Tuesday, June 22, 2010
When in Mexico, one expects to find the streets littered with taco stands and homemade salsa lined up like battalions in impromptu plastic canisters. One does not expect to find swanky Italian pizzerias and suave steakhouses that reek of tourist traps. And nachos aren't true Mexican food. Tex-Mex to be exact. Entirely submersed in the Latino culture, I had more tortillas and guacamole in the past week than any Mexican in LA, I can swear by it. The reason for this obsessive mania is my soft spot for authentic tacos. I consider myself to be somewhat of a taco aficionado, and condemn all Taco Bell's to bloody hell. By no means, should one ever find lettuce in its taco. To add more insult to injury, taco shells are soft. Yes, I'm still talking to you Taco Bell.
Desperately trying to find some good ol' tacos in, yes, Mexico, the land of tacos, the birth place of it all; I failed. Alas, there's no one to blame but myself. Menus in English should've raised a red flag. I did not heed the internal warning that went off in my head like Christmas lights, but brushed it aside carelessly and as a result ended up with flour tortillas and dry bits of shredded beef. Did I taste cream cheese on my quesadilla? Or had my tastes buds gone awry with all the battery of spicy salsas. Although my taco quest ended with dismal results, I found consolation in a plate of divine pillow-y gnocchi from Antica Osteria. With the way things are going, maybe the ultimate taco is sitting in an alfresco taqueria somewhere in Florence.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Sushi Zo, sushi-nazism at its finest.
"Chef Keizo say no soy sauce."
"Chef Keizo say you can put soy sauce now."
"Chef Keizo say no photos. Or you will get kicked out."
And these are the orders that are commanded of us from Keizo's army while each dish is placed in front of us. As I sheepishly stuff my camera back into my bag, I think to myself: Aren't I a patron? Sure as hell doesn't feel like it. But I had it coming. Clearly printed in bold ink, on the menu in font 32, lists Keizo's "10 Commandments" of sushi doctrine. Need I say more?
Even with these strict rules, Sushi Zo has its share of die hard fans. Many go as far as to claim that Zo lies next in line to Urasawa! And truth be told, it is probably one of the finer, if not the finest sushi joints I've experienced. Not only are the morsels of fish fresh, but fresh to a point where I even forget that I'm eating expired fish. This may be an oxymoron, but I didn't note the slightest fishy-ness. Keizo has a dizzying array of sushi; some specials are imported from Japan. So you will be able get your hands on exotic, bite-sized pieces of Baby Tuna - tuna in its adolescent stage, thus "baby", creamier than its older counterparts, and very good -
So is this a true omakase? Keizo's creativity is somewhat limited to the first few offerings, then followed with everything off the sushi menu. There is no contest to the quality of the seafood and I have no objection to his traditional-Edo style method. I've even grown to love the warm rice that sometimes falls apart in the soy sauce. But to install the omakase only decree is a bit hard to stomach, even if it is only on weekends. Since the dishes are strictly from the menu, I would prefer the liberty of ordering my favorites and leave off the likes of salmon and such. Grumbling aside, I will be back for the iron-fisted sushi policy, being the masochist that I am. But on weekdays, undoubtedly.
9824 National Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034-2713 -