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craving vs. respect

What are the places you crave more than your respect?

This can be places you don't respect, but do crave. But I'm even more interested in the places you do respect, but crave even more.

I just realized that the thought that links the two threads I started recently (Slaw Dogs: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693461 and Honey Kettle: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693465) is that they're both places where my craving for them outstrips my respect for them. (Honey Kettle: respect, medium; craving, high. Slaw Dogs: respect, very high; craving, inconceivably high.) Where they speak directly the language of the animal hindbrain. And I don't mean in a dumb way, like salt-fat - but to the deep balances that totally satisfy my on a physical and low-soul level.

I thing Sokongdong Soontofu is also like that for me.


What is it that makes them so?


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  1. Gilbert's El Indio is like that for me. I know on an academic level that the food is not great and that it's usually covered in unnaturally orange cheese and that I shouldn't love it like I do. But I can't help it. When I haven't been in a couple of weeks like right now, I feel like my life force is a little weaker.

    Conversely, I very much respect Melisse and Providence but I don't ever crave them. Oh, and Persian and Italian food. I really respect the cuisines of both cultures, but I don't crave them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mollyomormon

      wholeheartedly agree. i've been touting this place on ch as much as i can

    2. Langer's. It garners disrespect by some here because it is a "one trick pony" (but the pony does a trick worth of Ringling Brother's Barnum & Bailey) and the crave factor makes it draw me back like a giant, sucking black hole at the center of the known pastrami Universe (would that be a type of Pastramiverse? Take a haiku with that, Mr Thi!... ;-D>).

      1. Amigo's in Pasadena. I've never had anything BAD there, but any passion expressed by the kitchen is imperceptible, if indeed it does exist. But they have killer margaritas, one of the best juke boxes anywhere (and NEVER ANY MARIACHIS!!), they're all really nice people, and it's one of the jolliest places I know to go for Marg Therapy, whether it's just me and Mrs. O or a bunch of the lads from the neighborhood, in which case we do pitchers! And I am really very fond of their (admittedly gloppy) chiles rellenos.

        1. HAMBURGER AT YUCA'S. Crave the leftover grease from the carne asada that always seems to coat the burger patties with an other-wordly type of deliciousness. Any Mexican-burger stand could replicate this, but they serve so many tacos that the carne asada coating on their grill is leaps and bounds above every other joint in the city.

          CREAM SOUP IN FRIED TOAST AT PA PA WALK. How can you not crave spooning faux clam chowder with giant pieces of what amountS to essentially deep-fried melba toast?

          CHILI CHEESE FRIES AT THE HAT. Sometimes I just crave heart burn. Crazy stupid, I know. But still ....

          BLACK SESAME CHIPS FROM CATHY'S BAKERY. They're like Chicharron, except they're made from deep fried dough with black sesame seeds mixed in. Maybe it's more like a Chinese tortilla chip, but whatever ... damn good stuff.

          PERROS FROM SUPER PERROS (in Tallahassee). Ok, maybe this isn't right because it's not in Los Angeles, but how can a person not crave a Perros? Hot dogs, special sauce, cheese and ... get this! ... crushed potato chips! And the fact I can only get this at some local joint more than 2000 miles away makes me crave it even more ... [sigh]

          11 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Hi ipsedixit,

            Nice. :) I've heard about Pa Pa Walk. Is there anything else worth ordering there? Thanks.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              >>CHILI CHEESE FRIES AT THE HAT. Sometimes I just crave heart burn. Crazy stupid, I know. But still ....<<

              I can't get myself to order this - it just looks like a slow methodical attempt at suicide. Please don't tell me that you individually put down one order!

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Once when I was still in middle school, my younger brother and I each had a chili cheese dog and split an order of chili cheese fries at the Temple City location. We were in such pain afterward...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  I do this about twice a year, and usu. it's with an order of their french dip.

                  Good times!

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    or my standard order of the pastrami triple dipped in the pan juices and an order of chili cheese fries with pickles and chopped tomatoes. and a diet coke to wash it all down.

                    1. re: kevin

                      "...and a diet coke to wash it all down."

