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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The Very Best Airport Food I’ve Ever Eaten

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It’s getting to be that time when we look back on the year in review and 2014 was a very big year of travel for me. Between working remotely in Silicon Valley while still officially living in NYC, moving from NYC to SF, and other miscellaneous leisure travel, I spent a lot of time in airports.

I know that airports get a bad rap when it comes to dining options and you know what, most of the time the food really does suck. But, every now and then I’ve been able to come across some truly excellent dishes. Beyond that, I’ve even managed to find a number of dishes served in airports that blew me away – the overacheivers – the kinds of things I would get even if I wasn’t stuck eating in an airport. Without further ado, read on below to see the best of the best to eat before you fly in the sky. (more…)

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Vibrant, Destination-Worthy, Vegetarian-Friendly Burmese at Rangoon Ruby in Palo Alto

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A mere three days after my first Burmese food experience in San Francisco, I found myself in Palo Alto face-to-face somehow with another Burmese restaurant. Odd, I thought, considering I had never come across Burmese food anywhere else in the US before. But a quick bit of research informed me that the original chef from the famed Burma Superstar I had recently visited had defected a few years back to open his own Burmese restaurant in the heart of Palo Alto called Rangoon Ruby. I wasn’t gonna ask any more questions because I had already become quite obsessed with the healthy-ish, but still super-flavorful Burmese specialties and was excited for more opportunities to explore the cuisine while I was staying in town.

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Really Unusual Burmese Soup & Salad at Burma Superstar in the Richmond

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I don’t think I’m unearthing any secrets with this one. This famed Burmese restaurant in the Richmond has been featured on the Food Network numerous times and is reputed for having constant lines out the door. Somehow, when I showed up at 12:30 on a Sunday, a time when I assumed the restaurant would be at peak capacity, it in fact had no line. I was seated at a two-top on my own immediately. Amazing.

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Eat Your Heart Out with Offal Thoughts & Other Brilliant Gastropub Fare at Liquid Bread in Campbell

I’ve already gushed on this blog about how much I love Liquid Bread in Campbell on my first visit. Staying in the area once again, I figured it was worth a second trip to try some more of their incredible creations. I knew, in their skilled hands, I’d be fine ordering just about anything so I chose a few dishes that wouldn’t ordinarily entrust to a less skilled and proven restaurant to pull off.

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A Whimsical Edible Danish Date Night at The Copenhagen in NYC
A Whimsical Edible Danish Date Night at Aamanns-Copenhagen NYC

A Whimsical Edible Danish Date Night at The Copenhagen in NYC

*Editor’s Note 11/13/14: This restaurant used to be called Aamanns-Copenhagen NYC but is now simply referred to as The Copenhagen.

*Editor’s Note 10/15/15: I’m sad to report that The Copenhagen has permanently closed.

When you hear Danish food, what comes to mind? Maybe that eponymous jam filled pastry? Maybe you literally have absolutely no clue what Danish people eat. I know I sure didn’t. That is before I checked out the New York outpost of the Scandinavian imported restaurant Aammanns-Copenhagen, known as The Copenhagen.

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New Zealand Style Meat Pies & More at Dub Pies
New Zealand Style Meat Pies & More at Dub Pies

New Zealand Style Meat Pies & More at Dub Pies

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*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

A year and a half ago, I spent a week in Sydney while my younger sister was studying abroad. Each night would involve some heavy drinking before we’d stumble our way into a local meat pie shop to help our bodies process all of the alcohol we had consumed.

This is where I first developed my love for savory Aussie meat pies. Recently, the meat pie has been taking Manhattan by storm with many pie shops popping up all over the city. Fortunately for me, this included the recent opening of Dub Pies, a New Zealand-style meat pie shop in Greenwich Village near my apartment.

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