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Best Restaurant Meals of 2004


docsconz
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Cubs vs. White Sox bet/dinner cooked by guajolote (November)

--Cassoulet with home-made sausage & duck confit, chicken liver flan, squash soup...Wow!!!

Smoked Brisket at NeroW-fest - North Suburban Chicago (June)

--Patting my own back here. Best smoked brisket I've ever made or eaten.

No fair! These aren't restaurant meals :raz: If I would have included home-made meals (especially those with eGullet friends), I'd still be composing my list :laugh:

You have to give me a break, Doc. I don't get out much :biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Happy New Year all! I was reading this topic with interest and I thought I'd chime in on some bests of 2004 along the West Coast.

The Herbfarm, Woodinville - definitely incredible and worth the skip outside of Seattle.

French Laundry - everything you've heard and more. Absolute highest recommendation.

Sooke Harbour House - here on Vancouver Island. Stay overnight at the beautiful inn so you won't miss breakfast. The most peaceful spot you'll stay.

Novio, Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay California - Just 45 minutes down the coast from San Francisco. Absolutely a gem - still dreaming about it.

Cafe Brio, Victoria - Victoria's perennial best restaurant for rustic Italian/West Coast.

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Happy New Year all!  I was reading this topic with interest and I thought I'd chime in on some bests of 2004 along the West Coast.

The Herbfarm, Woodinville - definitely incredible and worth the skip outside of Seattle. 

French Laundry - everything you've heard and more.  Absolute highest recommendation.

Sooke Harbour House - here on Vancouver Island.  Stay overnight at the beautiful inn so you won't miss breakfast.  The most peaceful spot you'll stay.

Novio, Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay California - Just 45 minutes down the coast from San Francisco.  Absolutely a gem - still dreaming about it.

Cafe Brio, Victoria - Victoria's perennial best restaurant for rustic Italian/West Coast.

Sounds like some fine dining, indeed! Welcome to eGullet, treve! Any particular favorite dishes from the above restaurants?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Happy New Year all!  I was reading this topic with interest and I thought I'd chime in on some bests of 2004 along the West Coast.

The Herbfarm, Woodinville - definitely incredible and worth the skip outside of Seattle. 

French Laundry - everything you've heard and more.  Absolute highest recommendation.

Sooke Harbour House - here on Vancouver Island.  Stay overnight at the beautiful inn so you won't miss breakfast.  The most peaceful spot you'll stay.

Novio, Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay California - Just 45 minutes down the coast from San Francisco.  Absolutely a gem - still dreaming about it.

Cafe Brio, Victoria - Victoria's perennial best restaurant for rustic Italian/West Coast.

Sounds like some fine dining, indeed! Welcome to eGullet, treve! Any particular favorite dishes from the above restaurants?

Thanks kindly Doc - it's pretty hard to beat Keller's “Ravioli” of Sonoma Dry Farmed German Butterball Potato with Celery Branch, Perigord Truffles and Vermont Sweet Butter. One server presented the plate, another fellow followed with a gold box. Inside the box was a truffle larger than my fist. He then proceeded to shave the truffle over my entire plate - amazing.

And the quality freshness of the outside garden-straight to plate meals of The Herbfarm and Sooke Harbour House really solidifies my choice to live on the West Coast. It sounds like you've a wide ranging travel year ahead of you - if you're over to the Pacific Northwest, they're both worth a visit.

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OK then, In no particular order -

Moto (Chicago) - Probably not everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was one of the best experiences I've had for a long time - and one of the best meals I've ever eaten.

Nameless Bistro in Auch (SW France) - Can't remember what it's called, but the Duck Cassoulet was quite incredible. Hopefully I'll be back in Auch later this year, so I'll make a note of it then.

Lunch for Fergus Henderson at Avec (Chicago) - The menu was a mixture of Avec's greatest hits with some typical Fergus Henderson stuff - very, very good. In fact, probably slightly better then the meal at St. John that I had this year (although that was very good as well).

