprises, like rich ratatouille disguised as a candy apple-red lollipop, biscuits hidden inside a can of tomato paste, or a terrine that when opened surrounded us with the scent of the chef's homeland. The setting, sights, sounds and flavors of the night were all unforgettable. The evening at The Tasting Room put all four senses to work and the end result was my best meal ever.

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  126. I've eaten some very special meals, but the one that stands out as the closest to perfection was at Geronimo in Santa Fe. I still remember how dumbfounded I was that the Elk steak, which had been highly recommended, exceeded all expectations with its perfect texture and complex blend of spice and sweetness. The setting was sublime, with the warmth from the nearby kiva-style fireplace contrasting with the fresh snow on the trees outside the window. The service was tastefully unobtrusive, much like the refined southwestern decor. The fact that the dinner was one of my first opportunities to treat my parents who had always given me everything I could ever want added a note of sweetness as satisfying as the creme Anglais that topped my raspberry cheesecake.

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  127. One of the best meals that I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat is Clinton Bakery’s Blueberry Pancakes with maple butter. Coming upon a teeny, tiny place with lots of hungry diners waiting outside, didn’t give me much pleasure or hope to even get a meal soon. After twenty minutes and thanks to the very efficient hostess, I was seated on a barstool that faced the window overlooking the street and things were really going downhill for me, cramped and uncomfortable I was. As soon as the waitress came and delivered these beautiful, fluffy pancakes, with blueberry compote on top, I just knew all the pain and suffering for waiting for a table and sitting in a small niche was well worth the effort. The pancakes were the lightest I have ever eaten. They are soft and fluffy and the maple butter is a nice addition to these wondrously light pancakes. Blueberries bursting with flavor hit your tongue with the fluff and softness of the pancake. You never really taste all the butter that is actually in the pancakes, because it is remarkably light, but as you eat and eat, it catches up on you, and you start feeling full. Onlookers waiting outside also admired my plate of absolutely beautiful breakfast. I even gave them the thumbs up. I left with a round mound belly that was ready to burst and couldn’t stop talking about the best ever pancakes for many weeks on and was so inspired that I picked up their cookbook.

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  128. Who ever heard of the Healdsburg Inn, in Healdsburg, California? Especially a Florida boy. In search of Jerry Garcia (and found him!), we scoured the Russian River until we were hungry. And up popped the Inn, looking a bit shabby, but loaded with character. What's for supper? The best rack of lamb I've ever seen, let alone tasted, served on a plank, ringed by freshly picked roasted vegetables and roasted-garlic mashed cauliflower piped to the edges of the board in florets, then broiled until just barely browned.
    The tab? incredibly, $16.95. Scandalous.

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