Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saint Rose

On a recent sojourn up to California's bountiful wine country, I was able to reaffirm a few things about my innermost likings. Front and center was the shock and awe that always seems to come when finding regional Mexicano comida that keenly catches the ojo. After snoozin' in, B and I headed over to El Michoacano for an early almuerzo. This friendly cafe serves up tipico platos along with a full page of Michoacan specialties. B opted for fried camarones con rice, beans, tortillas and salad; while I went straight for the enchiladas placeras (Morelia style): tortillas dipped in salsa roja filled with cotija queso then lightly fried and topped with shredded cabbage, jalapenos, carrots, crema, and cotija sprinkles. These come flanked by the meat of your choice: grilled pollo, carne asada, fried quail, or pescado along with some spiced 'home papas'. My next affirmation was that Pacific oysters (Tomales Bay varieties in particular) are by far the greatest shellfish in the whole wide mundo. On Sabado, B and I took the windy drive down to Marshall to pick up our own little harvest of bonita sweetwaters. We managed to make off with 59 smalls and a dozen extra-smalls before they sold out for the day, and hightailed it to back the casa for an epic oyster feed. These gems of the sea are perfecto raw or steamed with a pleasant briny, sweet flavor. And lastly, I was able to rekindle my appreciation regarding the mystical qualities of hot tubs. These bubbling devices can prove strange, if not slightly awkward, but once you're engaged it truly is a relaxation not to be missed. While I was a tad disappointed that this tub wasn't actually a time machine, I was more than grateful for the roiling solace to ponder my thoughts (eg: "oops, I just spilled my cerveza, how embarrassing." or "Man, my fingers sure are getting pruned" etc., etc.).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cinderella Of The Pacific

Apparently the best fish tacos in Ensenada are not found in the Baja Peninsula at all, but rather on Hillhurst Av near Los Feliz Village. This is the unusual statement (which also doubles as the taqueria's name) that hangs high overhead for all passersby to lightly ponder. Tacos (literally "plug" or "wadding" originally in the sense to fill a hole and then beautifully adapted to refer to maize tortillas folded around comida), especially mariscos varieties, are something of a religion for me so I hastily ventured inside to fill the hungry hole in mi estomago. The carta here consists of three things: pescado taco, camarones taco (both frito of course), and bebidas (jamaica, horchata, or tamarindo). I ordered dos pescado, uno shrimp with a cool tamarindo and waltzed them over to the excellente salsa bar, which is really what makes this eatery shine: finely shredded cabbage, crema, radish relish, "hot guac", picante salsa with or without mango, mild salsa, and a tangy salsa with pineapple. During my feast I tried to recall if I even had a fish taco on a recent road trip to Ensenada...I certainly remember cocteles de mariscos, the mural at Bar Andaluz (circa 1930), Hussong's cantina, and the pharmacist with diazepam in his shirt pocket but nothing specific about fish tacos, muy curioso. I suppose I can't fairly say whether these tacos are better than those served in Ensenada, but I do know that the grimy port town by day turned little glass slipper wearer by night made a culinary mark by frying up tacos de pescado. Whatever the result, Best Fish Taco In Ensenada hands down has the best fish taco in Los Feliz, did I say that right?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pieces Of Eight

Back in the days of Elementary School, if I recall correctly, we were customarily handed a mimeographed calender every month that briefly described the lunch carta for each day. These comida timelines were typically highlighted by wily entries from the school staff such as: Manager's Choice (spaghetti and meatballs or Salisbury steak without fail), Teacher's Choice (sliced turkey con green beans) or my personal favorite Janitor's Choice (always a Big Virginian {caliente ham and queso on a roll} with mashed papas and gravy). So today, while standing in a government line, I maintained this tradition and left the comida details to others to fall where they may. Auspiciously for me, K shrewdly decided on dim sum (a logico choice that can both satisfy the peckish and nearly famished alike) as we headed due south to 888 Seafood Restaurant in Rosemead. While we arrived on the late side (around 1 pm), the carts were still in full swing. The numero ocho is perhaps the most important symbol in numerology worldwide, and this is no exception at the triple eight. We received our first wave of dumplings (mainly camarones) from name tag "809", then came the friendly "830" with some bbq buns and puerco potstickers with leek, next (upon my request) "810" told a busy busboy to fetch an order of Shanghai dumplings; which were cleverly served in individual cups out of the steamer so as not to waste the soup, and lastly "808" topped us off with seafood rice balls as I eyed the elusive "887" strolling away with the congee time "887". This little theme worked so well that I will wholeheartedly accept a comida recommendation from anyone who reads this. Not only will you be exalted in a future CCB entry, but I will also send a small token of appreciation. Basura's Choice of course.