365 days is a lot of time to seek out stories on adventure, gear, and everything in between. Here’s a look back at the best our food writers served up over the course of 2015 — from to an accidental oyster farmer to beer label (and menu) design.

Sentence(s) of the Year

South Park does the talking

“In South Park, at Whistlin’ Willy’s, the owner, Bill, dressed as the restaurant’s mascot, walks up to a patron who just threatened him with a poor Yelp review and shouts, ‘You’re not a food critic, Dennis! You’re a fucking mechanic!’ The lawyer, banker and advertiser need no such reproach.”

– J. Travis Smith

The Stories

Start Your Engines

An Accidental Oyster Farmer and a Food Renaissance

Maine-Oysters-Gear-Patrol-Slide-LEAD

By J. Travis Smith: During the last five years, oyster production on the East Coast has doubled. At Nonesuch Oyster Farm 30 minutes south of Portland, Maine, we watched this renaissance play out for a new generation of farmers.

The Man Behind NYC’s Best Chinese Food

ed-schoenfeld-gear-patrol-lead

By Jack Seemer: Ed Schoenfeld of RedFarm and Decoy is serving up what Zagat calls the best Chinese food in New York City. He invited us for lunch to photograph his home and pantry.

How to Make the Perfect Fish Taco

recipe-fish-taco-gear-patrol-lead-bright

By Jack Seemer: We traveled to Brooklyn, where the executive chef of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. ran us through the ins and outs of the perfect fish taco, from choosing the right fish to channeling the art of simplicity.

25 Best Breakfasts in America

gear-patrol-breakfast-issue-lead-v2

By Gear Patrol: The resplendent part of breakfast comes in humble servings, done right — the perfect eggs, pancakes, coffee. In these spots across the USA, they’re served hot every morning.

140 Years of Menu Design

Menus-Through-the-Years-Gear-Patrol-Lead

By Henry Phillips: Like a starched time capsule, a menu preserves a moment. These are some of the best, preserved from around the world over the past 140 years.

An Inside Look at the Holy Grail of Beef

Final-Wagyu-Gear-Patrol-Lead

By J. Travis Smith: We visited the DeBragga meat wholesaler to find out how they manage to sell some of the best, and most expensive, meat on the market.

An Inside Look at New Zealand’s Sustainable Fishing Practices

Lee-Fish-Gear-Patrol-Lead

By Jack Seemer: In a small fishing village 60 miles north of Auckland, Lee Fish is a world leader of sustainable and humane fishing practices, all in the name of quality. We paid them a visit to learn how.

Wyoming Whiskey’s Battle to Become Relevant in Bourbon

Wyoming-Whiskey-Gear-Patrol-Lead

By Matthew Ankeny: Cowboys drink two things: Coors and whiskey. But do they drink Wyoming Whiskey?

Reviewing a New Restaurant with NYC’s Elite Yelpers

Yelp-Dinner-Gear-Patrol-Lead

By J. Travis Smith: How do the top amateur “food critics” review a new restaurant? We found out, over dinner.

25 Essential Cookbooks for the Home Kitchen

cookbook-lead-gear-patrol-650

By Jeremy Berger: End your kitchen nightmare and learn to cook with these 25 books.

The Most Iconic Craft Beer Labels, and their Stories

BEER-Labels-Gear-Patrol-LEAD

By Chris Wright: Who designs your favorite craft beer labels and cans? What inspires them, and how do they translate great beer into expressive, convincing art? To find out, we asked brewers, artists, experts and designers at several major breweries.