Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 8: When In Doubt, Go For the Spam

Sunday, I wandered the streets of Chinatown. This is one mural I found. It may be hard to see what the people in the picture are doing but on the right-hand side, a man is sitting down for a meal over a traditional glass tray table. The ladies around him are entertainers (probably similar to geishas in Japanese culture). On the left, men and women are drinking tea, playing traditional instruments and engaging in a game of go, which is popular with the Japanese but first originated with the Chinese in 2000 BC.

At Sam Woo Cafe, the glossy menu offered options aplenty, but I went for spam and rice. The soy sauce was an unnecessary addition, in my opinion, since the spam was salty enough as is. However, the rice soaked up any lurking saltiness. I ordered a red bean milkshake to wash it down. The day before, I filled up on some spam musubi at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in Santa Monica. Two big portions of Japanese rice and seasoned spam wrapped in nori ($2.95) was more than enough for a snack. Oh yes, my spam fix was satiated.

It happened to be the Lantern Festival and the lion dance paraded around town, dancing into every retail store in Chinatown. An entourage of gongs, cymbals and local Chinese association members in black logo jackets followed closely on the lion's heels. The sharp -BAM!- of the firecrackers made my already deaf ears even more hard of hearing, and I couldn't shake the notion that it sounded like gunshots. (Henry, this one's for you.)

I met up with more relatives for dinner at Mountain Valley's Claim Jumper, where I had the Whiskey Chicken (which is actually a sweet, tangy apple glazed sauce over stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuit and roasted vegetables). I prefer my vegetables a bit more cooked, but at least the crunchiness gave my teeth some exercise. The combination of three carbs on my plate translated into a doggy bag pile of leftovers. I love me some comfort food.

My uncle ordered the prime rib steak. Just take a look at that gargantuan baked potato smoldering with sour cream and chives. Now that's a baked potato done right!

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