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I'd like to ask of you: what's the best meal you've ever had?

Maybe it wasn't even the food, but the company, or something else that made the moment.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Well.. I was thinking of asking "some of the best", but that felt a bit demanding of people's time. Although, I'd certainly have no quarrel with multiple experiences being cited, providing they weren't too droolworthy. :) I'll be reading through those entries on the morrow - I don't want to rush such memories.

I'll concur with the lack of chains. I'll admit I've long been a little surprised by the way that Bay Area furry meets almost always wind up (actually.. maybe I should revise that claim, given even the chicken and pizza outings in the South Bay eventually settled on Cluck-U and Giovanni's, and the SF one remains at Sparky's, an enjoyably good 24-hour diner, sometimes home to particularly cute waiters :) at generic chains like Flames or Chili's. Nothing wrong with those, certainly, but why? There's an amazing variety of food to be had in the Bay. Even just within, say, Chinese or Mexican, I'd be pretty surprised if everyone in a 30-strong group couldn't find a choice of dishes they'd enjoy - "Mexican" or "Indian" doesn't mean "hot", after all. (Though it does remind me of goat, which I first had in a taqueria in East San Jose in 1996.. not actually that special, but good. A few years later, on Fuerteventura, where there's virtually no other livestock worth keeping on such barren land - now there any old shack could serve the most delicious goat. And even the potatoes were scrumptious! Boiled down to the point of driving off all the water, it seemed. I daren't think of the salt involved :)
The Fast Food / Lotteria I lived on each time I visited Japan
Aahh! Tell us more! How often have you been there? Lately?

Obviously, there's a lot more to Japanese cuisine than sushi (I'd like to try okonomiyaki in Osaka sometime, f'rex), but I'll happily confess to adoring the sushi I've had in the past few years, primarily in California. (The examples I saw in Brisbane and Sydney were less encouraging, but I was hardly seeking it out there; in Brisbane, it seemed a far better idea to just grab the fresh local catches and make up a variety of a feast at a party :)
EVERY meal is the BEST meal. At least, until the next meal.
Hello, Coyote. ^_^
The two that come to mind are 1) Paris, 1990. Champs Elysées. Don't remember the food, except that there was duck involved and it was FABulous. So fabulous that one of my dining mates licked his plate -- right in the middle of the chi-chi Parisien restaurant, and 2) Siena, 1996. Ordered the pasta "al antiqua" without knowing what that meant; it was a delicious sauce with some kind of organ meat. Had some nice red wine with it. Then we walked through the sunlit streets to see the remains of Santa Caterina di Siena; felt a little dizzy and nauseated for a minute there.

Both meals were enhanced by the company and by the specialness of the occasion. Other wonderful meals come to mind as well... also special for those reasons.
*giggle* Okay, that's proof.. ^_^ (I need to look up some good duck preparations sometime. It's probably my favorite fowl - you can't go wrong with even just a simple roasting plus a couple vegetables - but there's nothing wrong with an imaginatively complementary sauce)

Ooooh, yes. France can be quite variable in quality, overall, but go for an establishment of decent reputation, and the sky's the limit for imagination and overall foodgasm quotient. ^_^ Even the north of the country shares in the Mediterranean tradition that dinner's something to make an evening out of, not just a pitstop for calories; though Spain and Italy win out on having dinnertime start around 8-9pm.. suits me well. ^_^

And one time going through the middle of the South of France, we had some braised pork loin that'd obviously been gently cooked for hours in foil, along with some garlic and probably a dash of rosemary. So flakily soft, infused with that gentle wonder of garlic.. just heavenly.

Though, I'd say the best meal I've ever had, on balance, was at Jameson's, in Brisbane (not the one on the peninsula :), where the cooking was distinctly Japanese influenced, with the emphasis on simple combinations of flavors, and the utmost freshness of ingredients. It was an eight course tasting menu - so, each dish was quite tiny, but allowing one to sample much of the menu. Oh, my.. I do need to try digging up the menu. I made sure I took a copy on paper, but I think it should also exist in email somewhere.
Best meal I had was a McDonalds Vegeburger. There was something about how they made their vegetable meals at one time that made them taste like bliss. Accompanying it with a stawberry milkshake added to the experience.

