“You are what you eat.” This delectable sentence starts the book For The Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann. The act of eating is a sacramental experience. This little book helped me understand for the first time why I am innately and unapologetically a “foodie.”
Here are my top 5 restaurants of all time and I would ask you to list your favorite as well.
1.) Mogador — Aspen, Colorado — Chef Barclay Dodge created this Moroccan Restaurant. He hosts a Chef’s Table like nothing I’ve ever experienced called the Seven Wonders of the World. The personal menu is then placed in a book and you are guaranteed never to have the same course twice. It is complemented by a perfect Spanish wine flight. Barclay Dodge is a genius who plans, prepares and presents regional cuisine like a master artist. Unfortunately, Aspen’s seasonal clientele could not support this extraordinary restaurant and it is now closed.
2.) French Laundry — Napa, California — Chef Thomas Keller is world renowned and an American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer. He and his landmark Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, California, have won multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, notably the Best California Chef in 1996, and the Best Chef in America in 1997. The restaurant is a perennial winner in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World. The tasting menu is other worldly for its exotic yet regional cuisine, much of which is harvested in the Napa Valley area.
3.) Sooke Harbor House, Sooke, British Columbia — A romantic boutique hotel and restaurant on the edge of the Pacific, is located approximately 45 minutes from Victoria on the west coast of Vancouver Island, on a bluff looking out at the Sooke Harbour, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountain Range.
This award winning restaurant (voted #1 restaurant in Canada) features the freshest of local seafood, meats and produce. The menu changes on a daily basis. They actively support local farmers, gardeners and fishermen. To enhance your dining experience, sample a vintage from their Wine Spectator Grand Award winning wine cellar. Their certified organic herbs and flower gardens are planned as an edible landscape, with indigenous plants, common and unusual herbs. Many of the flavors used by their chefs come from their own edible gardens.
4.) La Tour d’Argent — Paris, France — Since 1582 this fabled restaurant has been serving food on the scenic banks of the Seine while overlooking the spires of Notre Dame. The fork was first utilized here and every duck—for which they are famous—is numbered and carved with the aforementioned fork without touching the plate. A window seat at dinner admiring the Paris sunset while taking in the delectable food and dazzling views of Notre Dame is sensory overload at its finest.
5.) 12 Chimneys — In the mountains outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan — Imagine driving on a winding one-lane road into the mist of the highest mountains of Central Asia and coming to a restaurant that looks like it came straight from the set of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and you will understand only a minute aspect of the mystique of this restaurant.
With open burning fires scattered throughout and walls and floors covered with enormous furry animal pelts, this restaurant has to be seen to be believed. For your dining pleasure, a horse complete with head can be served to your party, complemented a mound by the finest beluga caviar I have ever witnessed. It is the most surreal dining experience of my life.
Question: What is your favorite restaurant of all time?
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