                      That diet coke is important. Wouldn't want to have a high caloric lunch now would you? ;-D>

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Supper perros are Colombian hot dogs. I just had one in Bogota in December, they are outrageously good. Mine also had crushed potato chips, and I saw another one with quail eggs.

                  1. re: streetgourmetla

                    oh, yeah, i think there is a joint right next door to europane in pasadena that serves these up.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Hmm....I noticed the place's website says it's for sale. There is a new place called Tutti Frutti that just opened on Artesia (just east of Sepulveda) in Manhattan Beach in what was the old Fatburger place. Is it a chain? It would make investigating the Columbian hot dog a lot closer for me.

                3. Orange nacho-cheese nachos at Carnitas Michoacan

                  1. I still mourn for the carne asada burrito at Amy's in Pasadena.
                    I crave the chicken fried steak and eggs at Eat at Joes in Redondo Beach
                    The pulled pork sandwich at JayBees
                    The onion rings at Rods Grill
                    The burger at Blue Star
                    The Greek Omelet at Lou Mitchells in Chicago

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: martyR

                      Oh, how I wish there was a Lou Mitchell's in LA! The coffee, the omlettes, the bread, the donut holes and milk duds!

                    2. The Mexican hot dog vendor at the El Segundo farmer's market (Main St.) late Thursday afternoons, with everything including "Mexican candy" - the jalepenos grilled to sweetness right in with the copious onions. I respect that. I crave it more, from deep down.

                      Now, Del Taco churros - fresh, hot ones? I don't respect that concept, but I crave them.

                      (Thi, you are a very talented and inspiring writer, by the way.)

                      1. I'd like to know what would make you not respect a place if they make food you crave? I don't see crave and respect as mutually exclusive concepts.

                        I will second Cinnamon's nod... nice writing, especially for LATimes.com.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DrBruin

                          I don't think that they have to be mutually exclusive either, even though my post above was about that. For example, I respect and crave the grilled snook at Mariscos Chente.

                          1. re: mollyomormon

                            completely agree with you, mollyomormon.
                            basically everything i crave, i also respect (and this includes MANY MANY dishes at mariscos chente--the mojarra fritta, coctel con camarones y pulpo, pescado zarandeado, camarones a la diabla--all of these dishes are on my regular rotation there. a week ago i went there with a group of 7 and had some of ALL of these dishes and two more: the camarones borrachos, and the camarones ranchera).

                        2. Oh Thi, you're just trying to validate all your awful cravings. I saw a pigeon eating melted Velveeta cheese on the sidewalk.....I thought of you.

                          I'm taking a Slaw Dog over to Vertical Wine Bistro next week for a David Haskell wine pairing. Got any favorite Slaw Dogs? Cravings?

                          1. The only place I can think of is Taco Bell. Every now and then, I have to eat a bean burrito and seven layer burrito from Taco Bell.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sillygoosedown

                              i love taco bell. three bean and cheese burritos and a layer and a diet pepsi (though i'd rather have a diet coke) makes quite a meal.

                            2. Okay, got another one: McD's Sausage McMuffin w/Egg. Two of these plus a hash brown cake - break potato thing in half, slip each into a sandwich, try not to get crumbs and drool all over car. It's the best reason I can think of to be on the road before 10AM.

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: Will Owen

                                McDonald's breakfast sandwiches, hash browns, and fries definitely have a high craving vs. respect ratio for me. Also the occasional Filet-o-Fish. Love your serving suggestion, I'm definitely trying it next time.

                                1. re: Peripatetic

                                  What is WITH that damn Filet-O-Fish, anyway? What the hell is that slice of cheese-like substance doing in there? It's so obviously wrong, so why do I like it??

                                  I succumb to that one no more than once a year, maybe less, if only because I'm afraid I'll be so overcome with shame I'll rat myself out in public. My McMuffin Mania is by contrast the epitome of normal...

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    The best Filet-O-Fish is two orders, hold the cheese (if it can be called that), then combine the patties into one sandwich. Thatsa sandwich.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      Any time I am training for a marathon or a century ride, my go to meal before and after is two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and a large vanilla milkshake. It's the perfect blend of proteins, fats and lip-smacking good carbs.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Gotta love the fried fish with cheese product and tartar sauce. And Egg mcmuffins are my all time fave hangover cure.

