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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BBQ from a Gas Station Shack at Randy’s Bar-B-Que in Denison, Texas

DSC_4938_editContrary to popular belief, awesome barbecue does not just fall from the sky in Texas. In fact, most of the dining options in smaller North Texas towns like Denison are just chain restaurants with names like North Rig Grill, Cotton Patch Cafe, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. But, through the haze of generic chains, a different more familiar kind of haze caught my eye. Yes, that smoke was emitting from a barbecue smokehouse.In a shack, set back behind a gas station off the highway, I noticed grey smoke billowing up into the sky. And next to it, another slightly larger shack bearing both the name Lew's and Randy's with a line of people leading up to the ordering window.

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City Limits: A Local Watering Hole with Excellent Deep Fried Dishes in Sherman, Texas

An hour north of Dallas, on the Texas-Oklahoma border along the Red River you'll find a small town called Denison. It's a small blue collar town where my girlfriend, Amy, grew up.Over the past two years, I've spent quite a bit of time there and every visit always includes trip to neighboring Sherman for a requisite stop at City Limits for dinner and drinks. It's the kind of place where clouds of cigarette smoke billow indoors and beards, rhinestone belts, and camouflaged clothes are the norm.

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