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Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: Dining Experts Recall Their Top 2014 Meals

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types and bloggers. For our first question, friends of Eater weigh-in on their top restaurant, biggest regrets and addresses most searched on their Google Maps.

Q. What was your single best meal of 2014?

James Norton, editor of Heavy Table and author of the "Wendigo's Credit Card": Brasserie Zentral - with the price point and the subject matter (foie gras, etc.) everything had to be perfect, and it was. The depth of knowledge of our servers and their ability to guide us through the wine list was absolutely superb as well.

Brasserie Zentral's Duck confit salad. Photo by Bill Addison

Jessica Fleming, food critic for the Pioneer Press. "Heyday. We ate almost the entire menu and it was all amazing. Brasserie Zentral was a close second. The halibut tail for two is a show-stopper."

Stephanie March senior food editor Mpls. St. Paul Magazine. "I can’t possibly pick one. I’d need an algorithm or something and I don’t have math."

Jason DeRusha anchor, WCCO; contributing editor Mpls. St. Paul Magazine. "The week that Heyday opened, my wife and I brought our two kids. Seth (age 9) is our adventurous eater, and he loved everything. Sammy (age 7) ordered the beef with morel mushrooms and sweetbreads. This kid doesn't like mushrooms and I thought sweetbreads might be scary. Nope. He devoured the whole thing, and spent the next few months trying to convince his little buddies that they needed to try morel mushrooms. So fun. The combination of great food, a lovely room, friendly service, amazing desserts, and the company of my family really makes that a special memory."

Mecca Bos, food critic City Pages. "Full tasting menu with wine at Travail 2.0. Fun, funny, delicious, surprising, intoxicating, ridiculous, world class-- really and truly unforgettable."

Travail prepping for service. Photo by Joy Summers

Josie Franske, editorial assistant Minnesota Monthly. "Impossible to pick just one. I went to 112 Eatery for the very first time in March (I KNOW) and it was completely transformative—it’s now my go-to, and I’ve ordered almost everything on the menu and never been unhappy. The Hot Chicks dinner at The Rabbit Hole in the midst of the polar vortex was pretty ideal, since really good all-you-can-eat fried chicken is a quick way to warm up (and add extra insulation). My summer trip to Wise Acre Eatery was charming in the best way possible—I think they have some of the best décor in the Cities. And any time I stepped into Isles Bun and Coffee when it was cold and/or raining outside because I was guaranteed to be greeted with a piping-hot, head-sized cinnamon roll ready to be slathered with that DIY frosting."

Joy Summers, Editor Eater Minneapolis. "I don't know how I could possibly pick. There were the perfect summer nights next to the C.O.G. on Corner Table's patio, sipping astounding wine with great friends. At Madden's Resort there was an idyllic waterside dinner where Jim Christensen, Doug Flicker, Landon Schoenefeld, Erik Anderson and other chefs made tacos. There was a weekday brunch at The Kenwood that lasted until happy hour. Watching my five year old scarf an arepa at Hola Arepa and chug ginger lemonade was pretty much perfect, too. Late night in rural Wisconsin I shared a perfect order of cheese curds with a vat of ranch dressing with the man who holds my heart. There were so many more... I've got a lot to be grateful for this year."

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