Chasing That Dragon

Bigmouth’s post in the Gu Yi thread got me to thinking about examples of dishes that were a revelation either because they were your first or best experience with a particular dish that you now repeatedly order/buy because you’re either simply now a fan or you’re trying to compare to that benchmark or trying to replicate the experience (e.g. chasing that dragon). I’d think it’d be fun to hear about some of this crowd’s “dragons”. Some of mine (mostly pretty low-brow):

Otoro at Sushi Gen
Beef Brisket at Bludso’s
Baby Back Ribs at Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis)
Beef Roll at A&J Restaurant (Irvine)
Baked Pork Bun at Yank Sing (San Francisco)
Chicago Deep (or stuffed) Pizza at Giordano’s (Chicago)
XLB at Din Tai Fung
Chicago Hot Dog at Portillo’s (Chicago)
Sheng Jian Bao at Kang Kang Shau May
Shaved Pastrami Sandwich at The Hat
Smoked Meat at Shwartz’s Deli (Montreal)
Croissant at Turk’s Head in the Paramount Hotel (Dublin)
Bacon Maple Bar at Voodoo Doughnuts (Portland)
Haagen Dazs Mango Sorbet
Coffee Bun at Oh My Buns
Strawberry Croissant at Cream Pan
Strawberries at Hollywood Farmer’s Market
Steak Burger (St. Louis style) at Shake Shack


That’s a lot of food you’re chasing.

Pho Bac @ Pho Minh

that square slice of pizza @Spring Street Pizza, NYC

Hyderabad style biryani from the mall in Hyderabad


sushi, japan

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Great idea and list! Mine below…
Puff pastry stuffed with whole truffle, foie gras, and bacon at the Chateau Puy Robert in Montignac, France
Kumamoto oysters fresh from the water at the Hog Island Oyster Farm in Petaluma
John Dory at Atelier Joel Robuchon in Paris
Brisket at Holy Smoke BBQ in Bishop (helps a lot if you have been eating freeze-dried food for a week)
My grandmother’s cinnamon rolls
Peter Reinhart’s grilled pizza

A WHOLE TRUFFLE? Holey moley. What did that cost? And foie gras is my fave food.

Penn Cove mussels at Toby’s Tavern on Whidbey, Seattle. The only chasing we’d do is on that island. They were incredible. We got 2# and when they arrived we thought that there was no way we’d eat that many. We ate every one along with two helpings of great garlic bread.



It was in 1989 and my rich in-laws picked up the tab. I recreated it this winter for around 100/serving. Was able to get whole black Perigord truffles for 60/oz. Here is a picture I took before cutting into it and soaking it with sauce perigeux.

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Ah, as Daddy used to say “I wish I’d been born rich instead of so doggone good looking!” :slight_smile: That does look and sound outstanding. I think that would be my entire meal. Thanks for sharing.

Love this thought! And thread : )

Best sheet pizza that I still look for? From Presti’s Bakery in Cleveland Ohio. To be eaten room temp (though they will warm it up if you like) in plain (cheese and tomato), eggplant and on some days - artichoke. Don’t recall them ever doing meat toppings but maybe my parents didn’t buy that. Killer and while not as fancy as Nancy Silverton’s Triple Beam Pizza - VERY close on flavor. I keep trying to recreate it (make it) or buy it - and have not succeeded.

Also from Presti’s - the twist bread. An Italian bread, hand twisted, and you’d tear silky chewy hunks off and eat them with butter. I’ve hit many a bakery since then and have yet to find it match. And I’ve hit a lot of bakeries ; )

Corn Rye Bread from Lox and Mandel (in Cleveland) the first incarnation. The orig lox and mandel is gone and while you can still get good corn rye in Cleveland (and LA - thank you Diamond Bakery and Trader Joes!) so far I have not found a match for the texture and flavor of the orig. Lox and Mandel on Taylor Road in Ohio.

I do not eat red meat anymore but when we were in Montreal I actually made my husband go to Shwartz’s and we got the smoked meat, just so I could take a bite. One bite. My stunned husband “Aren’t you going to eat more? We came all this way?” Me 'No. But it was worth it. Fabulous." My husband ate the rest of my sandwich : )

Still chasing the dragon of the perfect egg fu young in Los Angeles. Have not found a place that matches what I grew up with and thus crave.

But I don’t have to chase the dragon of the perfect shrimp cocktail, as my dad taught me how to make his. But every time I make it, I am so happy I can.

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The lamb burger at Black Hogg (RIP).