The Daily Meal's editors are a hungry bunch, always ready for lunch or dinner and rarely known to turn away from a sweet or savory snack. Much of what we eat is simple stuff — grilled cheese, pizza, pancakes — but, of course, there's fancier restaurant fare, too. In general, what we all seem to look for is vivid flavors and honest of preparation. Here are the best things some of us ate last year:
Colman Andrews, Editorial Director
Small, warm, just-pressed corn tortillas in the kitchen at Cosme, New York City, with just a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkling of salt. Sometimes you can't improve on simple perfection.
Two kinds of straight-out-of-the-water Rhode Island oysters and — best of all — just-opened raw bay scallops on the half-shell at the Manutuck Oyster Bar in South Kensington, R.I., sweet and delicate and super-fresh.
Dried eggplant manti (like tiny ravioli) in yogurt sauce at Yeni Lokanta, Istanbul — almost impossibly intense in flavor.
Shad roe at Mamma Zu, Richmond, Va. The roe was perfectly poached, neither dried-out nor gummy, glazed with melted mozzarella, and served on a thick slice of country bread with a sauce of white wine, anchovies, and capers.
Peter Gilmore's grilled West Australian marron (crayfish) with wasabi butter at the pre-banquet cookout for "Australia Invites the World to Dinner" in Hobart, Tasmania.
Kristie Collado, Cook Editor
The fresh, ripe mangos we picked from the trees on the drive from Rincón to San Juan in Puerto Rico.
Coconut chutney at N.Y. Dosas, a food cart parked outside of Washington Square Park in New York City. Even though it’s just a condiment, this chunky coconut chutney is on my “can’t-die-happy-until-I-get-the-recipe” list. The balance of sweetness and heat is perfect.
Brussels sprouts taco at Empellón Taquería, New York City. Brussels sprouts, malted hummus, and toasty hazelnuts on a fresh housemade corn tortilla.
Joanna Fantozzi, News Editor
Chicken tacos with house-made corn tortillas at ABC Cocina, New York City: incredibly juicy, tender chicken wrapped in a warm tortilla. The tortilla really does make the difference. If it’s stale or made from white flour, it makes for a sub-par taco.
Burrata at Patricia’s in The Bronx, simple but delicious — a stretchy mozzarella-like outside with a creamy core. Perfect comfort food.
Brie and raspberry-stuffed French toast at The Briar Patch, Orlando, Fla.
Dana Kimmelman, Copy Editor
Perfectly cooked salmon filet over savory lentils with mushrooms with spiced yogurt (and fennel ice cream for dessert) at Cherche Midi, New York City.
Fresh, lightly seasoned stracciatella with crusty bread and olive oil at the Crown Inn in Brooklyn — before they closed their tiny kitchen.
Kate Kolenda, Restaurant Editor
Grilled scallops at Public, New York City. Perfectly succulent and fork-tender; reminded me why I'm crazy about seafood.
Grilled cheese and New England clam chowder at Nicky's Clam Bar, Bay Shore, N.Y. The sandwich is ooey-gooey, the chowder is chock-full of clams, and the eatery's location next to the Fire Island ferries makes it the perfect takeaway spot for that ferry ride.
Yao Yao ramen at Suzume, Brooklyn. I had it first in February, and I now indulge in a bowl one to three times a week. The pulled pork shoulder is smoky and easier to eat with chopsticks than sliced belly, the noodles are thin, and there's a nice kick to the broth thanks to a generous amount of chile oil.
Fried chicken biscuit with housemade apple jam and honey butter at Montana's Trail House, Brooklyn. Best brunch item I've ever had, probably because it's the best damn fried chicken I've ever eaten.
Margherita pie with mushroom and guanciale at Roberta's, Brooklyn. I designed this pie on a recent visit, and now I doubt I'll ever eat anything else there ever again.
Karen Lo, News Editor
Danish Pancakes at Tom’s Restaurant — not the Seinfeld one in Manhattan, the one in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The fluffiest pancakes of my life, with blueberries, lemon zest, and ricotta, topped with strawberry butter and maple syrup.
Dan Myers, Eat/Dine Editor
Fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, New Orleans. Not only did it live up to expectations, it surpassed them: Perfectly cooked juicy chicken on the inside, shatteringly crisp and surprisingly light and non-greasy on the outside, with just the right level of heat and seasoning.
Alexandra Petri, Travel Editor
Grilled chicken Italiano hero at Peppino's in Bay Ridge, N.Y., made with fresh mozzarella, grilled peppers, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil, and on homemade pizza-dough bread. It was the first thing I ate when I got back to the States after being gone forever and a day (Asia and Australia lacked good sandwiches). The first bite was so heavenly, it was like angels descended from above and were singing gloriously all around me. I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life.
Alanna Stang, Director of Editorial Strategy and Development
Squid ink spaghettini with uni butter and small pieces of uni at Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles. Creamy, tangy, and unusual, it was a perfect balance of hearty and delicate. The dish was meant to be shared at the table and we immediately ordered another one after our first bite.