The Best Things We Ate in 2015

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Assuming you eat three times a day, you probably consumed a little under 2,000 meals this past year. That’s not including snacks or desserts. There’s no way you can remember all of them, but sometimes the memory of a single splendid bite can linger for years.

Here’s what the crew of Paste Food has been daydreaming about—the things we wish we could eat again, whether they were elaborate preparations at a fine dining establishment or packaged foods from the snack aisle.

Cracked Dungeness crab
I’m reaching way back to last New Year’s for this one, but that should tell you just how good this crab was. Served to me by a close friend, she took Dungeness crab and partially cracked all the legs. She then whipped up a sauce of just olive oil, a little butter, garlic and dried oregano from her garden and drenched the crab legs with it. I think she heated it all up slightly in the oven—but I can’t get the total recipe out of her just yet. It was completely finger-sucking, mind-blowingly good. (Jackie Varriano)

Greek Yogurt Lavender Mousse at Nerai

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Having a Greek dad, I’ve been eating (and loving) Greek yogurt since I was a kid. I’ve had it with honey, with sugar, with nuts. But I’d never had it whipped, flavored with lavender, and topped with candied pecans and pineapple carpaccio. This dish by Chef Chris Christou of Nerai takes a Greek classic, and updates it with a modern and refreshing twist. (Madina Papadopoulos)

Strafford Organic Creamery Sweet Guernsey Cream Ice Cream
I’m a sucker for chocolate that uses distinct milk (think Mast Brothers Sheep’s Milk Chocolate or Askinosie’s Dark Goat’s Milk), and this year I discovered an ice cream that showcases its dairy, too. Stafford Organic Creamery is based out of a tiny family farm in Vermont, and if you’re ever in New England, their Sweet Guernsey Cream Ice Cream is worth tracking down. Custardy and grassy, this flavor is simple bliss. (JoAnna Novak)

Beanfields Pico de Gallo Bean & Rice Chips

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True confession: My husband has to put our bags of Beanfields Bean & Rice Pico de Gallo-flavored chips way up on a shelf, out of my reach, as they can be hazardous to have around while I work from home. It doesn’t mean I won’t eat them—just that I have to get a step-stool to do so, which gives me time to think about whether I’ve had my weekly quota or not. Seriously, I’ve eaten way too many of them this year…and will probably do it again next year, and I’m not sorry! Nacho flavored ones will do in a pinch. (Shawna Kenney)

Turkey neck confit
The past few years at Thanksgiving, I’ve butchered the bird into pieces: the breast gets slathered with herb salt and roasted; the legs, thighs, and giblets get cured and then made into confit. This year, instead of sacrificing the neck for stock, I did confit with that, too. Why was it I had only one plate of food at the big meal? Uh, I kinda had a private first course in the kitchen, because the turkey neck meat was so damn good I just picked it right off the bones and ate it all at while standing over the cutting board. Traditionally no one fights over the turkey neck..and no one’s going to be in the future, because I’m not telling anyone else about it but you. That neck is mine, suckas.

The Perfect Egg at Dutch & Company in Richmond, Va.

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I have the good fortune of living in Richmond, Virginia, a city that keeps me well-fed with all of its amazing food establishments. One of my favorite restaurants in town, Dutch & Company, always delivers with sensational cocktails and cuisine. While the restaurant has a seasonal menu with constantly changing dishes, the chef keeps one very special small plate on the menu (or else all hell would break loose in town). The Perfect Egg ($9) is Dutch & Company’s brilliant take on the Scotch egg. A hard-boiled egg, crusted in rye, is served with cured salmon topped with sprouted quinoa and fresh herbs, and then nestled a bed of braised cabbage. A side of creamy cumin yogurt brings the dish home. Paired with one of Dutch & Company’s delightful craft cocktails, you are truly in for a treat. (Marissa Hermanson)

The Absolu Citron lemon tart from Des Gâteaux et Du Pain in Paris
I’m a sucker for a great lemon tart, but as far as I’m concerned, even a good lemon tart is hard to find. The Absolu Citron, however, is everything I’ve ever wanted from this classic French pastry. The lemon flavor is bright, thanks to the use of Sicilian lemons, and the buttery shortbread crust stands up to the curd perfectly. But I think what really took the proverbial cake here was the addition of Sicilian green olive oil, which adds an extra layer of complex fruitiness. You also don’t have to share, as they come individually sized. (Emily Monaco)

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