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2015 Best,Weirdest & Coolest MEGabites

It is Tasty Tuesday and I can not believe that this past year has gone so fast.   This morning, I did my 2015 “nine.”  Instagram is able to put your 9 most liked photos into a grid.  I found it interesting that there were no food photos since food is a large portion of my blog.  Not sexy enough I guess.  I cancelled my usual Tasty Tuesday blog for today and decided to reflect back on my blogs of 2015 and set new food travel goals. There is so much deliciousness out there and so little time.  I am excited to chow down in 2016 and I already have some pretty interesting ideas.

Before I get into the countdown. I want to give mention to three of my favorite restaurant experiences this past year.

  1.  I will be writing about this in 2016. My absolute favorite restaurant at the moment is VN PHO in Montgomery, Alabama.  Great fresh, real food.  Thankyou to this wonderful family and staff.
  2. Hats off to David and Chris Claunch of Claunch’s Cafe in Tuscumbia, Alabama.  If you are ever visiting The Shoals area at lunchtime, do visit this establishment. It is classic diner food taken up a BIG notch.  I purchased their cookbooks and learned from this visit.  David and Chris took time out of their busy day to speak with me. Thank you Gentlemen.   LOVE this place! See prior blog for specifics.
  3. Loved Garibaldi’s in Savannah, upstairs for fine dining. Great seafood and oysters.

From my 2015 blogs, I chose 5 foods that literally made me say holy *&^#^%^$!!   I did some world wide travel this year and yet four of my top dishes were from my new home state of Alabama.  Way to go chefs of Alabama! Once I made my top choices, I realized that my top three dishes were Asian inspired and included sushi tuna.  I had not realized this about my self.  #1 and #2 were really close. I chose the Ahi Tuna Spring Roll because the salad that came along with the roll had fresh calamari and also was spectacular.

  1. Ahi Tuna Spring Roll at La Jolla in Montgomery, Alabama. This dish is like a . The restaurant is only open for dinner hours, and this dish is only served on Wednesdays. It was beyond delicious. I had a hard time deciding between this dish and my #2 dish. The salad was equally amazing, with fresh calamari. To note, this dish is a bit of a “unicorn” and is only served at La Jolla on Wednesday evenings.  la jolla
  2. Kadoma Tuna at Jinsei in Birmingham, Alabama-My husband became a huge sushi convert after eating here. This dish made me have an out of body experience in the restaurant. You can watch it being made on You Tube.kadomatuna
  3. Tuna Napoleon at City Grill in Montgomery, Alabama. Although this did not make #1 or #2, it was right up in that #1 spot for some time. I had a great restaurant experience at City Grille on more than one occasion. Their Caesar salad is top notch.City Grill
  4. Ribeye at George’s Steak Pit-in Sheffield, Alabama. The best steak that I have ever eaten.   Top grade beef cooked slowly over a hickory wood fire. They make all of their own dressing. Carnivicious. to note, this restaurant did not win the Cattleman’s Association best steak award for 2015 and I look forward to trying a few of those restaurants. georgessteak
  5. Macaroni and Cheese from Cochon of New Orleans.  This is one of Chef Donald Link’s NOLA restaurants.  A friend of mine listed Cochon butcher as somewhere I must go.  I had not realized that the two places sat side by side and inadvertently went to Cochon.  I had a great time there and you may wonder why this made my top dishes.  let me tell you, the first bite that I put in my mouth, I knew this was truly special. If you follow me, you know that I am from Wisconsin and love great cheese. It was so great that I grilled the knowledgeable server.   Upon returning home, I googled this dish and learned that it was chosen as one of The Top Ten Macaroni and Cheese in the USA. What a lucky find. I can’t wait to eat this again! maccheesecochon

Top 12 *MEG-A Settings*  Man this was a fun year!

  1. Oktoberfest in Munich-I crossed out an item on my worldwide bucket list and I mean DUH. That experience rocked and the food was really delicious. oktoberfest4

    oktoberfestfriends

    New friends great food

  2. On the top of Zugspitze Mountain in Germany,  with friends on a sunny day overlooking 4 countries and a glacier.zugspitzefoodzugspitzeclimbers
  3.  Farmer’s Market  Mile in Odeonsplatz, Munich, Germany.  I was lucky and stumbled onto a Farmer’s Market that only occurs once per year (talk about unicorns) and ate some fantastic food while visiting  125 vendors and informational booths and listening to live Oktoberfest music. BAM! munichmarketgrape
  4. Prague, Czechoslovakia and street food.  This city is gorgeous.  it was my first visit to Prague and I loved being able to put my finger on the pulse of what is happening on the food scene today.  I t was fun to grab a bite and eat overlooking this magnificent U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage site.  This is going to be hard to top in 2016. praguerestaurantpraguevineyard.jpg
  5. Steak and salad at Smith and Wollensky in South Beach, Miami, Florida. Great food and a killer sunset. smithmiami
  6. Eating sardines from a street vendor on the canals  U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Site in Amsterdam.amsterdambike
  7. Lunch at Keukenhof, Netherlands keukenhofsize
  8. Eating German food from vendors in a random neighborhood park in Munich,  with random German strangers while listening to German drinking songs.  I couldn’t have dreamt this moment up. parkmunich
  9. Eating in historic Selma, Alabama during the events of the 50th anniversary of the march  from Selma To Montgomery while listening to President Obama speak.  epic!selma
  10. Rattlesnake Cafe in Tuscumbia, Alabama.   Ever eaten in a cave?  Yeah, me either.  So that was fun. Rattlesnakecafe.jpg
  11. Cuban Coffee and Cuban Food  in Lil Havana, Miami, Floridalilhavanafood

