After rounding up our favorite DC dining experiences from 2016, I couldn’t leave out the delicious meals we consumed outside of the district.
Best Travel Dining Experiences in 2016
We traveled a lot less in 2016 than in previous years, much to my chagrin. However, we certainly made the most of the trips we did take. Here are the best meals we had while traveling this year, both near and far.
Kybecca in Fredericksburg
We celebrated my birthday with a little getaway to Fredericksburg at the beginning of the year. It was a frigid evening, perfect for a cozy dinner at Kybecca downtown. With a nice bottle of wine, excellent service and delicious food – it was the perfect way to ring in my 30th year.
Highlights: The pimento cheese fritters with roasted pepper jam and parmesan were the epitome of comfort food, but the dish I remember most from the meal is the incredibly Nutella pot de creme (above) with which we capped off the meal.
St. Francis Food & Wine Pairing in Sonoma
Our short trip to Sonoma in February provided a host of delicious meals, but the stand out was definitely the food and wine pairing lunch we had at St. Francis Winery. This experience was exactly the kind of thing Tom and I both geek out over – delicious food, expertly paired with quality wine and the opportunity to chat with fellow diners and the chef. We definitely won’t forget it anytime soon.
Highlights: The dishes at the St. Francis food and wine pairing change all the time, but we loved the pan-seared day boat scallop (above) with risotto verde, crispy sunchokes and a lemon puree along with the “ham and cheese” sandwich with speck, fonduta, toasted brioche, black truffle and pickled vegetables. The most best part of the meal, however, was the beautiful atmosphere, flowing wine and the way that the pairings took each bite to the next level.
Fog Harbor Fish House in San Francisco
After Sonoma, we spent a working week in San Francisco. Tom wasn’t free to hang out much during the evenings, so I took myself on a solo date walking along the Embarcadero. After hours of walking, I stopped into Fog Harbor Fish House for a late lunch with a view.
Highlights: I knew just wanted I wanted – clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. It was everything I wanted it to be. The chowder was rich, warm and comforting on a chilly day and the bread bowl was just fun to eat. The friendly and helpful bartenders were a great plus as well.
Devil’s Food Bakery and Cookery in Denver
Our trip to Denver in May oddly didn’t revolve around food as much our usual travels do. We ate a lot of pretty good things, but the one meal that stands out was a simple brunch at Devil’s Food Bakery and Cookery in Washington Park. We loved the restaurant’s retro decor, quirky atmosphere and delicious but wholesome food.
Highlights: The farm vegetables with poached eggs (above) and Spring vegetable quinoa cakes were both full of flavor, but light enough to allow several hours of comfortable walking around the park afterward. The coffee was excellent as well, and we appreciated that you could order it to go from the restaurant’s takeout cafe.
Market Table Bistro in Virginia Wine Country
We spend a lot of time exploring Virginia Wine Country, specifically Loudoun County. One of our favorite restaurants in the area is Market Table Bistro. We stopped in over the summer for a date night, and it was even better than we remembered.
Highlights: The menu changes seasonally at Market Table Bistro, but on this particular night we were wowed by the addictive Korean barbecue deviled eggs with kimchi and our beautiful entrée of tender lamb served over torn homemade pasta (above) with local vegetables. As good as the food it, and it is really good, we go back for the excellent service and the charming front patio where dogs are not only allowed but encouraged. The kitchen makes even homemade dog treats for the pups.
Lobster in Maine
I can’t narrow this one down to one particular restaurant or dish, but eating lobster in Maine was one of the top culinary highlights of our year, hands down. Whether it was whole lobster, lobster chowder or a lobster roll – it was all delicious.
Highlights: We had a post-hike lunch with the family at Stewman’s Lobster Pound one afternoon complete with lobster in all its forms, and lobster bibs for all. While perhaps a bit of a tourist trap, we had a blast and the scenery was incredible.
Hard Eight BBQ in Dallas
Hard Eight BBQ, while the most recent dining experience on the list, may just be the best travel meal we had in 2016.
Highlights: We loved everything about this place from the no-frills location to the perfectly slow-cooked meats. The brisket is some of the best I’ve ever had and the sides were stellar. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, and Hard Eight hit all the right shots.
Here’s to more deliciousness (and hopefully more travel) in the year to come!