Best Eats of 2016
Being a travel and food blogger, I am in constant contact with amazing restaurants and delicious dishes that impress both my taste buds and Instagram followers.
2016 has been an incredible year, full of new food experiences and a wide array of fabulous eateries. I love sharing my restaurant review posts and food pictures with you!
Here are my best eats of 2016, a most palatable year.
Via Reál is an upscale Mexican restaurant that is a big step up for the typical Mexican restaurants I visit. Imagine my surprise when the special of the day, which I ordered, was Pecan Crusted Sea Bass. When the dish was delivered to my table it was gorgeous! The meal was served in a quartered pineapple shell alongside Cilantro Mashed Potatoes. It was truly the best sea bass I’d ever had. The fish was drenched in a luscious pineapple sauce. Everything we had at Via Reál was noteworthy, but that fish was really something special.
#2 The Yellow Dog Cafe (Palm Bay, FL)
The Yellow Dog Cafe wins my vote for the most romantic restaurant in the Sunshine State. It is romantic and cozy with a killer menu and fantastic dishes. My favorite things are the Pecan Crusted Mahi-Mahi (with vanilla bean infused praline sauce) and Crab Cakes with Saffron Cream Sauce. Oh heavenly day, these are two out-of-this-world meals!
#3 Fire and Ice (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos)
During the first week of Fire and Ice’s new menu, my husband, Eddie, and I were lucky enough to try the tabletop charcoal Barbecue. I opted for the Waygu beef, which we cooked to temperature ourselves. The meat was amazingly tender and flavorful. It literally melted in my mouth. This was the best beef product that I consumed in all of 2016. If you visit Turks and Caicos, dining at Fire and Ice is a must.
#4 Mash’d (Frisco, TX)
I had the best appetizer of 2016 at Mash’d, a trendy eatery, specializing in moonshine. The Chicken Fried Pepperoni served with “Chuck Norris” gravy dipping sauce is to die for. Maybe it is the Port Salut cheese or that it is double buttermilk battered, but whatever the reason, it is freaking epic! I tried every move I had to score the recipe to share with you but to no avail.
#5 Big Sky Cafe in San Luis Obispo, California
Big Sky Cafe is a popular eatery for SLO locals and tourists, serving breakfast options that would wow the most refined foodie. Their Traditional New Mexican Pozole was the bomb! The combination of tomatoes, hominy, queso fresco, and pumpkin seeds was perfectly seasoned with cumin and coriander. Nom! I didn’t eat a thing at Big Sky Cafe that I didn’t love!
#6 Oyster Pub in Daytona Beach, Florida
Looking for absolutely delicious Char-Grilled Oysters? This is your place! Located in Daytona Beach, The Oyster Pub delivers a powerful punch with its uber-fresh seafood. The buttery pillows of heaven, aka the oysters, were incredibly addictive.
FYI: This was my first time eating oysters, which I did for a Snapchat story. I regret that it took me so long to become a fan.
Charlotte, North Carolina has its share of ultimate eateries, but Chef Jim Noble’s King’s Kitchen not only prepares amazing Southern eats but also feeds the city’s homeless between meals. Although all of the King Kitchen’s food is stellar, I recommend their Braised Beef, Macaroni and Cheese, and Potato Salad. A Southern meal would not be complete without collard greens and King’s Kitchen does them right!
#8 Salt & Straw (Portland, OR)
During a visit to Portland, I went to the ever-popular ice cream shop, Salt & Straw, to try their famous dips and cones. I chose two scoops, the Bartlett Pear and Blue Cheese, and Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper. They were both absolutely divine and I could not pick a favorite. The Salt & Straw is home to some brilliant flavor combinations! Kudos for creating these awe-inspiring flavors and using local, fresh ingredients.
Note: Desserts hardly ever make my list because I prefer savory to sweet, so you know this was good!
#9 Chesapeake & Maine (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
Rehoboth Beach’s Dogfish Head Brewery makes about the most perfect Lobster Roll ever. Living in Florida, we have our share of Lobster Rolls, but they are usually a lobster salad with way too much mayonnaise and not enough lobster. Chesapeake & Maine’s was piled high with succulent, fat lobster chunks and paired with rich clarified butter. The delectable lobster meat was piled high on a billowy, lightly toasted bun.
