Wednesday, June 12, 2019


No doubt you’re dying to hear what I ate during my sojourn in California.  Truth is I ate pretty ‘low’ most of the time: I felt that was what the late Jonathan Gold might have wanted.  His presence still looms over the Los Angeles food scene, not least in this mural:

Here’s some beer and some seafood ramen that I ate at a restaurant in Little Tokyo, called Kagura.

You know, I’m increasingly not sure that I really like ramen and I certainly don’t see what all the fuss is about. The seafood was fine, and the broth was OK, though I could probably have done without the sweet corn. It was the noodles I had trouble with.  I mean they weren’t bad noodles and of course some noodles are better than others but in the end noodles are always just noodles.  The beer was fine.

At Cindy’s on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock I had the shrimp and grits, largely because it contained tasso ham which I’d never had before, hadn’t even heard of it. 

Apparently Tasso ham it’s a Louisiana thing, made from the hog’s shoulder, so not actually a ham if we’re being picky.  I’m sure it added to the general flavour but it was well back in the mix.  Tasso ham looks like this:

In Yucca Valley I went to the 62 Diner and ordered the "Buddy Holly" for breakfast. 

It’s just corned beef hash and scrambled eggs, but the items on the menu are named after pop performers of the 50s and 60s.  After I’d ordered, I heard the waitress tell another customer that the Beach Boys Fish and Chips was the specialty of the house but it was too late by then.   
          The waitress also said she really liked my hair and asked if I dyed it.  I said I didn’t, which was true, and this impressed her even more, though the notion that waitresses go around thinking that I might have dyed my hair is somehow unsettling.

This is a Cali-Club in the Denny’s in 29 Palms:  

Denny’s is always ‘reliable’ without being good, and has been for decades.  What seemed to have changed, in this branch anyway, was the waiting staff.  My waiter was a 300 pound, tattooed, muscled man mountain.  Maybe they need guys like that in 29 Palms in case the marines from the nearby base get a bit fractious late at night, although this was in the morning and my waiter surely have finished his shift long before the night.

This is carne asada from Kokopelli’s in Yucca Valley.  

They used to have this very fine figure outside but it’s gone now:

The carne asada was fine though I’ve had better, tastier, moister versions, even at Kokopelli's, but I've been going there so long that it almost feels like home.

And here is a Reuben sandwich, with potato salad, which I ate on my last day in LA, at a restaurant called Teddy’s Café at the corner of Pico and Bundy.  

I went there because it was easy walking distance from the rental office where I’d just returned my car.  I wandered in, ordered, ate, and when the bill came I asked if I could pay with a card and was told it was cash only. The bill came to a very reasonable $11.75 so I dug through my wallet and pockets and came up with all the cash I had, a grand total of $12.20.  

On the one hand I’m not very worried about this because I won’t be going back there any time soon, but I did feel like a bit of a heel.  The service was worth considerably more than 45 cents, and I’d hate any waitress in Los Angeles to think the English were a stingy bunch when it comes to tipping.  I mean, in general many of them are, but I like to break the mould.

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