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Friends of Eater on The Biggest Dining Surprises of 2012

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. We've already covered Top Standbys, Favorite Newcomers, 2012 in One Word, and Best Neighborhood, and now it's time for the year's Biggest Surprise. Feel free to add your own answers to the comments.

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[Photo: Official Site]

Q: What was the biggest dining surprise of 2012?

MC Slim JB, restaurant critic, The Phoenix: Seeing Mad Men's Jon Hamm at Taberna de Haro, along with Tom Werner, Larry David, Michael Keaton, and Patrick Lyons. I try to be cool around any celebrities I see around town, so I didn't look at them as I walked by on my way out. But I'm a huge Mad Men fan, and so I had to steal a glance at Hamm through the front window from the sidewalk. He caught me, gave me a big, bug-eyed, goofy grin, as if to say, "Yeah, I know you're gawking." Love that man: as an actor, a style icon, and off-camera, a very funny guy who seems genuinely humbled by his fame and success. For me, the real, ongoing surprise is that most celebrities that visit Boston are seen dining in stupid tourist-trap restaurants, not great local places like Taberna de Haro.

Marc H., Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk: The fact that the FroYo craze has not only not come to a screeching halt, but seems to be picking up even more steam. I just don't get it; for those who love frozen yogurt, I have two words for them: Ice cream.

South End blogger BosGuy: The abrupt closing of Locke-Ober.

An anonymous industry insider who we'll call Litchi Bear: The Mei Mei and Staff Meal food trucks' pop up at The Gallows. Alternatively, the whole grilled squid at Back Deck.

Aaron Kagan, editor, Eater Boston: Ana Sortun announcing that she'd be moving into what was formerly The Paddock in Somerville. Didn't see that one coming.

Rachel Cossar, ballet dancer with the Boston Ballet and food blogger at foodista on pointe: Discovering and remembering the oldies but goodies in Boston's dining scene amid all the excitement of new openings.

Jacqueline Church, local food writer: Mare's (relatively new) Oyster Bar. Great shucker, different selection, and you don't have to wait an hour to be seated.

Damien S., community manager for Yelp Boston: The resurgence of poultry. A simple roast chicken, the proliferation of egging everything and anything, along with seared duck breast nearing burgers in menus graced means these birds are really taking flight. Ha, wordplay!

Jennifer Che, blogger at Tiny Urban Kitchen: The short (and sad) life and death of The Floating Rock Restaurant in Central Square.

· All coverage of Year in Eater [~EBOS~]

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