"Business" trip in New Orleans - I can't choose between the tasting menu at Upperline, the turtle soup (and 25 Cent Martinis) at Commanders Palace and the Fried Chicken at Jacque-IMOs so I'm going to put this all together.

The Kifta Kabob pita sandwich at the Olive Mountain (Evanston) - I eat this for lunch at least once a week and it still tastes pretty damn good to me.

The Trouble House (Tetbury) - Strange to think that the old pub down the road from my Grandma's house has a Michelin Star now. I had some good risotto and even better sweetbreads here.

L'Os à Moëlle (Paris) - Certainly the best meal we had during our 3 days in Paris, although it still wasn't quite as memorable as...

Lychee macarons from Pierre Herme - Good Lord.

Finally, It's not really one meal (more like 16-18 or maybe more - I can't remember), but I really need to mention -

Lula Cafe (Chicago) - You can't underestimate the importance of a good neighborhood spot, especially when the food and ambiance are as good as this. It gets mixed reviews from some people, but this will always be my favorite restaurant in Chicago. The fact that I live less then five minutes is reason enough to stay in this town.

Edited by VeryApe77 (log)
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OK then, In no particular order -

...Nameless Bistro in Auch (SW France) - Can't remember what it's called, but the Duck Cassoulet was quite incredible. Hopefully I'll be back in Auch later this year, so I'll make a note of it then...

Auch is fabulous. Possibly the best meal of my life was at the Hotel de France before Andre Daguin retired. But being in the heart of the Dordogne (truffle and foie gras country) - I'll bet even that nameless bistro was terrific. Robyn

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OK then, In no particular order -

Moto (Chicago) - Probably not everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was one of the best experiences I've had for a long time - and one of the best meals I've ever eaten.

Nameless Bistro in Auch (SW France) - Can't remember what it's called, but the Duck Cassoulet was quite incredible. Hopefully I'll be back in Auch later this year, so I'll make a note of it then.

Lunch for Fergus Henderson at Avec (Chicago) - The menu was a mixture of Avec's greatest hits with some typical Fergus Henderson stuff - very, very good. In fact, probably slightly better then the meal at St. John that I had this year (although that was very good as well).

"Business" trip in New Orleans - I can't choose between the tasting menu at Upperline, the turtle soup (and 25 Cent Martinis) at Commanders Palace and the Fried Chicken at Jacque-IMOs so I'm going to put this all together.

The Kifta Kabob pita sandwich at the Olive Mountain (Evanston) - I eat this for lunch at least once a week and it still tastes pretty damn good to me.

The Trouble House (Tetbury) - Strange to think that the old pub down the road from my Grandma's house has a Michelin Star now. I had some good risotto and even better sweetbreads here. 

L'Os à Moëlle (Paris) - Certainly the best meal we had during our 3 days in Paris, although it still wasn't quite as memorable as...

Lychee macarons from Pierre Herme - Good Lord.

Finally, It's not really one meal (more like 16-18 or maybe more - I can't remember), but I really need to mention -

Lula Cafe (Chicago) - You can't underestimate the importance of a good neighborhood spot, especially when the food and ambiance are as good as this. It gets mixed reviews from some people, but this will always be my favorite restaurant in Chicago. The fact that I live less then five minutes is reason enough to stay in this town.

I can see that you ate very well in 2004 too. Nothing else in SW France worthy of note?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I can see that you ate very well in 2004 too. Nothing else in SW France worthy of note?

Actually, my Dad lives there (about half an hour outside Auch), so the meal at that Bistro was the only time we ate at a restaurant during my stay (although I'm sure he wouldn't mind you dropping in :biggrin:). We went to some great farmers markets in the area though and bought a bunch of great stuff back (mainly pates and sweet wines).

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I'm in:

Per Se - October '04. What's wrong with a 18 course, 5 1/2 hour Sunday lunch, in the private room? Not much. Best thing I ate in a restaurant, maybe ever...A canape of Grilled sardine, sauce "choucroute," (pureed braised red cabbage) and rye bread croutons. Simplicity is very powerful sometimes. With no slight intended to the 4 meals I've experienced at FL, like dishes seemed more focused, which I did not think possible.

Babbo - Later that night, October '04. Split off from our group, ordered six pasta courses, all delightful, a great way to end a day that included above lunch.

Peter Luger - Next day, October '04. Having never been, one of the criminals I was traveling with asked me what I thought I'd have. Rib eye, maybe hanger. "I think you'll have the porterhouse." Nah, not a big fan. "But I think you'll have the porterhouse." Not until I opened the menu did I understand. Canadian bacon as an app? As a senior member of the "Pork fat dripping down your face" club, I was bound by duty to order it. Steaks were great. The quality shined even with the rather spartan presentation. Best part was ordering an order of the hash browns (?) at 1:30, and being told they won't be ready until 3. We waited (and not with empty glasses either). Although I was skeptical at first, I left fully "getting it."

Ma Cuisine, Beaune- February '04 - Impressive food, really impressive cheeses, and incredibly impressive wine list. If I recall, much Lafon, Dancer (just a few hours after leaving his cellar, making a right and running like monkeys around Le Montrachet et al - I still have the kid on XMAS morning chills as I type this), Coche Dury and Raveneau were enjoyed by all (for not much $$$). Still not sick of Eppoisses at this point on the trip (after lunch and dinner every day, this was day 5).

Not a restaurant, but - March '04 - Cassoulet in the home of the very gracious Francoise and Pascal, proprieters of Chateau Coupe Roses, in the Minervois. Made by the mother-in-law (the same way I'm told for the last 50 years) was perfection, obviously in a different manner than restaurants, but still. This has probably put me off cassoulet for the rest of my life, as I would not want to sully the memory of this. In addition to the cassoulet, highlights included multiple large format bottles of champagne, copious quantities of local red, and a not-to-be-named Napa winemaker pouring himself a large glass of "water" (he was forgetting there typically is bottles of spirits floating around the table at this point) and laughing hysterically as he knocked back about a full glass of Marc before realizing his error. I don't think I have ever left a table happier in my life.

Citronelle, terrace, summer, DC '04 - Three good friends, three cigars, three burgers (wagyu, lobster and tuna), and knowing the company, probably three of Mark Sommelier's finest. Asked for the wagyu burger with cheese, which was summarily rejected. Good call that, as the flavor of the hand-chopped wagyu sung. A good way to get away, even in the middle of Georgetown.

Restaurant Eve, VA - September '04 - Aside from great food and wine, what I took away from Eve was how seamless the service was, to the point that the first time I looked at my watch it was nearly 1:30 AM. It felt like 20 minutes had elapsed. Cathal and Todd were very gracious in the lack of "why don't you guys get the hell out of here" looks.

Nectar, DC - October '04 - A goodbye dinner for a friend. Course after course, pairing after pairing. All the favorites - veal cheeks with lentils, tuna with pine nuts, scallops with chorizo, super cheese plate. Favorite line of the night - Jarad says to friend-who-is-about-to-leave, as the next course of non-mainstream wines are being poured - "Why the hell am I telling you about this, you're the MS."

Charlie Palmer Steak, DC - January '04 - As a cook, wearing a jacket when you go to lunch usually spells doom. Having friends who work in said places can seal it. What started out as a "let's have a bite" turns into a 7 course extravaganza, with a bottle of '78 William Hill Cab as the clincher. Walking the dog with glasses of whisky was in our immediate future.

Palena, DC - pretty much the whole damn year - Whether the cafe or the back, by myself or with lots of friends, Frank never disappoints. Hot dogs and hamburgers receive the same stellar treatment as the food in the back.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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Great list, John. I am in awe of Per Se and Babbo on the same day. While I did Sant Pau, cacao Sampaka and Cinc Sentits on the same day in late September, the best I could do at Cinc Sentits was an abbreviated tasting menu. You are the man!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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2004 was a very good year for me. The city I live in had a number of great places open, and there are always a few standbys that I can go to for oysters or other local favorites. There was one weekend, however that stands out on both ends of the "spectrum". A few weeks ago, I helped my sister-in-law move from Northern-Virginia to St. Joe's U in Philly. After having run a 5 mile race in the morning, then moving her stuff up to Philly, we were famished. We went to a place called Larry's Cheesesteaks for lunch, and I had a my-way, which is a mishmash of pepperoni, cheeses, steak, peppers, onions, and other stuff. After burning so many calories that morning, it was heaven.

