Feast: What was the best meal you had in 2013? Was it slurped standing over the kitchen counter? Was the menu written in a language you understood? Were you alone? Or at a table filled with family and friends?
I had some amazing and memorable food this year, much of it while I was in Louisville in June, hanging out with friends from grad school. The other meals were shared with M.
1. Although my face is covered in barbecue sauce in this photo, the true food gem of the trip to Churchill Downs was a brisket and macaroni & cheese panini. What made it even better was one of the managers paid for the panini because he overheard my friends and I debating about trying it. So, of course we HAD to try it. And it was amazing.
2. For one of my mentors' birthday, we celebrated by going to Rivue at the Galt Hotel, Louisville and sat in the section that rotates, which was pretty cool. I ordered Lobster Bolognese on a whim and was surprised at just how much lobster there was and how good it was. I often run hot and cold on lobster, and perhaps it depends on how it is cooked and the quality of the lobster itself. This dish made me believe I'd been shortsighted about lobster in the past.
3. The last of the Louisville dishes is from one of my favorite Louisville spots: La Bodega Tapas . I've also eaten at the restaurant, De La Torres. Both places are delicious if you ever find yourself in Louisville and want something local and good and away from all the downtown 4th Street chains, I highly recommend either of these restaurants. The chocolate mousse cake with caramel sauce was worth every single calorie.
4. I'm not sure how M found out about Abyssinia, an Ethopian restaurant in Indy but we've been there twice now. I have to admit that I wasn't too sure about Ethopian food before I tried it because I knew nothing about it except that you ate with your hands. And while I like to try new things, I'm not always the most adventurous. We ordered one of the combination plates, though we had to refer to the glossary on the back several times. We wanted to have a bit of everything and once again, I was surprised by what I liked.
5. At the end of summer, M and I went to St. Louis and joined some of her coworkers for a Cardinals game, which was great fun even though our seats weren't superclose; they weren't the worst I've ever had either. We decided to stay the weekend and go to the Zoo and try out a few restaurants. I really wanted to go Sweetie Pie's Kitchen at the Mangrove and we debated for a while because we couldn't check into the hotel yet, and felt weird about leaving all of our stuff in the car and we weren't sure about parking plus it looked really busy. Finally, we just decided to go for it. This particular Sweetie Pie's location is cafeteria style where you choose from a variety of selections. M had fried chicken and I got catfish. However, if I were to go again, I would probably get a vegetable plate and share the meat from M's plate. The day we were there, a Saturday, there was a live band playing who created a really fun vibe. If you get the chance to visit either of the Sweetie Pie locations, you should! Also in St. Louis, we stumbled across an awesome Indian place, Rasoi, while we we were walking to a restaurant we'd read about. We decided to give it a try; I jokingly said I agreed to it because it was closer than the pizza place we were walking to, but I did enjoy the food and atmosphere. Our waiter was very good, but talked me into a delicious sauce for my order that ended up being much more expensive than the $2 upcharge I expected. It ended up being more like $6 for this sauce. It was worth it and I would have probably ordered it anyway, but it would have been nice to know upfront. The dessert was beyond good.
6. This may be one of my favorites because it's local to Oxford, cinnamon roll French toast. I've had it twice now and it's a good thing that I don't go to Patterson's often because it is hard to resist this breakfast. Paired with their Highlander grog coffee, it can't be beat.