best meals {2012}

my most favorite eating experiences these days are about the company, the setting, the sometimes less-than-glamorous situations that provide a good challenge. while this year i engaged in some pretty fantastic tasting menus and pete wells-approved dishes, the best meals were so much more than that. and at the same time so much less.

there was the eccles cake enjoyed at sunset on a train platform in belgium with the male nurse en route to rotterdam,

and the one where conversation demanded three languages and hand motions over berlin's best pizza with the stranger milania from sicily.

there was the curbside lentil soup at the portobello market with one of my favorite food photographers of all time {who took that first photo above},

and then over fruits and croissants on rockaway beach, in a little cloud of flies, eggboy and i enjoyed our first real meal together. had he known that "fruits and croissants" is a lyric in one of my most favorite songs?

a pickled herring sandwich at the place on zoutsteeg, in amsterdam, that opened in the 1800s, the strawberries from strawberry season in germany that were washed in the pouring rain and enjoyed in the pouring rain.

there were a few monstrous meals: multi-hour productions, the plates and plates of conversation, perfect friends, shop talk: yardbird, the purple pig, st. john bread and wine, myers + chang. all of those family occasions. i could die during these meals.

occasionally meals happened that were best remembered by my camera and that probably involved more laughing than talking: lucky burger. midnight meat pies to christen my new apartment. krokets at febo {the subject of one of my proudest blogging moments}.

obviously there's a sublist for pizza: a summery night of grilled pizza with my hometown girl friends, midnight squash pizza with eggboy, one life-changing pizza at brooklyn central that seems to have been removed from the menu, a pizza topped with all kinds of fennel enjoyed in the presence of a champion pizza dough thrower at my new neighborhood fave, krescendo.

and then just here are some dishes i dream about regularly:
the bossam at danji
the brussels sprouts at parm
mum's morning pies.
the scotch egg at myers + chang
the hot salted beef bagel from beigel bake
the mad dog shot at karczma

...i fear i could go on forever. i've never been good at choosing the best. but what we've learned here is that a stale muffin could make the cut, if only enjoyed with the right people and badass conversation.