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The Man Who Ate the World Giveaway!

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July 7th, 2008 · Print Print

I’m excited to write this post, because I have two really fun things to announce.  The first is, I read a good book.  The second is, you win a copy of it! I have three hardcover copies of The Man Who Ate The World, by Jay Rayner, for you guys to win!

A month or two ago, I was contacted to review a new book that was coming out in July, about a British restaurant critic’s global search for the perfect meal, across the top restaurants on nearly every continent (Australia got a bit shifted, and sadly, Antarctica was never even considered).  Supposedly, it was in the style of Ruth Reichl, whose books I adore.  So I happily agreed.

In the first chapter, Rayner begs his readers not to read his book while hungry.  I was reading the first chapter on the elliptical trainer, before dinner, but I was enjoying it too much to actually take his advice and put it away until sometime when I was full enough to pick it back up.

It’s a really fun book.  My favorite chapter, not surprisingly, is the one on New York, as he explores some restaurants I’ve been to, and some I’ve only dreamed about going to (and inspired me to knock one more off my list this weekend, in fact)!  And aside from a few moments of being horrified by the prices of many of these meals, it was completely enjoyable to read.

This isn’t a cookbook, it doesn’t have recipes, but you wouldn’t be a foodie if you didn’t come away from reading it craving langoustines, truffles and foie gras, which, apparently, are on the menu at every Michelin-starred restaurant on earth.  And Rayner gives some very nice mentions to food bloggers (unlike, apparently, Mario Batali, who hates us*).  When he’s planning his trip to Japan, he consults Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim to find out where to eat.  When he’s finished with what has to be one of the more impressive restaurant-crawls ever heard of (Per Se, Jean Georges, Bouley, Eleven Madison Park, and WD-50 in one night), he posts pictures of all the dishes to a food discussion website the next morning (you can read his dining companion’s account of the night here).  And more importantly, he’s willing to give copies of his book to one very lucky food blogger and three of her readers (that’s you!).

So, to win, here’s what I want you to do.  Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your most perfect meal has ever been — whether in a top-rated restaurant, home-cooked, or just good food with good company (my personal favorite).  You can enter anytime between now and Sunday, July 13th at 8 pm Eastern time, and I’ll announce three randomly-selected winners the following morning!

And, for those of you who are excited about the book and don’t win it here, you can purchase your very own copy by clicking here!

Good luck, everyone (any happy belated Fourth of July)!

* I have been meaning to write something about this for a while, and Rayner opened the door for me because he talks about it in his book.  But really, I think Mario Batali has nothing against actual food/recipe bloggers.  He just doesn’t like bloggers who say mean things about his restaurants.  I love Babbo, even if the only reservations I ever get are at 5:30 or 10:30 pm.  Don’t hate me, Mario!


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72 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ramona // Jul 7, 2008 at 7:59 am

    My favorite meal was with my Dad.  He was a great cook and I hadn’t seen him in two years.  He made me Steak. A nice medium to well thats all I wanted.  So he cooked it and we talked for hours.

  • 2 Erin // Jul 7, 2008 at 8:10 am

    One of my favorite meals was my 26th birthday dinner with Chris at Tomasso (  It was a stellar evening and I’ve been in love with Arancini ever since.

  • 3 Rebecca // Jul 7, 2008 at 8:24 am

    My perfect meal was this amazing multiple course dinner at Watermark, where my family and Jeff’s met for the first time just before we got married. Seeing everyone around the same table, sharing food (literally), making toasts, and laughing made for the meal of a lifetime.

  • 4 patsyk // Jul 7, 2008 at 9:35 am

    My perfect meal is made by my husband… steaks cooked on the grill and SMOTHERED in garlic, fried pasta, and Jersey corn on the cob… and this simply MUST be finished off with a trip to DQ for ice cream! :)

    I am really intriqued by this book, and will keep my fingers crossed that I might win one!  If not, it will go on my library request list!

  • 5 shannon a // Jul 7, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Last night was pretty awesome.  My husband grilled rib-eyes that were seasoned with S & P and garlic.  I made parmesan/garlic/butter/sour cream mashed yukon potatoes and corn on the cob with butter and S &P.  My 4-year-old son says “you sure made a good supper, Mommy”.  I had to agree.

