Favorite Meals from Eat It Up Guests (Part 2)

Birthday Cake Truffles from Milkbar (source: bionicbites.com)

Birthday Cake Truffles from Milkbar (source: bionicbites.com)

Starting Monday, we began posting a series of blog posts featuring favorite meals from several of our podcast guests from 2012. We simply asked them “What was your favorite/most memorable meal(s) from 2012?” and hoped for the best. Some sent long answers detailing meals at some of the best restaurants in the world while others simply sent a couple sentences; in both cases we really enjoyed reading the responses and learning about some new places that we need to try. Meals ranged from local dives to home cooked meals spent with family to trips across the country. We’d like to thank everyone who participated in both our podcasts and these articles, hopefully you ate as well as our guests did.

Today is Part 2 of 5, they’ll be posted every day this week. We hope you enjoy and look forward to more 2012 Year End Coverage!

I think my most memorable meal of 2012 was a lobster bake on the 4th of July on Cape Cod with my closest friends.. followed closely by dinner at Sun International with my son when he ordered a whole fried fish & ate the cheeks & eyeballs … proud mom moment!

Memorable meals for myself, Kevin Purdy, a citizen of the Free Republic of Norwood:

Wagyu beef tartare, lobster, and buttermilk beet dishes at Ma Peche in NYC, followed by “Birthday Cake” truffles (pictured above) from Milk Bar at our hotel.

Thanksgiving, the first one with my wife and I preparing an entire traditional meal. Spatchcocked turkey that did actually cook entirely in 80 minutes (with delicious, crisp, salty skin), gingery carrots, sage sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and, man, I literally had every burner and both the oven and warming tray rolling at once.

The unplanned visit to the lounge at Mike A’s, in which I had beef rillettes, two whiskey drinks, 2/3 of a French press carafe, and then had to go home and immediately try to sleep at 9:30 p.m., because our house guest had a 4:45 a.m. flight. I had the most surreal, David Cronenburg-esque dreams that night, involving my intravenous delivery of crucial architectural data to a giant, phlegmatic entity that lived under the Skyway.

My first Paula’s Donut experience. I consumed 2.5 donuts in one morning, and had way too much Ethiopian coffee. I COULD SEE THROUGH TIME, DONNIE.

I find myself going back to restaurants for something in particular on the menu. I sometimes have no choice but to satisfy my cravings. If I can choose any one “taste” from last year it has to be the Tom Yum soup at Saigon Bangkok on Transit. I could eat a gallon of the stuff. I’m a huge fan of sweet and spicy and this stuff is exactly that.

Chips, Queso and Chorizo from Cantina Loco

Chips, Queso and Chorizo from Cantina Loco

My first great meal of 2012 was at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.  I was shopping for some ingredients for the Iron Chef competition and we just simply picked up a few cheeses, charcuterie, bread, olives, etc and sat at a picnic table outside.  It was a beautiful day with the sun out, eating amazing cheeses (that are hard to find back home) with amazing company.  I also tried Papaya for the first time, I was pretty impressed. Nothing fancy or over the top but the food was very tasty. So tasty I had to order another udon noodle entree to go!!  And of course there is Cantina Loco, I am usually there every Monday digging in to the chips and queso with chorizo (pictured above).

Judging the Nickel City Firing Line competition was fun and also an honor.  it was awesome to see some of the areas great talent showcased and boy was it good. I was quite impressed with the food that was put in front of me and found myself clearing every plate. 2012 was really not a big “dining out” year unfortunately compared to years past but I am happy that I have been able to try a few more restaurants in Buffalo and look forward to trying many more.

I had the Jerk Chicken from Dr. Birds Rastarant and now that’s all that I want to eat. I went with a couple friends and we all had our jackets off and were properly sweating, but we didn’t stop. I talked to a dude from Guyana and he said the thing about a good jerk is that you want to stop because it’s so hot but you don’t because it’s so good.

