Monday, December 19, 2011
What if you had to choose five foods from restaurants in the area in which you live, and those would be the only things you could ever eat again while dining out? You could still make whatever you want at home, but when going out for the rest of your life, you could only have one of those five items.
I thought about this one for a while. (I won't say how long, it's slightly embarrassing.) Although I make pretty good burgers at home, there is no way I could leave the Hutch's hamburger off the list. I could forsake the Double-Double, and thanks to Green Street Tavern inexplicably removing the wild boar burger from its menu I don't have to worry about that, but I can't imagine living without a Hutch's hamburger. I once had my jawed wired shut for several weeks and that burger was all I could think about.
The Philippe's turkey french dip would also make the cut. And, since I'm rarely able to make proper Belgian fries at home, I would have to choose a place that makes them well. I will go with Oinkster. (The first time I had Wurstkuche's fries they were the best I'd ever had but the second time they were terrible, so they don't make the cut.)
I'm tempted to pick a pizza place but I won't for two reasons: there are some really good pizza joints nearby, but none that I would call great. And I make pretty good pizza at home (not to mention my friend Tyler's amazing outdoor pizza oven); I could do without pizza at any restaurant. So my fourth pick will be something that I never seem to be able to make properly, the crispy beef at Yujean Kang's. And I'm pretty sure I know what my fifth selection would be as well. But we'll get to that in a second.
I've written about Yang Chow a couple of times before, though not for two years. When I was a teenager I used to eat at Yang Chow every so often with my family. In my 20s such meals became less frequent, especially as I discovered the joys of taking the metro down to Chinatown and having dim sum with friends at Empress Pavilion. These days I probably only eat at Yang Chow once every couple of years.
The other day I was over at my parents' house, cleaning patio furniture and moving around some things in preparation for a dinner my mom was hosting the next day. As thanks, my mom offered to take me out to lunch and asked me to pick three places. I selected The Oinkster, El Patron and Yang Chow. She said the last one sounded best to her.
I always feel relatively full by the time the shrimp come around (after eating all the appetizers) and usually after half a dozen shrimp I am full. But I still keep eating. There are very few things I have ever eaten that I have found more addictive than these. (But I always leave a few to take home; once they are cooled down in the fridge they are just as good and in some ways better.)
I do not visit Yang Chow nearly as much as I used to, but I still find myself there once every year or so with a strong craving for the slippery shrimp. I don't see that ever changing.
Posted by JustinM at 10:00 AM