Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend At Bernie's

Last Viernes I took some time in between futbol matches and walked under the 101 freeway to the ambitiously named Historic Filipinotown barrio for some local style comida. The object of my short hike was Bernie's Teriyaki: a well-worn, no frills, and borderline hilarious establishment that is best known for its Filipino inspired lunch platos of grilled pollo served with beef or pork skewers over lightly fried arroz. Here I should mention the Bernie's quirk. They routinely get an extremo amount of take out orders from businesses downtown and, even though these good people have been at it since 1977, you have to wait behind the order in front of you (which may have 20 platos easy). This is when you get to play the "see who cracks first" game as impatient and hungry clientele begin to squirm and curse mildly under their breath. I, Solo Basura, even got a little edgy but maintained my focus on the consummate pro next to me (perfect poise, lots of makeup, eye of the tiger) who, after her numero was ultimately called, sauntered away with just a single piece of pollo (a solemn comida dedication truly to be admired). What's so special about Bernie's then? Actually, not much. Why is there room for Bernie's in mi corazon? It's tasty and muy barato, great for people watching, and best of all you can suck down a 24 oz Orange Bang for some pocket change and a dream. Oh, and let's not forget the moist towelette.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Castle

Yucatecan cuisine is even cooler than a deep cenote on a caliente Quinta Roo afternoon. I am more than obsessed with this unique facet of mexicano comida, and was amped to slide downtown on Sabado to Mercado La Paloma home of Chichen Itza (the restaurante that is) for a Mayan style almuerzo.While K and I kept it pretty simple, due to an impending Padre's day feast, this stall really has it all. We both opted for tortas: K had cochinita pibil (carnitas con pickled onions) and I grubbed on poc chuc (thin sliced puerco, fire-roasted onions and tomate, black bean sauce). Both were served with a tasty potato salad and we added to the mix with an order of dos salbutes: fluffy corn tortillas, topped with lechuga, charbroiled turkey, onions, pepinos, tomate, and avacado. They also serve classics like panuchos, tamales, sopas, and papadzules. This last item (corn tortillas moistened with pumpkin seed and epazote sauce, stuffed with hard-boiled huevos and topped with tomate salsa) brings back memories of my last trip to the peninsula where, by a lapse in communication, I accidentally double ordered the egg-laden plato. We tried to down as much as possible (to be respectful to the little old cafe owner), but still received an inquisitive: "Todo esta bien?" in the end due to the mass amounts of uneaten papadzules. Needless to say I have yet to order them since, but I have a feeling it might make an excellente side dish to the lechon al horno (cochinita pibil made proper with suckling pig) they dish up at Chichen Itza every Domingo morning. With this kind of jugosa carne on the docket, I'll have no problem at all fitting right in with the church crowd.

Friday, June 11, 2010

El Sombrero

True story: I had planned on taking the pintoresca route (along Sunset Blvd.) home from work one day this week to stop at All American Burger for a CCB spiel. As it turned out, a crew of my former co-workers were in town grinding away at some week long job in Beverly Hills. I met up with them on Martes in the Fairfax district, all of us hambre and thirsty, and we eagerly headed towards Thai Town for a familia style feast. Along the way we decided to pull over and have a bebida so I suggested Ye Coach & Horses, which happens to be across the calle from All American Burger. As we were entering into the dark bar, I glanced over my shoulder to steal a look at my next target; thinking to myself how I had already mentally outlined my entry with great tie-ins to Fast Times at Ridgemont High complete with a working title of "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice". No dice is right because although the signage was still standing the restaurant was gone underneath it. Nothing but a pile of dirt. A little long-winded (and perhaps anticlimactic) I know, but I was a bit dismayed to be hit so squarely with a Buddhist-like view of change (nothing is permanent except impermanence). After pondering this for a few days, I decided to move on but wanted to pick a solid burger joint in lieu of our fallen comrade. Without much hesitation I made a decision and (following a couple sluggish Copa Mundial matches) flew on over to The Hat. This small chain is mainly known for pastrami dips and chili cheese fries, but I like the addition of the pastrami burger: beef patty, queso, lettuce, onion, tomate, thousand sauce topped with shaved pastrami. Accompanied with some horseradish and a few papas fritas, there really isn't much in the universe that can beat this thing taste-wise. Staring out onto Lake Av. in a comida stupor, I managed a small grin when an image popped into mi cabeza of Jeff Spicoli (after being hoodwinked to attend class by the ass-kissing Desmond) stating: "Wait a minute, there's no birthday party for me in here!".