  • 6 Joanna // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Ooooh… most perfect meal ever… great question!  When I was in high school, I spent a Saturday with the boy I had a huge crush on.  We walked around the city and found our way back to his house in the evening.  His parents were on their way out to dinner, and asked if I wanted to go with (uh, of course I did).  So we went to a sushi restaurant around the corner where they were regulars, sat at the sushi bar, and then the sushi chef started making food for us — no menus, no ordering, just exquisitely prepared, very fresh sushi (including small salads with raw fish, rolls wrapped in cucumber instead of seaweed, tuna tartare-esque preparations, etc).  We were served course after course until we couldn’t eat anymore.  The meal itself was incredible, and, well, after that night my crush-boy turned into my first boyfriend.  So it was perfect all around. :)

  • 7 ttfn300 // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Yum, i am so hungry right now my tummy is grumbling away at the thought of the meal my roomie and I just talked about recently!  We were driving cross-country after graduating college and had finally made it to california. we were way up there, had come in through oregon, and had the best dinner that night.  i can’t remember all the details, but it included anchor steam (our first time trying this…  awesome), the most fabulous fish fry i think i’ve ever had, and even though we were already stuffed we couldn’t pass up the blackberry cobbler the waitress said was a house specialty.  delicious!!  now it’s time for lunch :)

  • 8 Laura // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:33 am

    It’s definitely a tie between a homemade (by my mom & dad) birthday meal–fettucine with zucchini sauce and chocolate cake–and a great anniversary dinner out that involved baked salmon, herbed butter, and perfectly grilled asparagus.  Yum!

  • 9 VeggieGirl // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Sounds like a fun book, indeed!!

    My perfect meal was in March 2008, at Pure Food and Wine in NYC. I had a 100% raw vegan DELICIOUS meal with my family and a new friend (a blogger that I met for the first time!). Such an amazing time.

  • 10 jj // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Sounds like a fun book!

  • 11 PaniniKathy // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Sounds like a fantastic book – to read AND to write!!

    My favorite meals have always been at Thanksgiving – a combination of really good food, LOTS of good food and time spent with family.

  • 12 Kam A // Jul 7, 2008 at 11:22 am

    My most perfect meal was actually a meal of comfort food :) It was a crock-pot roast with veggies and it turned out absolutely perfect!  This book looks so good and I would love the chance to read it!  Thank you for tha giveaway!

  • 13 Carla Pullum // Jul 7, 2008 at 11:27 am

    The Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney has the best Poatroast!!! The put the Potroast with vegetables right over the mashed potatoes and gravy on top! A+++++ The environment is Jungle and the Rainforest even comes through.

  • 14 coco // Jul 7, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    My perfect meal would have to be the one with my boyfriend and sister (my two most favourite people) at a casual all day dining restaurant. Fun conversations, cheesy fondue (which never gets over :D) and lots of laughter. :)

  • 15 katherine // Jul 7, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    hmm…I think that even if I don’t win, I will have to get this book and maybe give it to Brad! Brad is the person with whom I’ve spent most of my best meals ever. In part it is the “company” aspect that you mentioned, but also because he is the one who led me to become a foodie.

    There are many candidates for best meal ever — first night we said “I love you”, 4 seasons in Philadelphia after getting engaged, The Modern in NYC, etc. But I will choose Jacques Imo’s in New Orleans in 2002 over Jazz Fest. A this restaurant you have to typically wait a huge amount of time for a table because it is extremely popular and there are no reservations. There is a bar next door but I was still under 21. We waited outside for a good hour or maybe two, but it flew by waiting with Brad! The food was well worth the wait. Brad had some sort of creamy crawfish or oyster soup that we partially shared for an appetizer. I don’t remember his entree, but I had a plate of grits and shrimp with really awesome sauce. We shared this amazing bread pudding with raspberry sauce. The cornbread they gave out was amazing. We also had some awesome wine, I think.

    This one wins probably because it is from earlier in our relationship. Personally my favorite meals tend to be at restaurants with tasting menus because you can get so many different courses. So some of those best ones we’ve done are Spondi (best restaurant in Athens — just went there!) , The Modern, “C” (honeymoon place in Vancouver), Four Seasons, and Morimoto.

