The Caprese Salad I ate for birthday lunch with my husband at The Merry Table creperie? When the owner cheerfully let us linger after the restaurant's official closing time? Sitting outside and sipping that gin drink on a hot August day, watching the tourists stumble along Wharf Street's cobblestones while Travis told me how much he liked my new haircut? That's more than just tomatoes and cheese.
Or during the worst of the March weather, when Trav and I found ourselves at Emilitsa for the first time? I wrote about it here. My exposure to Greek wines increased exponentially, and I saw the table that (former) Maine Senator Olympia Snowe prefers when she visits the restaurant. Again, that's more than just ouzo flavoring.
Or that recipe for Quinoa Chowder in the January 2013 issue of InStyle (not online, so I can't link) that is knock-your-socks-off spicy and good, good, good? It inspired me to spend an afternoon researching Ecuadorian cuisine.
Food is culture, it's community, and it's an activity-- a noun and a verb. (And for literalists, adjective and adverb, too.)
For 2012, here are some of my favorites:
- Silly's with a Twist opens! Among the hands-down, spiciest, best-garnished Bloody Mary in this state--and maybe even the world. Plus, the feel-good factor of spending your money with the Kelley sisters, who are two of the kindest people I have ever met.
- Eventide Oyster Co. and its massive garden of local oysters. Food and Wine magazine agrees!
- Learning about the wine bar next door--and Maine's private wine club culture at 91 South. Bogle Vineyards is now among my every day wine rotation, and Noah Gaston's kitchen is on my brag list.
- The 18-Year Aged Balsamic vinegar at LeRoux Kitchen. In fact, the entire oil and vinegar tasting aisle filled with urns and little paper cups. Mmm.
- Fried clams at Grammy's Country Inn at home in Houlton, Maine. I enjoyed a platter-full with my sister and her two children. With a third on the way, her life is about to get much busier, and I was grateful that she could make time for lunch.
Food is more than just physical sustenance. It's emotional and spiritual sustenance, too, if you let it be. I am lucky to live in Maine, and even luckier to earn a living among topics I enjoy. I don't take any of that for granted, and I will continue my appreciation well into 2013, resolving to eat and live well.
What about you? What were some of your favorite dining moments of 2012? Your dining resolutions for 2013?