Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haunted Tank

Recently, I was reminiscing about my favorito chilhood comic book GI Combat which periodically featured an otherworldly series entitled: The Haunted Tank. This flashback in turn reminded me that there happens to be a military museum/graveyard on Rosemead Av directly in the line of fire of some primoroso comida. So on Friday, hungry and warlike, I set out to Tankland for a bit of armored history. The abundance of outdoor exhibits here (mainly from 1940's though mid-1970's) include: tanks, troop transporters, jeeps, artillery, ship guns, ambulances, amphibious craft, and ordnance. Truly an amazing place to walk around, my experience was further enhanced by a lively conversation with one of the owners. I certainly had more than a few questions in between his mechanical rants such as: "How in the hell did they start those World War I tanks?" and "Do you remember that meth head that drove a tank on the freeway in San Diego?". After getting my fill of the mighty landships, I slowly clanked towards Monterey Park for a fix of steaming Xiaolongbao.
Pulling in at Mama's Lu, I ordered camaron wonton noodle soup with an order of juicy pork dumplings. I know this may seem excessive but dipped in sliced ginger and vinegar these little "baskets" go down like generic oolong tea. Although the skin was a bit thicker here than other local Shanghai style cafes, it served to contain the succulent broth nicely when handled with comida sticks. The sopa was also noteworthy, served bland intentionally, I added chile sauce and a dash of soy to accompany the bok choy, flat noodles, and cerebrum shaped wontons. All in all I would say that this luncheon was not only tasty, but also practical and efficient, much like the trusty M4 Sherman. Kaboom!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Surf N' Turf

I'm not quite sure what brought me to the doorstep of La Playita on Lincoln Blvd. a few weeks ago, but after I found some fotos on mi camara I decided to piece together the details. Actually, the details don't really matter; what matters is that this roadside taco shack serves up some apetitoso comida. I ordered two tacos al pastor, one steamed shrimp, and one pescado (broiled, minced, mixed with salsa) plated with some gratis rice and beans. After grabbing some pickled products, I headed up to my favorite Santa Monica picnic locale the finely manicured and transient adorned Hotchkiss Park. Named for a savvy Victorian Era businesswoman, the grassy slopes here are situated on a perfect angle to dine and recline.
While enjoying my mini-feast, I slipped into one of those half daydream half people watching modes but still maintained focus on the intense flavors. The puerco was excellent and I like that the mariscos tacos weren't the typical fried varieties. Other than that, the rest of my experience remains hazy. Maybe I was traumatized by top-notch tacos, maybe I fell asleep. Either way I'm delighted to add La Playita to my mental list of "must have" tacos, check it out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


When I arrived at the Cleveland aeropuerto last Domingo, I moseyed downstairs and found the highly efficient taxi dispatch office with an eager attendant waiting to dash me off in any multitude of directions. Before I could finish stating my destination she handed me dos slips (one for me, one for the driver) with the address and a predetermined fare. Duly impressed, I had a pleasant drive with a friendly cabbie but when I handed him my card to pay there was no place to swipe it. In fact, he broke out the old carbon paper and made the imprint rubbing briskly with a tube of chapstick. I couldn't help but wonder if this was some type of metaphor for what was once the "foundry" region of our great nation. On one hand seeming to be at the forefront and on the other slouching into something obsolete. Progress and disrepair. Actually, I was just hoping my trip wouldn't blow. With that said, I am pleased to report that my feelings of angst were unjustified and that the city of Cleveland (although a non-freezing version) has been nothing short of remarkable. After my two day fill of museos and historic campuses, I took a long walk in the drizzle up through Murray Hill to Coventry Road anchor point of Pacific East Restaurante.
The sushi here was well worth the trek: Blue Fin toro (muy buttery), Tai, Aji, Hirame, and Unagi with a spicy Hamachi cut roll. Served with some cold sake this plato hit the spot, but wait (like the slogan of my hotel) in Cleveland you can "expect the unexpected". This place blindsided me with a bonus Malaysian menu, and a decent one at that. I intended to order more pescado but I took a break and asked the sushi chef for Roti Chanai instead, extrano no?
I love the crispy warmth of this dish: fried and flaky flat bread served with a hearty curry (con pollo and papas). This stuff would make an excellent daily desayuno if it wasn't equivalent (most unfortunately) to eating two grande donuts covered in meat sauce. Now I understand the lesson from the taxi ride. It wasn't so much an outdated inconvenience as it was a pleasant surprise. I mean that is probably the last time in my life I will witness a carbon copy used on a credit card. I wonder what happens next when I take the train towards Lake Erie to check out Johnny Cash's tour bus at the Rock Hall, thanks Cleveland.