Then they seemed to cost-cut the ingredients and serve the burgers half-cold and I kinda lost my love for them. And they made the milkshake so thick that drinking it was like trying to suck setting concrete through the straw ... you had to take the plastic lid off and scrape it into your mouth with your paws.
Best Veggie Burger + Fries in the known world used to come from Scoobies in Perranporth [Cornwall] Until they got taken over + went CRAP
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Actually, I think I prefer doing the cooking - it's something of an artistic outlet, something I deeply enjoy) - but not just for myself, else it seems a little pointless. Give me an office potluck or a party to aim for, though, and I'll spend hours tweaking the little flavors. ^_^

Pad thai's meant to be a quick throw-together dish, but I once spent something like 90 mins on one wokfull, chopping up the shrimp, adjusting the tanginess, sweetness, and piquance with the aid of various citrus juices, spices, and so on, seeing how those wound up once cooked into the sauce. It was worth every second. ^_^

Of course, I'll always be able to make room for my mother's German applecake.. a sort of fluffy shortbread base, if you can visualise that, with a tart apple sauce, then sliced apple on top, finished with brown sugar and allspice. Lovely fresh out of the oven, with a bit of good vanilla ice cream..
For myself, that'd be the first time Eddiecoon and Mikori took me out for Thai food. Those two were my roommates at the time, and I love them like family. The food was excellent, and had me absolutely in a natural state of high. The restaurant was a large wooden affair and mostly empty, and the music (something by Enya, as I recall) was very soothing. I've loved Thai ever since. ^.^
Ahh.. that does sound like the makings of a lovely time indeed. ^_^ It's funny where one can find good Thai - I happened upon a pretty good one in Medford, of all places, a pretty routine little town in Southern Oregon. The decor was pretty plain - much like an old cafeteria, with vinyl bench seating. But you could tell they made their own satay sauce, rather than just mushing up some peanut butter, and unlike so many places, if you asked for something hot, it would be hot. (As I found to my cost one time, when a pepper went down the wrong pipe.. oh, that wasn't fun)

Mmm. Enya and Thai food. Definitely could work well. ^_^
Sadly, there's no way I could possibly begin to answer that.
Okay, I'm intrigued. But enquiring as to an elaboration would, presumably, be a beginning. ^_^
So many good ones but the one I can really remember was last November towards the end of the month, I went into Edmonton with two of my friends here and we all went to Bostom Pizza with two of our friends from the University of Alberta. I remember I ordered some sort of Pad Thai meal becuase I really like Thai food and it was good but it was so spicey I nearly cried and went through seven or so glasses of Ice Tea! Luckily normal drinks at that place come with free, unlimited refills! But it was mostly memorable because it was the first time I had seen those two friends in months since they had gone to uni.
I remember a triple burger at Harveys in Hamilton Ontario Canada a couple months ago that was excellent. It's a chain store owned by Cara Foods, who also makes airline foods for Air Canada and other airlines. I used to work at Harveys while going to college, and I did everything there: worked the fryer, dispensed drinks, and worked the grill.

Sometimes I get the Tour of Italy at Olive Garden which has the Chicken Parmisene, Lasagna Classico, and Fettucini but I think I like the Twice-Baked Lasagna and meatballs at Macaroni Grill better now.
Quite a few swear by In'n'Out, but for me, the best burgers I've ever had were Schwartz Brothers in Bristol and Bath (long since closed, sadly; I think they might've reopened, but quite different), where they really flame cooked all the burgers.. their garlic & mayonnaise 1/2lb was just incredible. Then, Mos Burger in Singapore (also in Japan and Taiwan, I believe) - very tasty meat, and some nicely Asian variations on the theme, with some choices using rice patties instead of bread. And despite being a fast food place, everything was brought out to you, with remarkable efficiency, even during the busiest of times.
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There's really little I can say to that, beyond "awwwww".. ^_^ It's lovely to read of two people managing to find each other, amidst the chaos of everyday life, and discovering they seem to share a special something - and taking the time to explore that further.

Hopefully the food's improved since then. ^_^