This happened to me this year, at Skillet.

On this Christmas Eve…a few ornamental memories from the critic’s tree. I have the best job in the world and some of its experiences are transcendent—like these unforgettable moments from 2014:

The burger at Babirusa, showcasing the smoky magic eggplant puree can bring to a piece of beef…a linger over an afternoon cocktail at Intermezzo Carmine, the elegant extension of the noble legacy of Il Terrazzo Carmine…the genuine warmth in the air (and in the courtyard) at Brimmer and Heeltap, which has to be making the ghost of Le Gourmand smile…Lucy Damkoehler’s exquisite deconstructed cheesecake at Liam’s… the adobada taco, all sticky-sweet with pineapple juice, at Tacos Chukis on Broadway…the wraparound booth in the corner of Loulay’s swanky bar…the discovery that this city offers some of the legit best sandwiches in the world—just months before Lorenzo Lorenzo closed Paseo…the astonishing beignets at Roux…Peter Miller’s winsome little cookbook, Lunch at the Shop…breezy summer dinners (remember those?) in the optimistically al fresco “dining rooms” of Humble Pie and Big Chickie…piling an embarrassment of perfect raspberries atop a plate of extraordinary French toast at Portage Bay Café…Jason Stratton’s admirably ego-free willingness to hear his constituents and transform his unpopular Spanish restaurant, Aragona, into the Italian Vespolina—over the course of a single weekend…the cardamom tea cakes, gateaux Basques, lemon tarts, and other miracles from the bakery at the brilliant London Plane…discovering for myself that the gluten-free Capitol Cider really does serve a killer fish and chips…the genuinely elegant hostmanship of Jef Fike at West Seattle’s Cassis…learning that Morsel, the biscuit shop in Ballard, opened a drive-through…Josh Henderson’s admirable attempt to transform the sports bar stereotype at Quality Athletics… every idle hour enjoyed with the neighbors on the ridiculously happy patio at Tallulah’s.

Seasons Eatings, Seattle.