  • 16 Ann // Jul 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Well, it’s awfully hard to choose just one meal… but the stand-out for me was a long (four hour!) lunch at Gordon Ramsay Hospital Road.  Everything, and I mean everything, really was sheer perfection.  We had the tasting menu and it was just one revelation after another.

  • 17 Evan // Jul 7, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    My perfect meal was at Abacus in Dallas… my fiance & I did a tasting menu of the dishes that the Rathburn brothers made when they beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef.  Elk and ostrich were definately the highlights!

  • 18 TastyNewEngland // Jul 7, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Fried eggs, toast, sliced tomato right off the vine.  Bread made by my father when I was a youngin’.  Childhood Sunday breakfast was perfect every time.

  • 19 Charlotte Hillis // Jul 7, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I just stumbled upon this post (thanks Firefox!), and I have to answer about the best meal I ever had: All my life I had dreamed of going to Europe, especially Italy.  I finally went with a school group in ’05 (I’m a teacher).  While in Florence, a fellow teacher (Lesley) and I wandered off to find a place for lunch before we caught the train to Paris.  We found a tiny family run trattoria with tiny tables on the street sheltered by a wooden trellis covered in fragrant jasmine blossoms.  My friend and I had crusty warm bread dipped in plates of gorgeous green olive oil kissed with salt and pepper, lovely briney olives, garlicky salami and firm earthy cheese (Asiago), then a fabulous pasta with tender fresh clams, shrimp, mussels, and baby octopus served in a fresh tomato sauce (frutti di mare).  In the middle of the meal, my eyes started to tear up–I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the city and the simple beauty of the meal.  It was fantastic, and one of my best memories of Europe.

  • 20 Kelly // Jul 7, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    My favorite meal was last December at my friend Margaret’s house.  We cooked dinner together…cheese souffle with lobster sauce.  She taught me to make the souffle and I taught her how to cook and clean a lobster.  We drank champagne while we cooked and talked. We our luscious dinner with a light salad of arugula, tangerine slices, and thick balsamic.  Dessert was cookies and hot chocolate made with heavy cream and good dark chocolate.  It was all perfect.

    Sounding My Barbaric Gulp!

  • 21 Nikki // Jul 7, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Sounds like a great book!

    I think my favorite meals are a toss up between the home cooked dinner my husband made me for my bday.  I was seriously impressed with the effort he put in especially for someone who doesn’t cook.  He even had perfect presentation :)

    I also was recently in Chicago and went to Viand which is amazing

  • 22 QL Girl // Jul 7, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    My perfect/favorite meal was several months ago, on the same day that my grandfather passed away. It was not the fanciest dinner I’ve ever had, but it was perfect.

    He passed during the morning, so when the family found out we all gathered at my aunts house. While my parents and aunt were out running the necessary errands I stayed with my sister, another aunt, and cousin…and we started to cook. We spent the morning and afternoon cooking, and in the evening the family gathered for dinner (there are a ton of us)…not only was the food great, (seriously, it was wonderful!) but the memories we have of that evening make it that much better.

    (It was the “spectacular spaghetti” from the recipes tab on my blog.)

  • 23 Jay Rayner // Jul 7, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Well obviously I’m not trying to win a copy of my own book because that would be bizarre – plus I’ve got quite a few on my shelf – but I did think I’d wade in, in case people assumed that I’d only be happy if the truffles had been shaved and the sturgeons sperated from their eggs. Obviously I do like a bit of that. What’s not to like? (Save for the potential extinction of a noble fish.)

    No, my perfect meal involved a whole suckling pig roasted in the bread oven at St John in London’s Smithfield, and dispatched by a group of 14 internet gastro-porn afficianados, most of whom had only ever met online (including, that night, Pim, over from San Francisco).

    Mussels and cabbage salad and a plate of langoustine with mayonnaise to start. The darling, roasted piglet, the colour of mahogany for the main – alongside watercress salad. And then at the end a lemon posset.

    The meal was set before we got there. The company was random. The bill was moderate (though hardly modest). The dinner was sublime.

    Finally, thank you Katy for the write up. You are clearly a woman of impeccable taste.

    Shall I stop sucking up now?