So it was really hard to think of my best meal of the year. I’ve eaten a lot of good food, been to a lot of great places. But the one that stuck out to me the most was rather atypical.

I had a picnic on Long Beach (in Canada) in mid November.  It was 65. It was the beach that I had grown up on and I was with my lady friend whom I had met there some 14 years ago.  We sat on a blanket in extraordinarily warm weather, ate bresaola, cacciatore, rosette de lyon, mt. tam, douceur de jura, and an aged gouda, with a red madiran from France, marcona almonds, dried apricots, and lentil crackers.  We sat and watched the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever witnessed and everything was right in the world. So sometimes the greatest and most memorable meal isn’t 5 star dining or corner finds. It’s just great stuff shared with great people on a perfect day.

Mezcal, Watermelon, Lemongrass Paleta Freeze Pop from an Underground Dining Club

Mezcal, Watermelon, Lemongrass Paleta Freeze Pop from an Underground Dining Club

  • Sarah Walley, French Macaron Baker (Ep #17)

My best meal of 2012 had to be an event my husband and I went to with an underground supper club. It wasn’t just my favorite meal because the food was some of the best I’ve ever had in my life, but that certainly played a part. It might have been the first time I’d ever had a popsicle intermezzo, and certainly was the first time I’ve ever eaten one made with mescal, watermelon and lemongrass (pictured above). It was also filled with an abundance of incredibly luxurious ingredients: a giant white prawn, one perfectly seared scallop, a small terrine of foie gras, winter truffles, and so much more. But what really made the night special was that we were encouraged to sit next to people we didn’t know.

When you sign up for a dinner event without knowing what’s on the menu, you’ll likely be in good company with adventurous eaters. I made some wonderful new friends over our conversations about the foods we grew up on and love now, our favorite restaurants and farmers’ markets, and what we like to cook on any given night. I love how food connects strangers; it’s one of my biggest passions. This dinner carried that concept at its heart, and it was wonderful.

Daniel’s birthday dinner in July; absolute perfection from beginning to end! Lombardo’s… my personal (close to home) favorite and Carmelo’s. I finally made it there last weekend with some friends and every one of us loved our meals!

Waygu Steak at Mike A's

Waygu Steak at Mike A’s

My favorite meal has to be the media tasting we had at Mike A’s. As someone who doesn’t get to eat upscale very often, I felt like I was eating like an (undeserving) king — all we were missing were golden goblets and a roasted whole pig that stared blankly across the table. Anyhow, the #9 Grade Australian Purebred Wagyu Beef Strip Steak (pictured above) was the most tender and flavorful piece of meat I’ve ever devoured, and I’m still saving my change to go back and order it again someday.

While the steak was the highlight of the meal — which was expected considering its unusually high price-tag ($88 for 12 oz.) — I can’t say enough about the richness of the veal loin Oscar, the texture of the seared sea scallop and the chance to munch on some oxtail. The flavors were surprisingly simple and well paired — nothing seemed out of place, and the entirety of the experience was unlike any I’ve ever had at an eating establishment.

My Pick is Lola in Cleveland, Ohio. Beautiful bar, open kitchen and a well trained staff working in sync. Small, interesting, and seasonal menu. Really blew my socks off!

Apps: Pork Belly, Pig Ear Done “Buffalo Style”, Shaved Celery, Blue Cheese, Apple (Pic). Crispy Veal Sweet Breads, Cauliflower Puree, Leek Emulsion, Pine-nuts, Mustard Cress (Pic).

Entrees: Grilled Lamb Heart with Spring Peas, heirloom carrots, Pea puree, preserved Lemon (Pic). Seared Walleye, Redskin Potatoes, Ramps, herbs, herbed shelfish broth (Pic).

Desserts: Raspberry Iced Macaron (Pic). Brioche French Toast w/ Maple Ice cream (Pic).

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Check back tomorrow for more favorite meals from our Eat It Up guests with Part 3! In case you missed it, check out Part 1 here!

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