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Mar 23, 2011 05:02 PM

Five "Blissful Bites"

If you had to pick only five, what are the top five "first bites" of food that send you to your "happy place" and make you really love life?

I've thought about it, and mine are:

1. Roasted Lebanese Chicken with Garlic Sauce and Pickled Turnips wrapped in warm Lavash Bread. I go heavy on the garlic sauce (equal to the amount of chicken, I'd venture)...... That first bite is magic!

2. Gulf Shrimp Scampi, with bread to sop up the garlicky butter. The sweet shrimp, the rich butter, the garlic (Hey, I'm seeing a trend. ;-).

3. Summer Gazpacho, with tons of fresh garden tomatoes, cucumbers, sherry vinegar, Italian parsley.... There is nothing that says "Summer Fresh"" better than this vibrant soup. (OK, it's a first "slurp" in this case).

4. Wok-seared Chicken or Beef Pad Kee Mao with a dose of chile-vinegar. (The pinnacle was that made by those wizards at the now-long-shutterred Pan-Asian Noodle House on Vermont Avenue in DC).

5. My mama's steaming hot homemade biscuits with butter and fresh home-made strawberry jam. My mom's biscuits were the best, and I loved the middle biscuit (thus, soft on all sides) with the jam we made from strawberries picked from our yard and high meadows in Highlands, NC. This one I have to taste only in my sweet memory.

How about you? What sends you into a food swoon with that first bite?

PS. You can have one runner-up... and mine is the Thai Papaya Salad, Som Tam -- especially that incredible --yet utterly simple-- dressing. SCHLUUURP!

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  1. 1) My homemade macaroni and cheese. No gimmicks, just good old bechamel, sharp cheddar, paprika, dry mustard and a shot of hot sauce.

    2) My son's turkey or chicken Piccatta. I don't make it because his is so good.

    3) Homemade vanilla/banana ice cream. So rich...

    4) Shrimp and scallop gratin - just butter, garlic, and fresh bread crumbs, over rice. (this may be number 1)

    5) Anybody's really good carrot cake.

    1. 1) Maryland dirty crabs, jumbo size please
      2) Sweet and sour cabbage, tomato, and meat soup
      3) Perfect combo of fresh bagel, tomato, vidalia onion,Ben's cream cheese,fatty cured salmon
      4) Warm donburi unagi, skin on eel crisp,rice vinegared almost to excess, homemade eel sauce
      5) Gigantic Cotes du Boeuf to serve 3 or 4, just the rare side of medium-rare with thick char crust.
      Runner-up-Grilled cheese sandwich, cheese can vary, but bread must be a jaw breaker and mustard is Maille wholegrain non-pasteurized. Some options for cheese-old Comte, aged Mimolette, aged Gruyere, very flavorful Cheddar.

      7 Replies
        1. re: Tugboat

          Live crabs steamed in seasonings based on celery seed, pepper, salt, cayenne, paprika, and God knows what else. When you are through you have to get powerwashed.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Oh. I am a Marylander, and I have eaten crabs all my life. Never heard of that term.

            1. re: Tugboat

              sounds like OLD BAY seasoning to me!



              i never heard of "dirty" crabs either, but i'm in virginia. ;-). i don't mess with whacking the heck out of steamed crabs and picking through the shells for little morsels. give me crab imperial, i say! haha. mmmm mmm, here are some recipes, some using old bay, too:

              1. re: alkapal

                Old Bay, while good has a huge % of salt. Obrycki's crab boil has little salt, and Wye River crab boil has no salt, both wonderful.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  i think that i've bought wye river brand canned chowders before.

                  as i recall, they were good, but pricey.

        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

          Forgot two backups

          Perfect chewy crusty bread with sweet French butter and fleur de sel, similat to Buttertarts post
          Poitrine fume, French meaty bacon, OMG

        3. 1. Uni. No one is allowed to talk to me while I eat uni.
          2. Any type of ssam (Korean bbq wrapped in lettuce with rice, veg, sauce, etc.).
          3. Fried salted mackerel.
          4. Dungeness crab.
          5. I CAN'T DO IT!... My mom's tong galbi with the sauce poured over the rice.

          Runner-up: ham heung naeng myun with lots of the spicy mustard, a bite of the pear, a sliver of cucumber. Oh man.

          1. 1) Otoro nigiri - just the creamiest, richest part of the tuna on a simple bed of vinegared rice.
            2) Goulasch - it should be thick and long-stewed with a perfect combination of flavors and textures: meltingly tender meat, springy little spƤtzle and rich sauce swirled with a bit of sour cream and dill.
            3) Soft-shell crabs - nothing fancy, just crabs breaded with panko, maybe a little Old Bay if you're feeling adventurous, served with a squirt of lemon and maybe some sauce on the side.
            4) Aloo samosa - the pastry shell should be deceptively sturdy but shatter at the first hint of your teeth into a million buttery flakes, showering onto a filling of pungent and spicy potatoes. The scent of mustard and cumin seed will hurt your nose, followed by the raising alarm of the chilies and cilantro giving way to the sweet and sour of chutney and yogurt.
            5) Empanadas - so similar to the samosa but with the added element of surprise. What will be inside? Sweet and sour pork with raisins and peas? Will I get lucky and hit the jackpot of beef, olives, raisins and chopped eggs with a hint of cumin and chili powder? Don't leave me in suspense!

            Close runner up: Cremeschnittchen/napoleon cake

            1. 1. A nice plump shrimp from a low country boil, I like just a bit more Old Bay than most
              2. A good larb. In Thailand, not the local strip mall. Preferably pork--oniony and packed with chilis and a nice clean kick of lime
              3. Smazeny syr--fried cheese in the Czech Republic. Buttery and rich with a crisp breadcrumb coating. No bun for me, just a little smear of the mayonaise type sauce.
              4. Thai beef jerky spiced just right, dried in the sun and quickly fried in oil. Chili sauce for dipping.
              5. A crab cake done right. Big lump pieces, minimal filler and fried golden without being greasy. A good sqeeze of lemon over it, and mmmmm....

              Better have my cholesterol checked after all that ;)