It's been an incredible year filled with culinary experiences in locations ranging from Toluca to Tokyo. Choosing my favorite meals from 2011 was very different from choosing favorite dishes. To create this list, I examined the dining experience as a whole, factoring in the progression of dishes and overall story they told. I can only hope 2012 will bring as much culinary excitement as this year has. A few events in particular made 2011 one of the most exciting eating years in recent memory. The closing of El Bullí, perhaps the most hyped restaurant of the decade, passed the spotlight to other deserving restaurants like Quique Dacosta and Sant Pau for the first time. Hopefully 2012 will bring these restaurants the international attention they deserve. Sean Brock continued to promote the incredibly varied and delicious cuisine of the American South, inspiring other American chefs to look into the rustic cuisines of their childhoods and bring them to the dining room. Mexican cuisine started to gain more international attention, led by the refined cooking of chefs like Enrique Olvera. And chefs like Joshua Skenes reminded us that the simple cooking techniques are often the most diffiult, requiring unwavering attention and patience.