The Man Who Ate the World Giveaway!

July 7th, 2008

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 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.

  • 2 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.

  • 3 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.

  • 4 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.

  • 5 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.

  • 6 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.

  • 7 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! 🙂

  • 8 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.

  • 9 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.

  • 10 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.

  • 11 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.

  • 12 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!!

  • 13 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.

  • 14 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 🙂

  • 15 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. 😀

  • 16 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 🙂

  • 17 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.

  • 18 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.

  • 19 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.

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

    I think wonderful.

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

    It’s amazing

  • 22 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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