Best dish: Giant platter of meat, but especially the brisket, at Black’s in Lockhart, TX.
Runner-up best dish: Knuckle Sandwich (stew of oxtail, tendon, and other bits, served with amazing bread) at A-Frame in Los Angeles. NB: Alcohol was involved.
Best drinking experience: Kopstootjes at De Drie Fleschjes, a tasting room operating in Amsterdam since 1650.
Best bartending experience: State Policy Network speakeasy party at Naga in Bellevue, WA. 200 libertarians, one punch bowl, and a whole lot of classic cocktails.
Go-to cigar: Berger and Argenti Entubar Quad Maduro. Perfect for my palate and has a striking appearance to highlight its unique rolling method.
Best reading experience: Infinite Jest. No it didn’t come out in 2011, but reading it in the spring reignited my interest in fiction.
Best new music: Decemberists, The King is Dead. I loved it on the first listen and it hasn’t suffered from repetition.
Most surprising comic book: Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman, and Jeff Huet on “Animal Man.” The art, characterization, and story are all absolutely spot on.
Best magic experience: Performing the Fast and Loose con game at various Portland street festivals.
Newly appreciated product: Sherry. Both on its own or in cocktails, I’m going through more of this than ever before.
Product I wish was in the US: Bols Yogurt Liqueur. Seriously.
Prediction for 2012: Year of the Bone Luge. Seriously.
Most anticipated bar for 2012: Haymerchant, new beer bar in Houston, TX, from the folks behind Anvil.