We continue to countdown our 100 favorite dishes at local restaurants. We'll be sharing these with you every weekday until our annual Best Of Issue comes out. Enjoy!
#84. Silken Tofu and Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
You need to get past the "thousand-year-old egg" moniker to enjoy this one; but once you do, you'll realize that it's really not as funky as it sounds. It might as well be a hard-boiled egg that just looks a little funny. Here, in this dish, you'll come face-to-face with it like you've never had. It doesn't hide in small chopped pieces in congee. You get it full monty.
Cut in generous quarters--its yolk bluish, the albumen as clear as aspic--a few of them top blocks of silken tofu. The whole dish is then slathered in a salty brown sauce and garnished with scallions and bonito flakes, which may writhe like disembodied tentacles.
You'll see it prepared this way at many of San Gabriel Valley's fine Chinese Restaurants and the pairing is as fortuitous as bacon and eggs, but unlike it, it's refreshing, served chilled and bracing. The tofu acts like a blank canvas onto which the scallions, the salty sauce, and the umami of the eggs paint themselves. Seriously, it's not that weird. And yes, it is delicious.
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Asian Tapas, 6380 Irvine Blvd., Irvine, (949) 651-8999; www.asian-tapas.com.
The list so far:
#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan>
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor