We'd already tried the most popular chef's special (spicy cumin pork ribs) and an out-there dish (sliced pigs ears), so we went with a couple of more common choices. (More 'common,' perhaps. But equally outstanding.)
The Ants Climbing Trees is a jumbled mass of thin, pan-fried rice noodles beautifully seasoned (HEAT, baby!) and dotted with bits of scallion, chilies and ground pork that looked like ants climbing all over the slippery translucent noodles. I can't recall flavors and details (sadly, this post has taken me a month) ... but I do recall the love I had for this dish.
Where, oh, where can you find food like this in the U.S.? I have no idea, but I'll start in San Francisco's Chinatown when we're there in August.
Our second choice, the Mapo Tofu, is one of our favorite dishes at Asia Cafe in Austin. After thoughtful analysis, we both agreed Asia Cafe's Mapo is a worthy rival to the Sichuan House Mapo. (If anything, I'm favoring Asia Cafe. Because on this second visit to Sichuan, I once again bit into an unsavory black bit of anise - or something equally offensive - that overpowered my taste buds and had me begging the waitress for a Diet Coke to wash away the flavor.)