I just found this board three weeks ago. Though I clearly remember Calvin Trillin's seminal profile of chowhound in the new yorker a couple of years ago, I was living in new orleans, and assumed at the time that it was a phenomenon isolated to new york.
Anyway since discovering the board for myself I have been enthusiastically reading the excellent posts and sampling the bounty of knowlege on the board.
My Japanese wife always tells me to stop praising the delicious dish I'm eating and eat it since "it's food afterall." Its great to know that there is a community of nuts out there who enjoy talking and writing about food almost as much as eating it.
Here are some of the places I've visited with my wife and son, for the first time, since the chowhound discovery.
We all split the delicious omelette/rice flour pankcake, stuffed with bean sprouts, shrimp and pork. It was delicious and accompanied by a wonderful array of clean green herbs, (basil, cilantro, long cilantro, mint) and cuke discs. and a standard fish sauce. My wife had the Pho Ga, a simple chicken pho, with a mild, clean broth, once again served with a dazzling array of greens, lime, peppers, etc. My beef tendon, brisket and thin raw beef slice (reminincent of shabu shabu) pho was also excelent, and I used GWIV's technique of a salt pepper and lime slurry for the beef, eventually adding the siracha to the mixture- delicious. All in all I think that 777 has a more complex broth, and the noodles are a bit firmer hotter, and tastier, but I liked the atmosphere, and the quality of the greens better at Tank and would prefer to eat here if I were feeling a bit under the weather.
After reading about the ribfest decided to try the grandmaster of chicago BBQ, Lems. We had Ribs, Tips, Links, and fried chicken with hot and regular sauce on the side. The best dish was the rib tips. I loved the 1 cM crust of smokey char that enveloped the melted fatty meat and cartilege within. the char was woody in both texture and flavor. It was, I think, the essence of barbeque. The ribs were also tasty, but lacked the complexity of texture and tissue plains present in the tips. The links were wonderful, with a suprising sage aroma that overpowered the mild "hot" spice. The sausage meat was delightfully coarse and moist. The fried chicken and fries were not worth a second bite, but my three year old seemed to enjoy them. The sauce was great as well with the dominant flavor a vinegar sour that was a natural counterpoint to meat's oaky crust. I Wished the hot version was spicier.
We went here on new years eve. The best dish was definately the grilled garlic beef. Wonderful wood tones of the meat mixed with the salty fishy sauce, and the spicy/sweet garlic slivers to create a tight package of flavor. The Tom yum was delicious, if overspiced with the powerful salty, sour, and firey tastes engaged in a battle in my mouth. Beneath this onslought were the more subtle advances of lemongrass and ginger, that I with were given a bigger stage. In fact the soup tasted best the next day when mixed 1:1 with a can of coconut milk at the homestead. The larb pork was similarly overspiced (salty/hot), and the toasted rice was perhaps under toasted,at it refused to yield to my teeth in a crunch, as other versions of the dish have done. The green chicken curry and pad thai were both well prepared with fresh ingredients; competent versions of the classics. All in all I felt the food suffered from an overagressive spicing, but I don't know if it was an off night. I'll return in summer to taste the bounty of the garden. (My favorite local thai spot remains Siam noodle and rice- but I will admit that one of the 9 or 10 times I ate there the food was just average. Who knows maybe the chef was sick.)
We had the curried lamb - a succulent dish of triangles/cubes of lamb in a spicey oily slurry, kabbabbish chicken- a similarly spiced more garlicky chicken dish tinted red, the vegitable curry which was composed of turnip, tomatos, onion, and potatoes, bathed in a cumin laced yellow gravy (our favorite.) The chapati were the best I've had, hand patted and served hot off the grill. My regret is that we didn't sample the fish rice that I saw a cabbie eating as we left the place. It looked like a spicy mound of buttered rice studded with fish chunks peppers and spices. Have others tried it?
On the to-eat list:
La quebrada, Ed's potsticker house, Spoon (with the secret menu), Noon-O-Kebab, Katsu(We're down on midwestern sushi to this point,)
Any obvious oversights?
I'll be reading.