What is your all time favorite meal, past or present, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack? Location and era?
Your All Time Favorite Dining Out Meal for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Past or Present?
Some of these threads get me so nostalgic for meals long ago…
All from restaurants/delis/cafes. There are a lot of homemade memorable meals, but not for here or now.
•Breakfast: TIE! Loula’s (MT) Breakfast Enchilada, presently & Eggs El Tovar (Grand Canyon- 80’s)
•Lunch: Roast Beef & Swiss sandwich (Lucca /AG Ferrari deli --Oakland, CA–1980’s)
•Dinner: Pan fried abalone with bedspring potatoes and hearts of palm salad with Javanese dressing (Trader Vic’s—Oakland, CA —60’s)
•Snack: Dreyer’s Toasted Almond Ice Cream
Tricky. Maybe too tricky. And today’s answer wouldnt have been yesterdays or tomorrows.
Breakfast - the buffet at the Hotel Jardines de Nivaria, Tenerife, Spain. 2010s
Lunch - eaten on the terrace of the villa we’d rented in Pollensa, Mallorca, Spain. Food that we’d bought from the town market that morning. Olives, bread, cheese, ham, sobrasada, salad, fruit. 2010s
Dinner - Fat Duck, August 2010, for my 60th birthday. Restaurant then rated as the world’s third best.
Snack - I don’t really do snacks when I’m dining out.
Lunch - Business lunches at SF’s Bardelli’s, early '60s. Simple sauteed abalone. Side of martini.
Dim sum at the Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae, ca. 1985. Would usually be breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Not to mention a nap.
Two meals with ~10 Chowhounds. We ordered and shared together, natch:
Sichuan meal at China Star in Fairfax, VA when Peter Chang first became known to us, though before his first disappearance and widespread fame. This meal could not be duplicated today, unfortunately, certainly not the special of Chinese Angelica with Mutton in Hot Pot. When I’ve asked him about it, he just shakes his head.
Here is my report:
My sixth visit to China Star was a spectacular lunch shared with a gaggle of Chowhounds. This was easily the best visit yet, and I’m not sure where to begin, except to say that the special of Chinese Angelica with Mutton in Hot Pot is something that every Chowhound should run out and get RIGHT NOW. I mean it. I don’t know for how much longer it will be offered. I called China Star, and they said until it runs out. Usually the specials are up for a two week period, but I don’t know when that started. Among the many things that amazed me about this dish was that all the major ingredients of this stew really kept their flavor despite the aggressive spicing. The turnips, Chinese leeks, carrots, etc all had intense flavors which shone through. My mouth was going in so many directions at once.
Anyway, other wonders were the eggplant(somebody please tell me where this was on the menu) and the Ma La Diced Rabbit. Young country chicken looked like the eggplant dish, but packed a nice cinnamon punch. I’m in love with the dry-braised fish with chili-miso sauce, yet some people think their roast fish is even better. What an embarrassment of riches! We also had Chen Cang Beef, sliced pork with garlic sauce, salty duck, and five flavored smoke shredded tofu.
The other one could be duplicated: Chef Seng at Thip Khao (Lao) in Washington, DC. We ordered some off menu, but she could pull it off again with some notice.
Here is my report form that meal:
Eleven Chowhounds got together again at Thip Khao, and this was a spectacular array of food. We had:
Sesame Toasted Riverweed (special)
Nam Khao Sod (special)
Catfish Curry (special)
Dried Pork with Coconut Rice (special)
Pon Paa (pounded snakehead fish)
Grilled Pork Neck
Sun Dried Beef
Rice Cured Pork Belly
Knap Paa Tofu (Grilled in Banana Leaf)
We were fortunate enough to have the special of Nam Khao Sod, which is a dish of purple rice presented in the middle of an array of condiments, such as galangal, lemongrass, ginger, peanuts, and quite a few others. It is all mixed together at the table with a thick sauce that is fermented but also sweet. This dish had so much going on, it was hitting on all cylinders. If you are lucky enough to see this being offered, it is a must order.
Not only did I have the best blood sausage I’ve ever tasted, but also the pigs ears were divine, also a personal milestone. The pork belly was super rich and fatty, but was cut into by the sour curing method. It was phenomenal, but best ordered in a group.
Other highlights were that the chef used pea eggplants in the curry which gave it a nice fresh crunch, and also the hairy eggplant in the papaya salad, which was darkened black from its crab paste.
As in the past, nam khao, grilled pork neck, and the beef jerky (aka ‘sun-dried’) were all winners and alone could form the basis a memorable meal. Add everything together, and it was an exceptional parade of flavors. Astounding.
oh, let’s see:
Breakfast: couple of contenders: Crab benedict at Kate’s Kitchen in Carmel, CA. A bit pricey, a bit bougie, but it’s REAL, FRESH crab, real holandaise. Other contender: Pastries from Moonbelly Bakery, Sacramento, CA. Just 1 mile from my home. Their croissants (choc, almod, or plain) are chef-kiss perfection. Two of these, if I’m being super indulgent, and a big strong cup of lightly sweetened black tea is a fine sunday mornig.
Brunch: Brenda’s French Soul Food, San Francisco: I could happily order the crawfish beignets for a main, and have a plain and a chocolate for desert and happily lapse into a coma for a week, but then I’d miss the fried chicken benedict. Strongly recommend.
Lunch: The Princess Seafood restaurant in Fort Bragg, CA. On the docks, order a crab sandwich and some lobster bisque, a local beer, and sit and watch the boats and occasional sea lion. Just lovely.
