Tuesday, November 24, 2009

State of Infusion

Public opinion is always quick to portray the great state of California as being in the worst of economic hardships. I can fairly attest that public opinion in this instance is indeed cierto and we all may run amok to less desirable climes in the very near future. Today, however, three broke-ass Californians boldly threw frugality and caution to the Santa Ana winds and opted for high tea at The Huntington Library. The buffet spread at the The Rose Tea Room is picturesque, scrumptious, and worthy of the 4th Earl of Sandwich (albeit a finger version) himself. They started us out with a choice of teas (English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe flavored with Raspberry) and fresh scones (blueberry and cranberry) with butter and cream. Then, upon our charming servers' gracious request, K, B and I took to our morning potlatch: quesos, salads, tarts, caviar, frutas, sandwiches, noodles, salmon, and more scones (which really are a highlight). Don't worry about having to keister a few a these little wonders for later; just ask for another round and you even get handed a bag with gilded edges to take them home in---muchas florituras. Afterwards, while having a stroll in the vast gardens, I pondered the future of California and realized that while the state may be crumbling I still most certainly need to check out the Cambodian fare in Long Beach: Eureka!

Friday, November 13, 2009

On The Links

With a day off and plenty of sunshine, I achieved what thousands of people chained to their desks were fruitlessly daydreaming of and that is playing a round of golf. After morning coffee and a life changing article about water on the moon, I meandered up the historica Pasadena Freeway just over the border from Highland Park to the Arroyo Seco Golf Course. This 18 hole par 3 pitch and putt has been voted top ten in the Los Angeles area for years, but still remains relatively unnoticed. Many of you who know me realize that I'm not one to back down from a challenge, unless it's too hard in which case I'll take a more simplified route. So instead of using two clubs on the grueling par 3, I stripped it down to only uno (the refined putter) and played the adjacent 9 hole mini golf course instead. While I would love to go into detail about this legitimately retro landmark, let's just say that I'm glad I aced the dastardly "Ant Hill" hole, held my ground at "Big Three", and finished strong at the legendary "Wagon Wheel". Elated with a dos under par total, I took my victory march to the 19th (or 10th in this case) hole and ordered what one always feels compelled to eat at any racquet/pool/country club: grilled cheese on sourdough con papas fritas. Chased with a cerveza and the LPGA live on the tube from Guadalajara , I wondered if life could be any sweeter. Probably, but who's really keeping score?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Straight Outta Gujarat

The Radjhani Express is the finest passenger train service that rupees can buy and remains a reliable source that quickly connects the traveler from New Delhi to various Indian state capitals. Likewise, Radjhani restaurant in Artesia aims to serve a direct beeline of Gujarati thali to as many hungry heads as possible from abierto to cerrado. While the elaborate spread here may bring to mind the hokey banquet scene from 'Temple of Doom', there are a few things to remember about eating thali. It is typically vegetarian, it's sometimes served on a banana leaf, and most importantly: it never stops. Indeed, there is always a smiling face nearby eagerly waiting to refill the tiny stainless bowls or tong over another layer of chapati. Tonight the thali consisted of several types of dal, a lemony curry, mango sauce, puri, onions, peppers, papadam, pico de gallo (oddly enough), chapati, rice (after you've gorged on the breads), and Chaas. If you have never had this last little item, I'll give a brief summary. Chaas (often called 'buttermilk' in the states) is a beverage by-product of making butter. Salt, cumin, and sometimes diced green chiles are added to the usually ice cold bebida to enhance the flavor. I'm not actually sure what to make of this lactose laden concoction. It maybe that it reminds me of drinking milk with every dinner as a young lad. Would you have a nice plate of spaghetti nowadays and wash it down with leche?: not gonna happen. My suggestion is to go like the wind and find your neighborhood thali spot. If you don't have one, perhaps try dining at any Indian place and ask nicely if they will bring the food out by the ladleful. Never mind the strange looks, you have the makings of a thali!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Georgia On My Mind

K and I took a short holiday recently where we found ourselves in the lovely ciudad of Savannah. Best known for its historical architecture, vibrant squares, and drooping spanish moss; 'the hostess city of the south' is also an excellent locale to walk up an appetite. Working on a tip from Mr. Miles, a savvy, food-minded colleague of mine, I decided to seek out the elusive Angel's BBQ. Actually, even though this pulled pork haven is nestled in a back alley, I could smell the wafts of succulent carne from a full city block away. After following my nose, our little posse arrived at the olfactory epicenter. What Angel's lacks in dining space it more than makes up in flavor. I got served a sandwich plate (pulled carne de puerco, greens with peanut sauce, mac & queso), The Food Whores and Tito opted for the Angel's Special (BBQ pork sandwich con slaw on top), and K kept it real with an order of overflowing BBQ brisket on a bun. As an added perk, most of the table hot sauces appear to be home made. My favorite was a heavenly (you knew that was coming) habanero sauce which is tangy and thick (almost relish like) with an amazing radioactive yellow color. I give Angel's a five 'set of wings' rating, which happens to be the max score on the local Paula Deen hairdo scale. Having briefly lived in Athens myself, it seems appropriate that the first remote broadcast of Comida Con Basura comes to you from The Peach State. Now, if you'll excuse, I reckon I'll go fetch me some more sweet tea.