Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, FL. The first rule of Bern's is you don't talk about Bern's. That's right, there's no link to one of my old posts, and no pics. Bern's is no ordinary old-school steakhouse. Over the past 50 years, Bern's has acquired the largest wine cellar of any restaurant on the east coast. It's a mecca for wine lovers everywhere as you will literally find wines here that you won't find anywhere else. I spent a few nights at Bern's in July with the likes of Rowdyfood, EatItAtlanta, and a couple other local Legends. We drank Burgundy and Bordeaux wines older than us, our parents, and probably our grandparents. That's all I can say. Anybody else drink 1937 Bordeaux this year?
Cakes & Ale--What else to say? My favorite restaurant in Decatur, and it just keeps getting better. The move to the new space and the addition of David Sweeney lunches has elevated Cakes & Ale to rather rare air. Sweeney's quinoa salad above is the stuff of foodie dreams.
4. No. 246--No. 246 is a welcome addition to the Decatur dining scene. I've enjoyed multiple visits in the last few months since they opened. Not many misses, mostly hits, and a thoughtful, seasonal and evolving menu that hits a lot of good notes for me. My kids loving their spaghetti and meatballs coupled with $10 corkage = WIN.
5. Burgundy--I adore the wines of Burgundy. See here. And here. And here. And here... Some bottles from this year in the pic below (with a nod to EatItAtlanta).
duck prosciutto, and duck pastrami, and I also continued to fool around with various treatments of confit and cassoulet.
Pappy Van Winkle 15 year bourbon. Fittingly, as Pappy is the reigning poster child for great and rare Bourbon these days. But, there are others this year that were also excellent including Elijah Craig 18, Prichard's Double Barrelled, and my old stand by, Basil Hayden's. Should also point out that if yo want to try a variety of Bourbon's, head on over to Mac McGhee's in Decatur where you will find an extensive list of diverse and rare Bourbons, Scotch, and Whiskey available for sampling.
8. Loire Valley Wines--One of my discoveries this year is the wines of the Loire Valley. There are many producers of red and white wines from the Loire valley that are usually all of the following: affordable, able to age, biodynamic, and made with non-interventionist practices.
9. Champagne--Another thing I realized this year is that I love good Champagne. That's Champagne; made in France, not generic sparkling wine. Champagne is a versatile wine that pairs well with just about anything and shouldn't be just a special occasion beverage. An...it's a great match with fried chicken!Growlers--Thanks to the 2011 arrivals of Ale Yeah and The Beer Growler, Decatur is hopping with Growlers. If you are still drinking beer out of a 12oz. bottle (or can, god forbid!), you need to get on with a Growler.
11.Reading List--A few of the books I turned and returned to this year for research and inspiration.