As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. This year we begin by looking back to our most memorable meals of the year. Where was your best meal in 2013?
Megan Barber, 303 Magazine contributor, Curbed Ski editor: Old Major - pretzel, foie gras, halibut.
John Lehndorff, host of Radio Nibbles on KGNU, former dining critic at the Rocky Mountain News: Lunch at Acorn including red shrimp and grits with tabasco refrito, crispy egg and bacon salad with pecans and honey mustard, and butterscotch pudding with cocoa nib ice cream. Plus: The Source is a marvelous new mecca for locavore foodies.
Bill Porter, Denver Post restaurant critic: Several vied. Three standouts in my national travels included a suckling pig at Lark in Seattle, grilled prawns over black risotto at Pesce in San Francisco, the kung pao pastrami at Mission Chinese in NYC, and grilled triggerfish with spring peas at The Ordinary in Charleston, SC. Here in town, it was either the snout-to-tail platter at Old Major or the oak-smoked duck breast over black rice and bok choy at Acorn.
Amanda Faison, 5280 Magazine food editor: In Denver: My best meal was at ChoLon, but the best dish of the year was Alex Seidel's robiola tortellini with veal sweetbread confit, autumn squash, and apple brown butter, that he served at Twelve Restaurant's fifth anniversary party. Elsewhere: An exquisite eight-course meal at Coi in San Francisco.
Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor: The Gramercy Tavern dinner at Frasca Food and Wine. Between the menu created by New York chef Michael Anthony, the execution of the Frasca team, and spectacular wine pairings, this meal was one to remember. The open ravioli with beef and carrots was so good that I had to make it at home. The recipe is in the Gramercy Tavern cookbook. It took two days and it was worth every minute.
Jeremy Kossler, Denver Burger Battle founder: The Populist.
Grace Boyle, Eater Denver contributor, author at Grace(full) Plate: Black Cat always amazes me. I do 2-3 celebratory meals there a year and do the full wine flight and tasting menu (menu changes daily, based on their farm and season). Outside of Colorado this year, I loved Empire State South in Atlanta.
Kris Browning-Blas, Denver Post food editor: The lamb burger at The Kitchen Denver.
Emily Hutto, Eater Denver contributor, author of Colorado's Top Brewers: The vegetarian feast during Harvest Week was thoughtful, inventive, and so well executed. We clipped our own salad bar from the table— that I will never forget.
Lori Midson, Westword food editor: Beast + Bottle. Faultless.
Tucker Shaw, Denver Post features editor: Less and less do I think of the food on the plate when I look back and remember. Instead, I remember the people, the conversation, the moment, the place. Which means the best meal was the breakfast grapefruit I split with my grandmother last winter. Food-wise, if there's one dish I had in Denver that I pine for most frequently, it's the mango salmon lomi lomi that Jasinski and company were serving at Rioja.
Laura Saffioti, Eater Denver contributor: The ramen bowl I had for lunch at OAK. I was blown away by how good it was. The staff took such good care of me- everyone from the expo to the chef on duty. These guys have it figured out. I wish that more restaurants that utilize high quality ingredients would branch out to other types of cuisine besides American and Western European. I'd love to have the option to fulfill my craving for say, Thai food, and know the meat and produce were from a great source. I love that Oak and Acorn aren't afraid to change it up and explore the flavors inspired by other continents.
Penny Parker, Black Tie Colorado: The truffle tasting menu at Barolo Grill. That is always my highlight of the year.
Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine Food & Booze Editor: This is a hard one. I think my most memorable meal was probably at Acorn at The Source. The Scallop Crudo drizzled in brown butter blew my mind. It was so unique that it made food feel like art- something that is not easily found in Denver.
PJ Hoberman, Denver Off The Wagon: Bacon at Bacon & Beer Fest.
Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer: My single best meal of 2013 would include Sushi Den's Lobster Ramen, Acorn's Lamb Shawarma, the Bianca at Pizzeria Locale, the Chocolate Croissant at Frasca Caffe, a milkshake Sweet Cow washed down with anything Kevin Burke or Sean Kenyon whip up.
Jessica Hunter, Eater Denver contributor: Was it munching on the pigtail like it was an ear of corn at Colt & Gray? Was it the behemoth 56-ounce pork shoulder at Acorn? Or could it have been the English pea custard soufflé at Beast + Bottle? Perhaps was it my birthday dinner of brussels sprouts and chorizo at Squeaky Bean? Possibly the Stilton Cheese Tart from EDGE at Four Seasons? Might it have been Fuel Café's octopus salami? Brunch oysters with rose at Table 6? Or maybe the really delicious short rib and grits special at Bones? Probably all. Damn, now I'm hungry.
Elaine St. Louis, Colorado Homes & Lifestyle art editor: Palettes menu paired with the Passport to Paris exhibit. The scallops with cauliflower ravioli is divine.