Saturday, September 23, 2017

Top 10 Best Meals

There are certain meals I've had in my life that have been truly life changing. They are the places that I can't wait to go back to again. The list below ranks in order my absolute favorite places to eat. All of these places hold a special place in my heart and have a certain quality, experience, and panache that separates them from all the rest.

10. Papaya Mexican Grill (Arlington, Texas)

Papaya is true Mexican food that has a taste like no other. Every item I've had on the menu is fantastic, but the Churros (pictured above) are one of the best desserts I've ever had. The place has a comfortable, bright, and festive look that does't scream generic Mexican restaurant.

9. Katz's Delicatessen (New York City)

This place has been around forever and is one of my favorites. Pastrami, matzo ball soup, and a chocolate egg cream is my standard order. I've never been here with anyone that didn't absolutely rave about this place. From the moment the guy behind the counter gives you a hot slice of pastrami to sample you'll be forever hooked.

8. Jim's Steaks (Philadelphia)

The Philly cheese steak is one of my favorite regional foods. Out of all the ones I tried in Philly Jim's on South Street was the best. A Wiz Wit and a cold can of Yuengling is the things dreams are made of. The long line, the smell of the grill and company of good friends make this one hell of a spot to go eat at.

7. Gino's East (Chicago)

Out of all the Chicago deep dish pizza places I went to Gino's left me with a twinkle in my eye and a skip in my step. I still remember when I was walking out after the meal and someone asked me if Gino's was any good. I couldn't help but laugh and say, "you have no idea". The sausage and pepperoni deep dish is worth the hour long wait and I can't wait to go back next time I'm in Chicago.

6. Mandalay SF (San Francisco)

I went from "what the hell is Burmese food?" to having a religious experience with everything on the menu, especially the Mandalay Special Noodle. Mandalay, I'm thinking about you. I miss you. I can't wait to savor your fresh spices again soon.

5. Montgomery Inn (Cincinnati)

How could it be that the best BBQ ribs are in Ohio? I initially laughed at the very thought of even eating here. Boy was I wrong. Ribs and Saratoga Chips are a life-changing experience that will leave all other BBQ rib dinners as inferior forever more.

4. Franklin Barbecue (Austin)

The four hour wait for a lunch I will never forget. Truly the best brisket I have ever had the honor of eating. This heaven sent meal is further crystallized in my mind now that Franklin's is currently closed because of a fire. 

3. Di Fara Pizza (Brooklyn)

This place is nothing pretty to look at. It was a hell of a long way out of my way to get down to Brooklyn to eat here. However, this is the holy grail of pizza. You can never know what truly great pizza is unless you've eat here. Don't even mention Sbarro, Domino's, or even (dare I say) Gino's East in the same sentence - blasphemy. I was truly not worthy of a pizza like this.

2. Brindle Room (New York City)

I could tell you that this is the best burger in America but this would still not do this burger justice. Everyone I've had the pleasure to take here has been absolutely floored by how f*****g delicious this burger is. Your life will never be the same after eating this thing. You will dream about it, you will crave it, you will never, ever, ever, forget it.

1. Spago (Beverly Hills)

This place in my mind is still the pinnacle of everything done perfectly in a restaurant. The atmosphere is perfect. The service is perfect. Every dish is the most flavorful and well though out presentation possible. Yes, it is expensive. Yes, it is snobby. BUT, it's the best. I often say that the hole-in-the-wall places are the best, but when Wolfgang Puck personally hands you a dessert - game over.