The Ultimate Fried Calamari

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Normally I’m not a huge fan of this dish as it often resembles a bunch of deep fried, battered rubber bands in most restaurants. I mean let’s be honest, it’s the bottom of the bar food barrel. Down there with mozzarella sticks and potato skins and jalapeno poppers. Well, with the exception of these two, of course.

 Pera – New York, NY

Naturally I didn’t even want to order them, but my wife insisted. And as usual, she was right. Yes, it still hurts to say it. But what made this calamari shine wasn’t the squid or the batter. It was everything else, you see, these tentacles come fully loaded. Mixed with sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage) red peppers, hot peppers and scallions. And the sum of the parts is Octonuts!

Encounter – Los Angeles, CA

Most people never even think twice about this place, mainly because it’s in the top of the old traffic control tower located in the middle of LAX, but it’s actually pretty good. And among the goodness just happens to be the only other calamari ever to tickle my fancy. So what makes these so special. Well, here it actually is the batter. And the sauce. First, the batter is richer than most. Spiced and herbed, with a presence unto itself, even without the sauce. That said, with the sauce it’s even better, because it too has kick, and as I always say, two kicks are always better than one.

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