Also: my first ever meal at 101 Noodles Express in Alhambra. My introduction to XLB, taiwanese beef soup, and dan dan noodles. Been chasing those things down ever since. That’s still my favorite Dan Dan, for sure.
Dinner: One of my most favorite dinners in the last few years has been at a place in Vancouver, BC called PinPin, on Fraser St. Filipino Cuisine. There was a bunch of us. We ordered all the things. We at all the things. Tocino, AMAZING sisig, some other sort of pork cracklin’ in a sauce with garlic rice, lumpia… There were a number of times I took a bite of something unfamiliar and exclaimed, entirely too loudly, “Oh my fucking god. This is delicious!”
I’m also brought to mind of the first meal I ever had at Echigo Sushi, an omakase-only place in L.A. It is not the highest of the high-end places, but it was my first (and this far, only) real experience like that, and… wow. $200/pp but I’d do it again.
Snack: I make a pretty fucking great chocolate chip cookie if I do say so myself. The favorite local ice cream parlor is Gunther’s, and they regularly stock toasted almond, which is my secret weakness. But hands down, it’s probably a bar of KU’IA chocolate, from the KU’IA Hawaiian chocolate company, flavored with guava. It is absolutely and utterly mindblowingly good. Maybe the single best bite of anything I’ve had all year (brought some back from the Maui holiday vacation).
Breakfast: diner breakfast with at least a fried egg on a slice of ham and some toast to mop up. Hash browns optional. Or the polar opposite - smoked salmon with cream cheese and onion on a toasted bagel. Bonus points for a bialy. Lots of coffee.
Lunch: make me happy, let’s have a gyro. Or a fabulous salad with some good bread. Or a bar food burger. Or fish and chips. Extra credit for good slaw.
Dinner: what I would love, and I haven’t done it for a decade, is to go to an old fashioned chop house and have a mighty slab of prime rib. Otherwise, any well-prepared food, however humble, whatever the cuisine. Great fish would work, too. Just make me feel relaxed, happy, and grateful. Cheers!
101 Noodle Express is awesome, no doubt. Not sure when I’ll ever get back, but it is on my mind.
My first meal out of ICU.
Not sure what time of day it was, but it was homemade jaozi (or dumplings) from mom, with chicken soup and goji berries. I don’t know if it was memorable because it tasted so damn good, or because it was memorable for the mere fact that I could actually remember it.
Mother’s Day dinner 2008.
Not for the food (totally unmemorable but fun dining at Souplantation), but for the company because it was the last time my mom had a chance to dine with some of her dearest friends – all of whom were mothers to some child – but all but one of them have since passed. To sit there and get to watch all those mothers at the table sharing and enjoying each other is as fulfilling as any hearty meal one can dream up.
I couldn’t possibly just choose ONE singular dining experience from a lifetime full of them, but there are certainly more memorable meals than others.
BREAKFAST: any breakfast at home in Berlin. We always have fresh rolls, a variety of cold cuts & cheeses, soft-boiled or scrambled eggs, trout roe, herring salad, fresh cold milk, OJ, coffee… which is why we rarely leave the house for breakfast.
BRUNCH is a different story, but also located in Berlin. A now defunct Italian place used to have an amazing brunch with a variety of egg dishes, antipasti, grilled & roasted veg, pasta, meats… just an abundance of really good Italian food. The other one is a Turkish brunch buffet with traditional breakfast foods like crepes or waffles & Turkish mains like eggplant and lamb, etc.
LUNCH: omakase at Yasuda when he was still in NYC. Best sushi I’ve ever had anywhere. A total indulgence for me.
DINNER: A 7-course sunset spring menu on a terrace overlooking vineyards in Tuscany with my PIC many moons ago.
The older I get the harder it is for me to decide what my favourite things were or are.
A short list:
Brunch (I alternate: bennies, huevos divorciados and breakfast sandwiches)
Enchiladas suizas or tacos al pastor
My favourite, most delicious restaurant dinner in North America over the last 3 1/2 years was a group dinner served family- style at Maison Publique in Montreal.
I also like eating lunch at fancy Department stores while travelling. One of my favourite lunches on my last international trip, was a katsu lunch in an upscale department store in Tokyo.
@linguafood I love a posh boutique hotel’s breakfast buffet on Germany, Austria or Switzerland, where I make the perfect German breakfast with all their stuff. My most recent German breakfasts were 3 breakfasts at the Platzl Hotel in Munich in 2019 and I wish I’d uploaded my breakfast photos to HO.
I also love Turkish breakfast. And a Full English.
On our short trip to my hometown in early March we took advantage of the breakfast buffet on Saturday or Sunday, bc the hours when breakfast is available don’t generally align with my sleeping habits. I think the buffet was available an hour longer. A bunch of stuff was already gone, of course, but overscrambled eggs and floppy bacon were still around.
Thankfully, I’m not all that hungry in the morning, so a lil bit of this & a lil bit of that is all it takes. But I do like variety.
I think the Platzl’s breakfast went until 10ish. I was probably setting an alarm, and I was travelling solo and not staying up late.
I don’t leave room for eggs when I’m in Germany. I was enjoying playing. I was limiting myself to 1 brötchen, and 1 other carb, some smoked fish, some cheese, some meat, a weisswurst one of the mornings.
One of the nicest breakfast/brunch buffets anywhere is the St George Lycabettus in Athens. They have things like spanakopita, loukamades, and rice pudding, so not a chance of any bacon or eggs showing up on my plate when there are other options like that!