Thursday, March 1, 2012

A trip down memory lane

A few weekends ago, my longtime friend Kate came to visit. We’ve been friends for about a billion years, but hadn’t seen each other in a couple years due to extenuating circumstances – a baby (hers), multiple moves (mine), and life in general (both). It was great to see her and catch up.
One evening, I prepared a fabulous dinner (if I do say so myself)) – Thai coconut shrimp curry and Thai iced tea (a fave of mine).  Over dinner, we got to discussing the best, most memorable meals of our lives, both home cooked and dining out. This is a game I love to play – I love to think back on these outstanding meals, who I enjoyed them with, and how they made an impact.
For home-cooked meals, the answer is easy – mini-Thanksgiving a few years back in Texas. Have I told this story already? Well, I’m going to share it again.
This was a few winters ago, not too long after my family and I had moved to Texas. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, winter in Texas seemed really strange to me. No snow – and often, not even freezing temps. Then, one day, a miracle! A snow storm hit the area. Classes were cancelled for Dad and I (my father is a professor…have I ever mentioned that?). We left the university early and ventured home, with a stop at the local grocery store – which also almost led to the car getting stuck. Funny tangent – the town we lived in gets so little snow, they don’t have a plow. So, snow is left to just accumulate on the roads until it warms up and melts. That, in combination with a whole town of people who are not used to winter driving, leads to some problems.
Anyway, we finally made it home safely. We got dinner started – roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and all the fixings – and changed into our flannel jammies. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing board games with the house filled with the mouthwatering scent of roasted chicken. Everything was, of course, delicious. This is one of my favorite Texas memories, plus my favorite meal ever.
Deciding on my favorite meals out is a lot harder. Here are some, in no particular order:
Mr. B’s Bistro, the first time I went to New Orleans with my dad. Mmmm, gumbo ya-ya and pasta jambalaya.
The City Tavern in Philly, again with dad. This is just such a cool experience – one of the oldest restaurants in the country – plus, the food is delish. Many of the recipes come straight from Martha Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The first time Danielle and I went to the Union Oyster House in Boston – also one of the oldest restaurants. I love seafood, and theirs is the best. Oh, Stanley! (That’s what we named my lobster…never mind).
In Burlington, the time I ordered two salads from the Bluebird Tavern, back before they changed chefs and were still awesome. Also, the Peking duck at A Single Pebble is to die for.  Both with Danielle, of course.
Trying to find the best fish and chips in San Diego, which actually involved a plethora of different restaurants. The place at Ocean Beach won, of course. (Dad agrees).
Viva, here is western Mass. Both times I went were outstanding – the datiles make my heart sing.
Gosh, I feel like I must be forgetting some. I’m sure they’ll come to me over the rest of the afternoon, so this may be continued. What’s your memorable meal? Was it just because it was delicious, are were atmosphere and company a factor?