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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Unique Spanish Basque Brunch at Huertas in the East Village

I completely ignored the opening of Huertas in the East Village when I first heard about it. All too frequently I find myself disappointed by tapas joints, so I often don't bother to give them a chance. But, then I read a glowing write-up from my most trusted food writer – Robert Sietsema that made me completely reconsider. My tastes pretty much always fall directly in line with his, so I knew that if he loved the place, I was probably gonna love it too.

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Authentic, Hidden Peruvian Cuisine at La Fina Estampa in the Polk Gulch

Now that I've moved to San Francisco, I've got a whole host of restaurants to explore in my new neighborhood. There are plenty of obvious eye-catching eateries on the main Polk Street drag, but there was just something about that unremarkable and completely illegible awning that caught both of our eyes while walking down one the side streets. It was getting close to dinner time and we weren't sure what we felt like having for dinner, so we decided to venture inside and try out this mysterious Latin American spot we knew absolutely nothing about.

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Sangria, Cured Meats, Other Spanish Imports at 100 Montaditos in Greenwich Village

DSC_2661_editThis story begins four years ago. Just after graduating from college I took a month-long backpacking trip around a number of European cities. One of the many stops was in Madrid and on that leg of the trip, my buddy Evan and I stopped for a budget-friendly tapas and beer-filled lunch at the now shuttered outdoor Plaza Santa Ana location of 100 Montaditos. Seeing as we were traveling on the cheap, their dollar beers and mini sandwiches known as montaditos were a perfect fit for us. And would you look at that, I even managed to scrounge up some old photos from that first trip.

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