Honorable Mention: the wall-bursting dinner party at Wayne's house in Atlanta full of FTE peeps and kids and cats and wine and people talking over one another; the traditional Indonesian feasts at Dan and Wendy's house for BVS ThinkTank; every August retreat meal prepared with Cal and Don in the Acorn Lodge kitchen accompanied by good tunes.
Runners Up: Xoco, Rick Bayless' Chicago eatery and the incredible lime-soaked peach basil rice pudding with Logan and Beth(any); the Dungenes crab sandwich with both Tillamook cheddar and boursin at the seaside restaurant in Canon Beach, Oregon, paired with a local Quick Wit from a brewery in Astoria; Beth(any)'s home cooked dinner greeting Sara and I after a long tourist-y day in Portland: kale and mashed potatoes and bean salad and Oregonian cheese and plenty of good wine eaten with two of my very favorite ladies in the world.
But the MOST delicious, the meal whose tastes linger on my palate, was definitely just last week, at the rehearsal dinner for Lara and Ben's wedding in Charlottesville. The dinner was in a tiny art gallery space next to the restaurant, with funky chandeliers and portraits on the wall, and the food...well, the food...The asparagus was perfect, the pinot was from Oregon, and the beef actually melted in my mouth. Dessert threatened to outdo the main course: double chocolate bread pudding with a salted caramel bourbon glaze and a tiny pile of whipped cream on the side. Just the day after Thanksgiving, that bread pudding (and that salted caramel bourbon!) put even the most delectable pies to shame.