Saturday, March 28, 2009

Food and eating in LA

Started my trip off to LA with a bowl of cinnamon Frosted Mini-Wheats at my parents' house at 5:30 AM. Not a time I like to be eating. On the plane I had a blueberry fruit bar.

Had a layover in Chicago and on the recommendation of the flight crew, got a sandwich at Potbellies. For airport food, the price was right. The sandwich, just short of a six inch toasted sub, was five dollars. Considering that an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's was four, this was a definite bargain. I got the Italian which was assorted Italian meats and provolone with some lettuce and tomato. This was real breakfast.

Had wheat and cheese crackers on the flight to LA. Got to the airport and Jason picked me up and we went to Natalee Thai. This was really good. We started with the Natalee Delight which was beef sate, egg rolls, shrimp rolls and fried wontons. It also had a little side cucumber salad of cucumbers, onion and chile peppers in a sugar and vinegar dressing. It was all fantastic. The temperatures were mixed (the wontons were cold, the egg rolls warm and the sate and shrimp rolls hot) but it was all tasty.

Our entrees came and I was a little disappointed as I had ordered the Monsoon Noodles which were supposed to be spicy but were not. About halfway through I'm eating and thinking, "This brown sauce has a really nice flavor. Wait....brown sauce? Jason, what did you order?". Oops. The waitress mixed our plates. His was chicken and noodles in brown sauce with Chinese broccoli. The broccoli was incredibly fresh and tasty. When we switched plates, I found myself missing the broccoli. The Monsoon Noodles were flat noodles with chicken, mint and basil with bell pepper and onion. It was tasty but lacked the high veggie quotient that the other dish (whose name I forget) had.

For dinner, I had a Dodger dog at the game. Long, thin hot dog which was tasty, I'm sure largely because it was consumed at the ballpark.

Sunday involved Jason sleeping late and then we walked up to a British pub called Cat and Fiddle for breakfast/lunch.

Saw the menu and discovered they had Scotch Eggs for appetizers. I had never heard of these things until recently. They are a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, dipped in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. My folks had at a pub a couple months go and I tried to bake some at home using ground beef instead of sausage and it was a total flop. I ordered one to start my meal and it was tasty. Served on a bed of shredded lettuce, the sausage is unlike your typical German-style wurst and has a more solid consistency. It had a nice flavor, primarily rosemary, but I opted to put HP sauce, which I love, on it anyway.

I stuck with the sausage for my entree, getting bangers and mash. This was two sausages of the same kind used in the Scotch Egg, a pile of mashed taters and separate piles of boiled onions, peas and carrots. All the vegetables were fresh and boiled just right although the carrots were served cold. There was some gravy on the side for the taters which was just right in terms of flavor, texture, temperature and lack of greasiness. The onions stayed with me until I could get back to Jason's place and brush. All in all, a fairly decent meal with the sausage being the highlight. It was cooked to perfection and was tasty. And HP sauce....mmmmmm.....

At the ballgame I went with a carnitas burrito which was surprisingly tasty. It seemed to be a mix of 40% pork, 40% beans and 20% rice which made for a satisfying blend. It was spiced well, wrapped perfectly so that it didn't make a mess, and was hot. Really good ballpark meal.

Last day we did sushi for lunch at Sushi Hiroba. Fantastic. I wanted to go with something a little different and ordered a cold appetizer to start, the spicy tuna risotto. I love risotto and thought it was interesting that a sushi place had it and that it was listed as a cold appetizer. It came and it was sushi rice fried into little blocks. On top of each rice block was a generous helping of spicy tuna tartar with a little dollop of spicy mayo. Awesome.

I also ordered a couple of rolls. They somehow lost track of my order and it took a long time for them to get around to finally bringing the rolls. When they did, they forgot the wasabi and pickled ginger and so I had to ask for that. The rolls were both good but they overdid both with teriyaki sauce which was a little disappointing. The rolls were huge compared to everywhere I've had sushi except for Raw in Philadelphia. I had an eel and avocado roll which is my standard roll. I love eel. And avocado. This was good. Very fresh. Again, just too much teriyaki. I also ordered a special roll, the Oh Yes roll. That was tuna, yellowtail, salmon and avocado in a roll that is deep-fried. The deep-frying cooks the fish which sort of defeats the purpose of sushi. It was incredibly tasty, though. I had a piece of Jason's Raw Raw roll which was the anti-Oh Yes. Same contents, raw, wrapped in cucumber. I liked it much better.

Dinner was at the ballpark and for some idiotic reason I ate two burritos. Didn't need to. They were even better than the night before as they were piping hot (probably because I bought it in inning 1 instead of 6).

My last meal in Los Angeles was at Camacho's Cafe at LAX. Had a chorizo and egg burrito. Was piping hot but lacked flavor, especially disappointing compared to the burritos at the ballpark.

All in all I really enjoyed my meals in Los Angeles. Like most everything about that city, the available options overwhelm me and it was nice to have Jason steer me to some good places.

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