Top Meals/Food of 2006 (or looking through the Mastercard statements)
One disclaimer is that most of my memorable meals occurred out of town as we spend most of our "eating out" budget on our monthly trips.
1) Columbia Restaurant
is an Ybor City (Tampa, FL) institution. They serve a wide variety of Cuban foods. We enjoyed the crab coquettes which were filled with crab meat. We also enjoyed Mahi Mahi “Cayo Hueso” .
Very friendly and helpful servers in a relaxing and semi-formal environment. Make sure to allow time to view the museum.
2) Central Market, Luling, TX -
Of the four BBQ meals that clogged my arteries in March, the best was the Central Market in Luling. Like most of the BBQ places, you walk into the smokehouse and grab your meat, then go out front and buy your sides, which are generally minimal. Three meats - brisket, ribs, and sausage. All were good, although most would find the sausage a bit greasy.
3) Southside Market in Elgin, TX
If you have two meats here, try the sausage and the lamb ribs. Both are unforgettable. And unlike most places, they have a variety of sides to provide some balance to the meal.
4) Blue Bell Creamery, Brenham, TX.
It is not super premium ice cream, but it is very good. And I like ANY place where they serve 36 ice creams at $1 per scoop. Make sure to make a reservation for the plant tour (which we missed).
5) Texas Chili Parlor, Austin.
I like just about any type of chili. And I will always visit a chili parlor. The chili was great. If you like spicy chili, XX is very hot and nostril clearing.
While this place is a sports bar, the staff takes a lot of time and explains (and sells) you on the specialties. Great, no-nonsense chili.
6) La Catarina, Monterrey, MX
This is a large restaurant decorated in a contemporary Mexican style, with brick walls, handcrafted figures and contemporary paintings. It also features original table linen, napkins, cups and dishes, decorated with ladybugs, since the name of the restaurant in Spanish means ladybug. This establishment serves from Mexican traditional dishes to sophisticated creations based on duck, lamb and goat and seasonal dishes like chiles en nogada (Poblano chile filled with a mix of meats, fruits and raisins, in a walnut sauce) which was truly outstanding.
And who can dislike any restaurant that serves pork rinds along with the tortilla chips for dinner. My ONLY regret was that the meal was a business meal and we could not really enjoy the meal as much.
7) Tiajuana's Restaurant, Roswell, NM
Normally, chain Mexican restaurants are pretty bad. However, after taking ALL the trails through Carlsbad and then another two hours walking through the local desert museum, you don;t spend a lot of time looking for a restaurant.
Since we were tired, we asked the waitress to bring us three or four of the specialties of the place. She brought some posole, enchiladas, tamales, and a few other things. Quite a good meal and great service.
Frontier Restaurant, Albuquerque, NM
$17 brings you a huge bowl of steaming posole, tacos carne adovada, and a plate of enchiladas that was filling to my nephew and me. This campus eatery (24 hrs) on Rt 66 is adjacent to the University of New Mexico.
9) Red Iguana, Salt Lake City
We got into SLC late on a Friday night and even with directions, got lost. I am so glad that we made it to this place. We even came back the next week on the way to the airport and ate there again. Great menu of IMAGINATIVE Mexican food and some of the best moles that I have ever tried.
10) El Diablo, Torrey, UT
I did not expect a great meal in a remote location. However, the food was creative, imaginative and well prepared from local ingredients, the chef makes round to ensure that meals were well received. We generally avoid teh "fine dining" scene but this was excellent.
Other notable meals:
1) Udupi Palace, Schaumburg - Southern Indian cuisine, good Sunday brunch.
2) Cattleman's Ranch, Fabens, TX - a good steak and a ranch to walk it off in.
3) Adelle's Restaurant, Messillas, NM.
4) BYU Creamery - simply the best campus creamery that I have been to.
5) Sunglow Restaurant, Bicknell, UT - four pies (sweet pickle, pinto bean, oatmeal, and buttermilk pie) for breakfast - and the scones are not bad.
6) Burgers Supreme, Provo, UT - great hamburgers and french fries. Simple menu done well.
7) Royal Oak Farms, Harvard - Very limited menu (two entrees and sandwiches) done well, closed Sunday.
Hometown Drive Inn, Garden City, UT - Great burgers and raspberry shakes and ouck an apple or pear from one of the trees. And a great view of Bear Lake.
9) Tucano's Brazilian - Why can't Chicago support a $20 Churrascarria?
10) Smithfield BBQ, NC - Very good Brunswick stew, passable BBQ and good fried chicken.
11) Grand Geneva Christmas Brunch - very good meal and worth the $36.95.
12) Feasting Fox - Great German food in a historical German Tavern originally founded by teh Busch family. Located on South Grand in St. Louis.
Worst meals of the year:
1) Hogi Yogi/Teriyaki Stix - Cold steamed vegetables over leftover rice and covered with some sweet, syrupy goop. One of the worst ever.
2) Runza's, Nebraska - After trying it, I am still not sure what a Runza is but I am not sure I want to.
3) Applebee's , Wooster,OH - I thought that with a new executive chef developing the menu, the food would improve. However, the same old cooks cannot carry an improved menu. Whatever steak I had was covered with hot peppers and not worth the effort.
4) Ute Mountain Casino - makes the Circus Circus buffet look like a gourmet feast.
5) Zephyr Cafe, Chicago - Never eat at a place on its last day.
6) Mama Rinis, Crystal Lake - I ate at this place four years ago and tought the food was pretty bad. Nothing has changed other than the sign out front.
Last edited by jlawrence01
on January 4th, 2007, 10:33 am, edited 2 times in total.