The best of this month's meals are right up there amongst my top meals of the year so far – truly outstanding . More than just great food, they were truly memorable experiences. It is particularly difficult to separate the top two meals of the month. The food and company were extraordinary at each, but the extra special circumstance of being able to celebrate my 50th birthday with my siblings at a wonderful new restaurant put Aldea over the top.
- Aldea – George Mendes and his staff did a great job of cooking and serving a wonderful meal to me and my often picky (but fun) family. This was no easy chore, but Aldea managed to keep things interesting for me and accessible for the rest of my family.
- Ideas in Food Meets Studio Kitchen – Alex Talbot and Shola Olunloyo are two of the most talented cooks I know. To eat their food is always a tremendous pleasure. To have them both together in one evening makes for an extraordinary experience. To do so with interesting and fun dining companions such as we had makes it even better.
- Toro – I love Spanish food, whether traditional or avant-garde. The food at Ken Oringer's Toro was not avant-garde and it wasn't always truly Spanish in terms of ingredients or inspirations (see the corn on the cob), but it did a wonderful job of interpreting the spirit and flavor of Spanish cooking and produced great food in a fun environment.
Two honrable mentions must go to Taranta, though that was more of a spontaneous bit of food preparation by Chef/owner Jose Duarte than a true restaurant dining experience and the Italian wine dinner at Max London's Restaurant. Dining during the week of my 50th birthday rivaled that of My weeks in Madrid and Lyons. This was a great month of dining!