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Toa Toa Dim Sum, Toes and All

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"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.

The

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

answered. 

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.


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