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The Best Things We Ate in 2015

Will travel for food

If there is one thing AFAR staffers love traveling for, it's to eat delicious food. (And for shopping. And adventures. And exceptional experiences.) Naturally, our team tried some seriously amazing stuff this year, from tons of fried Japanese food to a local Filipino feast. But among all those delicious meals, these were our favorites of 2015.

"The best thing I ate in my 2015 travels was a simple, homemade sandwich in a tiny town in on a drizzly day in Bretagne (Brittany), France, accompanied by dry local cider. Not only were we able to find an absolutely delicious gluten-free baguette for me, but all the fillings were so fresh and flavorful and simple. Plus there was French mustard and cornichons, which, let’s be honest, are lightyears better in France than anything I can find at home." —Maggie Fuller, editorial intern

Aman's Japanese breakfast
"The Japanese breakfast at the Aman Tokyo. In fact, breakfasts like this in Japan is reason alone to visit the country. Look at this spread of delicious bites that’s almost too gorgeous to eat: perfectly poached fish topped with ginger, hearty miso soup, tart pickled vegetables, an umeboshi salt plum, seasonal fruit, and the fluffiest, most perfect rice you’ve ever tasted." —Jennifer Flowers, deputy editor

 

"I was totally blown away by the cocktails created by Tony Conigliaro and served up in Seymour’s Parlour at the new Zetter Townhouse Marylebone in London. My favorites were The Rake (cryptically described as containing Beefeater Gin, powdered notes, and black spots), The Köln II (basically an aromatic dry martini), the Turf Club (gin, Dubonnet, grape reduction, Peruvian bitters, and grass), and the Two-Pennie Trash, in which the combination of rye whiskey, powdered malts, and treacle resulted in a cocktail that looks like, and even tastes a bit like, a short glass of stout, but with more of wallop. " —Derk Richardson, senior editor

"I'm still dreaming of a Vietnamese dish I had in Ho Chi Minh City called op la—a breakfasty concoction of crispy fried eggs, an assortment of meat, a salty sauce, pickles, and herbs, all scooped up with a crusty baguette. It’ll definitely make it into my weekend brunch rotation." (pictured at top) —Danielle Walsh, associate editor

Pizza from the Pizzarium
"I’m still haunted by the pizza al taglio I tried at Rome’s Pizzarium. It is deceptively simple-looking, but once you try Gabriele Bonci’s dough—made from heirloom grains and allowed to rise for 72 hours—you’ll understand why a line of Romans and pizza pilgrims forms in the hour before Bonci opens for business. Just don’t ask me to pick a favorite topping." —Aislyn Greene, associate editor

"When I was in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, I discovered the rica rica plant, a fragrant herb known for its medicinal properties and ability to cure altitude sickness. But what most people don’t know is that it makes the perfect addition to any meal or drink—including pisco sours. I had a pisco sour con rica rica with my dinner every evening. It’s not allowed in the United States, unfortunately, or I would have brought a supply home with me!" —Michaela Trimble, brand manager

"The fried potatoes sprinkled with local cheese and smoked salt at Avocado, a restaurant in Imerovigli, a little village on the highest point of Santorini, Greece. We hadn’t ordered them originally, but when we saw and smelled a plate of them come out of the kitchen, we basically ordered them for dessert. We had already eaten and drunk a lot of good things at that meal—risotto, ouzo, an incredibly fresh salad of tomatoes and onions. But it was the potatoes we knew we had to come back for. And the next time we didn’t save them for dessert. " —Jeremy Saum, executive editor

"Hands down the tasting menu at Komi in Washington, D.C. that was about a dozen dishes with an emphasis on seafood paired with Old World wines. My most memorable meal of the year for sure." —Joe Diaz, co-founder

"Mine was surprisingly only four blocks from the AFAR New York City office at a phenomenal (yet unfancy) Szechuan restaurant, fittingly called Szechuan Gourmet.  Their specialty is a spicy red sauce that is happiness on a plate when served over fresh whole grilled fish (or almost anything else for that matter)." —Barry Brown, executive director of sales

A feast at San Francisco's Bar Tartine
"I was in San Francisco in March 2015 for my third visit, which meant I was 0-2 on finally going to Bar Tartine—a tip given to me by an AFAR staffer and native of SF. The brunch meal I had there was the best of my year: fresh, elegant, with just the right amount of surprise. On the table was a scrambled egg and labneh flatbread with fresh herbs and green onion; yogurt with persimmon, pecans, and raw honey; and beet salad with sorrel and crumbled cheese, all paired with a frothy Saison. Somehow my colleague Michaela and I nabbed two seats at the communal table with no wait time at all, which I hear is uncanny for this Mission spot." —Juliette San Fillipo, associate marketing manager

"When I visited Amsterdam this summer, I ventured to the east side where you can find Wilde Zwijnen, a rustic lodge-y joint with a rotating menu of what I guess you would call New Dutch food. If they’re on the menu, the fried squash blossoms—stuffed with pesto and gooey Gouda and served with briny sea veggies—are a must-eat." —Andrew Richdale, senior editor

"The 'original' Asian egg tart from Lord Stow's Bakery in Coloane, Macau.  Flaky, buttery pastry with a fluffy yet creamy egg filling. Perfect with a cup of traditional stocking tea." —Nick Rowlands, guides editor

>>Next: Our Top 10 Stories from 2015