My Favorite Dining Experiences of 2013…
I wrote about my favorite experiences of 2012 last year, and it has been fun to go back and revisit some of them periodically. So…I thought I’d make another list for 2013 – the first full year of “She Ordered What?”.
First, let me say that 2013 has been a fantastic year! I left a job that, to put it nicely, was un-fulfilling, moved to Milwaukee (a city that I am LOVING!), am working for a supervisor I respect – and like, and have coworkers I enjoy (so much so that we opted to spend time together after the holiday party this year). I am living in downtown Milwaukee, and am thoroughly enjoying metropolitan living (as are my (now 13-year-old) dogs!). I am also traveling a bit more again, allowing for some interesting dining experiences. For me, change has been very good!
So…I started compiling my top 5 choices of 2013, but the list quickly grew beyond five. I’ll list my “top 5” and a few honorable mentions – which provided great memories with a bunch of friends and colleagues.
5) Melt Bar and Grilled: This is a bit of a cheat, as I actually posted this on December 28, 2012. However, I think Melt deserves a mention since the sandwich was so very good! Full of carbs and comfort, the “Mom’s Meatloaf” grilled cheese was excellent, and very filling! I did end up having the second half of the sandwich for lunch the next day – and I ate it cold. It was really delicious as a cold leftover! I’d also like to thank Melt Bar and Grilled for posting a link to my blog on their website. I really appreciate the additional traffic! I’m looking forward to hitting up Melt when I make it back to Ohio next year.
4) AJ Bombers: As I mentioned, I had been following AJ Bombers on Twitter ever since I read about their social media program a couple of years ago. So…when I moved to Milwaukee, I was really excited to walk over and check the place out in person. After all, the place promises “Happiness, with a side of burgers”. Not only is the food far better than your average bar food (let’s face it, it’s NOT healthy!), but the Bloody Mary drinks are the best in town – I don’t care what WISN readers say! Finally, the service is always outstanding – though I tend to favor being a customer of this girl. 😉
3) Braise: I was introduced to Braise through a local food blogger, Phi, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dining experience with her and another food blogger, Shanon. The atmosphere is so cool. This used to be a bowling alley, and the owners repurposed a lot of the old elements to create a unique and inviting space. But, the food…is SO good! The menu is changed up regularly to incorporate the best ingredients, and it’s not an overwhelmingly large menu so one doesn’t have to feel pressure to sift through pages of options, hoping to make the right decision. I’ve been to Braise several times now, and in my opinion, any decision is a good one! Also, Braise just opened a second floor bar/lounge area. I’ll need to check that out!
2) Bacon Bros. Public House: Another locally sourced restaurant makes the list! I have Yelp! to thank for introducing my friends and me to this hidden gem. While visiting South Carolina to see my Clemson Tigers beat Boston College, we stumbled upon Bacon Bros. The food: the meat is locally sourced, and spectacular, and the side dishes have a definite southern flair to them, but with a new twist. The service was fantastic. And, their motto is “Powered by Bacon”! What’s not to love about this place?
and…the top “She Ordered What?” dining experience of 2013 was…
1) The Publican: The fact that I drove ~90 miles each way to and from Chicago on a Tuesday night (in traffic and weather) could not even put a damper on this meal! Our server, whom I mentioned a few times in the post, was very good – and he was totally on board to surprise us that evening. The food was expertly prepared. Again, The Publican is a restaurant that sources its ingredients locally – must love that! All in all, the atmosphere, the service, the food, and the company (Chanda!) were top-notch. I loved this place that is off the beaten path, so to speak, but may be home to the best meal I’ve had in Chicago (and I’ve had some REALLY good meals there!). I highly recommend The Publican if you’re looking for an excellent dining experience. The menu changes up frequently here as well, but here is the selection from which we had to choose.
I kicked the year off by celebrating a dear friend’s birthday in Detroit. I was able to meet some of her other wonderful friends, and we just had a fantastic time enjoying a city that tends to be “off-limits” after work or late at night. Detroit does indeed have some safe and fun spots to enjoy “after hours”.
I also enjoyed celebrating my own birthday with friends – in Massachusetts. My friends gave me a perfectly balanced weekend. We had fun “out on the town”, enjoyed chilling at home, oh, and we ran a 10K in the middle of it all! I’m looking forward to seeing this crazy crew when we meet up for our other friends’ wedding in Memphis this February.
Finally, categorize this under the “last, but not least” header… I had some fun times traveling with my new coworkers this year. We had some really fruitful business trips, but always seemed to sneak in a good meal or two! There was the “first meal in Nola”, the “marathon trip”, the “French food in Montreal”, the “mussels in Brussels”, and the “pork in Paris”. We’ve had other dining adventures, but not all warrant a “She Ordered What?” post.
I will say this, I’m grateful for the way my colleagues have embraced me, and I find it refreshing to enjoy having a meal and/or a drink (or two!) with my coworkers. It certainly makes work more enjoyable!
“She Ordered What?”: 2013 by the numbers:
I wrote 22 posts to contribute to the overall number of 83 posts. The readers and I have posted 221 comments to the blog. There are over 1,800 “She Ordered What?” followers who viewed the blog almost 17,000 times. And, from all over the world…83 countries, actually (led by the US, Canada and Singapore)!
Thank you again for your support and readership. As I mentioned last year, if you would like to write a guest post, please let me know. I enjoy sharing others’ experiences as well!
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2014!