What Were your Favorite Meals of 2018?

by - Tuesday, December 25, 2018

It's the end of the year! Time to reflect on the meals and moments that made this year great. 

this is number 11, but i couldn't resist sharing the cuteness

For years, The Boy and I have made lists of our favorite meals of the year. We always start saying "I don't know, this wasn't our best year for food," and then by the end we are agonizing about what won't quite fit on the list.

In other words, this becomes another exercise in gratitude and inspiration. I finish making the list and feel psyched for the coming year. We should totally try that new restaurant! Let's make 100 new recipes next year! It doesn't have to be about money or going to the most expensive places, it's just about seeing all the places where growing paid off and where we took a risk and loved it. It's about what we did and what we still want to do. Memories and not stuff.

Gratitude and inspiration pair perfectly together. So maybe instead of looking at your flaws to improve on next year, start with the things you loved and see how you feel inspired! That shift can change a whole lot, and that change in approach can help you avoid that nagging feeling that you don't have enough or that you aren't enough.

So what are your favorite meals of 2018? They don't have to be fancy, expensive, or particularly avant garde. Which meals were the most delicious? Which were you the most proud of? Which will you remember for years to come?

I will share mine, but you go write your list too! 

10. Black bean burger and Rice and Beans

We have been pretty committed to making more vegetarian meals at our house, because we know decreasing the meat in our diet also decreases our environmental impact. This commitment has inspired some of our most creative cooking this year, including these two recipes from my new favorite vegetarian cookbook. I never thought I would like a black bean burger, but I love this one. It's a cool victory from a big leap!

that bag is full of cookies

Tusker House Stolen Cookies

We took a big family trip to Disney World and had some fun and delicious meals, but I think my favorite one was our dinner at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. It was one o their character meals, and I honestly felt teary watching how excited my 3-year-old was. The baby was terrified, but the toddler was so cute. The food was pretty good for a buffet (with lots of veggie options), I drank a mai tai, and they had pretty great chocolate chip cookies. We may or may not have packed our bag full of them.  It was a pretty perfect meal.

8. Taylor Shellfish

You can drive about an hour north of Seattle and visit Taylor Shellfish Farms to eat fresh oysters out in the open air. We drove through the rain with our friend Jim, just to have the clouds park and a perfect afternoon of fresh oysters, throwing the shells on the ground, and climbing around on the rocks. I love oysters so much, but oysters and eating outside? I don't think you can have a more Pacific Northwest experience than eating at Taylor Shellfish, and I keep plotting excuses to go back. 

7.  Junebaby Gumbo

We went to the hip new Seattle restaurant for my birthday, and it was such a treat. We sat at the bar and felt much cooler than the parents of two small kids have any right to be. I had the best gumbo ever, and we even tried pig's ears!

6. Pasta with Clam Sauce

We had family come and visit us for Thanksgiving this year, which was absolutely one of my favorite parts of the whole year. The night before, The Boy and his parents made pasta with clam sauce (a staple in their family) with fresh seafood from the Market. The combination of pure joy at having visitors, family recipes, and fresh, local seafood is hard to beat. It was my favorite pasta with clam sauce ever.

5. Loulay Beets Risotto

I love beets. They are just the best, most underrated vegetable. We went to Loulay in downtown Seattle before a show, and I had Beet rissoto that basically combined all of my favorite things into one meal. I loved it so much that I begged to go back basically immediately. 

4. Hawaiian Fried Chicken

Our favorite Hawaiian wings place closed, so The Boy made his own from a pretty elaborate America's Test Kitchen recipe. And it was so good. My new favorite recipe for sure. If we invite you over for fried chicken, stop whatever you are doing, because we are not messing around. 

3. Our Spicy Taco Cake

Our Baby Bear had a Dragons Love Tacos second birthday party, and after a long string of "meh" cakes, I think I really nailed this one. Except it was too small. But still, it looked like a taco, tasted good, and it didn't fall over. Success! 

2. Lobster Rolls and Finding Family Traditions

We took a quick, packed weekend trip to our old home in California- this is becoming a bit of a tradition for our family, and my favorite part of it is driving down highway 1, stopping to play at the beaches, and finally having dinner at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay. We eat our old favorite lobster rolls with our kids and watch the water with them.

It is such a simple meal, but I felt like this trip solidified it as its own really fun and delicious tradition, and I am really excited about that all on its own. 

1. Matt's in the Market Scallops

If you are visiting Seattle, be sure to get reservations at Matt's in the Market. This restaurant could not be cooler- right across from the market with big beautiful windows and a laid back vibe. Plus, they have really good scallops, which are one of my favorite things to eat.

We went for the first time in February, and I think I have gone back twice since. It has such a romantic (without being overboard) atmosphere and quickly became one of my absolute favorite spots in Seattle. 

Ok, who cares about my favorites- go pick your own favorites! What were your favorite meals in 2018? 

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