#10 Saltine Oyster Bar (Jackson, MS)
I visit Mississippi often to see my daughter and son-in-law. My lunch at the Saltine Oyster Bar was nothing short of spectacular. I can see why they are one of Jackson’s top 10 restaurants! Try their signature PB&Jelly (crisp pork belly and pepper jelly) served with boiled peanuts, a first in my book. Their oysters are wonderful, as well. My favorites were the Alabama and Lafitte. Saltine Oyster Bar is a cool place to just hang out with friends for an adult beverage as well.
#11 Stardust Cafe (Lewisburg, WV)
Lewisburg is touted as being one of West Virginia’s hippest towns. The Stardust Cafe features farm-to-table food that will knock your socks off. The Avocado, Chèvre, and Bacon Mix and Match Sandwich is amazing! Pair it with their pasta salad or cup of homemade soup. You will love the trendy vibe of this restaurant and the friendly staff. Try one of the Stardust Cafe’s Italian sodas, coffee specialty drinks, or a slice of one of their scrumptious pies or cakes.
#12 Law at the Four Seasons (Irving, TX)
Best brunch of my life? Right here, folks. Law Restaurant, in the Four Seasons Resort, has a killer Sunday brunch! The quantity and quality of the foods offered to make for a memorable experience that won’t soon be trumped. Among my favorites from their well over 100 item bars were the sushi, Charcuterie Station, Macarons, and Peach Salad. Save room for the endless Mimosas or Champagne as they are included in the price. Kids have their own mini-stations full of all the goodies that they know and love.
#13 Cafe Cimino (Sutton, WV)
Another great West Virginia restaurant is upscale, yet charmingly laid-back, Cafe Cimino located an hour from Charleston. I love everything on their menu and with all of the visits that I have made there over the years, I feel quite sure that I have sampled everything. Their Charcuterie Platter is a favorite featuring local honey, cheeses, meats, and olives. All of Cafe Cimino’s pasta dishes and steaks are top-notch.
Save room for the Zabaione, a fabulous and delicate Italian dessert. You can even take cooking classes at the restaurant and stay at their inn. Pack a bag and make a weekend out of your visit!
#14 Asu on the Beach (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos)
Turks and Caicos blew us away with their fabulous food offerings. My favorite fish dish of the trip was at Asu on the Beach. The menu is simple, listing the type of fish available, with sauce choices and accompaniments. I loved both the Grouper with jerk sauce and the Mahi Mahi with curry sauce. Pair these with their light and fluffy mashed potatoes and zesty pineapple coleslaw. Amazing!
#15 Strawn’s Eat Shop (Shreveport, LA)
During my food FAM trip to Shreveport, myself and other food bloggers/writers ate through the city to the tune of 7-8 times per day. My favorite thing that I sank my teeth into was the Strawberry Icebox Pie from Strawn’s Eat Shop. The pie was creamy and luscious, but not overly sweet. I can see why it is so popular. Strawn’s also serves breakfast, with mounds of butter piled a good foot high on the plate. The butter even has its own Instagram account!
Paterno’s at the Park (Charleston, WV)
To celebrate my mother’s birthday, my family dined at Paterno’s at the Park, an Italian restaurant located at Appalachian Power Park. The menu options were so appealing that we ordered a whole table full of food. My favorite was the Mushroom Arancini (breaded and fried risotto ball), but my entrée, Sausage and Pea Rigatoni, was a close tie. The pasta dish was zesty, yet rich, piled high with homemade Italian sausage. Italian food has never tasted so good in West Virginia. **as of Dec 31, 2018 this restaurant is closed
I Did Not Go Hungry in 2016
The best eats of 2016 has been a fun post to compile. I have salivated remembering how fabulous these dishes were and yes, I kept a note throughout the whole year so I would remember what meals I wanted to include. It is truly awe-inspiring how many wonderful places I have traveled to, dined at, and posted reviews for on our website, social media, and Trip Advisor.
I hope your 2016 has been a year to remember as well. Cheers to an epic 2017!
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