Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2014

What a year!! I did something like this last year too, but oh boy was 2014 a doozy. I started off living in NYC, then a started a new job that whisked me off the San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a few months before ultimately relocating to San Francisco permanently. And along the way, I squeezed in a couple of vacations too.Sooooo, I did a LOT of epic eating this year. And truth be told, I found it particularly difficult to narrow down my list as concisely as last year's, but I somehow managed. So, without further ado, I present the winners (and runner-ups) broken down by category. I tried to cluster similar dish types together, but really they are in no particular order. Let's begin!And if you wanna hear about the 2014's Best Cocktails, read more here.

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A Perfect Day of Eating & Wine Tasting Across Paso Robles

To celebrate my lovely girlfriend Amy's redacted birthday, we planned a glorious weekend getaway to the Paso Robles wine country. We had heard excellent things about the remote region's beauty and density of high-quality wineries so it seemed like a great way to spend a couple of days and the perfect way to mark the occasion.On the Friday of her birthday weekend, Amy drove down from San Francisco to pick me up from work in Sunnyvale before we headed off into the beautiful, winding, south-of-SF countryside only to stop quickly in Moss Landing for dinner before reaching Paso Robles at around 11 PM.

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All-American Specialty Hot Dogs at Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, CT

Amy and I have always been hot dog lovers. All it really takes is a simple, well-cooked, snappy mustard covered link and we'll be perfectly happy, but give us something crazier and we're bound to fall head over heels.On this particular weekend, we found ourselves in the Westport, Connecticut area for a wedding and *gasp* got hungry for some lunch. A quick search of the surrounding area and we came across Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield where they serve a vast menu spanning the many regional hot dog topping styles and preparations across the US. How could we possibly pass on the chance to check a place like this out?

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Snappy Sausage Sandwiches at Rosamunde & Killer Craft Beer Next Door at Toronado in SF

DSC_3446_editWhat could be more perfect than the combination of beer and sausage? It’s an old-as-time classic pairing, but I think I've found the solution to this basically unanswerable question. How about gourmet game meat sausages eaten with a ridiculously good craft draft beer?In the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco there is a spot where you can have the best of both worlds, together. Butted literally right up against each other are Rosamunde Sausage Grill and a bar called Toronado. It's a fairly well known fact that you can order sausages at Rosamunde and bring them right next door to eat in Toronado and this was precisely the plan. Ultimately though, it was pretty packed in Toronado, so we just ate our links in the sausage shop before heading right next door for some brews after.

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A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo

DSC_3267_editIn the western reaches of SoHo there are tons of office buildings loaded with hungry workers in need of a good lunch. This draws a wide variety food trucks to the area to line those streets on a daily basis. Most of these trucks are the hipster-fusion variety which attract long lines and park on either Varick or Hudson just below Houston.But if you walk just one block back east, you'll find a strange triangular park called SoHo Square Park on 6th Avenue between Broome and Spring. At the top edge of the park, on most days, you'll find a bright yellow food truck painted with very stereotypical Indian stylistic colors and decorative flourishes called the Desi Food Truck serving humble Indian dishes and never has a line.

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Hot Dog Insanity at Los Perros Locos LES

*Editor's Note: I'm sad to report that this restaurant is no longer open.What's the craziest meal you've ever had in New York? I know, there's many types of crazy meals, whether it involves something outside your comfort zone like organ meat or a perhaps it's a meal served in pure darkness. But, I'm talking about a different kind of crazy. The kind that makes you stop at ask what kind of clinically insane person thought up the menu. The kind that makes you actually utter 'what the fuck' out loud. Well, this is it. This is some of the most out-there food I've found in NYC and honestly, I don't know anywhere else in the US quite like it either. Even the name of the shop foreshadows the wackiness to come. Welcome to Los Perros Locos. If you haven't already guessed, they served over-the-top hot dog varieties.

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