This year, we asked Shank readers and contributors what their favorites of 2015 were without the whole rigmarole of creating a list. We also asked them to give a few sentences what made it their favorite. These are the results.
FAVORITE VIDEO GAME: HER STORY (a murder mystery game available on iOS or Steam)
ELLEN SWEENEY: One of the best narratives I experienced this year, packaged in a novel format which brings full-motion video gaming into the Google era. The format is accessible to anyone who has used a search engine, or spent an hour going down a rabbithole of Youtube videos, but executed well enough to catch the notice of game critics.
FAVORITE BOARD GAME: PANDEMIC LEGACY
ELLEN SWEENEY: The original Pandemic is, hands down, one of the greatest cooperative board games of all time; Legacy adds a plot-twisting narrative experience over the course of a dozen or so sessions. Rules shift, new complexities are introduced, old ways of approaching the game become obsolete. Plus, the way the game is packaged is just plain fun -- adding stickers to the game board and rule book as things evolve, opening mystery boxes when a game event is triggered, tearing up cards that are removed from the game.
FAVORITE MEAL: TACOS @ GUERO'S, AUSTIN
STEVE ASHBY: Less for the meal, and more for the entertaining stories about Matthew McConaughey, Thomas Hayden Church, and a tray of drinks dumped on Andie McDowell and her family by the bartender.
FAVORITE MEAL: VEGAN CURRY WITH RICE
ADRIENNE KINSEY: Nothing warms the heart and soul like "homemade" Golden Brand curry.
FAVORITE MEAL: VEGE-KOME RAMEN @ RAMEN MISOYA, MONTREAL
JONATHAN SUPER: Nooooooooodles! Yummy broth! Happiness.
FAVORITE MEAL: HOMEMADE BURGERS
PATRICK STORCK: New to 2015 meals narrows the field. I did make a batch of burgers with cumin and tomato paste and black pepper. On top was a paste from slow cooking garlic and cilantro in black beans until paste. Some crumbled feta sprinkled on that and you've got a very tasty burger.
FAVORITE MEAL: STEAMED CRABS, CONRAD'S SEAFOOD
HOWARD YANG: getting local True Blue steamed crabs at Conrad's in Perry Hall.
FAVORITE BEER: ATOMIC MUTATION (UNION CRAFT X ATOMIC BOOKS, BALTIMORE MD)
LISA HARBIN: Well, it was a joint effort by two of my favorite neighborhood establishments (Union Craft Brewing and, duh, Atomic Books) and it was just a delightful beer. It wasn't heavy but had a lot of flavor, kind of spicy and a little odd, but delicious. Also, the label kicked ass.
FAVORITE BEER: SNOWPANTS (UNION CRAFT, BALTIMORE MD)
DON CLARK: Although it's winter as I write this, which may lend some context to my choosing it as my favorite, this full-bodied oatmeal stout chases away the blizzard blues but remains a favorite year-round..
FAVORITE BEER: DROPOUT DOUBLE IPA (RUBBER SOUL, SALISBURY MD)
STEVE ASHBY: Runner up, Burley Oak’s Dark Matter Sour from Berlin, MD.
FAVORITE BEER: SWEET BABY JESUS (DUCLAW, BALTIMORE MD)
SKIZZ CYZYK: A peanut butter and chocolate beer. That name says it all.
FAVORITE BEER: MONKENSTEIN (HOMEBREW)
PATRICK STORCK: Brewed as a personal batch by the good folks at The Curioso podcast, Monkenstein is a hybrid brewed from the dregs of all ten active Trappist breweries available commercially. After a tasting of all ten in the spring, Monkenstein took almost a year to properly brew and ferment, but sweet lord is it worth it. Not available for purchase, sorry.
FAVORITE BEER: HEATER ALLEN HANDCRAFTED LAGER (HEATER ALLEN, MCMINNVILLE OR)
HOWARD YANG: We need to embrace a great lager again.
FAVORITE BEER: MAINE ROOT BEER / BAR HARBOR ROOT BEER
JONATHAN SUPER: Whatever Root Beer Eightbar has at the time 'cause I like root beer.
FAVORITE LIQUOR: PAPPY VAN WINKLE 20 YEAR FAMILY RESERVE
HOWARD YANG: Trying Pappy Van Winkle 20 yr Family Reserve- straight up- worth the hype.
FAVORITE LIQUOR: NONE
JONATHAN SUPER: Keep your poison out of my life.
FAVORITE COFFEE: SWEET VALLEY HIGH BLEND (COUNTER CULTURE COFFEE)
ADRIENNE KINSEY: This year Counter Culture Coffee combined their two main Ethiopian coffee beans to create a delicious super blend. The citrus acidity and honey sweetness of Haru paired with the fruity, light Idido created a harmonious song perfect for any palate.