  • 24 Michelle // Jul 7, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I have two candidates for my “most perfect meal,” one where I was the guest of honor and one where I was the chef.  The former meal involved a birthday dinner at Morimoto in Philadelphia.  Stephen and I ate plate after plate of delicious sushi and drank what seemed like never-ending glasses of ice cold sake.  We ate at the sushi bar and watched the food being prepared, and I was even presented with a special birthday dessert.  Stephen really stepped up his game by bringing me to a restaurant I was dying to try, assuring me that money was not a factor that night.

    The latter meal involved my attempt at making pizza from scratch for Stephen back when we were living together the summer before I started at Columbia.  I had had a long day at work, but I was determined to make a nice dinner for us to enjoy.  Unfortunately, everything went wrong — the pizza dough kept rising but never cooked properly and the fresh mozzarella contained too much moisture, which didn’t help the dough’s cause.  All in all, a cooking disaster and I wound up feeling pretty defeated.  The meal was perfect, however, because Stephen still praised me as a chef despite the failure and he ate the pizza anyway.  He told me that the effort I put into making it come out “just right” was a testament to how much I loved him.

  • 25 Kristy // Jul 7, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I have had several awesome meals but I must say tonight.. was the best in a very long time. We just moved to NC from CA and have been having a hard time finding my favorite restraunt meals so I have decided to make them myself.. tonight was the first test run with my most favorite pizza in the world.. Mediterranean!! And it was YUMMY, the best part.. making it with my 10 year old son. We had the best time making sure we had all the right stuff. Nothing beats cooking with your kid.

  • 26 April // Jul 7, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    My mom’s chicken stew or eating freshly caught fish/crab at the seashore.

  • 27 Jessica // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    The best meal would have to be my mother’s homemade chicken noodle soup, perfect for a cold winter day or when I’m just not feeling well!

  • 28 sfordinarygirl // Jul 8, 2008 at 12:24 am

    My favorite meal has to be my grandmother’s fried rice and scrambled eggs and tomatoes. She always used day-old white rice that was still moist. First she would scramble the eggs in a wok on high heat with lots of corn oil before adding the tomatoes to a soupy concoction. The rice would be added at the last with the frozen vegetables and chinese sausage. It wasn’t the healthiest but I loved the smell of the fried rice so much, I’d eat several bowls!

  • 29 grace // Jul 8, 2008 at 3:08 am

    my favorite meal isn’t one found in any restaurant (although it’s certainly worthy).  it’s composed of rotisserie turkey, mashed potatoes from my grandpa’s garden, green beans from my grandma’s garden, my mom’s biscuits with honey butter, and apple pie a la mode (made by me).  and now i drool. :)

  • 30 Sarah // Jul 8, 2008 at 8:32 am

    My favorite meal would be my moms corn chowder with some homemade bread.  Simple, but really delicious.  Oh and it totally makes me think of fall in Pennsylvania (it doesn’t get chilly in NC like PA!).

  • 31 karmel // Jul 8, 2008 at 8:33 am

    there are so many…. it would be composed of several dishes from different sources:
    London’s Le Gavroche’s cheese souffle to start, my own osso buco with wild mushroom risotto, a cheese course from Farmstead in Providence, finished off with chocolate pot de creme in chocolate balloon cups for dessert!  Wow, that’s a lot of food!

  • 32 Avis // Jul 8, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Even though the clouds began to threaten, my husband and I attempted to prolong a lovely summer day with dinner in the park.  We packed a lovely Chilean cabernet, a crusty baguette, an assortment of olives, some feta cheese, and a bunch of grapes and headed to a tiny park.  We had just spread the table with our treasures when the clouds had their way.  We finished our delicacies in the car, with sheets of rain curtaining us from the rest of the world.  As we finished our wine, the rains departed, and in their place a perfect rainbow arced the sky.  It had been a perfect meal!

  • 33 kindageeky // Jul 8, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Tough to pin it down, but two things come to mind … for dining, vacation dinner at Ristorante Bitone in Bologna, Italy (the gastronomic capital of Italia in my opinion) with my soon to be wife, or my 1st Anniversary dinner at Mizuna in Denver.  The best meal I’ve had this year was at Cafe Juanita in Seattle.  All these restaurants are, or should be, at least Michelin 2 stars in my opinion.

  • 34 Elle // Jul 8, 2008 at 11:48 am

    My perfect meal was Thanksgiving 2006.  It was my husband and I, our four kids, and my mom and dad.  We ate like kings and laughed our butts off.  It’s very special to me, and always will be, because one week later, my mom passed away very suddenly.

