If you had to pick only five, what are the top five "first bites" of food that send you to your "happy place" and make you really love life?
I've thought about it, and mine are:
1. Roasted Lebanese Chicken with Garlic Sauce and Pickled Turnips wrapped in warm Lavash Bread. I go heavy on the garlic sauce (equal to the amount of chicken, I'd venture)...... That first bite is magic!
2. Gulf Shrimp Scampi, with bread to sop up the garlicky butter. The sweet shrimp, the rich butter, the garlic (Hey, I'm seeing a trend. ;-).
3. Summer Gazpacho, with tons of fresh garden tomatoes, cucumbers, sherry vinegar, Italian parsley.... There is nothing that says "Summer Fresh"" better than this vibrant soup. (OK, it's a first "slurp" in this case).
4. Wok-seared Chicken or Beef Pad Kee Mao with a dose of chile-vinegar. (The pinnacle was that made by those wizards at the now-long-shutterred Pan-Asian Noodle House on Vermont Avenue in DC).
5. My mama's steaming hot homemade biscuits with butter and fresh home-made strawberry jam. My mom's biscuits were the best, and I loved the middle biscuit (thus, soft on all sides) with the jam we made from strawberries picked from our yard and high meadows in Highlands, NC. This one I have to taste only in my sweet memory.
How about you? What sends you into a food swoon with that first bite?
PS. You can have one runner-up... and mine is the Thai Papaya Salad, Som Tam -- especially that incredible --yet utterly simple-- dressing. SCHLUUURP!