To be honest, I'm not sure there is one single restaurant experience this year that stands out far and ahead of all the others. How about a slew of honourable mentions instead? Yes. Order is chronological, not win-ical.
Honourable Mention 1: One of my now-roommates, then out-of-town-friends came to visit for a weekend. We decided we should go out for brinner (breakfast for dinner), because breakfast is the best meal, after all (breakfast: kind of a theme for this post). I invited along some of my other friends, and during a Facebook chat conversation, spur-of-the-moment invited a co-worker that I didn't know that well, and he brought along his roommate too. We went out to the local Smitty's, but got there about 15 minutes before they closed and stayed anyway because we're sort of jerks. This makes the list because: a) throwing together a random mishmash of people worked out surprisingly well for me, and b) there's this hilarious cake story... (cake stories: also a recurring theme in this post). My co-worker had already eaten, so he mostly just came along for the trip. But when we walked in, he saw the waitress walk by taking a dessert to another table. He decided he wanted that, so when we were seated, he looked through the dessert menu and figured out which one it was. When his dessert arrived, however, it was not at all the thing he saw when we first came in! Upon further examination of the menu, someone else found a picture of what he had wanted. What was it called? Chocolate Confusion.
Honourable Mention 2: This year my school hosted an improv competition. By virtue of being friends with most of our improv team, my friends and I ended up tagging along to the party they had afterwards. Since I stuck around until way too late to walk home, my friends MM and DC lent me their couch for the night. The next morning we went out for breakfast at the Ardmore. This one makes the list because: a) I like those two! and b) I like the Ardmore. It's just this laid back breakfast-diner place that feels cozy and homey. And they serve pancakes the size of my head.
Honourable Mention 3: So I have these friends that are kind of... insane, for lack of a better word. Two of them are in my year at university, and one's a year behind us. The two in my year were always talking about this local Turkish restaurant that they sometimes go to, and how good the food is, and how attractive the waitresses are. The third friend, who is equally as attractive-women obsessed, had been wanting to go to this place all year, so one day during the exam period, he finally convinced the other two that they should all go. I happened to be there at the time, I was invited along as well, and in fact it was hinted that they wouldn't go if I didn't go (they're just sane enough to recognize the fact that they can't be trusted to behave themselves in public; they recognize the need for my calming influence). Anyway, while three of us were waiting for the fourth to show up, the (then-)enemy happened along and got invited as well. There was a serious lack of attractive waitresses, but no shortage of ridiculousness. One of the friends convinced me that it would be a good idea to buy a whole cake because it would be cheaper than by the slice. He managed to bargain it down from $60 to the low price of just thirty-five dollars! Still a bad, though. Did not need that much cake. Fortunately, that issue resolved itself with him paying for the cake and me not paying for the cake, which was really the ideal outcome. This makes the list because: It was absolutely hilarious. No written words can do justice to the comedy of that night. (also, it holds a special place for me because it set the wheels in motion for the then-enemy to become the now-boyfriend).
Honourable Mention 4: My dad is kind of important in the government. Not, like, super-important, certainly not elected-official important, but, ya know, manager-level, been-in-charge-of-some-rather-important-projects kind of important. Anyway, when he finished his last project and moved to a different position, the people who had worked on the project with him got together and gave him a gift certificate for a family meal to a super-classy restaurant down home (super-classy by rural kid standards; I'm sure I don't mean the same thing that rich city folk would mean by super-classy). This was made use of over the summer, when my brother and his girlfriend were home. It was the first and only time I've ever eaten in an upscale restaurant, so it was an interesting experience. The food was delicious and abundant. This makes the list because: a) It was really neat to live the rich and famous lifestyle for a couple of hours. I could not in good conscious live the life of luxury all the time, even if it were an option financially, but for one night, it was nice; and b) sometimes I forget just how much I like my family, and it's nights like that one where we all really come together that I remember how great they are.