Bombs Away!

My kind of appetizers

Unfortunately, the photo above was not indicative of my weekend. I got a lot of writing done,  but I didn’t get a chance to reward myself (note to self: don’t let this happen again). So, I decided to live vicariously through my old photos.

These “appetizers” we had at my sister-in-law’s birthday a few years ago were the perfect start to her get-together. Now, I’m just guess-timating here, but I’d say that 99.9 percent of all sushi meals are made better by a sake bomb. Or two. Or eight.


Tacos El Gallito

Al pastor, asada, and pollo tacos

With the food truck craze in full effect here in Southern California, it’s nice to know that the O.G.s (Original Gastronomic-vehicles) are still going strong. The “roach coaches” have been a staple of workplace breakfasts and lunches for years and even with the proliferation of trucks catering to every taste, these restaurants-on-wheels will always have a place in the SoCal foodscape. There’s something comforting about seeing a lunch truck pull up to a parking lot, lift its doors, and start doling out piping hot coffee and hangover-curing, gut-bomb breakfast burritos.

I found myself in Torrance on a Sunday afternoon and instead of my usual pitstop at King’s Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant, I decided on lunch from a truck. Quickly checking in with my fellow foodies on, I located Tacos El Garrito in neighboring Harbor City.

It’s easy to find Tacos El Garrito along PCH (at Bixby) and there’s plenty of parking. The guy in line with me was lamenting the fact that the tacos had just gone up in price, from $1.25 to $1.40. We chatted for a bit and when he finally got around to asking for some spare change, I gave him enough so he could get an extra taco.

My good deed for the day done, I ordered an al pastor taco and asada taco. Within minutes, they were served on a paper plate with no frills, just a good amount of meat on two steaming corn tortillas. There was a condiment bar on the truck and I loaded up my tacos with onions, cilantro, and their excellent green sauce. Diced tomatoes were also available, along with the requisite slices of radish. I grabbed a few lime wedges to squeeze over my tacos and cracked open a Diet Coke.

One bite was all it took to remind me why my love of taco trucks is an everlasting and eternal one. Sure, I’ll have the occasional fling with thin crust pizza, a one-night stand with a cheeseburger, and my dim sum mistress will always be there for me, but my love of tacos is true and will stand the test of time.

Total bill: 5 tacos (order another round of al pastor and asada, along with a pretty good pollo), 1 can of Diet Coke, plus a dollar to my new friend in line: less than $10.

More photos (click to view full size):

Fruit Rainbow

I replaced the generic header of the blog with something I shot at the L.A. Farmer’s Market back in January 2009. It was a cool and windy weekday when I took my mom there for some quality mother-son bonding time. After we lunched on bibimbap, we shopped for fruit and vegetables. I snapped a picture of this stand because it reminded me of a fruit rainbow. Not as cool as a double rainbow, obviously, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Here’s the uncropped photo:

Hangover Hunger

Afternoon hangover cure at Piper's Kilt

My top five hangover meals, in no particular order:

Carne asada burrito, Roberto’s Taco Shop, San Diego, CA. A straight-forward, no frills burrito with lotsa meat and sauce wrapped up in a tortilla. There is nothing in this world like a Roberto’s burrito, especially after an all-night binge fest. Get the pickled carrots, onions, and jalapenos on the side and about 10 hours of sleep and your hangover will be gone in no time.

Double cheeseburger. Tommy’s, Los Angeles, CA. I prefer In-N-Out and Fatburger to Tommy’s, but I swear there are magical healing powers in their chili, which is applied liberally to every burger. Asking for a Tommy’s burger without chili is like drinking decaffeinated coffee: what’s the point? Grab a handful of the chili peppers to make sure your system is nice and cleaned out later in the day. Warning: if you have friends over, you might wanna keep your local plumber on speed dial.

Steve’s Special. Cajun Kitchen Cafe, Santa Barbara, CA. Scrambled eggs, chili, cheddar cheese, sour cream, hash browns, and toast. Throw on a buncha hot sauce, mix it all up, and dive right in. I wash my food down with multiple servings of coffee, Coke, water, and sometimes orange juice. This meal was my next-day savior countless times when I lived in SB.

Bacon cheeseburger. Piper’s Kilt, Bronx, NY. Only had this once, but it’s like watching Airplane! for the first time: you know immediately that it’s a classic. It’s a bacon cheeseburger, fries, onion rings, and a small bowl of chili, served in a nice, dark neighborhood restaurant. A hair-of-the-dog bottle of Bud is the perfect complement to this fine meal.

Chili cheese fries, cheeseburger, two tacos, Mr. Pibb, and lots of Del Scorcho sauce. Del Taco, Various locations in CA. I get the exact same thing every time I go to Del Taco. It’s never let me down. There’s something about eating a burger and a taco in the same meal that kicks ass.

After reviewing my list, I noticed that chili figures prominently in four of the five meals. I guess it’s safe to say that I like chili, although my heart would probably disagree.