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Let's talk TEXTURE

Some dishes are great as a result of their TEXTURE. Take the apple tart I had this weekend at Amandine. Three words: OH, MY, GOD!!! First of all, it wasn't even shaped like the typical apple tart. It was tall, over three inches & cylindrical. The apple and cinnamon filling was sublime. It was the TEXTURE that really got me. The top had a hard, crunchy, course sugar topping. The sides of the cylinder were flaky like the best pastry you have ever had. Finally, the apple filling was smooth but not over pureed so that the apples still were the standout. Chowhound that I am, I took a big bite so that I could get equal portions of the top and sides. WOW! My question to fellow hounds is: Name a dish that you love because of it's incredible texture.

UPDATED: I thought this would be obvious but I mean: name a dish, that I can order in Los Angeles, that you love because of it's incredible texture. The chowhound team is on the ball today...

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  1. You reminded me of a thing that amazed me because I didn't hate it! This was a giant corn muffin from Smitty's Grill; I knew it was going to be sweet, and many of you know my record as despising sweet cornbread, but this I had to admire: it was not just sweet, it was deliberately, unabashedly, OTT sweet, a blatant dessert! The top was crisp, studded with flaked rock-candy crystals, while the interior was almost custardy but strangely not at all gooey. It was sturdy but light, sweet but savory, a thing of pure artifice but tasting eloquently of corn. I was not tempted to run back for another one, but whenever I rail against sweet cornbread, this is the "Yes, BUT..." tickling the back of my brain.

    1. Raw abalone, geoduck clam, flying fish roe, to name a few, and to stay on topic my pick for any of these would be Urasawa.

      1. Since this is on the Los Angeles board, please try to keep your answers focused on dishes at specific LA area restaurants. If you've got general suggestions for well-textured dishes, it would be fine to start a new thread on the General Topics board.

          1. I am totally with you - the texture can be sometimes even more compelling than the flavor. To keep it to restaurant dishes, here are a few recent successful texture experiences:
            abalone sashimi at Otofuko in Gardena - amazing crunch
            the live sweet shrimp (still moving) at pacific seafood in redondo
            the corn agnolotti at Rustic Canyon - al dente pasta, creamy filling, explosive flavors bring it together
            the truffle fries at Chez Melange - perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside.
            The foie gras lollypop at Bazaar - silky center like gelato but with fatty mouthfeel + cotton candy and crunchy coating makes for amazing multii-textured experience

            2 Replies
            1. re: wasabica

              I just relived the corn agnolotti moment at Rustic Canyon. Thank you.

              The liquid mozzarella at Bazaar.

              1. re: outshined

                Second the liquid mozzarella at Bazaar. Also their molecular olives.

                The slightly burned parts of the melted gruyere over French onion soup at Cafe des Artistes

                Baked breadcrumbs over mac-n-cheese at Nook.

            2. Boudin noir at Ludo Bites

              Fresh donuts in the morning at Stan's

              A cappucino with great microfoam at Caffe Luxxe or Espresso Profeta.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jaykayen

                Yes, Donuts – HOT Donuts. Temperature, like texture, stimulates the somatosensory system which in turn delivers a message of either pain or pleasure to your brain. The OP sensed crunchy, course, flaky, and smooth from that apple tart at Amandine. The mention of “Fresh donuts in the morning at Stan's” brings many good memories of early morning rewards I have enjoyed while having fresh Hot donuts. At 4:30 to 6:00 am true Chowhounds gather for hot, crunchy, chewy, gooey, slightly sticky and slightly doughy Apple Fritters (don’t get me started on the senses of smell, taste, sight…), I have been doing this for decades and my place now is Peacock Donuts. There is much pleasure in one bite of those fresh warm fritters followed by a small sip of hot coffee and then cold milk. Yeah, I buy coffee and milk because I like my food and drink to touch me back.
                34 E. Durate Rd. (1 block East of Santa Anita Ave. & plenty of parking in the rear, nice inside or outside tables)
                Arcadia, CA 91006
                (626) 445-6564(

