Friday, May 21, 2010

Los Angeles

Asparagus skinny enough to make it in LA. 
Our trip to California started out in LA, where we hit the farmer's market in Torrance like it took our parking space. (No, it's not Tokyo, but now and then I take time to devour other cities as well.) I love farmer's markets, especially now that slow food has given me a political license for gluttony. We do have markets in Japan, and a few in Tokyo, but the sheer abundance of a US one is striking.

And here is Japan's vulnerable underbelly: an aging population coupled with a low birth rate AND a profound lack of Mexican and South American food. Don't get defensive, Japan. The thing is, I know you would love it if only you tried the real deal. I once didn't get Mexican cuisine. My disinterest even made me think their pyramids were a little shoddy. Then I left the east coast and it's goopy, brown, red, and yellow combo plates and had my mind blown by soft tacos, tamales, and burritos. I mean it, Japan, just recruit some serious chefs and taco truck folks on some kind of diplomatic exchange. You will thank me later. Get a load of these beauties from the market.
Papusa! Wonderful stuffed tortilla-esque little Salvadorian pancakes that call to me from across the Pacific.
Frying up papusas--you are doing God's work, ladies.
Blue corn pork tamale with tomatillo sauce. I need a moment. Ok. 
There would be shots of our meals at El Burrito Jr. in Redondo Beach, but I lacked the self-control to photograph anything before eating it down to the foil wrapping. I may have eaten a little foil, which would explain my airport security delay.

My mom also got the lowdown on a truly good deli (something I never could find when I lived in Southern California) called New York Deli 2. Pastrami? Corned Beef? Why choose? She brought home the double decker and a side of potato latkes. Unbelievable. It's another thing you just can't get in Tokyo. Sure, there are a couple of lonely Kosher joints, but the sandwiches are delicate little things on mild bread. Mom used to actually schlepp rye bread from New York to Japan for her mother about forty years ago. Mashugana for the rye and Pumpernickel, my grandma.

The slaw on this was not bad, either. 
Rich and delicate--fabulous even without the sour cream and apple sauce. 
Monster Nidra in Bulgaria recently had an "Austro-Hungarian-huge" potato pancake that made me question my desire for more and larger latkes. Question, but not relinquish. I KNOW Japan would go latke crazy, since the potato croquette is so big here. Well, popular, not Russo-Chinese big.

And of course, it's not a trip to America without a burger. The Evil Genius and Robo-Cindy grilled up a feast of grass-fed goodness, including home-grown lettuce and tomatoes, and the crispiest oven fries ever. The burgers were stuffed with cheese and bacon, which Mini Z tried to suck out of the middle. It was not an Emily Post moment, but how could I scold her for that which I would do myself?

1 comment:

  1. 1) Thanks for the plug even if it does refer to a moment of shame when I couldn't finish "big."

    2) I hate you for pastrami sandwich. Hate you hate you hate you.

    3) Child who sucks the cheese out of burgers = YES.