    It will be a perfect memory forever.

  • 35 Chris // Jul 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    A red snapper with mushrooms prepared at the restaurant we stayed at in the Bellagio in Vegas…mmmmm

  • 36 Michele // Jul 8, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Perfect meals are always ones that are spent with family and good friends…My daughter is a huge foodie, and would love to read this book! Thanks for your wonderful blog, and great giveaway Katy!

  • 37 Sadhbh // Jul 9, 2008 at 8:41 am

    My favourite meal was the beef bourguignon my boyfriend and I made for my parents!! We had such fun and all got on so well… and the stew just turned out so well!!! We nearly licked the pot!

    The book sounds amazing!!

  • 38 ntsc // Jul 9, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Well my wife’s cooking has been described by a gourmet friend (he and his wife do world food tours when not practicing medicine) as the best he has ever had in a home, but I would still go with a resturant.

    Le Bec Fin

  • 39 NCurtin // Jul 9, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    My favorite meal to date: I went to WD~50 with my girlfriend and best friend. We are all students, and so have very little money, but we found that the best way to spend the little money we have is on food. We created our own tasting menu, by each ordering different dishes, taking two bites, and then passing to the right, until we had each been able to taste 9 dishes. The company was wonderful, the food ethereal, and our waitress was incredible, going as far as to bring us into the kitchen, give us a tour and introduce us to the sous chef. Truly the best dining experience I’ve had.

  • 40 Jill // Jul 9, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Inroom sushi with the man I love more than food :o)

  • 41 Katie White // Jul 9, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    The best meals involve all the senses, not just taste . . .

    I love reading these posts as much as I love trying to pick my favorite meal! Thanks for contributing all the stories, everyone!

    Here goes: A hot, muggy, exhausting summer day. For some crazy reason, I was biking everywhere. 2 PM and still no lunch in my tummy.  The remedy: my best friend from grad school whipped up some pasta puttanesca and chocolate cake. And the air conditioning was a welcome relief. Sitting with friends and eating great food is one of the best ways to spend time together, isn’t it?

  • 42 amy // Jul 9, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    A peanut butter and banana sandwich toasted on a panini press. The peanut butter melts over the ripe bananas and the first bite into that baby is warm, gooey decadence. Makes my taste-buds go wild. I want one right now!

  • 43 giz // Jul 9, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    My favourite meal was in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada feasting on clam chowder and lobster.  If I close my eyes, I can almost taste it.

    I watch Jay Rayner alot on Iron Chef – he’s hysterical in a dry sort of way.

  • 44 Vicki // Jul 9, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    My favorite meal was beef and dumplings in gravy at my grandparents house once a year growing up.  The beef was a roast cut into big chunks, boiled until done, with a “gravy” made out of the broth, tomatoes and spices, reduced, put through a food mill, and thickened with a roux.  The dumplings were softball-sized Eastern European bread dumplings.  To serve, slice a dumpling, add a chunk or 2 of beef, and top with gravy.  Vdolky with plum preserves and whipped cream for dessert.

  • 45 yixiaooo // Jul 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm


    My perfect meal(s) have always been steamboat at home with my family. One of my sisters just came back from studying in UK and another one is working in Hong Kong, so when the everyone is back in Singapore, one of the best ways to spend time together is around the hotpot. And also because my mum makes the best dumplings.

    I would really love to have the book!

  • 46 Allie // Jul 10, 2008 at 5:55 am

    What a lovely reason to come out of lurkdom :-) The best meal I’ve ever had was at Tetsuya’s here in Sydney (currently rated the 5th best restaurant in the world). They serve a 10-course degustations menu, and for my husband’s birthday 2 years ago we had warm sweet potato soup with feta and rocket; tartare of tuna on sushi rice with avocado; tuna marinated in soy and mirin, soft smoked ocean troat with asparagus, and marinated New Zealand scampi with chicken parfait and walnut; confit of Tasmanian ocean trout with konbu, daikon, and fennel; ravioli of Queensland spanner crab with tomato and basil vinaigrette; roasted breast of quail with soft polenta and shiitake mushrooms; seared fillet of veal with wasabi butter; shotglasses of beetroot and blood orange sorbet and strawberry shortcake; vanilla bean ice cream with cannellini beans and dates; and a floating island with praline and vanilla bean anglaise.