                Stan’s doughnuts
                http://www.stansdoughnuts.com/

                Amandine Patissiere
                12225 Wilshire Blvd
                Los Angeles, CA 90025
                310) 979-3211

              2. Embrace Chinese food, where dishes are often about texture as much as flavour. Case in point: fish maw soup (Seafood Village), deep-fried chicken lees (Elite), salt-and-pepper whole shell-on shrimp (Sea Harbour), spicy-and-numbing pork blood (Chongqing Mei Wei), jade celery (Giang Nan).

                1. Olives Ferran Adrià: The Bazaar by José Andrés

                  Mirugai sashimi: Mori Sushi

                  Live baby whitefish (served still wiggling in a martini glass with ponzu): The Hump

                  North Atlantic O-toro: Urasawa

                  A5 Matsuzaka wagyu teppanyaki-hot stone style (not steak style): Matsuhisa's private omakase room - Rumor has it that Nobu himself sneaked it in past customs this one time. We happened to be there that night when he broke it out. It was phenomenal.

                  The buttermilk bar (straight outta the oven at around 6:25AM): Primo's Westdale Doughnuts

                  Chinese food (& all its glorious regional iterations) deserves an entire texture thread on its own: Chicken feet at Triumphal Palace, shaved snow at 305 Class (in Rowland Heights), house special pan cakes at Elite (in Monterey Park), it's endless....

                  1. Real shark's fin soup at Sea Harbour

                    Chocolate souffle at La Cachette

                    In-N-Out milkshake

                    Egg custard tart at Diamond Bakery

                    Cheesecake from Harriet's

                    1. the creme brulee at ocean avenue seafood.
                      the mojara fritta (sp?) served at marisocos chente.
                      the filleted deep fried catfish served at chinois on main.

                      and, ot, the perfectly crisp and buttery oatmeal cookie with chewey big raisons served at the student bakery at uc davis.

                      1. Texture is as important to me as flavor, in many cases. I am told this may be due to an Asian upbringing. There's a great book - Chinese Gastronomy - that starts by claiming that the Western aesthetic is many flavors in harmony, and the Cantonese aesthetic is one melded flavor, many textures.

                        Whole shrimp ceviche at Mariscos Chente.

                        The velvetiness of the broth and the slick softness of the noodles at Hakata Ramen Shin Sen Gumi.

                        The uber-velvetiness of the broth at Santouku Ramen. Liquid as textures. This has supreme texture.

                        The way the special 100% buckwheat soba at Otafuku falls into grain nodules in your mouth.

                        The exact degree of crunch on the fried sand dabs at Louisiana Best Seafood.

                        The degree of fluff and custardiness in the banana cream pie at Bake n' Broil.

                        The exact firm bite of the dumpling shells at Din Tai Fung. In fact, the best texture-food there is probably the vegetarian dumplings, which have such a fine granular chop, and the chopped vermicelli noodles.

                        Banh khot at Brodard's - crispiness falling into ricey puddingness. It's Viet crepe batter in fat balls.

                        Fried catfish fluff at Ganda Restaurant. This is dried, shredded catfish, then battered and deep fried and covered with sliced green apples and cashews and chili garlic sauce. I call it "catfish cotton candy." Texture of this dish is unique and addictive.

                        Quesadilla at Antiquera de Oaxaquena - fresh masha, crisp, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, fluffy fresh cheese in the middle...

                        Pani puri and sev puri at Surati Farsan Mart. Pani puri is thin-shelled little fried puri, that you fill with potato and chickpea niblets, and then fill with cold mint water and pop into your mouth immediately. It's crunchiness EXPLODING into crisp, cold mint water. A completely unique and explosive texture experience.

