Notes from LA: Chengdu Taste

Chengdu Taste in Alhambra

Went again.  I love this little restaurant so much that I just can't stay away. There are so many flavors here I find myself thinking about, craving. 

  Noodles

Cold noodles with garlic sauce. Sprightly, springy noodles with an uneven texture and an elastic nature. The sauce is spicy, but not truly hot.

 

Mung
 Mung bean noodles. Fascinating how the soft texture of these transparent noodles makes for an entirely different eating experience. 

 

Celtus

Sichuan Spring Vegetable. Looks like celery. Tastes like.... the closest I can come is chayote with a college education.  It’s soft, with a certain integrity, and it soaks up the spices in a wonderful way. 

 

Numb
Numb-taste dumplings.  If you’re curious about ma-la - the elusively sneaky heat of Sichuan peppercorns - this is the place to try it.  These dumplings have a heat very different than that of chiles.  The entire front of your mouth literally goes numb.  It’s an endlessly appealing sensation.

 

  Lamb

Toothpick lamb. Tiny squiggles of lamb encrusted in cumin and peppers until the spice seems a natural part of the meat. I couldn't help imagining that the animals spent their entire lives feasting on a field of cumin.

 

  Ma 2

Ma Po Tofu: Very much like the version of this classic dish that I had in China (although it lacks the inch of oil floating on the top).  

 

Potatoes

Sauteed potatoes: Crisply wok-tossed with cumin, this is like an intriguing Chinese version of scalloped potatoes

 

  Lettuce

Sauteed lettuce. All I can say is: why have I never done this with lettuce?  Completely irresistible. 

 

   Eggplant
 Eggplant. Soft. Rich. Spicy. Mysterious. 

 

Rice

Chengdu fried rice.  Light. Lovely. With little frisks of cured ham.

 

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sautéed lettuce has happened for me at home-it only happens when I've grown or bought to much fresh lettuce and then it MUST be eaten (or death is imminent, I think)

About this journal
Where am I eating? What's for dinner tonight? And what books have I been reading? For a look at what's going on in my life lately, take a look at this journal, which I try to update on a regular basis.