Gary Danko (800 North Point Street). Clearly, I remember my introduction to this hallowed beacon of culinary grandeur. ‘Twas a dark and stormy evening…just kidding – I have no idea what else was going on during that fateful night, because when you’re at Danko everything else just fades away.

But seriously folks, the immediate reaction to anything tasted here is along the lines of, ‘WTF, how can anything taste so damn delicious?’ Easy: when you are methodically devoted to the best ingredients, prepared by some of the most imaginatively talented chefs in San Francisco, you end up with a flawless menu of extravagant dishes–each one more scrumptious than the next.

Part of the fun here is that for $68 dollars–a price that has remained constant over the past 4 years–you can mix and match any three courses from a bountiful selection of seafood and meat entrees, world-class cheese tastings, and some of the most decadent desserts this side of heaven.

The selections change with the seasons but there’s usually some form of roast duck offered, often accompanied by the most succulent and flavorful duck hash imaginable–to consume it is nothing short of a divine privilege. And while that seems over-the-top, it’s not. It’s hard to over-extol the virtues of a spot so universally recognized for unsurpassed excellence…but I appreciate you indulging my earnest attempts.

I’d like to go on to describe for you the savory perfection of the lobster risotto and even the top-notch preparation of the revelatory guinea hen, however, I fear in so doing you might get lost in a jumbled haze of haphazard superlatives and expletives. So I’ll limit myself to this important declaration: don’t miss the souffle dessert!

Life sometimes provides us with a special opportunity to celebrate–birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, graduations. Whatever the reason, I’m so thankful to live in a city where I know – beyond a shadow of delectable doubt – precisely the place for any such occasion. I knew it from the very first bite I ever tasted at Gary Danko.

For my money, it doesn’t get any better.