Tuesday, May 5, 2020
I normally don't post chains but during this pandemic, El Pollo Loco is waiving its delivery fee and i felt that this was a great gesture. Back in the early 1980's had started dating a very beautiful woman who was substantially older than me. She had a circle of very close friends, of which one who we shall call "G". "G" was a stunning Latina who was an amazing person. not only was she attractive (which is an understatement) but she was tough. You did not mess with "G" and she she entered the room, she controlled the room. I found out that "G" once dated one of the founder of El Pollo Loco and so I sort of got the inside scoop on its origins, much of which is no secret. Whenever I pass by the corner of 6th Street and Alvarado, i try to remember where the original El Pollo Loco was. it's changed so much around there. Now it's all over the place but the quality has really morphed out of that local roasted chicken place into a corporate large scale production. Still, they started here in LA and that's pretty cool.
During this COVID-19 Pandemic, i've been primarily cooking at home but last week I finished a big project with the Orange County Museum of Art so i decided to splurge via GrubHub. Cassell's Hamburgers is an LA institution. When they had the storefront on 6th Street near Vermont, we used to go once in a while on our way home from picking up my little brother at Pilgrim School. Later in college when i was at Otis, it was a periodic lunch and then much later as an adult, it was a lunch treat away from the office with my co-workers. I especially liked that rye bread and the condiments section. The potato salad, tater salad, with what might have been horseradish was so comforting. they finally closed and it was very sad until they reopened as much fancier burger place on the corner of Normande and 6th Street; 3600 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020. Much has come and gone in LA but this place is still here, albeit much fancier and more expensive but still delicious.
Saturday, April 25, 2020
In the first two weeks of the pandemic lockdown, when I began to teach myself how to make homemade tortillas, poet Traci Akemi Kato-Kiriyama posted about Park's Finest, a awesome Philippine restaurant in the Historic Philippine District. It was my first time venturing into a eatery that's only open for take out during the Coronavirus era. Folks were very nice but there was general sense of stand off-ish under the circumstances. Neither they nor i had a mask one. it was that early in the pandemic. I got a big bag of food and drove back home in my solitary existence. Man this food was delicious and made for two meals. i have since tried to order take out at least once a week or more to try to support all these places but it can't be easy for them. i don't know how most of them will survive.
Ahh, this was pre-pandemic. I was invited to the Buddhist Women Association as a guest. The annual lunch took place at Flemings on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena CA. It was set menu for a fairly large group but we did get to choose which main course we wanted. I chose the burger, which was very delicious and refined. The atmosphere was a little odd due to the fact that our event took place before business hours so the rest of the restaurant was empty. The staff was outstanding and we all had a great time. I think it took place two months ago but definitely before the lockdown we are all experiencing in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
My friends who are also amazing artists who are also of Filipine descent recommended I try this stall at Grand Central Market, Sari Sari 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013. I got this recommendation during an evening at a restaurant touting contemporary Filipine cuisine and all they could do, my friends, is complain about the lack of authenticity of the food, even though it was advertised as "New" Filipine food. I had a chance to meet friends, who were not of Filipine descent, this week for dinner and we were able to grab a bite at Sari Sari. In my mind, I have a list of places I've wanted to try and sometimes I can connect this list with hooking up with friends. Sari Sari had a lot of wonderful items on the menu. I'd forgotten what specifically was recommended to me by my friends. Was it the chicken porridge? Well, that's what I ordered and it was so very good. I hadn't been to the Grand Central Market in a couple of years and there are a handful of new places i'd like to go back and try but all of my favs are still there.
Located at 1076 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106, Amigo's is a Pasadena OG favorite. When you walk inside, it feels like a Pasadena time travel. Stark interior design with placed art of what we think they think we think they think we think could be "Mexican", no hint of a Latinx consciousness. The menu is typical to this feel. I can't resist mole so I got the chicken. Everything is delicious, the chicken, the mole, the rice, the beans. It was a great group of friends and new friends. This was a kind of impromptu after party of an inauguration art event at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple. This group was a mix of Temple OG's, Chicano art community luminaries and art collaborators of mine; a grand party. The service here is really wonderful. Great people and good vibe. I was told the Margaritas were fantastic, as well.
Friday, February 14, 2020
Artist Mary Rose Cortese contacted me about having a get together dinner and see our dear friend Artist Joe Santarromana, who's been experiencing an undiagnosable bone disease. It's amazing to see him navigate life under these cruel circumstances. Joe is a pioneer in digital arts and we went to Otis together during the 80's. Joe let us know that the dinner was the first time he'd left the house in months. What a great group, also included artist and activist Tala Mateo, Joe's family Vi, Lo & Mary Rose's husband. Well, Mary Rose picked Pork and Spoon, 3131 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026; Modern Filipino Comfort. Parking is a challenge. I ended up parking on the other side of the hill south of the restaurant. It was nice brisk walk to and fro, semi-countering the heavy comfort food. We all walked in with a pre-experience-based-filipin-food consciousness, I less so. There was so much critical banter about what we ate, I wished I had recorded it. Humor, testimony and memory filled the room with laughter and story telling. I loved it so much. Myself, I loved the food. Yes, it wasn't anything like the Filipin food I had in the past but that aside, it was delicious. At some point, I think someone at the table said that we should probably leave. The server kept coming to the table to take something, hinting we should leave because others were waiting to be seated. That was funny as we overstayed our stay; too much fun. I really enjoyed hearing everyone's story about the Phillipine's and such-n-such food, growing up, mom's cooking or aunties cooking, such great descriptives and nostalgia. All this to counter their experience with their orders, i.e. the adobo pork had no sauce. One comment that repeated was the lack of vinegar in much of the food. However, it did activate storytelling, which is priceless. I think when food memory is filled with love, it's the best kind of sentimentalism.