  • 47 Amanda // Jul 10, 2008 at 8:38 am

    wow…this is a tough one. Good question.  Actually, it was at Enoteca San Marco, one of Batali’s restaurants in Vegas, and it was the. most. delicious. margarita pizza. i dream of that pizza. I could never look at a chain pizza restaurant again in the same way.

  • 48 Sarah Carrico // Jul 10, 2008 at 8:47 am

    The first time I ever made raviolli by hand, stuffed with just broccoli, procuitto, ricotta and parmesan, in my first brown butter and sage sauce, with my first balsamic reduction. With fresh, hot bread and good wine, in the Idaho spring sun, with my boyfriend and his parents eating so intently that no one said a word.

  • 49 Shannon // Jul 10, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Recently I made my first batch of fresh cheese… homemade ricotta. That moment, when the cheese was finished and I took my very first bite – I knew I could never settle for store-bought ricotta again. That same day I rolled out some fresh pasta and made some herbed ravioli pillows. Mmmmmm…….

  • 50 Kristin // Jul 10, 2008 at 9:28 am

    My favorite meal was the first I had with my boyfriend-we went shopping together and then made chicken enchiladas in my tiny basement apartment kitchen. It was delicious and a wonderful start to the relationship.

  • 51 Lucy // Jul 10, 2008 at 11:09 am

    The most perfect meal I ever had was at the first restaurant I went to in Paris.  I don’t even remember the name, only that it was somewhere in the Latin Quarter down some random alley.  The restaurant was a series of small rooms, having only 2-3 tables per room.  The waiter spoke French to me, despite my obvious impairment (and I know he spoke English, because he spoke English to the couple next to us).  I ordered Coq au vin because it seemed like the most French thing I could order.  It was served “tableside” from a proper, working (not decorative) sideboard and was amazing.  Dinner took 4 hours, despite the fact that we only had three courses.  And we took our coffee in the “Salon,” with large, comfortable chairs and an impossible number of gorgeous French antiques.  That was the night I learned what Dining really meant.

  • 52 Allen // Jul 10, 2008 at 11:10 am

    It’s a tie between two meals.  One I cooked and one I went out for.  The one I cooked was rosemary roasted chicken, bucatini all’amaticiana, and sauted green beans with toasted almonds.  Of course this was for a girl and we ended up getting rather distracted and had to end up rushing through the actual eating before my parents came home (was 16 at the time so..).  The other was the second time I took another one of my girlfriend’s to Fiamma in SoHo right after it came under control of their new chef.  The food was absolutely amazing, the service excellent, and the company even better.  I’ve cooked better meals, or been to better restaurants, but the perfect meal is about a lot more than just the food.

  • 53 Amber // Jul 10, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Mine was at Stars Cafe (I think that was the correct name) in San Francisco, which was next to and part of Stars with Jeremiah Tower. My (ex) husband grew up on boring mid west food so I kept attempting to open his mind and palate. I ordered a soup and deep fried squash blossoms onion strings and lemon slices, which was totally bizarre for him. He chose a hamburger on focaccia (what the hell is focaccia he said). He, on this day, began to open his mind. It was like someone who has never had ice cream before or a take your breath away kiss. He was still a plain guy but I sort of felt like an artist.

  • 54 Kristen // Jul 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Perfect meal was at the Strip House steakhouse in NY with Robert in late fall/early winter of 2004.  It was shortly after Mom died and Dad said he would pay for a fancy meal for Robert and me.  Wound up eating the best steak, potatoes, and creamed spinach, next to a pair of twins celebrating their 35th birthday who sent us over a half bottle of champagne and then invited us to join their game of uno (on simpsons cards no less).  The meal lasted for hours and was just what I needed at that time in my life.

  • 55 Nate // Jul 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    The best food I ever had was at Manresa, the Michelin 2-star restaurant in Los Gatos, CA. We had their tasting menu, which presented the best of what the kitchen was offering that night.  My favorite dish was the lobster with Indian curry, fried shallots, and mandarin oranges.

    Bookending that, one of the best dinners I’ve had in recent memory was at a friend’s house in Houston, TX.  We had barbecue from Williams Smokehouse that was out of this world.  But more than that, the company was so enjoyable, we couldn’t stop talking about it after we left.

