Well, it’s Monday and if it was five years ago that would have meant we ate too much Taco Bell and D.P. Dough due to the consumption of Jager and beers. While in those moments the tacos and calzones may have seemed like the greatest meal ever, it is now completely obvious they were not. Which leaves us asking: What was the best meal you’ve ever had in your life? If you’ve forgotten how this works, our answers are first, followed by yours, and we finish it off with a new question for the week.
Dagger: I have three meals in my life I count as the greatest. Since I spent a great many hundreds of words discussing Peter Luger in Brooklyn already, and since Lady E is covering Mama’s Fish House later in this Confessional, let’s talk about Oceanaire in DC.
I travel for my job a lot. Usually I go to places like Casper, WY, Houston, TX and Bozeman, MT (where I had probably my favorite most surprisingly delicious meal at Mackenzie River Pizza). Bozeman was nice, but the other two places completely eat hog. Occasionally I get to go to cool places like San Francisco and Washington, DC. What’s killer about that is that not only do I get to hang out in these cool places, I pay for almost nothing.
In the case of my trip to DC in March of 2010, it just so happened my parents were there too and we met up for dinner the day before the conference began. My dad told me he’d pick up the check, which was awesome since not only was this meal going to kick ass, I wouldn’t even have to explain it on my expense report either. White people problem avoided!
And holy shit, the Carolina swordfish served dynamite style (which, literally translated, means “groin grabbingly awesome” or, alternately, “covered in crab meat”), was outrageous. Combine that with some matchstick fries, a little rice pilaf, and pieces from my parents’ 3 lb lobster makes that a meal to remember. We shared two bottles of Cakebread chardonnay, which singularly changed my opinion of white wine, and I topped off the meal with an 18 year-old scotch.
Business travel is often tough and unglamorous. But sometimes it’s everything that people who never travel for business suspect it is. That night was one of those nights.
Hart: For me nothing beats a good Italian meal and I found the best place for that is Italy. One of the best parts of traveling is the chance to experience authentic food of wherever. But of the ten days in Italy and the many meals, how could I pick a specific one? Well, that was actually easy. It obviously wasn’t from the Planet Hollywood in Rome. It certainly wasn’t the parmigiana chicken that someone likened to eating a baby. And by the end of the ten days I was over the Italian food and just wanted a nice burger or pizza.
So it was definitely the very first meal I had. It was in Verona and some tiny little café style place in what or may not have been the center of the city, I never really got that familiar with the city. With my very limited Italian vocabulary I stumbled through my order and got a flat-noodle pasta with an authentic tomato sauce covered in parmesan cheese and some real Italian bread. I actually took a picture of this meal. This was something I have never before or since. It was also at a time before digital cameras so you don’t get to see it.
While this meal was delicious, it was the best meal due more to what it represented. This was the first time I left the country, and it took a long ass time to get there. There was a plane transfer in St. Louis, two hours in Atlanta, several more in New York, what felt like a lifetime flying over the Atlantic Ocean, then a bus drive out of Milan to Verona. Sitting outside at that café, watching Verona, and enjoying the most authentic Italian food is when the fact that I was in this other country fully kicked in.
It was even better than eating bologna in Bologna.
Senor Limon: I feel fairly fortunate that in my adult life I’ve had the chance to eat great food all over the United States. Among my most memorable meals, are eating fish that was swimming in the ocean just hours before, at the gourmet Mama’s Fish House in Maui, HI as well as ordering the same from a counter in a packed dive at the Fish Market across the street (for what it’s worth I think the fish market does it better at about 1/10th the cost). I also remember drunkenly scarfing Gyros from a street vendor and chasing away my hangover at Big City Burrito in Ft Collins, CO. Not to mention eating a five course New Years Eve meal at the Canyons Resort near Salt Lake City, UT.
All of those experiences pale in comparison to my adventures eating below the Mason Dixon line. Among my many extremely unhealthy but delicious meals down South, my two favorites were at the Orangery in Knoxville, TN and my all time favorite meal, a two inch thick fork tender filet at the unassuming Delaney’s Bistro on St. Simmons Island, Georgia.
Everything about the meal from the pre-dinner vodka tonic, the scallops as an appetizer, the mouthwatering filet and red wine for the main course and the coffee for dessert was absolutely perfect. In the end, I was full but somehow not uncomfortable. The check was also pretty unassuming considering the circumstances.
I’m almost afraid to go back there. It couldn’t help but be a disappointment after the last time. Also, it’s right across the street from Sal’s Pizzeria, and that place is pretty awesome too.
We went to the east coast, down south, and Italy. Fortunately there is more of this world to cover and you guys were able to help find those great meals.
Gutter: First off, good to see you guys back, during tax season no less… assholes. Anyway, the best meal I have ever had was/is a place in Chicago called Mr. Beef. I say was/is because every time I go there, that meal becomes the best meal I have ever had. Anytime my family travels to Chicago the first stop we make is at Mr. Beef which happens to be about 10 minutes from O’Hare airport, any farther and I think we would need a police escort. Anyway the meal to get there is an Italian beef sandwich, extra juicy (this means they dip the bread in the beef juice), add green peppers, order a batch of freshly made french fries and a Coke to wash it down. Best damn meal on the planet. Man.. anyone up for a one day trip to Chicago?
