Friday, February 11, 2005

It's been raining hard since last night. Not quite unexpected, it rains quite a bit in LA during the winter. But it becomes such an effort to rob your flesh of the warm comforter when there is nothing luminiscent about the weather outside. It was an effort, but I did manage to get out of bed.

S and Pho and I went for lunch to Papa Christo's. This is one of the things I love about LA. The speciality grocery store (in this case, Greek) that also doubles up as a food counter. Except in the case of Papa Cristo's it is hard to tell what gets bigger billing, the grocery shelves or the restaurant. Unlike a lot of other grocery store-food counters where ambience is not the point, Papa Cristo's has nice chairs and tables and posters from the Greek Tourism Board on the walls. And unlike many Indian food counters, the staff at Papa Cristo's is always friendly and warm.

S and I shared a plate with arni sto fourno, paidakia, fasolakia and rizi. Most of it very homestyle Greek food, except the paidakia, which is mostly restaurant food, much as ribs are in the US. I love Greek food, and it's disappointing that a lot of what's available in LA is so mediocre (Papa C is an exception). Greek food in Greece is different altogether, fresher, excellent ingredients, and more varied menus. I've been so tempted to go and join this cooking school for the coming summer, especially since I'm a great admirer of Diane Kochilas' books, but alas, no time.

Another such place I like going to is a tiny Indonesian grocery store in a blink and you miss strip mall. I first came across a reference to it in LA weekly and was intrigued because the article said it served gudeg, which is Javanese (Yogyakartan to be precise) style jackfruit curry. I love raw jackfruit (and am indifferent to the ripe kind) and am always willing to try different dishes with it. So I enthusiastically dragged S over and got myself a very reasonably priced lunch special with the gudeg. Honestly, the gudeg was a disappointment. Now I don't know if this is because I do not have a taste for gudeg per se, or the way it was prepared in this particular place. But thankfully, it didn't deter us from going back and exploring other stuff on the menu, and most of it turned out to be delicious. The nasi Padang is a steal, a fabulous plate of food for the price they charge. And the jackfruit tastes far better in this version.

Among the Indian places, the only barely satisfying one I've been able to find is Ambala Sweets in Artesia, which probably does the most competent plate of chhole bhature in the whole city. Now this is one dish that doesn't seem worth fussing about, till you encounter the generic Indian food place run by the Gujarati/Goanese/Bangladeshi who present a giant lumpy puri soaked in oil and claim that they are serving a bhatura. They also make good samosas (which are not so hard to find) and are quite pleasant to their customers.

Anybody reading this (yes, I'm speaking to you, my non-existent readership) would have figured out that I'm a bhojonrasik (food lover) on a budget. So there will be much talk of food here.

To end, here's a perfume scribble after a long time. Today, I decided to wear something rather "greeny" to go with the weather and settled on Vetiver Tonka by Hermessence. It starts out with a heady burst of something that smells alternatively like caramel and amber, a deep rich aroma. And then, there is also a slight hint of some sort of lily. I wait. Five minutes. Still no vetiver. And then, nearly 10 minutes later, there is the barest hint of vetiver, sort of peaking out from behind a tonka curtain. Very subtle and complex. Me likey.


Anonymous Nestor Laurel said...

Where can I to learn abt it in detail?

9:48 AM  
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11:41 PM  

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