Friday, September 24, 2010

The District

Having spent many hours as a youngster in and around the fine institutions that line our National Mall, I felt a distinct nostalgia upon returning to our fair Capital for the first time in over a decade. K and I met up with the amazing Piderclan (AP, V, and lil' O) for some good old-fashioned sightseein'. Of course wandering around enormous museums hungry is near suicidal, so before being reunited with outdated dioramas, preserved giant squid, and suspended airplanes we stopped at Lincoln's Waffle Shop for a greasy desayuno. Situated across the calle from Ford's Theatre and directly next door to the casa that he died in, Lincoln would have surely come here for a syrupy stack after watching "Our American Cousin" had he not been so inconveniently shot behind the left oreja. Besides serving decent blue-plate specials, Lincoln's does a bustling lottery business but what really makes this diner unique (as V found out) is the full bar in the basement complete with some Capitol Hill suits soaking up their morning suds.
 After a long day of learnin' stuff, K and I parted ways with our little tour group and hightailed it down to the Potomac waterfront (still ahead of rush hour) for an express blue crab feast. We hit the cooked seafood stand and made our way to the floating 'eat-in' patio with a dozen crabs (Old Bay seasoned), a throwaway mallet, and a sackful of hushpuppies. I managed to occasionally glance up at the afternoon tour boats as a break in our mechanical routine of cracking shells and pinching meat (with frequent dips in the vinegar cup). Following a much needed hand washing, we flew across the George Mason Bridge leaving the Pentagon in our dust, heading south and out of sight. Next time in town I'll be sure to have West African comida on the radar. Until then, godspeed D.C.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Khao Soi 2: Electric Boogaloo

9/02/10 was a particularly auspicious day on the calendar in the LA area because it happened to numerically coincide with a certain upscale zip code. Instead of preparing for a potential cataclysm, the mayor of this well-to-do ciudad called for a ritzy celebration of all things (comida included of course) 90210. I did what any hungry reveler might do on such an occasion and went in the complete opposite direction towards Thai Town. The object of my lunchtime quest was the always delectable, yet often elusive, Northern Thai dish: khao soi. In an ongoing study of this culinary masterpiece (see previous entry here), I entered into the quiet Pailin Thai on Hollywood for some systematic research. Although not listed on the menu, this family-run cafe will gladly accommodate all those in search of a golden bowl: spicy yellow curry, egg noodles, pollo (thigh and leg meat), cilantro, and crispy noodles served with pickled cabbage, shallots, green onions all topped with a healthy squeeze of limon. The results are conclusive: khao soi can and should be consumed daily if at all possible. Further findings: Pailin, the heavily mined and newly appointed Cambodian Province, has long been known as a stronghold for the Khmer Rouge well after their demise in 1979. While this region was fiercely logged and stripped almost clean of its abundance of precious stones, thankfully (possibly due to Kola migrants from Burma) one overlooked (albeit edible) gem still remains intact today...yep, a distant cousin of delicioso khao soi.