Sunday, November 30, 2008

Two Tickets on the Hot Tamale Train

If you don't watch So You Think You Can Dance, the title of this post sounds pretty stupid. Actually, even if you watch SYTYCD, it's still pretty stupid. But you still want to read about the tamales we ate today, right?
mamas hot tamales 018
As an apprentice-operated business and job-training restaurant, Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe (2124 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles) welcomes local low-income residents who are home caterers and street vendors and prepares them for jobs in the food service industry.

When you visit the bright and cheery cafe, you will dine on fresh delicious homemade tamales, and you will feel good about supporting a great cause.
mamas hot tamales 004
mamas hot tamales 013
mamas hot tamales 014
mamas hot tamales 017
mamas hot tamales 021
I started off with a fresh jamaica ($2.00). The refills were plentiful.
mamas hot tamales 023
Mr. Monkey had an Inca Kola ($1.75).
mamas hot tamales 024
We ordered six different types of tamales to share ($2.75 each, $2.50 each if you order three or more): chicken with black mole, chicken in green sauce, turkey, pork in green sauce, beef picadillo, and cheese and jalapeño.
mamas hot tamales 025
The types of tamales vary daily, depending on which vendors contribute, but the array generally includes offerings of Mexican, Oaxacan, Honduran, Peruvian, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran origins.

Chicken with black mole. My favorite, hands down. The mole was rich and smoky.
mamas hot tamales 029
Beef picadillo. Spicy and yummy.
mamas hot tamales 031
Pork with green sauce. Good but not as good as the others.
mamas hot tamales 033
Cheese and jalapeño. Loved this one! Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!
mamas hot tamales 034
Everything was delicious, but we particularly enjoyed the tamales wrapped in banana leaves. These were especially moist and amazing. They were so outstanding that we got four banana-leaf-wrapped tamales to go: another chicken with black mole and another turkey, as well as a chicken with vegetables and a mixed vegetables. We had them for dinner, and they were fantastic!

We ended our meal with a shared pineapple tamale. I loved how the sweet cinnamon tones paired with the warm tang of the pineapple.
mamas hot tamales 040
This was a lovely neighborhood find in a not-so-lovely neighborhood. I promise it's worth it. I only wish we'd taken home more than four extra tamales.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Monkeys Give Thanks

For some, Thanksgiving is huge, complete with elaborate table settings, fancy food, and tons of people. For us, it's an intimate dinner lovingly made by Mama Monkey. Mr. Monkey. Brother Monkey, Stepdad Monkey, and I are so lucky!

Our little turkey was so cute.
thanksgiving 002
I had a leg.
thanksgiving 022
Taiwanese sticky rice.
thanksgiving 011
Kong xin cai.
thanksgiving 015
Your Thanksgiving green beans don't look like this, do they?
thanksgiving 013
thanksgiving 010
Mapo tofu.
thanksgiving 018
And my favorite -- spring rolls!
thanksgiving 004
thanksgiving 005
thanksgiving 006
thanksgiving 007
I bet you don't have sweet and spicy chili sauce at your Thanksgiving.
thanksgiving 009
My lone task was to take care of the dinner rolls. I have failed for several years in a row, and everybody laughed and said it was now a tradition for us to have burnt rolls. Well, this year, I turned down the temperature, flipped them over halfway through, and took them out in time. Small triumph!
thanksgiving 001
We washed everything down with Martinelli's.
thanksgiving 019
During dinner, Mama Monkey told us about her latest delicious find -- baby bananas. She talked them up so much that Mr. Monkey went to the kitchen and found one to confirm Mama Monkey's raving.
thanksgiving 025
thanksgiving 024
Dinner was followed by fresh grapes, pineapple, and persimmon.
thanksgiving 030
And that was followed by pumpkin pie.
thanksgiving 035
Beyond baby bananas, Mama Monkey also couldn't stop talking about this Belgian chocolate she bought recently at Fresh & Easy.
thanksgiving 029
She sent us home with one huge hunk. Mr. Monkey was happy.
thanksgiving 026
Then Mr. Monkey was sleepy.
thanksgiving 038
And then we drove home full of food and full of love.

3 A.M. Eternal

On Wednesday, we had dinner at the country club with the Nittanys and the Butt-Chins. I noshed on this wonderful pan-seared veal chop.
random 004
Mr. Monkey devoured the bacon-wrapped filet mignon.
random 005
Ugly pics, I know, but all I had was my little pink point-and-shoot, and the lighting was rather dim. Sad face.

During dinner, Mrs. Nittany and Mrs. Butt-Chin asked me what I like to do for fun at night. Mrs. Nittany loves clubbing. Mrs. Butt-Chin loves bars. They have a five-year-old and a three-year-old, respectively, yet are far more active at night than I am.

I mentioned I like karaoke. The two squealed, and that sealed it.

We went to Rosen Music Studio (3474 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles) after dinner. We don't live too far from K-town, so we stopped by to retrieve my camera and to change into comfy non-country-club clothes.
rosen 003
rosen 050rosen 051
rosen 053
rosen 036
rosen 035
rosen 063
rosen 044
rosen 023
rosen 004
We went with Li'l Nittany and Butt-Chin, Jr. in tow. Maybe being a parent doesn't have to cramp your style after all.
rosen 019
I think I had six of these filled with apple soju.
rosen 013
And a little of this, too.
rosen 094
Mrs. Nittany and Mrs. Butt-Chin probably downed twice as much. They are pros. To say the least, this made for a raucous night.

Before things got really rowdy, though, we had fun with the kiddos. Li'l Nittany loves singing, just like his mama. He especially liked singing "No Air." Mrs. Nittany was Jordin Sparks, and Li'l Nittany was Chris Brown. Hee hee!
rosen 016
rosen 057
rosen 022
Mr. Nittany joined in, too. They're the Korean-Filipino Von Trapp family!
rosen 033
Li'l Nittany and Butt-Chin, Jr. sang "Jingle Bells" together.
rosen 059
rosen 060
The kids fell asleep around 11 or midnight.
rosen 062
rosen 049
We went strong for several more hours, though.
rosen 041
rosen 069
rosen 088
rosen 039
rosen 073
rosen 081
rosen 045
Can you tell why this guy is called Butt-Chin? When we went to Korean BBQ last week, Butt-Chin, Jr. shouted, "My daddy has a butt chin!" Hilarity.

How the little boys slept through Mr. Nittany's rendition of System of a Down's "Chop Suey" is beyond me.
rosen 065rosen 064
rosen 046
Mr. Nittany did a pretty mean William Hung impression, too.
rosen 092
And he rocked "My Humps."
rosen 089
Amazingly, even with all that we drank, the price for all this was only $7.50 an hour per adult, and the song selection was similar to, if not a little better than, that of Orchid. The service was very good, and the bathroom was cleaner, too.
rosen 042
rosen 085
rosen 043
Good times until 3 a.m.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...