Fried Black Pepper Dungeness Crab
There's nothing particularly special about the setting or the service at PPQ Dungeness Island in San Francisco's Outer Richmond district, but the crab and garlic noodles, well, that's a different story altogether. PPQ (Pho Phu Quoc) refers to Vietnamese noodles, with Phu Quoc being Vietnam's largest island (at the very south tip of the country), a place known for fish sauce and black pepper. That fried black pepper application to Dungeness crabs is amazing. Sweet, juicy Dungeness covered with black peppercorns. But the other preparations are equally enticing — roasted, drunken, curried, and spiced. Sure, it's some work to eat, but man, what reward! Sweet, spicy, flavor made even better with garlic noodles, booze, and friends. And for all these reasons, this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.