15 Favorite Dishes of 2013

Believe it or not, I feel we ate out less in 2013 than most years, but still there were BIG highlights.  In the event you haven't made it to every dining-out post, I thought a summary would come in handy.  (Here's what I loved in 2012 if this list doesn't give you enough variety!) In case you have to prioritize where to eat,  I asked Billy about his single favorite meal this year  -  without hesitation, he said our anniversary dinner at Empire State South.

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Funny thing, I'd say the same thing!  Of course, after dinner (without any previous planning), we went down to DragonCon and this happened:And this...SOOOOO that's gonna be tough to beat!

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Still, any meal at Empire State South will be delightful.  Just be sure to order the Farm Egg with Carolina crisp rice.  It's simply amazing!Speaking of eggs, a very competitive dish is the Farm Egg in Celery Cream at Miller Union.   Neither of these dishes win any beauty prizes, but WOW are they tasty!In the breakfast category, I'm still smitten by the Country-fried tempeh and gravy at Ria's Bluebird.  Definitely worth the drive (and wait!) For starters, I loved the surprisingly sweet and savory Mortadella mousse at Seven Lamps.  This year's list has a couple of entries where you buy the food and make it at home.  I wasn't too sure if these options would be very impressive, but both were.  The first is the Bacon at Pine Street Market. Apple smoked and delicious!!The second "make at home" was the Fresh hand-filled pasta from Storico Fresco Pasta.  The prep for the brown butter and sage dish is super easy and the taste is divine! I have inadvertently started some friends making a weekly run to this Buckhead store. I don't think they make anything less than delicious!

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Chances are unless you're Canadian, you've never heard of poutine.  The General Muir in Decatur is fixing that problem by serving poutine with pastrami.  I am thankful this place isn't closer.  I would be making all of my meetings there.  Nom. Nom.

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If you're in the mood for soup, I can't imagine finding anything better than Pho at Nam Phuong.Continuing in the Buford Highway tradition, I am thrilled I finally discovered BBQ pork bahn mi at Quoc Huong.  I'm a little late to the party on bahn mi, but better late than never!If you live close to Decatur, you most likely are familiar with No. 246, a charming restaurant with an unbelievable menu.  I love their Agnolotti - a stuffed pasta that melts in your mouth!If off-the beaten track sounds good to you (and a sketchy environment doesn't throw you off), I loved the Lao dry fried beef jerky at Hot CafĂ©.  This restaurant is south of the airport and reminds me of places in Bangkok (except they serve Thai and Lao food).  The beef jerky is LEGIT.And, while you're there, you'd be crazy not to pick up some sticky rice. (I don't count rice as a "Favorite Dish" because it feels like cheating, but I DO love the rice at Hot Cafe).If your budget is more of a BBQ nature, you can't go wrong with the Smoked portobello sandwich at Fox Bros. Definitely order Frito pie as a side item.I just wrote about Vegetable platter at Wisteria.  I love meat, but this is a treasure trove of taste!There haven't been a ton of seafood finds this year, but the notable exception is the Duck fat poached swordfish at the Optimist.Finally, if you ever have need to buy a cake, get thee the Chocolate cake at Wright's Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe.  Good grief.  I'm not even a big chocolate fan, but this cake will convert even the staunchest lemon lover.  Can't wait for more food adventures in 2014.  Please share your finds with me!!!