As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. Yesterday we discussed the city's best new restaurants, most reliable stand-bys, and tried to describe 2012 in just one word. Today, we wonder: where did you eat your best meal of the year? Readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.
Barley Swine. [Photo: Raymond Thompson/EATX]
Q: What and where was your single best meal in 2012?
Megan Giller of Let's Eat ATX!: "Some friends and I created a progressive dinner itinerary: We started with green beans, plantains, and venison tacos at La Condesa; headed to Peche for excellent gnocchi and absinthe drinks; parked at Parkside for oysters, the raw bass with lime and avocado, and grilled cheese; and ended the night at Eddie V's for more cocktails, molten Godiva cake, and hot Bananas Foster cake (my personal favorite). Needless to say, we were full."
Paula Forbes of Eater National: "This is a tough question, because the "best" meal is always going to have more to do with your company than with the food, service or atmosphere. In Austin, Barley Swine is always a treat, and one meal in October when they had their pick of local produce particularly stands out. Outside of Austin, my favorite meals were Frankies 457 (Brooklyn), Husk (Charleston), Mozza (LA), Pujol (Mexico City), and Tasty N Sons (Portland)."
Christian Remde, filmmaker: "New Years Eve at Contigo AND Uchiko. The meal started in 2011 and ended in 2012."
Layne Lynch, writer for Texas Monthly and CultureMap Austin: "My ex-boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary dinner at Foreign & Domestic, and I tried pig brains for the very first time. I couldn't believe how flavorful and delicious the dish was. Finishing off the meal with Jodi's banana tart solidified that meal as my best of 2012."
Andrea Grimes, editor, Eater Austin: "My husband and I sat at the bar at Barley Swine this summer and had a succession of incredible, surprising dishes presented without any muss and fuss. We had okra, scrambled duck egg, corn soup, grilled lamb and probably five or six more plates including a parade of desserts that wowed even my savory-leaning palate. It was just beautifully prepared, stunningly plated and totally unpretentious food. And it just felt good to be there, talking to the bartender, asking questions, buying a round for the kitchen. So many restaurants that serve Barley Swine-quality food (well, the few that can do so) treat diners like intruders or children. I hate feeling like someone's allowed me sit at the grown-up table—I want to go where I feel immediately welcome, and Barley Swine is just that."