Any student of the Youngs is intimately aware of their gastronomic flair. The beginning of the first class of each year, each student is typically required to share the best meal of their summer, and then treated to a tale of the Youngs’ own summer culinary escapades. With this in mind, we asked both Youngs to prepare lists of their top 10 favorite meals/restaurants. Below are their responses.
1. Momofuku Ko in NYC: the most amazing (and expensive!) meal of my life. It’s the meal to end all meals, a multi-course tasting menu that’s based mostly on market availability. It took us over three hours to eat over thirteen small dishes. I could barely move afterwards. The restaurant only seats about twelve people, so landing a reservation was a miracle, and you get to watch the chef make every dish in front of you. They’re the same people who do the very popular Milk Bar Bakery and Noodle Bar.
2. Primo in Rockland, Maine: a farm-to-table restaurant in an old farmhouse in Mr. Belding’s summer vacation town, a quaint fishing village along West Penobscot Bay. We had the good fortune of going there twice with about a five year interlude between visits, and we ended up with the same unforgettable waiter who was an expert at food and wine pairings. I can still taste their creme brulee. They actually opened a sister restaurant at the J. W. Marriott at Starr Pass. It wasn’t good.
3. If it were still open, The Dish inside Tucson’s RumRunner. It was such an intimate venue, seating only about twenty people or so. They offered a small, excellent dinner menu. They still do pop-up dinners over the holidays by invitation.
4. I think my favorite meal of the day/week is brunch, and my favorite place to “do” brunch is Hotel Congress’ The Cup. Cast Iron Baked Eggs: do it!
5. My second favorite brunch spot is Penca, also downtown. Their sweet corn pancakes with jalapeño syrup are weird and wonderful.
6. I like french fries. A lot. Agustin Kitchen in the Mercado does them right. And the atmosphere is worth the overcharge. Their carrot cake is also crazy good.
7. I think the taco is the perfect food. And for an entirely different atmospheric experience, Aquî Con El Nene serves up the tastiest tacos yaqui and cabeza. The restaurant is in the back of a gas station on the west side of Tucson. It’s easy to miss.
8. Zanya’s Mediterranean on Speedway is our favorite destination for delicious take-out. The combination platter and the chicken shawarma sandwich with Zanya fries is a repeat order of ours.
9. Feast on Speedway is yummy. They do weird and brilliant and complicated flavor combos. Stuff I’d never think up.
10. Fleming’s dried porcini rubbed steak in gorgonzola sauce is a once-a-year treat. It’s our favorite place in town to get a good steak.
Out of Town:
1. Momofuku Ko-Manhattan–Probably the longest and most amazing dining experience in my life.
2. Oklahoma Joe-Kansas City–Best BBQ experience in my life…out of a gas station.
3. Primo-Rockland, ME–My first experience with “fine dining” courtesy of my older sister and her husband. Amazing organic farm and restaurant combo.
4. Mural Room-Jackson Lake Lodge in the Grand Tetons–The food doesn’t come to mind, but the view from the dining room was phenomenal.
5. The Dish-(RIP). My first experience with sweetbreads, and it made a lasting impression. It is missed.
6. Roma Imports–Get the pork shoulder sandwich. Even after I’ve eaten my fill, I keep taking bites so I can continue tasting it. When my parents visited, we took them to Roma for lunch. My mother watched me gorge myself. She wasn’t proud of me, but I couldn’t stop.
7. Hotel Congress/Prep and Pastry – Tie in the brunch category.
8. Luke’s-Grant and Columbus–Get the “Chicago Dog Special” and enjoy the best fries in Tucson. They’re probably fried in lard…so be prepared to have your life-expectancy shortened.
9. Aqui Con El Nene (Grant and Dragoon)-Amazing tacos…and out of a gas station.
10. Augustin Kitchen/Maynard’s–Tie in the poutine category. French Fries? Gravy? Cheese? Assorted pork products? Yes, every time, yes.
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