Leslie was coming in on a late flight from Dallas last night and I was hungry and had time to kill while I was awaiting her arrival. I headed towards Convoy to find some nice asian food. We have a fairly tight group of go to restaurants we enjoy like Spicy City, Jasmine and Dumpling Inn. I wanted something different tonight.
I did a Yelp search and found that the new hot spot in town is called Shan Xi Magic Kitchen. Hand ripped biang biang noodles, other tempting treats, but a long waiting list. It was located south of Balboa and I rarely if ever venture that direction. Looked for it but couldn't exactly find it. Oh well. I tried.
I decided to go back to familiar territory and try another place that was new to me, Tastypot. Not to sound like a total noob but I have never had real taiwanese hotpot before and the place has been getting really good reviews. What can I tell you, we live in the sticks...
It is located next to Spicy City and it is tough for my wife to stray from her favorite when it is that close. We almost ate there but she didn't like something about the smell. I did some research and found out that one of their dishes is called stinky tofu and figured that was the reason for her olfactory reluctance. And we wanted to wait for cold weather before hot soup.
Last night was perfect. I didn't have a problem with the smell and it was cold out.
The menu for the national chain lists twelve different soups.
I decided on #2, the lamb hot soup. Filled with napa, vermicelli, lamb, enoki mushrooms, imitation crab, meatball, fishcake, pork blood rice cake, kamaboku, fried tofu skin, clams, sour mustard, brown beech mushroom, tofu and cilantro.
Just to let you know, kamaboko is cured surimi, a pureed whitefish concoction. Napa is a chinese cabbage grown near Beijing.
I ordered my dish without the imitation crab, which both of us eschew. You can order at a requested spice level, I chose medium. There were three condiment jars on the table, a chili oil, a soy product and something else. Different than I am used to, I mixed the three.
You eat with a ladle and chopsticks. It was delicious although they are a bit chintzy on the meat. From time to time a server would show up with a tall thermos of soup broth and pour when you felt it was necessary.
Needed a lot of ice cold water to ease the chili oil, which I went slightly overboard on. My tongue was a little numb. Still it was wonderful.
My wife and I have been together for thirty years. When a significant other is away you can try the restaurants that they have no interest in. I am glad I went and look forward to returning, hopefully with her.
I have a crummy cell phone camera so excuse the shots. One day I might get a decent one.
I finished my meal and asked the affable waiter how I did?
"Wonderful," he said. "You killed it."
Any locals around who want to give it another go, just call. Would also like to try the beef, the cheesy milk and the szechuan style.