20 (Thu) December 2018
Pea Shoots with Garlic
from Panda Express
-Los Angeles, California, USA-
Winter Vacation in the USA, Day 2.
- Day 1: Seoul, Jinmi Pyeongyang Naeng Myeon (9.348 Mul Naeng Myeon) / 4.0
We’re spending our holidays in the States – first time for the boys – including Los Angeles, Anaheim, Las Vegas, and Grand Canyon – the farthest (distance), longest (duration), and most complicated trip (itinerary) that we’ve ever taken.
I haven’t been to the West Coast since leaving in 2004 – not counting an overnight layover in 2007 when I missed a connecting flight in Los Angeles from Houston to Incheon (Number One Fan LY took me in).
Thank goodness, my cousin HJ and her family live in LA. They’re in Korea for the winter, but generously let us stay at her place and drive her car while we’re here. Beyond the money saved, having a home base in between all the running around will keep us grounded over the next 12 days.
After a quick lunch upon arrival, W and the boys succumbed to jet lag and crashed, refusing to get up for dinner.
To get supplies, I went to Pavilions, a supermarket down the street, which had a Panda Express on the premises.
Panda Express is an American-based Chinese restaurant chain. Currently over 2,200 locations, primarily in North America, mostly in shopping malls and other food court environments. Offers pre-cooked dishes for takeout, typically in combo meals comprising 1 or 2 items plus a rice or noodle.
I was gratified to confirm that Panda Express remains as crappy as ever, evoking fondly unpleasant memories of eating the stuff on occasion when I lived in the States, not only because it’s cheap but also because I like crappy American Chinese food.
While the rest of the spread was indeed crappy, the pea shoots with garlic were excellent. My all-time favorite Chinese vegetable dish: delicate yet chewy in texture, sweetish with a touch of bitter, the liquid released during the stir-fry making a perfect sauce for steamed jasmine rice. But for reasons that I’ve never bothered to determine, pea shoots are seemingly difficult to find outside of California (see for comparison 5.010 Stir-Fried Malaysian Noble Leaves with Garlic).
Not what I had in mind for our first night in LA, but it made me feel back at home.
I took advantage of the free time to shop for vinyl at Amoeba Records.
By the magic of air travel, we departed Incheon on Thursday afternoon, crossed the international date line, and arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday morning.
Dinner on the plane consisted of an amuse bouche (mini tartlet with shrimp salad), a seafood-salad appetizer (marinated scallop and eggplant with tomato), a cream soup (chickpeas cream soup), and a protein main course with potatoes and vegetables (grilled beef steak with thyme sauce served with potato gratin, broccoli and mushroom) – same as every business class dinner that I’ve ever been offered on Korean Air.
With Incheon-Los Angeles being one of Korean Air’s flagship long haul routes, I’d hoped the meal would be a bit more special.
As always, I am grateful for and respectful of the opportunity to travel, especially via business class (see BEST IN FLIGHT), including lounge access (see in BEST IN LOUNGE). Any comments here, even the negative ones, are simply relative to other business class experiences, just for fun, not complaints per se.
The porridge was new for me. Not that great as a porridge per se, but at least it was different, and infinitely better than the crappy egg breakfasts served on most other carriers.