As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the best standbys, newcomers, 2014 in one word, the best dining neighborhood, the biggest dining surprise. Now, the single best meal of 2014.
Q. What was your single best meal in 2014?
Rene Louapre, cofounder of Hogs For The Cause:
Ate at home a lot more this year, but best meal out was probably Root after Hogs 2014. I was soaking wet, muddy, exhausted, and battling trench foot. It was late but Root was open. Max took us in, dropped a bottle of Ameztoi Txakolina rose on the table, a meat board, and some chicken wings. Then some whiskey appeared. The food was good, but it was the tremendous sense of hospitality that made that meal memorable. Also, they let me walk around without shoes on, which is pretty rad when trench foot is imminent.
Lorin Gaudin, Nola Food Goddess, food editor of Where, cohost of New Orleans By Mouth:
No one meal from front to back. There was one dish I simply cannot get out of my head... the Buffalo Apples from Coquette.
Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads:
Lunch at the Fountain Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel was far and away the best meal of the year. Chef Mark Marjorie is a culinary magician!
Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, writer/contributor for Thrillist, NolaVie, and Louisiana Eats!:
I had some spectacular dining experiences in 2014, and I don't think that's going to change much in 2015. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: New Orleans is the best restaurant city in America right now, and possibly the world. Bearing that in mind, my single best meal had nothing to do with po-boys, Revillon, white tablecloths, Meunière sauce or boiled seafood. It was the magnificent dark meat chicken donor kebab at Kebab. After one bite, I wanted to make sweet, sweet love to that sandwich. After three, I think we might have actually become common-law spouses. Add to that a side of perfectly executed Belgian-style street frites with a garlicky aioli, and I don't think I possibly could have been happier, just smiling eat-to-ear like an idiot. Sometimes, it's the simple things.
B.E. Mintz, founder and editor of Nola Defender:
Single? How about two? The first entailed three of us eating the entire menu of Herbsaint. It was the way that a meal was supposed to be. Quality, but not overwrought. It was a very organic experience where wine and food just flowed until we realized that we had been at the table for nearly five hours. The second meal was prepared for me by Jason Klotts at Cane & Table. I had a date, and chef was kind enough to prepare us a 12 course tasting meal with highlights ranging from cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped figs to an amazing preparation of pork belly. Kirk Estopinal came down for the night and paired the courses with cocktails for us. My dining companion was a bit of a bust, but the meal more than made up for the company.
Josh Brasted, photographer:
At the recommendation of Eater Chicago, my best meal of 2014 was from Paul Kahan's Blackbird. Locally however, the double cut pork chop and accompanying charcuterie board from Toups Meatery is the first thing that comes to mind.
Nora McGunnigle, beer writer and contributor for Eater NOLA and Gambit:
The one with Ancora's market salad with fried goat cheese, Maria pizza, and gnocchi with crabmeat.
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater NOLA:
A lunch I had at Restaurant August was far and away my single best meal of 2014 from start to finish. Impeccable service, drinks, food, and that Trout Pontchartrain, oh sweet heavens. Also up there: The Hogs gala dinner in all its muddy, flooded glory, being crammed in a private room at Tony Angello's for the Feed Me with a bunch of crazy drunk people on St. Patrick's Day, the Pappy tasting dinner at Commander's, and a gorgeous meal at sunset with good friends at The Whale Wins in Seattle.