2014 was amazing. It was the first year my wife and I have been homeowners, which certainly came with its own set of challenges. I got promoted at work, which was exciting but also presented some new responsibilities and challenges. I took on more responsibility as a freelance writer, which was fun but also more time consuming. And Nicole and I traveled to some incredible places - the best perk of her job of working in the airline industry.
As I reflect, here are some of my favorite things from 2014.
Although BBQ is my first love and I had some phenomenal BBQ this past year, the San Gennaro pizza from Antico Pizza in Atlanta was the single best thing I ate all year. I’d heard about this iconic pizza shop in Atlanta for many years, but finally had the opportunity to visit over the summer. Everything about it was fantastic, particularly the Neapolitan style crust served fresh from the wood burning oven. Learn more about it in my review of Antico Pizza.
Runner Up: Pappy’s Smokehouse - St. Louis
Best Thing I Watched: House of Cards - Netflix
I had quite a few Netflix marathons this year. Because we decided not to purchase cable in our new house, Netflix often became the TV option of choice, giving me the opportunity to check out a huge assortment of shows (many of them older) and movies. I’m definitely late to the party on this observation, but House of Cards is amazing. The acting is superb and based on my limited knowledge of local politics, it seems to accurately portray the amount of corruption and scheming that takes place in government.
Runner Up: Dexter (Showtime) & Arrow (CW)
Best Thing I Read: The Right Thing To Do vs. The State of Florida - SB Nation
For as much as I read, I was struck by the fact that I only read a couple books in 2014. I’m putting that down as a resolution for 2015. More of my reading time is spent focusing on articles from newspapers and websites, and my favorite from 2014 was this longform by Michael Kruse for SB Nation. It’s a powerful story about a Florida State football player who died during a conditioning workout and the experience his family has dealt with in the aftermath of the tragedy.
This was a tough decision, but I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest during our time in Portland. It has everything I love about being in a city, without the problems and frustrations of a big city. Natural beauty. Outstanding food. Clean and efficient public transportation. Distinct culture. When we visited, even the weather was fantastic. I couldn’t have been happier about our experience in Portland.
Runner Up: Marrakech, Morocco
Best Game I Watched: College Basketball - Duke vs. Syracuse - Round 1
I wouldn’t have guessed the best game I watched this year would be a Duke loss, but the contest in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse was an instant classic. It featured two of the heavyweight programs in college basketball facing off against each other and playing at a superbly high level in an incredible environment. The Blue Devils ultimately fell short in the 91-89 overtime loss, but it was a pleasure to watch as a college basketball fan.
What were some of your best experiences of 2014? Let me know in the comments section!