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Five Things That Should Always Be Ordered Extra Crispy

When I interviewed Alberto Neri for last week's restaurant review, we talked a lot about textures. I was trying to figure out why the taco meats at some locations were consistently more crispy than others. Neri looked confused by my question. If I wanted crispy meats, all I had to to was ask for them, he told me. I could even order my tacos extra crispy, if I liked, and I should for the tripas, he instructed.

The notion completely changed the tripas tacos for me, which went from slightly challenging soft texture to wholly delicious crispness with a simple order augmentation. You've got to try them ordered this way of you've not already.

Our conversation got me thinking about other foods around town that benefit from being ordered extra crispy. Here are four more.

*****

Thin-crust pizza Pizza in Dallas has been, well, pizza in Dallas. This city doesn't have much of a bread culture, and most doughs and crusts are made as quickly as possible, with little effort put into developing real flavor.

You can make up for this shortcoming by ordering your pizzas extra-crispy, or charred as I did with this pie at Scalini's. The blackened blisters add some depth of flavor to a crust that's typically quite bland on its own. It's a significant improvement.

*****

Bacon Whether it's on a BLT, a burger or alongside two eggs sunny-side-up, crispy bacon will always trump rubbery, flaccid bacon. Cooking bacon just a few degrees away from burnt beefs up the texture, concentrates the saltiness that makes bacon bacon and keeps the strips from pulling out of your sandwich when you bite.

*****

Chicken wings Many chicken wing orders are ruined by rubbery meat you really have to tear from the bone with your teeth. Order your wings extra crispy and more of the fat will render from beneath the skin while the skin crisps up and the meat gets a little more succulent. Watch out that your fry cook doesn't go too far though. Wings can dry out if they spend too much time in the fryer.

*****

Baguettes When you ask for a baguette at Village Baking Co. the person behind the counter has scores to choose from. Ask for one that looks a little more crisp than the rest and enjoy increased toasted flavors and bread with real bite.

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