The Best Thing I ate in 2016

As you look back at 2016, It’s a good time to reflect. For me, that’s about the best thing I ate all year.

 On an average week I cook 4 nights, we dine out 1 night, we eat leftovers 2 nights a week. (With Mike in school twice a week, I haven’t been eating much on night’s he’s out, just guilty pleasure nibbles). I also went on vacation. Vancouver in January, Victoria in April, San Diego in June, Alaska in August. That’s well over 100 meals eaten out, with a huge diversity of venue and style. We dined locally with lunches in Seattle, dinners in  Tacoma, and everyday eats in Federal Way.

Tough Competition:

The competition for the best thing I ate was fierce, though frankly you shouldn’t be surprised it was from this guy:

Richard Blais, star of Food Network, Top Chef on Bravo, owner and Chef of Juniper and Ivy in San Diego.

I was delighted to score a reservation when we explored San Diego after my business conference. The food was fresh, farm to table, deeply connected to California. Vegetables had crunch and sweetness, and were simply dressed. These snap peas had cheese, mint and a little pepper, just enough to tease out what they really were.

 

 

 

This dish here was a runner up for best dish of the year:
Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes and Persian Cucumbers

Or it could have been one of a number of other dishes we had last night. The dessert, the boozy alcoholic drink that got me started, or the appetizer that made my liver disliking boyfriend go “Yum”.

Maybe it was the headiness of the evening. Meeting someone I so admired, who took the time to take pictures with everyone in the dining room who asked, who let me fan girl over him . I don’t know if I thanked him properly, or truly express my admiration for everything he did. I was awestruck.

Good, but Not the Best?

That wasn’t the best meal of the weekend though. The dishes were good, but there were outshone by another, later in the weekend.

Meet the fried chicken at the Crack Shack, Chef Richard Blais’s second place in San Diego, just a block up from Juniper and Ivy.

Where dinner at Juniper at Ivy was fancy and refined, the Crack Shack was an orgy of down home good flavor. That doesn’t mean vegetables weren’t on the menu, in perfectly fresh form dressed and seasoned to fit their profile, it just means they joined biscuits and fried chicken on the table.

 

Maybe it was that moment. The energy of the crowded patio. (As soon as one person stood up, another sat down. ) Maybe it was the sunshine and fresh air sitting in the crowded open patio, kicking the  luggage at our feet, enjoying one last meal before we jetted back to Seattle.

The best meal out is about the quality of experience, not just what you eat.

 

The Best!

The bottom line is, in 2016, the best thing I ate was the fried chicken at the Crack Shack in San Diego, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freshly fried chicken, moist and succulent, with a crispy crunch crust. (Yes, really. The best.)

 

 

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