                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                      The sausage McMuffin off the dollar menu, plus two apple pies for a buck and a senior priced cuppa coffee sets me up for under $3.00.

                                      1. re: Sharuf

                                        Does the dollar-menu McMuffin have egg on it? Mrs. O and I suspected it doesn't, or else there'd be no reason to buy the more expensive version. Just sausage on a muffin is a nice enough sandwich, but I do love that egg. And I don't consider breakfast for just under $6 to be unduly expensive these days.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          It does not have an egg but does come with cheese I believe.

                                          1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                            As we suspected. The egg is relatively expensive; the "cheese" is not.

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              Speaking of the "cheese", although it isn't a place, I sometimes crave American cheese on my burgers. I detest the idea of American cheese and yet, sometimes, it does something to a burger sharp cheddar or an aged provolone just doesn't provide.

                                              1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                We be of one blood, thou and I...

                                                I've gotten used to cheddar or pepper jack on the burgers I make, and on the $15-and-up fancybarburgers, but if I got that on a diner CB or patty-melt I'd be really disappointed. Gotta be melty cheese food.

                                          2. re: Will Owen

                                            As a kid, my mom always bought me a F-O-F when I was sick and that craving stuck when I'm ill. Fitting huh?

                                          3. re: Sharuf

                                            It they ever bring back the deep-fried cherry pies then the craving vs. respect ratio will go through the roof.

                                            1. re: Peripatetic

                                              Last time I was in Mickey D's they had cherry pies (baked, not deep fried). Pretty good!

                                              1. re: Sharuf

                                                Agreed, they are pretty good, but I crave only the deep-fried ones.

                                        2. Three or four times a year I have to have Mexican food from either Acapulco or Chevy's. And preferably the least authentic, most Tex-Mexed glop combo available.

                                          It's just as well for my cholesterol that this craving hits as seldom as it does.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: maxzook

                                            If it helps assuage your guilt, that's probably less of a cholesterol bomb than the stuff I eat at my favorite taco truck. Lard dipped tortillas for the tacos, the chorizo quesadilla..... I sure as heck eat there more than four times a year. I do respect the truck and their crew. They make a long haul from Rosemead to mid-city L.A., six days a week, working long into the night.

                                          2. 25Degrees. I crave the burgers and onion rings, yet I have not just a less respect, but in fact ZERO respect for how these people run their business. The service is horrendous, the servers might be the most inept I've seen anywhere, the experience of being in the restaurant is very unpleasant, and yet....those burgers and onion rings........

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: OC Mutt

                                              The service at the tables is three-stooges level, but it improves at the counter. I think the word has gotten out -- the last time I was there, the counter was almost full and the tables were two-thirds empty.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                A couple of times a year I crave Nate'n Al's chopped chicken liver on warm double baked rye along with thinly sliced onion. In 2nd place is Nate ' Al's warm brisket on the warm double baked rye with cole slaw on top.

                                              2. At Mariscos Chente alone:

                                                Respect the pescado zarandeado (although the last one I had was a bit over-soyed)

                                                Crave the camarones chipotle, with the gloriously disgusting orange-cheese goo liberally spiked with smoky peppers....mmmmmmm

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Bradbury

                                                  how could the pz be over-soyed when they use no soy whatsoever in the dish?

                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    At least that bowl of onions is really, really soyed, no?

                                                    1. re: sillygoosedown

                                                      I believe that it's Worcestershire sauce

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        Servorg, Westsidegal, and sillygoosedown......ssssshhhhhhhhh. Not going to get a straight answer from.....ahem....Sergio. I know several of the main ingredients but am following guy code. Hey, he may not be tellin' me the truth. All I have to say is...yes it does...no it doesn't

                                                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                          all i have to say is that WHATEVER is in that dish, if sergio doesn't get set up to start cooking it again i may go postal.. . . .
                                                          let's see, would that be called intense 'respect' or would that be called intense 'craving?