A Blog Mainly About Food

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

2004, The Year in Dining

Following the introspection thing, I think this is as good a time as any to go over my dining year in 2004.

Favorite Dining Experiences, 2004
Now, I don't do fine dining that often, so as far as retaurants go this list may be a little disappointing. But I'll try to highlight some good food I've had this year all the same.

Street Vendor Potato Chop, Sikkim, January 2004
We were taking a jeep into the Himalayas and stopped at a small group of stalls at around 8-9,000 feet above sea level. Despite warnings from the folks, I decided to buy food from the vendors. And man, was I happy. Imagine a piping hot latke made with chiles and onions, served in a newspaper wrap. It was windy, the sky was clear, and I was starved. Three, maybe four bites later, I was back for another. At the price of 2 rupees (that's about 5 cents), it was well worth it. On a vacation marked with wonderful food, this was the highlight.

Mr. Stox, Anaheim, February 2004
Yes, it was an expense account dinner. The wine list was a binder, but the sommelier was extremely helpful. We had three different reds, the standout being a Chateau Neuf de Pape (sp?) from, I believe, the mid '90s. I also had a lamb chop which was divine. The bill was hefty, but it was OPM--no complaints from me!

Kuna, DC, April(?) 2004
This was on one of the few good dates I had during the crazy times of last spring. The dating ended up poorly, but the meal was great. We had a "risotto pancake" as a starter, followed by a monkfish dish and a pasta puttanesca. Heavenly. Alas, Kuna has now been replaced by the more expensive Opera (and there are no working links to the Post profile!). I'll miss Kuna, especially the free wine part.

El Puente, St. Charles Ill., May 2004
One of those moments where I chose to have the absolute spiciest meal I could. I ordered a pork dish in a chile pepper sauce. What came out was bright green and spicy as all get out. Even for me--which rocks. The margaritas were excellent as well.

The Wharf Rat, Baltimore, July 2004
I was getting prepared to chair a presentation at the 2004 NABC Conference. One of my presenters didn't show up, I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants, my parents were going to be there, and I was very nervous. So I popped across the street to prep and had a bowl of traditional Maryland crab soup, half a shrimp salad sandwich, and a pint. None of the elements were at the top in terms of quality, but it was the perfect meal for the situation at hand.

Tiffin, Langley Park, September 2004
Okay, I always eat here. But it was my first proper date with Audrey and I enjoyed it. So cut me some slack, okay?

Mandalay, Silver Spring, November 2004
The first meal I had at Mandalay's new location is memorable for just that reason--I was able to enjoy one of my favorite restaurants in a completely new setting. Room temperature noodles are the bomb!

Pesca, San Antonio, November 2004
A river view, a good glass of Pinot Grigio, a great smoked salmon appetizer, and the best crab cake I've ever had outside of Maryland. Also, dinner with a new friend. Pesca was a really nice dining experience overall. San Antonio has good food--not great--but I would definitely return to Pesca if I ever got the chance.

Addis Ababa, Silver Spring, December 2004
Okay, maybe to soon to be named a Best of '04. But it was good! Click to read the full review.

Still to come, my year in cooking and maybe, if I feel like it, my year in music. This took way to long to write!