Friday, September 30, 2011

Use Your Noodle

Is it truly absurd to motor 15 miles for a bowl of noodles? Not when you got the time and the traffic's right. Besides, distance driving is a sport Angelenos frequently play whether we want to or not. But more importantly, as a wise comida sage once told me, when one is faced with the promise of phenomenal noodles it is always prudent to take advantage. K and I faithfully accepted this advice and sped out to Temple City for a Taiwanese style almuerzo at House of Mandarin Noodle.
While ordering a fresh mango juice, the stern (yet meticulous) waitstaff quickly profiled us and determined that K most certainly spoke Hokkien dialect (which she doesn't) and that I, Solo Basura, should ultimately be given the option to eat with a fork. With that established, I set the wheels is motion and ordered it up.
The first item on the block was a glistening bowl of puerco wontons in a spicy sauce with crushed peanuts and chopped celery. These little bambinos cover a lot of bases: fiery flavors and juicy dumplings combine with an emphatic crunch. During my savory foray, I couldn't help but think that this dish would make an excellent desayuno and it would sure as shinola wake you up in no time flat.
Next came the sliced beef pancake (sometimes referred to as a Shandong beef roll due to its Northern Chinese origins) stuffed with carne, green onions and cilantro. I must admit that I have had better versions of this tasty creation, but I also realize it's counterintuitive to complain about anything that's beefy and flaky.
And for the finale, a steaming cauldron of delicioso beef noodle soup: rich broth (not greasy at all) with tender carne, firm noodles, scallions, and cilantro. This stuff will put a smile on your face and damn sure cure what ails ya. If beef isn't your thing HOMN has around twenty noodle soups (along with stewed cold cuts) to choose from, just be sure not to miss out. I am deeply humbled to have recalled my comida teachings in such a meaningful way: it's not the distance, it's the noodle. This was well worth the trip.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Happy Diversion

While attempting to reach my local Italian deli for a look at a sandwich of legendary stature (later, for sure), I was abruptly blockaded by an unexplainable swarm of LAPD. This included three low flying helicopters, a dozen or so motorcycles, and an endless stream of squad cars all being filmed by a rookie cop with a smart phone. I decided not to take any chances in case they were going gangbusters towards the previously mentioned deli (which is certainly popular with the fuzz), and changed my course entirely heading south to Arlington Heights where La Cevicheria rocks gently in the breeze. This place is no secret, but the steady trickle of customers (never overwhelming) seems to make the already jovial proprietor even more elated. Walking up to the screen door my mouth started watering like Pavlov's dog when I mentally pictured my usual ceviche of choice.
The Chapin: a holy grail of tangy mixed mariscos Guatemalan style. One might presume that a ceviche recipe from a landlocked country might be a bit like buying a surfboard in Nebraska, but believe me this is some of the best that the present universe has to offer: shrimp, pulpo, crab, tomates, red onions, avocado, cilantro, fresh mint, and Worcestershire sauce served with a dynamic duo of tostadas and habanero salsa.
 In addition to a Peruvian ceviche (highlighted with red snapper and yellow aji peppers) and the now infamous chalice of Bloody Clams, La Cevicheria serves hearty Caribbean fish stews along with industrious seafood cocktails like vuelve a la vida: camarones, oysters, abalone, octopus, crab, fish ceviche, tomates, pepinos, onion, avacado, and cilantro all swimming in a saucy micro-ocean. Whatever your briny poison, this spot has got you covered. I would like to thank the LAPD for a truly pleasant dining experience and for reminding me that when you go one way I'll gladly go another. Here's mud in your eye!