Your Best Meals Of The Year

In a year of bad news followed by WTF news, at least there was good food.

December 28, 2016 ● 4 min read

Last week, we asked for the best meals you had during this questionable year (that just won't quit!). Here's what some of you had to say:

"The night was dark — couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, and the lights from the restaurant spilled onto the cobbled streets, like a warm blanket laid out on the doorstep. Stepping inside was like being hit with a stream of water; the sound was loud, high and fast. We sat in the perfect spot to take in the room, letting the sound wash over us. The food arrived fast and hot; the meat fell off the ribs like velvet and melted in the mouth. The fries were impossibly hot and salty with hardly a trace of oil. The soup was light on the tongue and warmed our bellies." — Surani Hayre-Kwan

"We flew to San Francisco from Boston with our reservations at Gary Danko as the highlight of our first day there. They book two months in advance, so on short notice we were only able to get a 9:30 seating. This was the end of Fleet Week in San Francisco and there was a big airshow that we attended right after we arrived. It was hot and we were tired and didn't want to drive back to the hotel and then back to the city for dinner. We stopped at Gary Danko to see if we could be seated earlier (this was at about 4:30 in the afternoon). They were very professional and polite but were unable to seat us at a table, [but] there was no one at the bar, so we sat there. About 10 minutes later, there was no more room at the bar. We got there literally as they opened the restaurant. The food was amazing, the staff was amazing; I doubt we could have gotten better service at a table. Everything just worked out perfectly. We had an amazing meal and were able to go back the hotel and crash after a really long day. I can't recommend them enough. Don't miss the tray of free miniature desserts at the end of the meal. They are incredible." — elvad426

"I celebrated my 65th birthday last week in Portland, Oregon, at the Benson Hotel ( a 1913 landmark), one of my favourite holiday spots. Hubby and I had four of our six grandsons, two daughters and son-in-laws, and two favourite sisters and spouses for a decadent dinner experience at their restaurant, El Gaucho. A three hour dining feast, where folks enjoyed oysters on the half shell, escargot, crab cake and pancetta shrimp appetizers. Tableside Caesar salads, followed by fat steaks and fresh fish with family style sides of roasted corn, asparagus, mac n cheese, and mashed potatoes. Lots of chatter and laughter and love and wine, ending with Bananas Foster and some decadent 
chocolate dessert while Mariano played classical guitar in the background. Could not have asked for a better ending to a personally and globally difficult year. Spreading love and light and appreciation for the gift of a fine meal shared with family and friends? Priceless." — Laurie Smith

"Wow, so many good stories to tell about food! Should I write about the volunteer kitchen at the Washington Barter Faire? Or the Hannukah dinner party held at the Presbyterian Church? Or the meal at a mountain man's homestead where he butchers his own farm-raised chicken and rabbit for dinner? You see, I raised my son as a vegetarian when he was younger. Then as a growing boy, he wanted meat. So we visited Michael to get the best. However, we had to work for our supper: first, everyone needed to be fed, the chickens, and rabbits, then the geese and ducks and don't forget the pigs. Next, we watched as he caught a chicken and then after that chore, a rabbit. Next, we had to go to the garden to get our veggies for the stew and for a good fresh salad. Whenever we need to stock up on some good organic meats or veggies, a trip up the mountain to Michael's is a great way to spend the day on a spring or fall weekend." — Denise Dyane, Sandpoint, ID

"Here is a story of three single women, two divorced, one 78 years of age and the other 59, friends for 30-plus years and the other 70, never married and a part of the group for five or six years. We all live in the same neighborhood within several houses of each other. For the last four or five years we have shared Sunday night supper beginning at 5 pm with cocktails, and then dinner, and then home to watch whatever we have recorded. We have the best time discussing a wide variety of topics while sharing wine and a strange rum drink with Captain Morgan!! Sometimes we invite guests. The food is good to excellent. We grill out a lot (Dallas allows that even in the winter). Our age range is remarkable even with our guests. We consider ourselves very blessed to have our group support and to enjoy what can be a very lonely night of the week, Sunday night. This is my brief but spectacular take on friendship and food." — Gayle Kesinger

"Cooking couple took a trip to Boston in early December to visit our old sous, who is now running the hotel for the Eastern Standard restaurant group. Our goal was 100 oysters each — we live in Albuquerque and don't get that kind of treat often. After a round to start each meal AND oysters for dessert, we got pretty close. It was magical to get hooked up with such good times by our old friend and eat so many little creatures. Row 34 makes the very best clam chowder hands down. The hotel was fancy, but the seafood was memorable. When our buddy first moved to Boston about a year ago, I forwarded him the latest profile in my email about the Eastern Standard group and he informed me he had an interview with them the next day. Needless to say, he nailed it, and we got nailed with brine, so thanks!" —Mary Mays

Have a meal you want to preserve forever before 2016 swirls down the grease trap of time? Email us before the clock strikes midnight and we'll see to it.