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Best Salad Dressing Orange County 2012 - Chaya

Chaya

Chaya

3030 Bristol St.

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

714-436-5798

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At first, Chaya's $5 chicken salad will appear to be the same as every chicken salad you've faced before. There's lettuce, a cut of tomato, some sizzling slices of chicken just seared by a griddle. But then you pour on the dressing that comes in a maple-syrup pitcher. This liquid, friends, is made from miso, sesame and some sort of magic. The blend is able to do the impossible, transforming the insipid into the inspiring. It does the work a great director can do with an ensemble cast of also-rans, making everyone perform at a level they never knew they were capable of and winning awards. The chicken's inherent crispness thrills, while the lettuce and tomato's freshness chills. What ingredients are really in this humble vessel, we might never know. Some mysteries are better left as such.

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