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 True Cajun & Creole New Orleans Experience at NOLA in Palo Alto

DSC_4717_editFor Stanford students, there's only a few bars that everyone goes to. One of the biggest nightlife hotspots is NOLA, an aggressively Mardi Gras themed bar and restaurant that's gaudily decorated with scattered dangling beaded necklaces. It's the kind of place that I'd normally write off at first glance, assuming they'd only be able to make stupidly sweet and strong alcoholic punches and serve shitty bar food, but that assumption would be wrong.

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New Orleans Meets NYC at Exchange Alley in the East Village

*Editor's Note: I'm sad to report that this restaurant is no longer open.Special occasions – not just regular date nights, but occasions like a girlfriend's birthday or an anniversary. Where would you go on these kinds of nights? For me, I think and talk about food and restaurants all the time, so my criteria might be a little different than most. I don't want to pick a trendy, super-popular place. I was to pick something unexpected, something a little off the beaten path, but it still obviously must have excellent food, with great ambiance, and ideally be reasonably priced.

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