Saturday, October 24, 2009

Temple Of Noodles

'Pao Tio' is a Thai term that roughly translates to: taking a stroll, socializing, and checking out the food stalls. While we don't have a word for this in English, the lack of semantics doesn't prevent this activity from being a choice way to spend your time. Today, while having mi carro serviced near Sunset Junction, I set this phenomenon in motion. I sauntered across Fountain Ave, talked with the garden center guy, and then stumbled right into Wat Dong Moon Lek Noodle. Evidently named for a Krung Thep noodle shop next to a muy old wat (temple) of the same name, the LA version doesn't stray too far from its roots. I ordered a chica bowl of the house beef noodles (rice noodles, bean sprouts, rare beef, meatball) and a small plate of jamon hock rice (braised ham hock, arroz, pickled mustard greens, sliced egg, chili garlic sauce). During my quick feast, I definitely felt like I was in the other city of angels (without being so sweaty) sitting on a plastic stool on the side of a busy street. Make sure to mark este lugar on your map. This time an English phrase is comparable : Hella Good, or as the Thai say: Aloi Mak!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hooray, Leftovers!

While I realize this doesn't sound at all exciting, you can rest assured that in this case I was faced with some damn fine reheatables. With K busy after work, I intended to go out in search of worthy comida to spiel about aqui on CCB. However, after checking the fridge (and my cash levels) I discovered the trove of Mrs. C's leftovers from a birthday bash for Mr. C last Sabado noche. Ah, perfecto! Beef stew, sigumchi, meat patties, kimchi, and bindaeduk. I settled in amidst the savory aromas, put on a favored podcast, and dined like it was 1999. The only downside, being depleted of proper arroz, I was forced to use some Uncle Ben's instant rice. I know the long grain variety of this brand has been heralded, but this stuff should be removed from the shelf. Well, eating at home can be truly rewarding sometimes. I saved ten bucks, listened to good tunes, and as a bonus got to mildly criticize a household name. Estoy satisfecho.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yu Ga What?

They got dumplings, that's what. Huge, boat-shaped wang mandu (beef and leek, pork and leek, or kimchi) to be precise. While attempting to escape gridlock on Western, I routinely seem to pass this converted taco stand turned dumpling house (apparently called Yu Ga Ne) on Irolo and 7th. More than enticed by the colorful photos and the promise of "authentic Korean dumplings", K and I decided to have a closer look. I opted for the spicy pollo and king dumplings served with salad, arroz, and a small bowl of picante seafood soup. The main specialty here is Jajangmyeon, a fantastically black noodle dish that can easily rival King Diamond in evil appearances: thick sauce made of black soybean paste con diced carne and vegetables poured over noodles sprinkled with a few green peas. K quickly ordered her own ebony bowlful (which is always served with danmuji and kimchi) and we went to work. One part Blade Runner, Three parts B sanitation grade, and six parts of fun equal a perfect ten for tasty convenience. As an interesting side note, the cramped Korean strip mall also contains a store marketed for repairing cowboy boots, chaps, saddles, and leathers---proving once again that anything is possible in the city of angels.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

'Ono, MikoMiko

This morning K and I slid down the Harbor Freeway to King's Hawaiian in the illustrious ciudad of Torrance where we had an appointment to taste cake varieties for a future shindig. While this was a truly delectable experience, I would rather address the brunch that followed and, since we're on the subject, Hawaiian grub in general. Today, I went for a classic Loco Moco plate with a potato macaroni salad side. This favorite is served at King's in "American diner" fashion rather than the more chaotic (yet way better) "plate lunch" format of The Islands, but still managed to holds its own. K started with some tasty Portuguese Bean soup chased by char siu fried rice and eggs. In the future, I will make sure to take advantage of the Mahi Mahi breakfast: broiled pescado, fried huevos, rice, and miso soup. Hawaii, being at the crossroads of The Pacific, maintains a cuisine like no other. It's a place where indigenous Polynesian cooking smashes into the culinary influences of Asia, Europa, and The Americas. From spam musubi to high grade sashimi, Hawaiian grind is da kine. As a personal example, I can fairly say that I could easily live on Ahi poke with an occasional bowl of saimin and die a happy man. On your next trip out, especially if traveling through Oahu, be sure to check out The Tasty Island for some good-eatin' tips---Mahalo!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day For Henry Chinaski

I had originally planned on having a Hong Kong desayuno before going to bet on the ponies, but I remembered that there is something slightly awkward about eating dim sum alone. It's not being wedged in with a table of strangers so much as the lack of dumpling diversity that you get when in a group. Subsequently, I took another approach and decided to invoke the spirit of Senor Chinaski, alter ego of Charles Bukowski and transgressive fiction antihero. I swung by Billy's Deli and ordered up a No. 1 triple decker (sliced turkey, pastrami, swiss, dressing, served hot on rye). Accompanied with potato salad and fresh pickles, I stayed true to Chinaski's character and only ate half of the colossal sandwich in order to save room for cerveza at the track. While I refrained from smoking, listening to opera, and insulting people; I did manage to lose money, something our ill-fated friend knew well. For those of you who have never been to Santa Anita, I will be so bold as to say that it's truly a wonder of the world (albeit a bankrupt one). I would place it somewhere between the temples of Angkor Wat and Space Tourism on a must-do list. Pretty extreme I know, but I get a lot of mileage from that monotone British voice (which seems to be the same at every track) echoing over the loudspeaker: "The horses are at the gate---and awaaay they go!"