My Favorite Things of 2015: This Year's Hot Toddy Culture

As I reflect on my favorite things of 2015, one question keeps haunting me: Why would anyone care? It is a tradition that I have repeated each year, and I’ve come to enjoy the opportunity to reflect on what mattered to me during the past year. I am very aware that some of my friends have much more sophisticated and curated tastes indie music, art and culture than I do. I hope that this guide will provide some resources to some who value them. If you wish to go deeper into the reviews, I also post extensive reviews of restaurants at Yelp, books at Goodreads, and movies on Flixter. 

Here are the cultural artifacts that meant most to me in 2015, and ultimately reveal something about myself and my year. Enjoy, and I would love to hear your favorites too.



  1. Inside Out
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Spotlight
  4. The Martian
  5. The Revenant

The Runners-Up: RoomStar Wars: The Force Awakens, The Best of Enemies, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Beasts of No Nation, Love and Mercy, The Big Short, Amy, Winter on Fire, Creed, Steve Jobs, Seymour, While We’re Young, I Am Big Bird.

What I Appreciate As Art But Did Not Enjoy as Entertainment: Carol, The Danish GirlMad Max: Fury Road

What I Have Yet to See But I Am Likely To Love: Son of Saul, The Hateful Eight



  1. Coat of Many Colors (An outstanding movie produced by Dolly Parton and made for TV  on NBC)
  2. Morning Joe
  3. Homeland: Season 5
  4. The GOP Debates
  5. House of Cards (Netflix)

I don’t subscribe to HBO, Hulu or Amazon, so apologies if I missed your favorites from those services.

FILE - This undated file image released by Boneau/Bryan-Brown shows Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in a promotional photo for Peter Morgan’s play "The Audience," directed by two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry. Mirren will star in “The Audience” on Broadway, with previews in New York starting on Feb. 17, 2015. The show will run through June at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. (AP Photo/Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Johan Persson, File)


  1. The Audience with Dame Helen Mirren
  2. Finding Neverland with Matthew Morrison
  3. A View from the Bridge 
  4. Spring Awakening with Deaf West
  5. Fun Home




Fiction: A Little Life by Hana Yanagihara; The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison

Spirituality and Self-Help: Radical Acceptance; Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach; Rising Strong by Brené Brown, Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor; Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith; How’s Your Faith? by David Gregory; Modern Love by Aziz Ansari.

Poetry: Felicity, Mary Oliver.

Non- Fiction and Business: Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates; Killing Reagan by Bill O’Riley et al; Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Jon Meacham; Circle of the 9 Muses, David Hutchens (disclosure: a close friend of mine); The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman et al.


  1. Snapchat
  2. Yelp
  3. Facebook Messenger
  4. Swarm
  5. Waze 

Runners-Up: Outlook App, Uber, Facebook News, Feedly, Khan Academy, Calm, Tiny Scanner


  1. The Tim Ferriss Show
  2. Bloomberg: The First Word
  3. New York Times Book Reviews
  4. Forrester’s Customer Experience Podcast
  5. Harvard Business Review HBR Idea Cast



  1. When We Were Young by Adele
  2. Where Are You Now? by Justin Bieber and Diplo
  3. Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift
  4. Hello by Adele
  5. Heroes by Alesso

Runners Up: Hamilton: The Soundtrack; Finding Neverland: The Broadway Show Soundtrack; What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber; Firestone by Kygo



Breakfast Sandwich: Eggslut, Los Angeles; Court Street Grocers, Brooklyn

Brunch: Prune, Manhattan; Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn; The First Word, Smyrna, TN

Burger: Butcher and Bee, Nashville; Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, MA

Creole: Le Petit Grocery, New Orleans

French: Leunig’s Bistro and Lounge, Burlington, Vermont

Italian: Francesco’s, Brooklyn; Lucali Pizza, Brooklyn

Lebanese: Epice, Nashville

Mexican: Bar Bruno, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; Tex-Mex: Javelina, Manhattan; ConiSeafood, Los Angeles

Southern: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Nashville; Wilma Jean, Brooklyn

Thai: Chada Thai and Wine, Las Vegas; Pure Thai Cookhouse, New York


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