1. The Fried Chicken Sandwich at #SevenFifteenEight (aka Pineapple & Pearls, daytime)
The intense reservation system has kept me out of Pineapple & Pearls. And, though I knew they did coffee and pastry in the mornings, I. Did. Not. Know. They. Did. Sandwiches. This made-to-order fried chicken sandwich on a biscuit is the best thing I can remember eating all year long. Which is good because it was yesterday.
Pineapple & Pearls is located at 715 8th Street SE in Washington, DC. The nearest Metro stop is Eastern Market. Reservations are not needed for lunch (or breakfast.) (For dinner, you'll have to plan at least 30 days ahead.)
2. Zucchini Bread with Foie at Hazel
I ordered this as an afterthought and it ended up being the table favorite. The bread is somehow both light and dense - and toasted - and the foie is like buttah.
Hazel is located at 808 V Street NE in Washington, DC. The nearest Metro stop is U Street/Cardozo. Reservations are recommended, but not required.
3. The Queso Fundido at Estia's Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, NY
Let's be real, I loved everything I ate at Estia's and everything about the place. (Besides the wait, but thankfully my friend beat me there and I missed most of that.) If you find yourself in the Hamptons, put this place on your to do list.
Estia's Little Kitchen is located at 1615 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Sag Harbor, NY.
4. The Gruyere Dumplings at Maketto in Washington, DC
Served over a spicy beef chili and greens, these pillowy dumplings oozed with that nutty gruyere. A close runner up for my favorite bite at Maketto this meal was the Larb Bone Marrow. This is a truly unique experience and menu. Worth putting into heavy rotation.
Maketto is located at 1351 H Street NE in Washington, DC. There's a coffee shop upstairs and retail downstairs. Make time to explore the space and the menu. And, when your mouth is on fire, order the shaved ice to cool down.
5. The Lobster Roll at Thames Street Oyster House in Baltimore, MD
The best lobster roll I've ever had was at Eventide in Portland, Maine. I've been back for it five times. But, since I haven't been to Maine in 2017, Baltimore wins my best lobster roll of the year. I had this pillowy perfection on a great girls weekend, exploring the food scene in this roadtrippable DC neighbor.
Thames Street Oyster House is at 1728 Thames Street in Baltimore, MD. Ask if you can get the outside table or an upstairs window view, if available. It's right on the water.
6. The Clam Roll, On the Beach, From Sammy's On The Go in Montauk, NY
Sometimes it can be hard to separate the perfection of the bite from the perfection of the moment. This one was a 20 minute work lunch break when I zipped over to check out Gosman's (it wasn't open yet), but found the Sammy's On the Go food truck. Even better.
Sammy's On The Go roams, but you can visit their restaurant at 448 West Lake Drive in Montauk, NY. I can't pretend that sitting in a restaurant will feel and taste as good as basking in the sun on an early May day on the beach, but it's worth a shot.
It's hard to identify which bite made this meal so memorable. Everything from the coffee to the ceviche to the breakfast tacos left me wanting more. We even asked for the name of the ceramic artist who made the coffee cups and plates.
Bar Clavel is located at 225 West 23rd Street in Baltimore, MD.
NOTE: I will commit to adding to this list moving forward. And, maybe, just maybe, I'll go back through my phone and add to it retroactively.
Tell me what you think is a contender and I'll go try it.
Eat on, friends.