  • 56 Annie N. // Jul 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    It’s really hard to pick one but for me it’s a toss up between the meal that I had in Hawaii with my husband at the Plumeria Beach Cafe, where the food was good but the atmosphere of the balmy ocean breeze mingled with soft and pleasant Hawaiian music made it perfect OR being home in Malaysia and have steam boat with the whole family: noisy, hot, fragrant, delicious!  We always looked forward to the end where the soup had gotten so sweet from all the different foods put in.  We’d put in noodles and slurp it all up with sambal belachan.  Perfect ending to wonderful food and company.

  • 57 Brianne // Jul 10, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    The best meal I ever had was at a quaint restaurant in the West Village on Bedford near 7th called Casa. On the day I moved to New York City I spent all afternoon wandering the neighborhoods, parks and subway, immersing myself in all the culture/food/shopping/sights. A friend I knew from my hometown had gotten in touch with a friend of his who lived in the city and passed along my number. He called me that evening and invited me to a welcome dinner at Casa and I was nothing short of disappointed. It was phenomenal. I still remember the excitement I felt as we approached the corner restaurant that night. There was a soft glow which illuminated the street corner – one of the most inviting facades I have ever come across.

    I still can’t recall whether it was the warming company, charming ambiance, authentic Brazilian cuisine, or the endless caipirinha’s which captivated me, but that night I fell hopelessly in love with Casa, New York, and my now husband! :)

  • 58 Joy // Jul 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I love fancy meals.  But for me the best ever was a street taco in Mexico with homemade tortillas.  I still cannot recreate it- the taco haunts me.

  • 59 Lisa I // Jul 10, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Picking a favorite meal is hard as I think a lot of the food I eat is great and special. I sort of have 2 comments about favorites.

    My first favorite out an about meal would have to be when my husband and I were first dating and we went out for NYE with some friends to a really nice restaurant in Detroit called Lelli’s.  It is an Italian restaurant and has many courses.  It was fantastic.  Wonderful Antipasto Tray, delicious Minestrone soup, I had surf and turf which was a perfectly cooked Filet Mignon with sauteed mushrooms and onions along with a lobster tail dipped in melted butter with a fresh squeeze of lemon.  It comes with a side of pasta and sauce and the pasta is fresh and wonderful with just enough sauce to flavor it and moisten without drowning in it.  Dessert was fantastic too.  I love dessert and rate any restaurant by the dessert!!  A few years later the restaurant had a fire and they didn’t rebuild.  They opened another branch in a different location and we went once, but it was not the same quality.  We never went back again, that night was just magical, it can’t be replaced or recreated!!

    However, weekly I have wonderful food moments at home.  My favorite is when I cook a nutritious homemade meal and the entire family eats and talks about how much they enjoy the food.  I made Lasagna for the first time in a long time and my oldest two kids (9 & 6) couldn’t stop raving about it and had seconds and thirds.  It was wonderful to have such simple but delicious food and have it be greatly appreciated.

  • 60 Helen Ng // Jul 10, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    The most perfect meal was my 25th birthday dinner at Degustation in NYC. My brother, his girlfriend and I orderd the 10 course tasting menu and it was absolutely delicious.

  • 61 Marja // Jul 11, 2008 at 10:24 am

    My most perfect meal was the first one my fiance & I cooked together.

    He made the duble battered fried pork chops and I made the garlic mashed potatoes and the southern style green beans.

    The combination of those three simple elements (plus the love flowing into and all around the food) made for a perfect meal.

  • 62 Nora // Jul 11, 2008 at 10:38 am

    My favorite meal of all time was at a cafe in Astoria, Queens in the little-known area I call “little Egypt”. A restaurant in a tiny, unmarked hole-in-the-wall space with no more than a dozen tiny tables, you enter and are seated, and the chef, whose open kitchen is in a corner of the room asks you what you’re in the mood for. No menus, no regular dishes, just whatever he feels like cooking (and presumably got good ingredients for). If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you tell him to surprise you, but my dining companion was a little nervous so we ordered a platter of dips to begin with – the best hummus I’ve EVER had – roast chicken with spices for an entree, and homemade yoghurt and pastries for dessert. It was such a simple meal, but exquisitely prepared and I’d sell my soul to have it again!!

