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Friends of Eater Recall Their Single Best Meals of 2014

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, top newcomers, 2014 in one word, best dining neighborhood, and the biggest dining surprises. Now it's time for the single best meal of the year. Readers, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Adam Larkey

Q: What was your single best meal in 2014?

Megan Barber, Curbed Ski editor

Acorn: No matter what I eat there, I am happy. The kale and apple salad, the meatballs, the calamari, the egg and bacon salad; all of it is downright delicious.

Stacey Brugeman, 5280 Magazine restaurant critic

In October, I finally made the pilgrimage to The French Laundry. Even after decades of anticipation it blew my mind. The clothespin they give you with the (staggering) bill now sits on top of one of my diplomas.

Meaghan Mooney, KDVR Anchor and Reporter

The salmon at Rioja or if you're looking for a new comer, then the hummus at Range.

Carri Wilbanks, USA Today video producer and host

The kale and apple salad (to start) at Acorn followed by fried chicken and biscuit.

Katy Hume, Eater Denver contributor

Fruition is always the best for us.

Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor

The meal I shared with Eater's national critic Bill Addison at Frasca in November. It was snowing, the drive to Boulder was treacherous and the meal was sublime. I can still taste the riso marinara!

Ruth Tobias, Eater Denver and Thrillist contributing writer

I can tell you what the single most exciting meal was: The Chefs Collaborative Trash Fish Dinner at the Squeaky Bean. It was so well executed and truly eye-opening. Theo Adley's miso-cured snakehead and Kelly Whitaker's dogfish-belly mousse blew my mind.

Maya Silver, Dining Out Magazine writer

Nationwide: At Girl & the Goat in Chicago. In the area: a birthday dinner at rioja. Most satisfying: a big slice of Benny's pizza in the wee hours of January 1, 2014.

Jess Hunter, Eater Denver contributor

Dry-Aged Porterhouse at Colt & Gray during the Great American Beer Festival. I've never had such wonderful meat sweats. The duck confit at Bistro Barbes was a close second.

Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine food editor

When I reflect on my single best meal I always think about the overall experience. There was one night in particular at Brazen where every dish was a complete knock-out and the service was impeccable. I remember laughing with good friends and feeling incredibly welcomed.

William Porter, Denver Post restaurant critic

That's a tough one. Perhaps my most deeply satisfying meal was a goat duet I had at Work & Class. Dana Rodriguez does a beautiful roasted whole kid. On the evening we ate there, I paired the shredded meat with a side of cilantro rice-and-beans and a creamy cheese polenta. A goat stew also came in a red chile broth studded with crunchy chickpeas. And there was also a pulled pork braised in a cochinita pibil, incredibly tender and shot through with flavor. Outside of Denver, it might have been a seafood dinner at Thames Street Oyster House in Baltimore, Md. Salt-and-pepper grouper served over a ruby shrimp risotto with spring peas and pimentos. There were also terrific meals at Husk and The Ordinary in Charleston, SC.

Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer

A toasted Tri-Italian sandwich from Mondo Market as an amuse bouche, the Octopus dish at Mercantile as an app, Lobster Ramen from Sushi Den as my soup, Filet Mignon at Edge as an entree with a Campari Sour at Sarto's to accompany it. Dessert? Milkshake at Sweet Cow with hot fudge mixed in. Diet starts tomorrow.

Jeremy Kossler, founder of the Denver Burger Battle

Close call between Work & Class or the Plimoth. I'm going with Plimoth, but Work & Class was damn good.

Penny Parker, Blacktie Colorado writer

Guard & Grace.

Ashley Hughes, Eater Denver writer

An amazing anniversary dinner at Fruition, which never disappoints. I had a lamb dish that was just so perfectly cooked and delicious.

Lori Midson, Zagat Denver editor

There's no way I can name just one. In no particular order, the porchetta from Gozo, the fried chicken from the BSide, the lamb shawarma from Acorn, the headcheese from Beast + Bottle and the amazing charcuterie board from Black Pearl. They're all brilliant.

Rebecca Caro, Denver Post contributing writer

My best meal was the Chefs Up Front dinner to benefit the organization Share Our Strength. I sat at the Acorn table. The food was delicious and the company was even better.

Grace Boyle, Eater Denver contributor

In the short time they've been open, I've been to Blackbelly five times. Everytime I'm wowed. I love their hand rolled ricotta cavatelli with roasted local mushrooms, a runny egg yolk and grana cheese. Dining outside of Colorado, Nobu in Vegas and The Girl and The Fig in Sonoma were outstanding.

Pat Miller, the Gabby Gourmet

The truffle dinner at Barolo Grill.

Laura Saffioti, Eater Denver contributor

Huevos rancheros at El Taco de Mexico. Also a platter of french macarons at the Four Seasons.