I'd been thinking about Ruth Reichl's blog on a decadent breakfast: a coddled egg on top of potato purée with chives and gray sea salt. It came from the L.A. food truck called Eggslut.
"This is a perfect way to start the day -- a tender egg, held together with
no more than a wish, on top of buttery puréed potatoes," she wrote. "The crunch of
salt, the snappy bite of chives. Heaven in a spoon."
Her post raised the question on what makes a dish decadent. Marked by self-indulgence or unrestrained gratification, a decadent dish covers many contexts, depending on the person. It might be a presentation of something exquisite and rare, like truffles. It may be a bowl latticed with cheese. It could be a meal that's a labor of love. Or in the case of Reichl's decadent breakfast, it's something more delicate and ephemeral.
Here's our selection of decadent dishes that run the gamut, be it fancy, humble, rich, or rare.
10) Pork belly taco from El Jefe Luchador
Though it's not on the menu, this decadent bite is a near-daily special, stuffed with crisp and fatty pork belly, tomato ancho salsa, guacamole, and slaw.
9) Bacon stack from Georgia Pig
With bacon sliced thick and sizzled on the griddle, Georgia Pig's bacon gets as crispy as cracklin.This low brow decadence is as much for the volume as the flavor: where else are you served a stack?
8) Deep-fried Oreos from Sugar Rush
A hot breaded batter leads to soft, sweet insides, transforming the classic cookie into a decadent, delicious disk.
7) Dry-aged New York strip from Smitty's Old Fashioned Butcher
At $35 a pound, these steaks aren't cheap. But this cut for home consumption is well worth it. Dry-aged in-house, an inch and a half thick, these New York strip steaks are among the shop's most decadent offerings. Go with a trusted recipe, served rare to medium rare.
6) Poached and roasted from Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House
Two beautiful eggs so fresh that their yolks are orange highlight this breakfast, available every day until 3 p.m. Released from a round, perfectly shaped eggs garnish a pile of seasoned spinach, sautéed just enough that it's wilted. Roasted potatoes round out the plate, with a slice of Gran Forno wheat bread slathered with butter. It's hard to know where to break the egg first: over greens, with the bread, or to quickly stack and combine ingredients so yolk drizzles the plate.
5) Smore's milk shake from Relish
At a restaurant for which burgers are dressed with dozens of toppings -- from Scotch Bonnet mango to sour pickle chutney -- decadence is a given at this spot. Save room for dessert: the burnt marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker milkshake, that serves as the ultimate sip of nostalgia.
4) Philly cheese steak from Cafe Martorano
American cheese is graded and melted into a chopped ribeye sandwich served on crusty bread. It's a cheese steak that inspires dreams.
3) A dozen Kusshi oysters from 3030 Ocean
Steeped in liquor and slightly sweet, these clean, west coast oysters are served atop a ring of crushed ice with little else. All these need is a hit of lemon. Loosen each from the shell and slurp.
2) Blue cheese tater tots from Cut 432
Mashed potatoes layered with blue cheese are piped and stuffed into fried bites on this steakhouse rendition of the childhood snack.
1) Pasta carbonara from D'Angelo and D'Angelo Trattoria
Homemade chitarra -- "like a guitar string" -- made with "00" flour, is draped with a touch of egg yolk, laden with guanciale, and seasoned with black pepper: a more decadent rendition of bacon and eggs.