12. Having lunch in “The Zone” watching Alabama play some ball in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They put on a wonderful buffet and an awesome view/experience. It was a lot of fun.   Just to be fair, I am a Badger fan. Period. In my new home state people try to get you to choose.  I mean as if they moved to another state and had to pick another team.  It’s ludicrous and is my new reality.   However, seeing a legendary college ball team play was epic.  I hope to get to many other stadiums.  Go Badgers!  .Alabamazone

Four Dishes that shocked me-You know, the food that you think you won’t like and fall in love on first bite.

  1.  Stuffed potato at Lawler’s Bar-B-Que in Athens, Alabama. I thought I would stop take a few photos and have a little taste. This thing was sic. I loved it so much. HOLY MOLY.

    lawlers

    A stuffie as big as my face-so good!

  2. Fruitcake at Priester’s  Pecans in Fort Deposit, Alabama. YUM! I thought that I would hate this food try, I mean who even likes fruitcake? I learned a lot about a heritage food and quality ingredients.

    priesterscakepamphlet

    This dish is going into my surprised me category. Super tasty!

  3. Nude Oyster’s at Wintzell’s in Mobile, Alabama. OK My husband still disagrees on me giving them a 5 because they are a chain.   I loved a few dishes from their menu that were all about Alabama. wentzells
  4. Sweet Potato Casserole at Martin’s in Montgomery, Alabama.  This was so delicious.  I don’t really like sweet potato casserole but it tasted like pie. YUM!

    martins

    I went for chicken and fell in love with the sweet potato casserole.

5-Best Party/Drinks

  1. Ummmm that beer brewed by Paulauner special for the season out of the barrel at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  How will I top this in 2016 or like EVER?

    oktoberfest4

    Empties

  2. Peach Sangria at Cafe’Market in Savannah, Georgia-In season, this concoction is made with fresh Georgia peaches. It is an open container city. Nothing like walking around on a steamy Savannah summer evening, listening to tunes while sipping this darling.peachsangria
  3. Visiting Jim Beam on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  There was also some good pulled pork in a beautiful setting. ky bourbon trail
  4. Bourbon Street, New Orleans.   I had a few interesting visits this past year. Party on Wayne!

    dognola

    What happens in NOLA stays in NOLA

  5. Broadway Street in Nashville, Tennessee.  Although I have visited this fine city on many occasions, this was my first night visit to this street. (Can you say kids are all grown up.)  Had a blast listening to many different styles of music. I am excited to return. nashvillelegends

 

3 – Weird/Interesting/Learning mo.ments

  1. Eating crawfish boil at Mulletfest in Orange Beach,Alabama. What is this you ask?  I participated in this event where one stands in a circle and throws a mullet fish (so not hair-sorry) from a circle in Florida, across a state line into Alabama.   People come from many places in the U.S. and the world.  There are bands and a big party all weekend. I took 17th place in my age category.  Interesting trip. mullettthrow
  2. Pizza cone in New, Orleans, Louisiana.  It’s not a bad idea but Ragu in crust. Meh. pizzacone
  3. I ate white BBQ sauce at Big Bob Gibsons Bar-B-Que in Decautur, Alabama.  Interesting.

    bigbob

    popped that cherry

From playing “100 Dishes in Alabama Before You Die” to chowing down on the top of a mountain overlooking __countries, this has been a year that will be a challenge to top. Certainly, I expanded my horizon. I gained interesting insight into my own tastes. I tried dishes that I would never have tried without an introduction. I hope to inspire you t have fun trying new foods and food experiences. Eat on and stay healthy! Find Peace through food and friends.

Thanks for the reads in 2015.  I am still a “newby” to Word Press and have some work to do on my blog.  What are your food goals?

  1. Have a new food experience at least once per week.
  2. Eat in a minimum of 5 fantastic settings.
  3. Step outside my comfort zone and try at least 10 dishes that I ordinarly would not order.
  4. Knock out as many dishes as possible on my quest to try “100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die.”
  5. Eat healthy the majority of time. Nutrition the keys to human health; mind, body and spirit. Thanks Reboot with Joe.

MEGatips-

  1. See my individual blogs for specific information.  Not all of these dishes are available at all times.

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