The Huddle: The Best Thing We’ve Ever Eaten

Is there a meal you still dream about? A food that brings you bliss?

Kim Hoffman: My ex girlfriend’s family is Italian and on one of the last nights she was in town before she left for the army, she made a big pasta with their secret family sauce. I’ve never had any other sauce so good, you just wanted to shovel it in your mouth by the barrel. Her mom had just had surgery and was completely pilled out on pain killers, plus the two bottles of wine she was killing, so she requested I dance with her in the living room to Bruce Springsteen, which I did—and as we danced (well, mostly I held her up, and she drooped) she said my hair smelled really great. My ex just looked on and laughed, and occasionally if we catch up (because she’s the only ex I’m actually friends with) I’ll remind her of this Bruce mom moment I had. It’s not that anything about this moment was particularly magical or dreamy, but it was the food and the wine and the pills and the Bruce and my ex’s mom that makes it so.


Dara Nai: In general, I love white people comfort food. Mac and cheese, meatloaf, stuffing, that green bean casserole thing you guys invented. My last meal on Death Row would be Thanksgiving dinner. But specifically, the best meal of my adult life was a good friend’s birthday dinner hosted by her girlfriend at a steak restaurant in Beverly Hills. We started with a massive seafood tower (at least three feet tall, no joke), segued into the best steak I’ve ever had, served on a plate heated to exactly 400 degrees, accompanied by six to sevel amazing sides including lobster mash potatoes and king crab/black truffle gnocchi, and ended with a birthday dessert extravaganza what would make a chocolate lover weep. The entire dinner was over-the-top delicious, but it was only memorable because of the friends at the table. The best meal in the world means nothing if it isn’t shared with people you love.

Grace Chu: This is like asking me which L Word Season 6 episode was the most unwatchable, which Sarah McLachlan song is best for breakups, which Republican politician is the most absurd. I can’t choose. Just look at my Instagram.

Erica Feliciano: The cheeseburger from Au Cheval in Chicago. It’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten and has been voted as one of the best burgers in the country. Au Cheval ruined all other burgers for me.


Bridget McManus: My Nana’s homemade manicotti. It’s so good that I actually shared the recipe on The Queen Latifah Show last season. I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas and smother it in marinara sauce. It makes me very nostalgic and desperately miss my grandmother, in the best way. 

Elaine Atwell: Living in New Orleans with my oh-so-cultured girlfriend, I’ve become quite the food snob in the past few years.  Savory cheesecakes, rabbit jambalaya, duck in all its glorious forms, cheeses that somehow make “stinks to high heaven” a compliment.  I love it all. Yet for all my new found appreciation for the culinary arts, nothing can quite match the divinity of a perfect peach.  I mean, all peaches are good, but occasionally you get one that is just dripping with flavor.  It’s like eating sunshine. 

And yes, I am perfectly aware of the vaginal implications of my choice, and I embrace them fully.
Lucy Hallowell: When I was a kid I was in the pageant that opened the summer season at the club near my house (yes, it’s just as WASPy and ridiculous as it sounds). The woman who put on the productions each year was a marvel. One day we were rehearsing the thing in her house; a giant summer house with, I think, a ballroom, and she brought us all a plate of cookies. They were chocolate chip which sounds like nothing special. But they were like little blobs of perfectly melted chocolate connected by lace. I found out years later that she would cook them in her oven for a bit and then she ironed the damn things to make them that thin and delicate. I’ve never had a cookie that comes close since then and sometimes I do dream of their perfection.
Valerie Anne: Artichoke Pizza in NYC is the best pizza I have ever eaten, and I’ve eaten a lot of pizza. The first time I ever had it, there was only one Artichoke in the city, and it was this little hole-in-the-wall that barely fit four people at a time. I was in college, it was 4 in the morning, and there was a line down the block. A line my friends and I didn’t mind waiting in because we had booze jackets for warmth and each other for company. It was so freaking delicious that I fantasized about it until the next time we went, again after closing down a bar. We made a bit of a tradition whenever we found ourselves out in the area. A few years later, my company had a meeting catered by Artichoke Pizza and I panicked. I was afraid to try it, sober, in the middle of the day. What if it wasn’t as amazing as it was in college? But free pizza is free pizza so I ate it and holy foodgasm it was even better that I remembered. 
Chelsea Steiner: As a NOLA native, I find myself constantly on the hunt for legit southern food in Los Angeles. I’ve found some promising spots, but nothing that really compares to home. There is so much amazing cuisine in New Orleans it’s almost impossible to pick just one, but I am a sucker for the roasted corn grits at Zea Rotisserie and Brewery. Those grits haunt my dreams. 

Chloe: I used to live in NOLA, too, and I crave Jacques Imo’s fried chicken, alligator cheesecake, and grits with remoulade. God I’m hungry. 

Trish Bendix: My girlfriend is Cuban and so when she met another friend of mine who is also Cuban, they decided to cook a huge Cuban meal—ropa vieja, arroz mozo, picadillo, plantains. It took two days, as preparations started the night before we actually ate and went well into the evening the night we finally got to taste the fruits of their labor. But we had the dinner at a friend’s and invited more friends and it was one of those nights where you don’t even care that you’re not eating yet because it’s full of conversation and wine and champagne so when you’re finally eating, you are already feeling full of goodness—the food is an added bonus. And damn, that shit was good.

Dana Piccoli: I’ve had some really memorable meals in some amazing places, but the best thing I’ve ever eaten is something very simple. A Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait. Yeah, you can call me basic about it and my wife will surely tease me, but there is something about a Peanut Buster Parfait. The ice cream is so smooth, nothing else on earth has the consistency of Dairy Queen ice cream. Then you add that hot fudge, which is perfectly chocolately. Top it with those salty Spanish peanuts, and I will drive a 100 miles to get one. In fact I have.


What is the best meal or food you’ve ever eaten?