Lady E: There have been 2 meals in my life that can easily battle it out for the title of “Best Meal of My Life.” So I am choosing the one that comes first chronologically (see E Dagger’s post for #2).
For anyone who has been through the wedding process, you know a wedding is simply about 2 things, spending insane amounts of money, and pissing people off! So after a year of planning, spending insane amounts of money, pissing people who I have never met, off (WTF?!), a freak snow storm that threatened to derail Dagger’s and my wedding, and finally the (amazing) wedding Dagger and I jetted off to Maui for our much deserved, relaxing honeymoon. While we were there we went to a much raved about Mama’s Fish House.
The views were amazing and it just kept getting better. We started with Shrimp Wontons while we scanned the menu. Everything on the menu had been alive less than 5 hours ago, and we were told what fishing boat had caught it and where! Dagger had Lobster stuffed Mahimahi, while I had the deep water mahimahi. The food was amazing, the views were to die for (looking out over crashing waves as you eat?! Yes Please!) with an amazing bottle of wine. Of course dessert was a must and we had the Polynesian Black Pearl (chocolate mousse in a pastry seashell). Absolutely everything about this meal was perfect, and I continually long to go back to Maui, just so we can eat there again.
Dzayson: I struggled with the task of determining the best meal I’ve ever enjoyed. I don’t have anything as sexy as a Peter Luger steak dinner to fondly remember. I’ve enjoyed plenty of great food, of course. I’ve just found a way to forget most of it. So how about this anecdote instead. In December of 2010, my family and I journeyed to India for my brother’s wedding. His lovely bride grew up in Bangalore and wanted to be married in her home country. So off we went, armed with the knowledge that our American immune systems would struggle with new bacteria over there, despite the standard precautions we took. Sure enough, on day five we all started to feel awful. This happened to be right in the middle of the two-day wedding ceremony itself. Every several hours during this marathon of nuptials, we would all adjourn to the adjacent dining hall. And even though I had always enjoyed Indian cuisine up to that point, my stomach was twisted in such a way that the last thing I wanted was for someone to ladle a puddle of mushy, yellowish food onto the banana leaf that was being used as my plate. Even plain white rice and naan bread were nauseating. We all recovered during the last leg of our trip, but as our flight touched down in Colorado, my stomach rumbled for American comfort food. My parents and I stopped by the supermarket on the way home and everything looked amazing. Jetlagged, I opted for two things that I knew would satisfy me with minimum cooking effort on my part: original flavor Pringles and Pizza Rolls. I’m sure that a slice of Biancoverde from Pizzaria Bianco or the aforementioned Lex..er, Peter Luger steak would have been preferable. But those Pringles and Pizza Rolls hit the spot in a way that few foods have over the course of my life.
As Red might say, two things haven’t happened since that trip. I haven’t consumed Indian food, and I haven’t shit my pants. God Bless America
Corriander: Picking my favorite meal is easy. Ask Keithage about my tastes in food and he will immediately tell you that I am a Montana girl through and through – meat and potatoes. Give me a good steak and I am happy. My grandpa has always been my favorite person and ever since I was little, he always grilled the best steak when we were up at his cabin. It became known as “grandpa sirloin” and it has always been my favorite food. As my grandpa got older, he made less frequent trips to the cabin. I always felt extra special when he would make the trip while I was home for a visit. One year my mom told me he and my grandma would be coming up to the cabin while I was there and he was going to bring dinner. Turns out he first made a trip to the tiny grocery store in his town of 300 people and wasn’t happy with the steak selection, so he drove an hour out of his way to find the perfect steak for me, knowing it was my favorite. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, my grandma also brought along a pan of her famous brownies (after a not-so-subtle hint). My grandpa made every meal last for hours; he savored every bite and told the greatest stories in between those bites. Sitting down to a delicious dinner with my grandparents and my mom, at my favorite place, with my favorite foods, and just talking with my grandpa was the best meal I’ve ever had. Had I known it was the last time my grandpa would make that for me, I would have lingered over it even longer.
Don’t know about you guys, but we’re now hungry. Since no one chose a place nearby, guess we’ll just convene at the Chik-fil-a.
Or maybe one of the many local Irish pubs for some fine St. Patty’s Day fare. What better way to prepare us for that day and the large roaming crowds of drunkards that will consume the streets in just a couple weeks. How we dread those crowds and wish for an easy way around them, but alas what can we do, it’s not like we have a leprechaun to grant such wishes. Nor is that really what we would waste a wish on. But what if we did?
So, in honor of the upcoming holiday we want to know: What would you wish for if a leprechaun granted you three wishes? Basic Aladdin wish rules are in effect here, otherwise the possibilities are endless. So pick your three wishes and send them to email@example.com, then check back Monday for all the responses. And in the meantime check back daily for new content as we are celebrating 4 years on the internet with our classic schedule.
Hart & Dagger
05 Mar 2012 CJS Staff