Sunday, January 31, 2010
I awoke on Domingo having had strange dreams revolving around Cafe Rakka (a spot on St. Marks often frequented by Senor Sharpie, B, and myself in the late 90's), so I knew straight away that falafel was somehow cosmically tied to the afternoon carta. With the sun shining brillante, I threw in some solid dancehall and rolled up Santa Monica blvd. pulling in at the 'sci-fi sounding': Falafel Arax. It seems like they ate a lot of blue and green liquid on the original Star Trek, but I happen to know that in the follow up series the crew had reliable comida replicators. This ensign here would most assuredly ask the computer for some simulated Arax before any painstaking leap into hyperspace, that's for sure. I had planned on eating vegetariano, but when I got a glimpse of the sandwich press I ordered shawourma (Armenian spelling) on french bread instead (two piece crispy falafel on the side for good measure). The pan was toasted perfectly, encasing the juicy carne, onions, tomates, and tahini garlic sauce with no fussy mess. Chased with pickles, peppers, and cola this a requisimo final meal option before being deployed on one of those fateful 'away team' missions. Engage.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I have been looking for a reason to start a 'mini-series' regarding LA metropolitan pho establishments for awhile now, and with the big game coming up and all, I made a gridiron decision to go for it. There was a small wait for command center clearance, but in no time I was docking my shuttle at the Alhambra spaceport right out front of Pho Super Bowl. Don't expect any ambiguous pass interference calls here, PSB has a solid Viet cafe menu that is fresco, steamy, and muy aromatico. I anxiously ordered cha gio (crispy rolls con puerco) served with glistening lettuce, mint, cilantro, marinated shredded veggies, and cold noodles. While I realize this is no new breakthrough for this dish, I did notice the other patrons (myself included) rolling up every morsel in the high quality greenery. As for soup, I sipped on pho nam (well-done flank with vermicelli) flavored perfectly with green cebollas, jalapenos, and basil. Do you have a cold, gout, depression, phobia (sorry), acne, etc...? If so, don't wait for the next write up, support your local broth pusher now---operators are standing by.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
During a fierce (as far as el sur de California goes) winter storm, I took the helm and chauffeured K and Rollergirl up and over to Studio City to take care of a necessary, yet very brief, business meeting. With all prior engagements behind us, we found ourselves free to roam the wet calles of the east valley. My first instinct was to hit up the beckoning Henry's taco stand, but I had to remind myself that despite the vast amount of bitchin' signage in these parts one mustn't just dive in head first. Pushing aside a certain Pavement song that was stuck in mi cabeza, I managed to remember a place that touts 'Japanese soul food' only a few blocks away. We pulled into the tiny strip mall and ran for cover from the rain straight inside warm and cozy Daichan restaurante. Somehow we just missed a late lunch rush, and subsequently scored a nice corner table with hot verde tea served within seconds. The menu here consists of a broad lineup of tasty Japanese hits with a subtle Hawaiian theme swaying in the background. I ordered albacore tataki (which was amped with minced garlic and a tangy ponzu sauce) and the unusual spicy chicken poki bowl. K went for the always scintillating chicken cutlet curry, while Rollergirl kept it light (to be nimble on the skates no doubt) with pan fried garlic pollo over rice. The only glitch at Daichan is the lack of cerveza and sake which a good portion of the menu is meant to accompany. Maybe coming at lunch is the solution to that conundrum since it's generally discouraged to partake during those hours in our mechanized society (I know what you're thinkin' Pete). As an alternative, of course, you could perform an elaborate dance between the brown bag in the car and the rica comida on your table, kampai!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
At a loss for any promising comida ideas, I decided to take a tip from a fortune cookie I once opened and went to visit the mysterious moai high atop the Jewel City in Forest Lawn Cemeterio. Upon arriving, I politely asked for a grounds map from the well-groomed gate keeper and began winding up the smooth tarmac (boldly passing countless deceased entertainers) to the curiously placed, and really quite outstanding, on-site museum. I quietly slipped past the snoozing guard and found the object of my quest nestled in a galeria between multitudes of Western bronzes. Not knowing exactly how to address this fragmented monolith, I simply stated: "Henry, (the name given to him after being 'liberated' by Hubert Eaton from a Rapa Nui fishing boat in which he was being used as ballast) where should I eat today?" At first there was nada, but then a soft, barnacle-like voice (similar to Alec Baldwin) gurgled: "I am small among my kind. I don't mind it here, but I miss the open sea. Think upon my rounded features, for your lunch should be likewise. Now go, and may the trade winds guide you swiftly to a favorable harbor within the next twenty minutes. I'll be timing you, that is all." As I scrambled out to mi carro, my brain had somehow come up with a suitable answer to the riddle: Har Gow (petite, filled with camorones, and globular). There was certainly no time to hit the crowded dumpling joints, so I raced to Garfield Avenue and screeched to a halt outside of Dim Sum Express. I quickly checked off my order with a 'golf' pencil on the menu slip and moved over to the pick up window. Within moments, I was sitting in a sunny park (overlooking some snowy mountains) savoring my bounty: har gow, siu mai (puerco), baked and steamed pork buns, fried dumplings. According to my watch I made it with about 45 seconds to spare, so I truly hope Henry is proud that I humbly respected his sage advice from "the navel of the world."
Saturday, January 2, 2010
(con't from a previous broadcast) We left IB via the Silver Strand and took a scenic ride along the coast eventually arcing over the Coronado bridge which dropped us right into Barrio Logan, home of one of my favorito San Diego eateries: Las Cuatro Milpas. Opened sometime in the early 1930's, and run by tres generations of the Estudillo familia, this no-nonsense cafe serves authentic Mexican comida starting at 9AM and ending when the food runs out around 2PM. Unless you arrive when the doors open, plan on waiting in the ever present queue out front. Once inside we quickly ordered from the stripped-down yet curiously fulfilling menu which in total consists of: tacos (pollo or pork--deep fried), tamales (pollo or pork), rice and beans, rolled tacos (pork), burritos (pollo or pork), chorizo bowl (with huevos, rice, and beans), and the best tortillas (soft, warm, and greasy) in town. Armed with a wild combination of this stuff, we took a picnic bench and started plowing through with some assistance from the picante house salsa (made from simmering pork fat with red chiles and spices). Oh man, what a brilliant way to round out a busy afternoon. Perhaps I was a bit too harsh earlier in contemplating the new decade. After all, what is there really to anguish over when you can readily enjoy the moveable feast! Damn straight.