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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.
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.