                        Rava masala dosa at the Los Feliz Blvd. india sweet and spice, which is currently my favorite dosa, including the ones at Udipi in Artesia. It's cream-of-wheat based, and this beautiful, lacy, light crispness. Similar to the pleasures of Viet crepes, but lacier. God I love this.

                        The greatest master of sushi textures was Shibutani-san at Shibucho.

                        Dough flake soup - thick cut chunks of noodle stuff - at Mapo House in K-town.

                        Ma Dang Gook So's soy noodle broth - fresh, ropey noodles, in freshly made soy milk. The milk is granular and fluffy, almost like whipped cream, with a hint of beaniness. Awesome.

                        Rose Cafe's persian ice cream - currently my favorite. In the Persian style, there are frozen cream chips mixed in. Cream chips in softer ice cream is a textural wonder.

                        The texture of the boiled water-boiled fish at Chung King - still the master of fish texture, despite the harshin' it seems to be getting on the boards right now.

                        The springiness slickness of the noodles at Dai Ho, in the thicker, more granular, sesame-seed sauce.

                        I still think cemitas poblanas is the best textured street food - at its best, crisp bread, soft avocado, friedness of meat, and that springy weirdness of Oaxacan string cheese, all in one bite.

                        The shrimp-tofu dumplings at Noodle House are a majestic texture.

                        Oh: Viet Noodle Bar. Soy dessert. Perfectly, cloud-soft tofu floating in thick ginger syrup.

                        There's more, but I have to go work now.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: Thi N.

                            the shrimp tofu dumplings brougth to mind the steamed shrimp "shumai" (nothing like shumai) at Izayoi - dinner menu.
                            I don't know how they prepare the shrimp but the texture is fluffy - yes lightand fluffy and still tastes prawnish.

                            killer good.
                            Also, really loving kobawoo's acorn-meal noodles in koreatown.

                            1. re: Thi N.

                              You don't tell us where any of these places are, how can we experience them??

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=Surati+Farsa... and then http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=Izayoi+resta... and I am willing to bet this works for Kobawoo too...(poetically and geographically speaking) and probably all the others as well....

                            2. You make a great point regarding the importance of texture.

                              For chewy but not tough, try the skin-like dry bean curd with leek at Chung King.
                              Basically everything at Urasawa. For melt in your mouth, there's the seared toro. For thick and rich yet incredibly smooth, there's the sesame ice cream.
                              For crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, try the cumin fish at Chung King.
                              Fugetsu-Do--a sweet shop in Little Tokyo--offers a nice range of sweets with the whole range of textures
                              YoMa and Golden Triangle, Burmese restaurants, have tasty tea leaf salads with nice crunchy peas. Good textural contrasts of leafiness, oiliness, and crunchiness.
                              Try the panchi (fried taro desserts) at Bhan Kanom Thai when they're from the frier. These are amazing. Crispy outside with chewy coconut, soft taro inside.

                              1. Sometimes I think texture is more important to me than flavor. Thanks for bringing this up- really interesting thread...

                                1. mmm....

                                  The pork belly with kimchee at Animal
                                  pigs ears at Animal
                                  The fried pork belly at Robata-ya
                                  the sea urchin tapioca at Bistro LQ
                                  I know people have been bagging on the dessert at LQ, but I also had a fig tart there that was pretty incredible texturally
                                  the eggs benedict over smoked salmon and crispy potato cakes at Square One
                                  the liquid chorizo with cataloupe and cornichon granita at Ludobites
                                  Blue crab handroll as Sishi Zo (perfect balance of crab, rice and crunchy nori)
                                  liquid nitrogen cocktails at the Bazaar
                                  foie gras terrine at Church and State
                                  and not in LA, but the pork rinds and the bone marrow at Publican in Chicago still haunt my dreams

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mollyomormon

                                    also, i'm a sucker for the texture of okra and these are amazing:
                                    http://rickspicksnyc.com/pickles/smokra

                                  2. I really like the Asian wet crunch of wings at Kyochon. It's amazing how long they retain that wet glazy crunchiness.

                                    1. this is why my wisdom tooth is staying right where it is. There's no chance I'm lettting the dentist sever my lingual nerve. What good is taste without touch?

