Welcome to the 2011 edition of Stick A Fork In It's 100 Favorite Dishes. We've just kicked off our countdown to #1 (which will appear the same week as our compendium on all that's good and right about Orange County).
Say "sausage party," and a room full of guys will roll their eyes and leave, unless that room happens to be the Costa Mesa man-cave of meat and beer known as Valhalla Table. I've had exotic sausages on the brain lately, with my Memorial Day post and my interview with Evan Kleiman on KCRW this past weekend.
My first choice in that interview? The Wild Boar Balinese sausage!
Valhalla Table makes has a full menu of house-made sausages including classics like bratwurst and chicken-apple. There's nothing wrong with safe choices, but if you had to pick one with the most soul, the most love, which should you choose?
Knowing that this restaurant is owned by the same Indonesian family as Irvine's Layer Cake Bakery, would you choose the Sweet Italian sausage, or the Wild Boar Balinese? Boar meat isn't as gamy as you'd think, but still lays down a rich foundation of flavor and fat. Ginger and lemongrass sing the high aromatic notes above the meaty richness.
You can choose whatever condiment you want from the menu, but trust me on this--go with the default sambal balado, a fresh tomato concassé spiked with chili that elevates the flavors of Southeast Asia.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Valhalla Table 2981 Bristol St., #B2, Costa Mesa. (714) 549-2960; www.valhallatable.com
Click here for our 100 faves from 2010! The list so far this time around:
No.85: Comida Corrida at Taquería La Raza
No. 86: Breakfast Burrito at Troy's Drive-In
No. 87: Mandoo at L&M Liquor and Deli
No. 88: Chicago Dog at Chicago Harv's
No. 89: Sweet Potato Tater Tots at Pee Wee's Famous
No. 90: Kaya-Stuffed French Toast at Chomp Chomp
No. 91: Egg Breakfast at Rick's Atomic Kitchen
No. 92: Sticky Rice With Chicken at Quan Hy
No. 93: Beef Koobideh at Hen House Grill
No. 94: $5 Fish Bento at Bentoss
No. 95: Milanesa Sandwich at Piaggio's Gourmet on Wheels
No. 96: Samurai Burrito at Wafu of Japan
No. 97: Carnitas Gordita at Bodega R Ranch Market
No. 98: Spam Musubi at k'ya Street Fare
No. 99: Tortilla Andorra at Anepalco's
No. 100: Lemongrass Chicken, Extra Spicy at Vietnam's Pearl