I was going to tell you all about a recent bad restaurant experience we had where four reasonable adults and two children unanimously decided to walk out. But, instead, I'm devoting the space to calling out my 10 favorite restaurant meals of last year, because I feel like sharing the love, not the hate.
These days, most of our socializing tends to take place at friends' houses since our budget doesn’t allow for a lot of restaurant outings. But we we do think it's important to head out into the open world once in a while to make sure we don't lose what social graces we have left, if any. There are a few cheap lunches here and there, the odd special occasion splurge meal, and sporadic outings with friends usually involving drinks and appetizers. This list isn't intended to be trendy—just to point out where we went to enjoy each other's company over some great food and drink. So, without further ado, here were my most memorable restaurant meals of 2010 in no particular order.
Ponzu, Waltham, MA: Salt and pepper calamari and funky assortment of maki rolls (e.g., Dragon, House)
Sofra, Cambridge, MA: Turkish breakfast with soft-boiled egg and phyllo nest, fried feta, thick yogurt with fruit chutney, marinated cucumbers, and olives. It's hard to really understand why it's so good until you taste all the different components on one plate. The desserts are amazing, too.
The Local, Newton, MA: Fried pickles, macaroni and cheese. Local means local: some of my favorite regional products are featured on the menu.
Taqueria Mexico, Waltham, MA: Tacos pastor, El Presidente (one chile relleno, one chicken enchilada with salsa verde, one taco, plus rice and beans), and pastel de tres leches (cake of three milks!!!)
The Brewster Fish House, Brewster, MA: lobster bisque and pretty much any of their fish dishes.
The Gallows, Boston, MA: Bloody Mary, pumpkin butter on corn muffins, pork belly.
Garden at the Cellar, Cambridge, MA: The spring meal I have in mind had some kind of rhubarb concoction with pickled ramps and doughnuts. Sounds weird and it was, but in a fantastic way. Lots of local farms represented here, too.
Sunrise Rang-Dong, Dorchester, MA: Vietnamese catfish clay pot with caramelized garlic and steamed rice (especially delicious after some urban peach-picking)
The Library Restaurant, Portsmouth, NH: Food and books: what could be better? Despite it being a steakhouse, I found their lobster roll delightful. (My dad was paying—thanks, Dad!)
Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA: Get the #2 cocktail: Maker’s Mark, amaretto, sorghum syrup, and two boiled peanuts. That drink is my favorite drink in the whooooole world. Also, you can't lose with the corn bread with sorghum and anything else on the menu involving shrimp or grits or kohlrabi.
So, tell me, what were your favorites?