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Oct 29, 2011 10:55 PM

First/Last Meal in OC

My taste buds have been all messed up of late because of some treatment, and my next treatment is going to completely wipe them out (for about 4 months). I am hoping that I get a little window between the two where my taste buds will hopefully pop back (at least partially) before they get wiped out again.

Spicy food is out, but I think that I would like some bold flavors. Chewy carbs - rice, bread, pasta... - are really bad tasting right now, so Chinese, Thai, and Italian are not top choices.

So, where should I go for something bold without being too spicy. Sashimi is going to be too subtle for me, and I can do a good enough steak at home that it will not be worth it to spend big bucks at a steak house.

I live in central OC, so anywhere is really within reach. I care more about the food than the decor.

As a semi-related question, what would you eat when you could not taste anything?

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  1. What I'm hearing is meat and vegetable-intensive food, not carb-heavy.

    How about some of the Vietnamese dishes where the entrees come out with a plate of fresh herbs? Things like the catfish entree at Vien Dong, where the turmeric-marinated grill filet of catfish comes out on a sizzling cast iron platter full of sauteed onion and fresh dill? You take that and wrap it in green leaf lettuce, cilantro, mint, and other herbs? It's bold, fresh flavors without being spicy in the sense of Scoville units or high-acid foods like tomatoes.

    Or you can do ssam, the Korean analog to this style of eating meat wrapped in bite-sized pieces of lettuce, herbs, salty-spicy-sweet bean pastes? Korean food tends to be spicier than Vietnamese, so perhaps if red chili powders and heavy garlic turns you off in your current condition, maybe not a great idea. You tell us.

    Vien Dong
    14271 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843

    1 Reply
    1. re: Professor Salt

      Vietnamese was something I was thinking of already, but I tend to do that more as a lunch thing with some friends. I have a Vietnamese guy sin the office that have taken me deep into the heart of Little Saigon where I am the only white guy in the place. My wife would consider it, but unless I am go to Chateau Brodard or S Vietnamese, I doubt I could get the daughter to go.

      Brodard Restaurant
      9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

    2. How about Haven at the Orange Circle?

      1 Reply
      1. re: scottca075

        Haven is not really what I had in mind.

      2. If you can't taste anything, and assuming the ick of the chewy carbs goes away with the taste buds, I'd go for texture—and the people on this earth who have made a science of texture are the Chinese. Go to a Sichuanese restaurant like Irvine's Chong Qing Mei Wei—you can't taste the spiciness anyway—and order pig ears; order huo bao yao hua (look this up—every Sichuanese restaurant serves it); order jellyfish salad; order those slick cucumbers that pop; order cat-ear noodles.

        Go to a Shanxi-style restaurant like Liang's Kitchen, or to a Hui restaurant like Mas' Islamic Chinese, and order mao er duo ("cat's ear" noodles, like fresh, thick orecchiette) or dao xao mian (knife-cut noodles).

        Go to a yakitori-ya (the Japanese are nearly as crazy about texture as the Chinese, if not moreso) and order chicken cartilage and rice balls; or go to a Peruvian place and order anticuchos and carapulcra (which has freeze-dried potatoes in that have an interesting texture).

        Liang's Kitchen
        750 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

        1 Reply
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          The heat is independent of taste. Trust me, I liked everything but crazy hot foods, and the last time I went to Chipotle for lunch (don't judge...), the normal seasoning was almost too hot for me.

          And the ick of the carbs is also independent of my general ability to taste. I can't really explain it, but as my tastebuds rebound, I can eat a piece of sashmi and at least recognize it for what I is supposed to taste like, if I were to try it as sushi, it would be disgusting and unrecognizable.

          My treatment goes in cycles, so the last time I was rebounding, I went to Honda-ya for yakatori and it was decent. They are not my favorite yakatori spot, but I was meeting friend that love the place, so it was an easy compromise because I knew I could eat well without any rice.

        2. I'd go for Korean bbq; I like Shik Do Rak quite a lot.

          I hope the treatment goes well and you feel better.