Welcome to part one of the first annual Tasty45, a delicious countdown of the 45 tastiest dishes that one could ever hope to put in there mouth. Compiling this year’s list took a lot perseverance, dedication and effort asI battled numerous food comas and a palette that was constantly suffering from Explosive Flavor Syndrome (EFS). This whole list will cast a wide culinary net; from seafood to salad, chocolate to chips. Each of the entries will have one tasty common denominator which is that they are DAMN tasty. Without further ado let’s take a look at the first 5 entries on the list.
50. Old Bay Chips at The Waterbar in San Francisco
Anyone who has grown up on the east coast, particularly in or around Maryland, knows that Old Bay seasoning can be used on anything. Chesapeake Bay Allspice as I like to call it, goes perfectly on steamed crabs, corn, fried chicken and even homemade potato chips. The homemade Old Bay chips at Pat Kuleto’s Waterbar in San Francisco were a snack lovers best friend. The chips were crispy, hot and not oily. Once the chips are removed from their toasty oil bath they are hit with a little sea salt and sprinkled with a homemade Old Bay seasoning that includes paprika, celery salt, red pepper and more. A perfect snack while watching the boats float past the Bay Bridge.
49. Corn soup with lobster fritter at Baker and Banker in San Francisco
Corn is good, lobster is great and who doesn’t love a good fritter? Chef Jeff Baker obviously knew the next logical step was to combine all three into one rich and comforting soup. The corn soup was thick but very smooth. The dominant corn flavor was tempered ever so slightly with a drizzle of chervil oil. Delicately floating in the bowl was a crispy golden brown lobster fritter. The crispy cornmeal exterior acted as a nice protective shield as it hid the succulent lobstery payload. It wasn’t quite as impenetrable as Superman’s fortress of solitude though.
48. Spicy Meatball at Prima in Kailua HI
If we all think hard enough I bet most everyone has a fond meatball memory. I certainly still dream about this extra large orb of meaty goodness from the small and almost hidden Prima restaurant in Kailua Hawaii. The meatball itself was a meaty mix of beef and pork that was stuffed with fresh mozzarella before being placed in a bath of perky marinara sauce. The sauce was perky enough on its own but a few slivered birds eye chilies were tossed in to add that extra excitement for the tongue. The dish was finished with some toasted shaved bread and some arugula leaves.
47. The Vegan Nightmare Ice Cream at Marini’s in Santa Cruz
I like pork. No really, I love pork. If you think I’m kidding just go read a few of the other posts here, you’ll soon see a porky pattern emerge. So then, what dish could make a sweet toothed pork lover weep tears of joy? Why the salted caramel ice cream studded with chocolate covered bacon at Marini’s Salt Water Taffy and Candy in Santa Cruz CA. This sweet but smokey concoction is affectionately called The Vegan Nightmare. I would have thought this amalgamation of flavors and textures would have yielded a culinary cacophony that would leave me confused and with a stomach ache. I couldn’t have been more wrong, this was a confectionary onion with layer upon layer of delicate flavor. The salted caramel ice cream was delicate. The dark chocolate that enveloped the rich bacon was decadent. The bacon itself was chewy and full of deep pork flavor. Together these elements worked in harmony to create a perfectly salty and sweet treat.
46. Crispy fish with Green Curry at Champa Thai in Kailua
If you have a hankering for something exotic but approachable Thai food is the way to go. The complex and delicate flavors are sure to be a real palette pleaser. Normally my go to Thai dishes are pad Thai, panang curry, satay and larb or Thai beef salad but when checking out Champa Thai in Hawaii I sampled the crispy fish with green curry. It was insane. If you’re not sure if you’re a curry person this is the dish to try. The fish was tender and flaky. The panko crust was not oily or heavy it merely added some texture without hiding any of the fish flavor. The curry itself was rather mild and the notes of coconut milk, kafir lime and Thai basil added depth and liveliness.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Tasty 45 to see what tasty morsels are uncovered.