Nov 21, 2013
Throw Up Thursday! Some Stuff Even I Can't Get Down! This Edition: Pig Nose Tacos AKA Tacos de Trompa.
Snot the best taco in town.
Throw Up Thursday is like Throw Back Thursday. You know, a trip down memory lane except with vomit. Okay, maybe vomit wasn't necessarily involved...but almost. Although I have the studly rep of ingesting just about anything, that doesn't mean I enjoy everything I ingest. Occasionally I come vis a vis with a dish that becomes my culinary Kryptonite. This particular time it was pig snout taco at downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market. Here's the post I originally wrote back in June 2011. Bon appetit!
Dreams. We all have them. Some aim high and aspire to be the next Nobel Prize, Oscar or Tour de France winner. Maybe start up the next Facebook. Be the next Bieber. Visit all 50 states in the U.S. before turning 50. Eat the entire Jitlada menu. If you're Chastity Bono, become a man.
Whatever. Everyone should have at least one. A dream! Something to live for! Something to give purpose to life.
Mine. It's to eat every conceivable animal part that you can fit between a fresh tortilla. I know. It's not much of a dream, but it's my dream.
Mmmm, smell those nose!
To date, I've managed to masticate tacos filled with tongue, throat, head meat, brains, intestines, stomach lining, eye balls, lips and all the other less bizarre protein choices and preparations available at taquerias.
Strangely, nose tacos have eluded my nose for a long time. I've sniffed menu boards at taquerias all around town, in other cities and states, even parts of Baja California for a while, but with no payoff. Maybe I needed a nasal decongestant to clear my sinuses.
LOL! Got your nose!
Then one lazy Sunday, while touring Downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market, I came across a taco stand with a menu board full of meat choices that beckoned to me like food court harlots. The tempting selections were all familiar and inviting, but I was seeking strange meat, the kind I've never tasted.
Suddenly, as if a giant magic highlighter floated up to the menu board and directed my attention to the word "trompa", I spied with my little eye the nose I've been searching for all this time.
Cooked al vapor style, the pan of pork proboscis appeared tender, gelatinous and moist (hopefully not from a runny nose). At first glance, they looked appetizing, and it wasn't exactly obvious that the chunks of flesh were snouts.
On the menu, trompa was actually offered as a burrito, but, a burrito, especially a booger burrito, was much too much food for me at the moment, so I requested a taco instead.
Snot or Snout Tacos?
Roast To Go's taco was super-sized with an extra large corn tortilla at its foundation, upon which heaping layers of food are distributed: chopped snout, shredded iceberg, onions and cilantro. Seasoned with chipotle sauce and Mucinex, the taco de trompa was ready to eat. (Kidding about the Mucinex.)
I grabbed extra napkins to keep my nose, as well as the ones in the taco, clean.
What happens when you're too nosy.
On the plate, the taco looked just as delicious as any other offal taco I've ever eaten. I anticipated that it'd be sort of a cross between buche (throat) and pig ears, you know, a little bit of cartilage, fat, soft tissue and well-spiced phlegm — nothing I couldn't handle, and maybe something I'd even enjoy.
To my chagrin, this particular food trip south of the border headed south quickly. I took an instant dislike to the sharp gamey flavor of the snout. The gaminess wasn't the typical taste one would associate with something like goat or wild boar. It was something deeper, more sinister, like well-marinated expellant.
The texture was the other unpleasant issue. With each hesitant bite, I envisioned a string of sticky snot adhering itself to my teeth and tongue, permeating my taste buds with every chomp. This further spread that singular gamey flavor.
The gumminess of the snout was like nothing I've ever experienced. I've consumed plenty of gelatinous foods from beef tendon to trotters and it's one of my favorite mouthfeel sensations. I enjoy slippery, slimy, gooey. I fly that foodie freak flag high, but this was some other kind of freaky entirely.
Soylent Green is pig snout!!!
Sticky as natto and gamier than an inside of a tauntaun, I couldn't bring myself to take another nibble. The nastiness was exacerbated by the onions and hot sauce, basically adding fuel to the fire.
