Best Eats of 2014

December 31, 2014

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I think it’s VERY safe to say that this was the absolute best year of my life. I actually want to cry tears of happiness when I think about how much good is in my life right now. Of course, the two major things that happened were that Chris and I bought a home and my sister and Adam had two beautiful baby boys who have, without a doubt, changed my life forever. I obviously knew I would love my nephews, but I never realized how happy they would make my heart and just how much love I’d feel for them. I can’t believe that in the last six months, they’ve gone from this:

Newborn_Nephews_2

To this:

Twins_Christmas

In case you can’t tell from that photo, they each have such individual personalities and are basically the cutest things ever. And yes, I’ve become that crazy aunt who shows off photos of them all day long. I cannot help it.

Anyway, those babies are obviously not my favorite eats of 2014. But I couldn’t talk about any best of the year anything without mentioning them. I guess my sister and her husband also deserve a special shoutout for bringing such bundles of joy into the world in 2014!

Just like any other year in the past, I enjoyed plenty of fabulous food at my parents’ house and my sister’s house. But this year was extra special in that Chris and I moved into our new house and have had quite a few occasions to entertain in our home. It helps that we got the fridge of my dreams:

New_Fridge

And a shiny new Weber Grill:

Weber_Grill_2

One of our first family meals in the new house:

Summer_Meal_at_home

And a big enough dining room table for everyone:

Dinner_Table_3

Before all the exciting stuff happened during the year, Chris and I got to do a little traveling. We went to Napa and Sonoma in January and basically ONLY ate amazing food and drank wine the entire time. I wrote all about our experience at the French Laundry, but realize that I never shared any details about the rest of the trip. While the French Laundry was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we also enjoyed some other meals that we’re some of the best we ever had.

Sues_Chris_Napa

The omakase at Morimoto was SWOON-worthy. I want to do this all over again one million more times. Especially the part that was the Toro Tartare.

Morimoto_Toro_Tartare

But really, all of it. Including the sake tasting. Because we did that, too. It was a bit overkill, but I don’t regret a thing.

Morimoto_Napa_Omakase

Another standout meal we had was at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Yountville. Even though there are about a million restaurants I want to visit in Napa and Sonoma, I really think I’d have a hard time not going back to Bottega next time I’m in the area.

Botteg_Napa_Yountville

Best lunch on our wine country trip? That definitely goes to St. Francis Winery. My sister recommended we do a lunch and wine pairing at St. Francis and I’m so glad we did. It was such a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.

St_Francis_Winery

That peanut butter mousse changed my life. But then, so did those winter vegetables. It’s all about that balance!

St._Francis_Winery_Tasting_Lunch

Did I mention that we visited Napa and Sonoma in January and had the BEST weather possible?? It was in the high 60s/low 70s the whole time and was not at all crowded anywhere we went. I mean, we got a reservation at the French Laundry on our first try, so that’s saying something. January is typically a little cooler in Northern California (and wetter… which is a good thing as they were going through a major drought when we were there), but I still highly recommend it as a time to visit. All of that food and wine will definitely help warm you up!

One of my favorite memories is probably when Chris (perhaps a bit tipsily) bought a huge bottle of wine at Kamen Wines… The winery is owned by Mark Robert Kamen who’s the screenwriter of movies like Karate Kid and Taken. This bottle of wine is signed by him with the quote, “I have a particular set of skills…”

Kamen_Winery

I had lots of fabulous meals in my good old home city of Boston, too. Some of my favorites were at newbie spots Alden and Harlow in Harvard Square and La Brasa in Somerville. Chris took my to Daniel Boulud’s new Bar Boulud in Boston for my birthday dinner and not only did we enjoy the perfect charcuterie, but I had sweetbreads for the first time (loved them!).

Bar_Boulud_Boston

One of my 2015 resolutions is to go out to more Boston restaurants. Considering we’ll probably do less traveling this year due to everything else going on in life, I want to experience more of what our city has to offer.

We went to more fabulous parties at our friends’ Kyle and Jeff’s house… their parties are ALWAYS culinary experiences.

Wine_Party

I think I ate a record number of doughnuts in 2014. And I don’t have a problem with that. My new house has a ridiculous amount of doughnut shops within a 3-mile radius, but my favorites of the year were probably from The Holy Donut in Portland, Maine.

The_Holy_Donut_Portland

It wouldn’t be a summer in New England without a lobster roll or two! I made a disappointingly low number of visits to Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit this year… But I still managed to get in a lobster roll or two!

Lobster_Roll_Barnacle_Billys

That’s barely touching upon all the deliciousness I experienced in 2014. I spent A TON of time in the kitchen and whipped up hundreds of meals. I had the opportunity to create recipes for brands like Butterball, Wilton, Crisp, Cabot, Planters, and many more. And I think my cooking and baking skills have improved immensely over the year. But I can’t wait to improve even more in 2015.

I’m really not sure how 2015 is going to beat 2014, but I’m excited to see what happens. I’m pretty sure it’s going to include a lot more family and friends and a ridiculous amount of food. Bring it!

What were your best eats of 2014?

Happy New Year!!! I hope you all have awesome starts to your 2015!

[Sues]

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14 Responses to "Best Eats of 2014"

  1. What a fantastic post! The twins are too cute and I love your fridge. May you be blessed with an abundance of all you need in 2015!

  2. Joanne says:

    The twins are SO adorable. ANd OMG you ate so much good stuff in 2014! I’m sure 2015 will be even more delicious.

  3. You had quite the year! I love that pic of the boys, so funny! Happy New Year!

  4. I too ate and alarming amount of craft donuts this year. Happy New Year!

  5. Anne says:

    the boys are Sooo cute and beautiful! What a blessing! And there is an impish look about them… I know they will grow up with great culinary skills thanks to Auntie. What an exciting year you have had. May you be blessed with wonderful times ahead.

  6. Beth says:

    Aw…. I could barely finish reading this post through my tears! The boys are so lucky to have such an amazing Aunt (and Uncle too)…. we LOVE you guys! Can’t wait to do lots of eating in 2015 (that’s totally the opposite of the resolution I should be making)!!!

  7. LisaR. says:

    Congrats on a successful 2014! Loved reading your posts last year. Wishing you the best year ever!

  8. Rachel says:

    what a great year! always love your blog, and so happy we’ve ‘met’ through blogging 🙂 here’s to a GREAT 2015 friend!!

  9. Your happiness makes me smile, seriously, just reading your first few paragraphs I’m shining here like a diamond! Here’s to hoping 2015 is even more special to you guys! 🙂

  10. Betty says:

    A wonderful year- Best wishes for 2015! Those twins are too cute. 🙂

  11. Wow! What a great line-up of eats you’ve got there. And that grill looks amazing!

  12. Odetta says:

    Such cute babies and so much good food. Lovely year!!! Here’s to more.

  13. Bridget says:

    I love hearing about all the great experiences you had in 2014 and I sincerely hope 2015 treats you and your family well!

  14. […] Chris and I went to Morimoto the last time we were in Napa and we loved it so much that we had to go back (in case you don’t know this about my husband, he is a serious man of habit and when he finds a meal he enjoys, he could eat it forever.). We weren’t really planning on doing the Omakase (chef’s tasting) again, but the menu is so extensive and we were having such a tough time deciding what to order that we just decided to go for it again. You only live once, right? […]

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