  • 63 Sookie's Kitchen // Jul 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    The Cannery in Newport Beach, CA… it was Seared Ahi Tuna over garlic mashed potatoes drizzled with a Wasabi Vinagerette. I can never forget something that delicious.

  • 64 Jaime // Jul 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    one of the most memorable meals i’ve had was at ‘La Villa Mahana’ on Bora Bora… on my honeymoon :) the food was excellent, the ambience was delightful, and of course the company was the best :)

  • 65 Amy // Jul 12, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I have had many wonderful meals one of my most memorable was about 11 years ago in South Beach, Florida at Blue Door.  My boyfriend at the time and I had the most romantic meal. It was a very warm summer evening with a light breeze that blew through the deck as we ate outside. The palm trees swaying. I had the most wonderful melt in your mouth tender steak accompanied by a vegetable medley. I felt like I was in a dream. the soft glow of candles flickered against the white linen tablecloths as the sound of waves lapped on the beach.  For dessert I had the most incredible smooth coconut vanilla creme brule.  It was to die for.  The company was lovely, the atmosphere divine, the service impeccable, and the food amazing. :D

  • 66 Robin // Jul 12, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    My husband is a great Cajun chef, and I always look forward to his jambalaya — like tonight!  Polished off with some homemade ice cream for dessert.  Yummy :)

  • 67 dayna // Jul 12, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I’ve been hesitating a response, looking for “just the perfect” meal. I’d thought I’d come up with it recounting my 27th birthday when I welcomed family and friends to an upscale, laid back oyster house institution here in Toronto. I knew the owner and he put up a lovely *show* for my parents bringing out a special oyster for my b-day, which, of course, a pearl rolled out onto the table and continued with a bottle of Veurve Clicquot and shrimp cocktail the size of your index-thumb span… and then he let the service staff take over… long story short, she must have been cute and my champagne induced brother was convinced to order what appeared to be a trough of flown in lobster, crab, periwinkles, of course, oysters (lots) and god only knows what else. The meal made everyone happy – the bill, on the other hand, even though most, less the trough, was covered by the owner, set back Xmas that year. Needless to say I stupidly canceled my hard to get reservations at Susur for my 28th.

    Yet all this memory lane and hunger pangs kept my thoughts traveling back to being a kid at my Nana’s, the lovely lady who inadvertently taught me everything I love about cooking. After making me homemade play dough she made gravy and three generations would sit to eat roast beef along a side beans served in a twin pyrex (so they wouldn’t touch the potatoes). She’d share her oven to warm her rolls and plates along with my play dough dessert, which everyone would pretend to enjoy.

    She doesn’t like to cook much anymore, let alone remember much of those tiny details, but I do and there is no one I appreciate more and you can’t get closer to perfection than that.

  • 68 maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) // Jul 13, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Once, many years ago, I was on a family trip in India (I should say my family is Indian.) We had been eating vegetarian for ages as my family is vegetarian.  My cousin and I walked into this street side dive that sold meat, and we shared a Chicken Biryani.  It was buttery and tasty.  I have tried to recreate it but to no avail.

  • 69 Veronica // Jul 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    The arrival of August usually means several weeks of my perfect meal-one which I never (and I mean never) tire of: ABLTs-Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato (only fresh from the local farmstand)sandwiches with no mayo. I savor every tomato dripping bite of them just about every day in August and dream about them just about every day for the other 11 months of the year.

  • 70 Online casinos // Jul 23, 2008 at 1:28 pm

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  • 71 KevefeniGofe // Aug 3, 2008 at 6:00 am

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  • 72 Lynne // Jul 13, 2009 at 7:32 am

    perfect meal… that would have to have been in Italy.  I’d just gotten off the ferry from Positano enroute to Rome and we decided to sit at the marina and enjoy whatever local fare we could find… an entire white fish later – that had been baked in a butter, lemon caper sauce – along with a thin crust pizza topped with tomatoes, basil and anchoveys… sigh.  everything melted in our mouths.  the day was beautiful, it caped off the best weekend away ever (a quick little trip to Italy, spure of the moment romance eh?) and we were able to enjoy some wonderful italian wine and lemoncello along with it.  sigh.  not only was i in one of the most beautiful places with my favourite guy in the world, but i got ot eat the best meal…

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