Later that evening, we had late reservations for Morimotos. Morimotos. Morimotos. After the cocktails, my friend and I ordered one of the more "pricey" tasting menus. Alchemich tofu appetizer, pan seared scallops, caviar, truffles, Kobe beef, foie grais, oysters, sushi and sashimi, and dessert, loaded with plenty of Sake. We even got to meet the man, and I've got a picture to prove it. It was a great night, but I'll be saving up for a few mor months before we can do it again. Next time I'm in Philly, I'll have to settle for the cheesesteak for a while!

Happy new year from a new eGullet member.

Krup

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Welcome to eGullet and Happy New Year to you, Tkrup! That Morimoto meal sounds awesome. What is Alchemich tofu appetizer?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Welcome to eGullet and Happy New Year to you, Tkrup! That Morimoto meal sounds awesome. What is Alchemich tofu appetizer?

Morimoto does a tofu appetizer that is prepared at your table. The waiter pours high protein soy milk and salt water into a warmed tagine-like crock, and covers it. Twelve minutes later, the waiter comes back and lifts the lid to reveal silken tofu, which is served with two sauces. It's pretty good, but the presentation is what makes it worthwhile.

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Welcome to eGullet and Happy New Year to you, Tkrup! That Morimoto meal sounds awesome. What is Alchemich tofu appetizer?

Morimoto does a tofu appetizer that is prepared at your table. The waiter pours high protein soy milk and salt water into a warmed tagine-like crock, and covers it. Twelve minutes later, the waiter comes back and lifts the lid to reveal silken tofu, which is served with two sauces. It's pretty good, but the presentation is what makes it worthwhile.

Cool. That is what I call fresh!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Sometimes the simpler meals stand out.

For me it was a quick snack at:

5th Floor in San Francisco. While waiting for some friends I had a Port tasting and Cheese plate. Simple, yes, but it stands out in my mind as some of the best Port and cheese I have ever tried.

Edited by Mnehrling (log)

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I didn't make it to any haute palaces this year (unless you count an excellent meal at Esca, which I would not count). But even if I did, the best two restaurant meals I think I had in 2004 were at Soot Bull Jeep in LA, which I chronicled in this LA restaurant thread.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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My highlights of 2004.

Lunch at Beringer Winery in some type of private dining room.(I had a

vip tour with a good friend who is in the retail wine business). I don't remeber all the courses but there was fish,local guiena hen, local cheeses, and a rosewater panna cotta served with Beringer's Nightingale.It was heavenly.If you ever get a chance to eat there take advantage.

Dinner at Grammercy Tavern.My first visit there.Very Good.

Pasion in Philadelphia.

Hugo's in Portland, Maine.There were four of us and 4 choices for each of the 5 courses.We ordered the whole menu and washed it down with excellent gruner veltliner.Great place, great town.Wished I lived closer.

Magnolia Grill in Durham, Nc.Everyone should get here once in their life.

Lastly, Elizabeth's on 37th in Savannah, Ga.Great Service, Good food, Memorable wines.

Edited by wkl (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmmm...

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris

StudioKitchen, Philadelphia

Lacroix, Philadelphia

Nana, Dallas

Daniel, NYC

The Fountain, Philadelphia

Victor's, New Orleans

The Grill, Philadelphia

Galatoire's, New Orleans

Gilmore's, West Chester (PA that is)

Pasion, Philadelphia

Django, Philadelphia

Dilworthtown Inn, West Chester (PA again)

Burger King (just kidding :raz: )

Hoping to add Per Se, Gardon Ramsey and El Bulli to my 2005 list....wish me luck :sad:

edited to add a few restaurants I had forgotten about...probably still missing a few good ones.

Edited by percyn (log)
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  • 1 year later...
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