Saturday, December 30, 2017


So here, if the online caption is to be believed, is Kim Jung Un, in a potato flour factory.  Turning potatoes into flour doesn’t strike me as the very best thing to do with a spud, but I accept that there may be a cultural gap between the Supreme Leader and myself.

And there's still a bit of a gap here with Miss Idaho 1935, unnamed alas.  Since it’s just a photo op I don’t suppose she’s going to do anything at all with the potatoes.  They’re there to preserve her modesty, if not necessarily her dignity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


The pre-Christmas Blue Points:

The Christmas Day gimlet:

The Boxing Day goose sandwich.:

Is it bad and wrong to prefer Christmas leftovers to Christmas dinner?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I don’t suppose many people go to Palm Springs specifically for the sandwiches.  They go for the desert air, the sexual fluidity and the mid-century architecture. And evidence suggests that quite a lot go for the kind of brunch that comes with “bottomless mimosas” – at least that’s available in multiple places.

       And in truth I didn’t go to Palm Springs for the sandwiches either, but you know, when I’m in my “Sandwich Man” phase, if I see a sandwich on a menu I’ll order it – that’s the kind of maverick I am.

And so, it being Christmas, a turkey sandwich seemed in order and I had mine at the International House of Pancakes (471 S Indian Canyon Drive).  You know, that name really disappointed me when I first came to America – I imagined they would serve pancakes from all over the globe - banh xeo, tagenites, dosas and what not: I was wrong).  Still the sandwich came, and it looked like this:

The IHOP website says, “In this sandwich, bacon & turkey breast are BFFs. Carved roasted turkey breast is served with our hickory-smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato & mayonnaise, all on magnificently marbled rye.”  Well, only up to a point.  There was, and I hesitate to say this, too much turkey, so much that it overwhelmed everything else.  In fact I think somebody in the kitchen had gone a bit festive.  The image on the menu looked like this:

There was also a “Tuna, Artichoke, & Provolone Cheese Panini, served with garlic aioli dip” at Lulu California Bistro (200 South Palm Canyon Drive).  Lulu currently has the longest menu I’ve ever seen in a restauarant.  The place changes hands once in a while.  It used to be a retro ring-a-ding-ding cabaret spot -– Nancy Sinatra once performed there – I wish I’d seen that.  The sandwich looked like this:

But a Palm Springs trip is nothing without a visit to the Sherman’s (401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way) a Jewish Deli where on this occasion, I had, and it was a first for me, a pastrami sandwich but with latkes instead of bread.  Oh boy.  Looked like this:

One of the great features of Sherman’s is the wall of fame you pass on the way to the restroom, full of signed pictures.  It enables you to say you’ve eaten in the same place (though not at the same time) as Barry Manilow, Adam West and Neil Diamond.  David Lee Roth is there too, just out of frame.  A small pleasure, but a real one.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


It’s that time of year when we put together a care package for the brother-in-law Charlie who lives on Lopez Island, off Seattle.  And although the people who live on the island seem to be overwhelmed by the availability of wild fish and game, they lack a good “ethnic supermarket,” and so a trip to the Silom supermarket was required to buy some weird stuff for Charlie, along with slightly less weird stuff for myself. 
I went for snacks as you’ll see.  These regular flavor chicharons are  “A Filipino Favorite” – not everybody knows that, though I think I might have guessed.

Then there were these kind of crab-shaped, though not at all crab-tasting, things:

There were fried strips of pig’s ears in soy sauce – bit of a mixed bag there, some of the strips were nice and crunchy and easy to eat, some hard as rocks.

And Potae Potato Snack, made by the Useful Food Company of Bangkok:

But perhaps best of all – and this was for Charlie not for me – because the folks in Taiwan evidently don’t give a toss about western sensitivities, there was some vegetarian barbecue sauce decorated with swastikas:

And if this seems a bit dodgy, may I direct you to this menu dated 1911 from the Mission Indian Grill at the Alexandria Hotel in downtown LA.  That’s Indian as in Native American.

I first saw the image in Josh Kun To Live and Eat in LA which also shows the inside of the menu which seems utterly “non-native,” though it’s hard to argue with a menu that features pickled walnuts, salmi of domestic duck and Caviar Imperiale d’Astrachan.
The Mission Indian Grill looked like this:

And there were evidently rooms where less elegant activities went on.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


You know, I get the feeling that the citizens of Los Angeles are no longer quite as crazy about food trucks as they used to be.  Sure, the trucks are still in business and doing just fine, and if you’re in need of lunch or you’re coming out of a gig, then you buy some food from them.  But I get the sense there’s no longer that manic driving around in the middle of the night, tracking down the perfect taco truck that’s just parked on a bit of waste ground by the freeway onramp.  Sanity returns.

And so, emerging from the LA Convention Center one afternoon last weekend I picked the first food truck I liked the look of: the Okamoto Kitchen.  I especially liked the look of it because it was the one that had the shortest line.  These were the only guys waiting, and they looked like they knew a good food truck:

Not everything was available, not even the Yuzu Lime Soda which was a shame because I liked the sound of that.  But the Nom Bomb Sandwich could still be had; sweet-and-sour, teriyaki-glazed, deep-fried chicken with shredded cabbage, tartar sauce, and jalapeno on a brioche bun.  So I had that.  It looked like this:

It was a perfectly good sandwich.  Not the best sandwich in the world, not one I’d drive manically around the city in search of, but I enjoyed it all the same. Warren Zevon and me, we see pretty much eye to eye on that one.