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Five more freaky local dishes you'll love to eat

Halloween is here, and we've been contemplating more dishes that make the meek go "eek."  Part of the fun of being an adventurous eater is bragging rights to your friends, especially the squeamish, that you have endured--nay, savored--a food that others wouldn't touch. Here is our second list (the first one is here) of delicious, shudder-inducing local dishes.

5. Escargot--Vincent A Restaurant
While the snail soaked in garlic and butter is hardly the exotic dish it once was, it's still snails soaked in butter.  Extracting the little buggers from their shells is a bit like removing a stubborn booger from a buddy's nasal passage.  Once freed, sop up the rich butter, spiked with sharp garlic, and chew through the small black nubs.  No matter how delicious, you still have to wonder how desperate the first man to eat one must have been to look at this shelled invertebrate and think, "Hey, I'll bet that's good."

4. Rabbit Bolognese--La Belle Vie
Aw, Thumper.  Really, I'm sure the James Beard Award-winning restaurant serves only non-adorable bunnies. Whatever cottontail variety is involved, there is no denying this delicious dish.  The meat is flavored, rich with herbs, and with just a hit of tomato acidity, served over freshly made parpadelle.  The sauce is sweetly meaty and tastes of all the time in the world with a dash of Grandma's love.

3. Spicy Thai fish--Peninsula Malaysian
It's always unnerving when your food arrives with a face, but you'll be thankful this one did.  The tender cheeks are where the best flavor hides.  The fish comes either fried or steamed (do the fried) and under a warm, red blanket of spicy Thai curry sauce.  Succulent and fiery from snout right down to that crispy little tail.

2. Veal, 3 ways--Meritage
Veal, so often coveted by foodies for its milky tender flesh and mild flavor, also yields an additional delicious ingredient: sweetbreads.  Innocuously named, the sweetbread is actually a gland and not at all glutenous in origin. Once fried however, this unassuming little bit of offal is transformed into sweet, crispy ambrosia.  At Meritage the sweetbreads are served along with a delicate cheek and succulent tenderloin, over roasted root vegetables.

1. Sausage-stuffed fried pig trotter--Green Ox Charcuterie
There's no guessing what part of the pig this came from. Cured-meat maestro Mike Phillips first braises the pig foot and leg until the meat is tender, then roasts it, stuffs the deboned leg with sausage, and deep-fries the whole thing.  We admit, the endeavor seems kind of ridiculous, but tasters are believers.  Crackling skin gives way to succulent meat wrapped around juicy sausage.  Plus, it's got toes!

Missy Piggy at Table 8
Missy Piggy at Table 8


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