"I have a craving for dim sum and I really can't go out for anything else," my friend joked, having trekked down from Lake Worth. I'm not a big brunch fan, so a defection from mimosas and lines waiting to pay $30 for eggs was fine by me.
A trip to Toa Toa was my first to Sunrise in awhile, where roads and strip malls plaster over nature, the struggling palms a half-ass reminder.
Inside Toa Toa, tables were a growing commodity. No carts snaked the aisles, though I was charmed by the chit menu. "Oh, they have chicken feet," I said.
One of my favorite chefs from home at CityZen, Eric Ziebold --former
sous to Thomas Keller when he opened French Laundry-- told me a New York story where he and his friends went on a chicken feet promenade, devouring them like natives, spitting nails in bowls. I was
certain I would not mimic that flourish, though I was curious to see
what the hell's the fuss.
On the chit, my friend checked a
couple of her standards which I would have chosen myself: clams and
black beans, rice noodles and crispy shrimp. Pork buns, mustard greens
and chicken feet rounded out the order. "Those are all yours," she said
of the feet.
Silky rice noodles like crepes blanketed crispy
shrimp, a textural contrast and a simple flavor interplay. On another
plate, sticky buns cradled pork meatballs, a
satiating starter. Mustard greens reminded us we're not eating them enough,
and why the hell not since they're so good? Clams and black beans
ushered silence as we devoured the dish. "Are you going to leave those?
said my friend of the couple remaining. They could not go to waste.
chicken feet were another story, a handful that arrived in a steamer
atop the nail bowl. I pulled at the skin, earthy and crisp. Ziebold was
right. They were delicious, though I was hesitant and tweeted such.
"Just pretend you're sucking someone's toes, if that helps," @Frodnesor
I know that's what I'm supposed to do, but I could not. Most dishes are
less appetizing upon closer examination, whether it's the composition
or the plating that breaks a craving. Such was the case of chicken
feet with crispy skin that jiggled. I was too disturbed by the architecture of bones underneath.
Serving dim sum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. consider going today. Maybe skip the chicken feet.