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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.
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 :)