                                      1. I really like this topic. Tell me, “How does it feel?”

                                        I stopped eating meat a few months ago and the only food item I have missed / craved is Pann’s fried chicken and the reason is texture. I can replace the flavors of the meats I had loved because it was usually just the seasonings that I wanted and not the meat. I can’t replace the texture of Pann’s hot fried chicken – a combination of an easy crust on the outside and on the inside a tender and succulent love affair.

                                        Pann’s
                                        http://www.panns.com/

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: JeetJet

                                          Freeze and thaw tofu, then coat and deep-fry.

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            OMG! succulent?
                                            Do you know of any tofu cafe...?

                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                              I don't, though what you might want to do is go to a place like Vinh Loi or Thanh Long or Thanh Son and get some freshly made (extra firm).

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                If you go to Vinh Loi, the seasoned fried black tofu comes pretty close (or as close as one can get with tofu) to fried chiken-like texture. The tofu nuggets can also arguably be said to be a close facsimile.

                                                Also, Loving Hut in Alhambra has a faux fried chicken drumstick on their menu if I recall correctly (or maybe it was a turkey leg, whatever ...)

                                              2. re: JeetJet

                                                Yes. Viet Noodle Bar. Tofu made by hand each morning by Viet. Of the major tofu makers in town, Viet's is the deepest and most wonderful. Best form: soft tofu in ginger syrup.

                                                My favorite after that is the one in Little Saigon the side-street from the big Three Sages mall - uh, it's Thanh Son, I think? Also: perfect mushroom-bit filled, fried tofu. My least favorite is the one on Garfield south of Garvey.

                                                Other great tofus: Sokongdong Soontofu, which I think has considerably creamier, curdier, softer texture than Beverly Soontofu.

                                                I'm a huge agedashi tofu fan, too.

                                          2. pot du creme at Le Petite Bistro, Los Angeles (though I haven't been there for years I have never forgotten it)
                                            tamale at La Cubana, Glendale
                                            biscuit with creme fraiche at Canele, Atwater Village
                                            corn pudding in the bottom of the"southern skillet" at the Black Cow,Montrose

                                            1. The bone marrow app at Church & State. Hot, silky, unctuous marrow with the crisp, perky radish salad on a soft baguette interior is awesome.

                                              1. I love the fried lentels at Cobras and Matadors--little tiny crispy fried lentels that taste yummy and are crunchy.

                                                1. There is a Holy Trinity about perfect bread – crunch, tug & chew. A perfect sandwich roll or pizza crust must have a crunch to its surface and you should need to tug just a little to bite if off from the rest. A good chew adds to a longer enjoyment of the bread and also enhances the flavor of whatever food items are going along for the ride by requiring the additional chewing time, and therefore movement over your taste buds, before you swallow.

                                                  Eagle Rock Bakery for Italian sandwich rolls
                                                  http://www.chow.com/places/11682

                                                  Vito’s Pizza
                                                  http://www.vitopizza.com/

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: JeetJet

                                                    JeetJet, what makes you think that Vito's uses cheap ingredients?

                                                    1. re: orythedog

                                                      Don't see that in Jeet's post you replied to. Did you mean to reply to someone else?

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        Actually the reply is to another post I made about Vito's. Still, I did not mean to say in that post that Vito's uses cheap ingredients. I was talking about some of the toppings at Vito's. For exampe, the "sausage" at Vito's might be NY style but it is cheap compaired to Petrillos. Still, I like the cheese slice at Vito's = Perfect!

                                                        1. re: JeetJet

                                                          I'm just bustin' your chops a little bit. Havin' a little fun. ;-)

                                                          1. re: orythedog

                                                            I know ory. Besides, talk'nVito's pizza is always fun. Eating Vito's pizza is even more fun.