Delicious Five, aka March Gladness

Over the weekend, Sam had what seemed to be food poisoning. It was weird, because we’d eaten the exact same thing for dinner the night before. But I was like, hey, dodged a bullet!

It turned out that bullet was likely the norovirus, and it hit me two days later. I will not go into detail about that experience, because ultimately this post is going to be about food.

The first day of a stomach bug (and usually that’s the worst part), the not-eating is pretty much built in. But a day or two later, it’s frustrating to feel hungry for normal foods, but not be sure if your stomach can take them. After a day of minute rice, bananas, crackers, and diluted Gatorade, I found myself making mental lists of “wow” foods.

I don’t really know a better word for these foods… crave-able, must-orders? That thing on the menu that makes you want to go back to the restaurant over and over, that you always have to order. That food that when you tried it, maybe it was a small epiphany.

So here are five that I happened to think up during this go-round. Maybe this will be the beginning of a series. (I’ve posted pictures from most of these places on my Instagram, so I will direct you there for photos.)

1) Beef Roll, Pine & Crane (Silver Lake)

Pine & Crane is a Taiwanese restaurant, which is less common around here than Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Japanese. So I’d never had a beef roll before Pine & Crane’s, and let me tell you — it’s crazy delicious. Everybody I know who tries it is like, whaaaat is this amazingness? It’s almost burrito-like, or eggroll-like… but it’s neither. It’s just amazing, as is pretty much everything else at Pine & Crane. Even the way they expedite their seating impresses me.

I’m also a big fan of their their wonton soup (which has wontons AND chewy noodles). And I begrudgingly respect that they serve sweet potato fries but don’t provide ketchup… they’re dusted with plum powder. (My family hotly debated bringing our own ketchup.)

And they have great tea. (And boba, if you’re into that.) You pretty much can’t go wrong. It’s almost impossible not to over-order, but hey — leftovers.

2) Baked Crab Hand Roll, Katsu-ya (Studio City)

Back in another work life when my bosses would take me to working lunches at Katsu-ya (the best), they introduced me to the baked crab hand roll. It’s wrapped in soy paper. It has a certain savoriness and texture to it that’s very pleasing. It’s warm. It’s wonderful.

3) Breakfast Tacos, HomeState (Los Feliz)

Much like all of the above, pretty much everything at HomeState is delicious. You know I really love a place when I want to buy/wear their merch, and I have been eyeing HomeState’s merch for a while now. (Although I go there so often that if I might be mistaken for an employee if I wore the T-shirt on the wrong day.)

I pretty much always get a Trinity (eggs, cheddar, potato, bacon), hold the bacon, on a flour tortilla. I also always get a TopoChico, which is fancy sparkly Mexican water. I knew it would be good because news of its presence in CA delighted my friend Madison, who hails from Texas. (Sometimes it’s kind of a bummer when you can get everything everywhere, because then… why go there? But everything about HomeState just makes me want to go to Austin that much more.)

My second taco depends on my mood. Last month they had a special taco called The Love Song, and the proceeds went to the ACLU. I liked it so much that I just kept ordering it, and they’re cool with that. It’s black beans, monterey jack, avocado, potato, sour cream, on a flour tortilla.

I don’t even usually like sour cream, but the combo of everything together is so delicious. It brings me right back to eating bean and cheese burritos in the school cafeteria, but in a fancy adult way.

I live and work right near HomeState, which means it’s dangerously close. Like, once-a-week-or-more close.

4) Any Ice Cream, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams (Los Feliz, Downtown, Studio City, Santa Barbara)

The one in Los Feliz is conveniently located next to HomeState. I really like the way they shave their chocolate chips… it just feels like a very classic take on ice cream to me. (Mind you, my childhood ice cream shop was Baskin Robbins, so…) I also really dig their banana/caramel flavor. Actually, I pretty much dig them all. But that one was an ooooh moment.

Also, you have to use their bathroom because it has a wall-sized vintage photo of the Griffith Observatory. I enjoy that.

(PS Salt & Straw has a flavor that tastes like Lucky Charms right now. Just for March. As long as we’re talking ice cream.)

5) Kennebec Potato Chips, Winsome (Echo Park)

Winsome is kind of confusing to find, because it’s hidden at the base of a residential building and you can’t see it from the street. But once you’re there, the food is pretty cool. They serve things on latkes (their word for latke is rosti). The bathroom is so cute, I took a bunch of selfies in it. (Clearly, I appreciate a cute bathroom.)

But the chips are special because they have some sort of spice on them (Mediterranean? Middle Eastern?), and they’re handmade so some of them are a little soft (I LOVE a soft, potato-y chip), and they have a special dipping sauce. It’s a splurge, and it’s worth it.

“Hm… apparently I love potatoes,” I said to myself as I looked over this list, shocking NO ONE.

Okay, everybody eat something delicious today. And tell me what your must-haves are! (And what you call your “wow” foods.)

Now that I’ve revved up my stomach thinking about all my faves, I look forward to my minute rice lunch…


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