[Just a generic pic of SoCal]
Here is a day-by-day report. I only left off a couple of places because they were below average.
Thursday: Had a coctel de camaron and ceviche toastada at Karina’s. Also had to order six rolled tacos with guacamole to go. There are better places for fish tacos but the cevice and coctels are always great. Pics from my last visit are here.
Friday night we left our son with the in-laws and hit my wife’s old spot, Casa Alvarez. They serve the sort of Mexican fare that used to be commonplace–big combo plates with beans and rice–before taquerias became ubiquitous across the southland. I had the shredded beef tacos with guacamole and she had a cheese enchilada and chile relleno. Nothing out of the ordinary but good, solid grub.
A friend of mine, C, had a bbq on Saturday but since it did not start until late in the afternoon we decided to go to his favorite taco truck for lunch. Unfortunately it was not around so we went to his local carnicería to pick up some meat for the grill and noticed they had some nice looking ceviche. We picked up a pound of the ceviche de camarones (only $5 a pound!) and a few avocados and it was delicious. For the bbq we grilled up some carne asada and chicken tika as well as some corn and cebollitas. With some guacamole and tortillas on the side it added up to a great meal.
My father-in-law recently retired so we went out for a celebratory lunch on Sunday in Artesia which is L.A.’s little India. There are a lot of places that serve South Indian food down there but they decided on Woodlands this time. They are known for the best South Indian vegetarian buffet in L.A. I usually don’t go for the buffet, but this one was really good. Medhu vadai, masala dosa, vege makhani, samosa, sambar, paratha, and some other things I am forgetting. Seriously slammin’.
Another good friend of mine, J, recently moved down to L.A. from the Bay Area and he wanted to see the baby so he came by the in-laws place for some chai and then we tried to find a nice pub in the area. Unfortunately, most of the bars in the neighborhood are in chain restaurants.
We made a solid attempt to locate some smaller spots in the hood but the first place was a depressing dive and the second was a bar attached to bowling alley. They both totally sucked. We ended up at a place called Joe’s Crab Shack where the bartenders and clientelle were much more friendly but it was still not our style.
On the positive side, my in-laws life in an area that used to be pretty white-bread but has developed into a significant East Asian enclave. I really wanted to go to a Chinese seafood restaurant and after a little research discovered Tan Cang aka Newport Seafood Restaurant. I asked J if he was down to check it out and we ended up driving around trying to find it.
There are a lot of malls in the area and the signage is all in Chinese (Mandarin, I think) but we eventually found the place and were not disappointed. It was packed with families gorging themselves on huge plates of seafood. We ordered the Newport Special Lobster and the Chili Crab but when the waiter told us the minimum weight on the lobster was four pounds and that it cost $14 per pound (crab was three pound minimum at $12 per pound) we decided to just get the lobster and some rice noodles with beef. It was the best Chinese food I have ever had in my life. The sauce for the lobster was flavored with ginger and garlic, a ton of scallions, and some extremely hot chiles (but not too many of those).
On Monday, mom-in-law made chapati and some green tomato curry. She’s a really good cook. Thanks, Amma!
All in all, it was a great trip. Good food, very relaxing and the weather could not have been more perfect. It was in the mid 70s the entire time. Now I’m back in NY and the high may get to the mid 40s…