15 Most Interesting Dining Experiences of 2013
Looking back at things remembered from dozens of restaurant reviews, nearly as many First Tastes, and a countless number of places popped into just because, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the restaurants, readers, tipsters, colleagues, and dining companions who helped make my 2013 year of eating such an enjoyable one.
But memories come by way of the unusual as well. And it pretty much goes without saying that given those numerous visits (and the fact that I travel anonymously), things have happened -- strange things, funny things, food things -- that made this year stand apart from others.
So before 2013 is in our rearview mirrors for good, I'd like to give a special Happy New Year shout-out to those who made this year especially interesting for me.
Happy New Year, Manager of an Upscale Restaurant in North Scottsdale:
When you sat down beside me, put your arm on the back of my chair, then leaned in and said with a grin, "If your guest doesn't show up for lunch, I could be your date," perhaps you were just trying to be friendly. But women have two words for behavior such as yours, and they are "restraining order." In the New Year, I hope you can allow your female customers their legally enforceable 100 feet.
Happy New Year, Gimmicky Burgers:
You are to cuisine what two drummers are to a band: kinda amazing to look at but mostly unnecessary.
Happy New Year, Job Applicant at a Downtown Cafe:
I must say, you took me by surprise when you plopped down at my table with your application, saying to my puzzled face, "There's nowhere else to sit to fill this out," in a manner that might have been followed by "dumbass" had we been on more familiar terms. Good luck in your search next year. You've got upper management written all over you.
Happy New Year, Owner of a Phoenix Barbecue Joint:
I'll be the first to admit I'm not up to speed on all the gadgets and gizmos you pitmaster types use to cook meat, but if they include something that sounds like a microwave, looks like a microwave, and is, in fact, a microwave, then your pork ribs -- stone cold in some spots, blistering hot in others -- are to barbecue in 2014 what my reheated lunch is to last night's dinner.
Happy New Year, Music That Automatically Plays When You Bring Up a Restaurant's Website:
You're still less annoying than any Miley Cyrus song.