In fact, I had to eject! Eject!! With the help of an extra large horchata, I finally rid the taste of nose off my tongue.
Mother always told me never to stick my nose into other people's affairs, but she never warned me about sticking pork nose into my corn tortilla. Consider this a warning, dear Deepling. Now you nose better.
(P.S., if somebody nose where to get a really good trompa dish, please drop me an email or comment. I'd love to try it.)
Sep 8, 2013
SCORE!!! Got Me a Ramen Burger!! The Ramen Burger Pop-Up at Mitsuwa Marketplace. Also...The LINE-sanity Video!
Behold!! The Ramen Burger is MINE!!!
The line queueing up for the highly anticipated Ramen Burger So Cal pop-up at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, CA and the next day at Osawa Japanese Cuisine in Pasadena, CA bordered on madness. A four hour plus, thousand person line at Mitsuwa shattered what you'd see outside an Apple Store the night before a new iPhone release. People entertained themselves with RC cars and puppies. There were plenty of selfies in the ridonkulous line, tweets, and status updates with observations such as "Dude! WTF! I'm in the RamenBurger LINE! IT's STOOOOPID Loooooong!!!
The burger itself is a 75/25 certified angus beef patty. It's pretty great. Even better with a beer, if I had one. I wouldn't wait in that Cold War, Easter Euro-line for a taste though. I didn't have to!! I'm not sure if it tastes better the longer you had to wait or vice versa.
Experience the line and see the Ramen Burger here! I did a video just for you!
Sep 6, 2013
It's an unspoken food industry pact that if you intentionally misspell a food item's name, then that food item is understood to be fake. You know, like, krabby patties or kalimari made from pork bung. Or anything with a "Mc" as a prefix, for that matter. (That's how McDonald's gets away with the McRib Sandwich.)
We're Open. Kome In!
Then there's the Kronut. This malpractice of misspelling is ideal for all the Cronut impersonators, imitators, and fakers out in the pastry world because they can get away with hawking the faux Cronut without receiving those fun cease and desist letters from Dominique Ansel's legal team. (Dominique Ansel is the inventor of the Cronut in case you've been frozen in carbon for the past few months.)
Well, if you have been frozen in carbon for a few months, let me kwikly explain the Cronut. It's a donut and croissant hybrid filled with cream and topped with glaze. It's a pastry so popular that people are willing to wait in 4 hour long lines or sell a kidney (which, ironically enough, is shaped like a croissant) just for a taste.
A Decent Fake.
A bustling, little donut shop in Granada Hills, CA called Fresh Donuts is doing brisk biz hawking the fakes. The shop sells several different flavors and a plain version too.
The regular Kronut is pleasingly flakey and airy. The glaring problem with this fake is that there is no cream inside. The real Cronut harbors cream that's been piped into its airy, light, crusty crevices. The glaze on the Kronut is nice enough but tastes like the typical glaze of a standard donut.
The cream Kronuts do have filling but are not actually filled. Instead, they're sandwiched. A Kronut is cleaved neatly in half then spread with cream. There are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry fillings from which to select. Nothing at all fancy about the cream. Simply fluffy and flavored.
Full disclosure time: I HAVE NOT EATEN A REAL CRONUT. (I visited Manhattan twice this year and the last thing I wanted to do was wait in a lunatic long line, while severely hungover, for a croissant-donut love child.) So, as far as how it stands up against the real thing ━ I don't know.
However, I would say that the plain Kronut is enjoyable texturally with the right amount of dulcet deliciousness. The cream Kronut was much more disappointing. I mean, how hard would it to be for Fresh Donuts to inject some cream into that fakey flakey pastry?
Keeping in mind, though, my fewer than 2 minute wait to score these fakers, I'd say it was worth the trek to Granada Hills for these Cronut pretenders.
Now, where can I score a knock-off ramen burger? I'll take a Rolexxx while I'm out there.
11030 Balboa Blvd
Granada Hills, CA 91344