I never need an excuse to eat Asian noodle soups, but it being the dead of winter and the start of Chinese New Year, the timing seemed particularly good for rounding up a few of my favorites.
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The crackle of the under crust was the thing that got me on my first visit to The Proper Slice. It formed its own perfect, distinct layer in the pizza crust topography. By the second slice, after the pie had sat on its aluminum podium for a wilt-able amount of time yet remained crisp, I was ready to place the fledgling pizzeria in the upper echelon.
What I'd really come to Thai North for was the kao soi, generally considered the national dish of Chiang Mai, and unfortunately hard to find in most American Thai restaurants. It's basically a brothy red curry with noodles, meat (usually chicken), and a heap of contrasting garnishes. The complex, coconut milk-enriched liquid, laced with chili oil, comes about halfway up the deep bowl and soaks into a generous tangle of chewy, flat noodles. Also swimming in the mix: a braised chicken leg, pickled mustard greens, crisp slices of raw red onion, cilantro, scallions, crunchy fried noodles, and a juicy lime wedge for squeezing. Alongside, a bowl of roasted chili paste. If there's another dish out there with a more balanced, multifaceted mixture of flavors and textures, I can't think of it.
From the Phantom Gourmet: Five pounds of burger, broken down into 10 half-pound patties. And that's before you add the bacon and cheese (20 slices of each). And the five-pound sider of fries. $100. Finish it and you don't have...