As per tradition at the end of the year, Eater Nola has asked a group of journalists, bloggers and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here are their top meals of the year.
Q. What was your best restaurant meal of 2016?
Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads: This question is always so difficult! Since I have to pick, one that stands out particularly is a lovely lunch at NOLA Brewing Taproom when Old Portage Food & Drink was still doing a Tuesday pop-up. Chickpea-fried eggplant with caponata, shrimp toast made with Bunny bread and a pulled pork sandwich with peach mostarda and bread and butter pickles. Amarys and Jordan Herndon knocked my socks off! I can't wait till they open their own place.
B.E. Mintz, founder, Neat Pour (launching Winter 2016): A couple weeks ago, I traveled to the deepest Bywater to check out the kitchen reboot at Cafe Henri. I had the opportunity to eat most of Alfredo Nogueira’s new menu. The components are still simple, but the resulting dishes are complex swirl of delicious flavors plated beautifully.
Rene Louapre, cofounder, Hogs For The Cause: In 2006, I picked up a book called Soul of a Chef and read about this place called The French Laundry. I finally made it there this spring and was prepared to be let down. But after a 3 hour lunch on a Platonic spring day, I could have walked out of there, been hit by a manure truck, and still declared with one last dying breath, "Sure am glad we ate here."
Nora McGunnigle, contributor, Eater Nola: It's a toss up between a casual lunch at Turkey & the Wolf of deviled eggs, chicken fried steak sandwich and soft serve vanilla ice cream topped with tahini and date molasses... and brunch at The Caribbean Room of curried sweet potato soup over a creole cream cheese filled dumpling, duck carbonara papardelle, and blueberry muffin bread pudding. (Note: the Caribbean Room meal was comped, but I'd definitely pay for that meal again.)
Josh Brasted, photographer, Eater Nola:
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater Nola: I had some crazy good meals this year. The best food I stuffed in my mouth was at Night Market + Song in Los Angeles. The most surreal dining experience was in Brennan’s wine cellar, seated next to John Mariani and T-Fitz at a media dinner—Slade Rushing made this incredible Beef Wellington that I’m still dreaming about. But the best meal— which for me always requires good friends in tow and a seamless experience from start to finish— was a toss up between Patois, Coquette and Josephine Estelle.