I used to be very, very strict on variations of regional food, as most Italians are. We are just wary of pizza that isn’t pizza, pasta Alfredo, and most other serious culinary nightmares. Over time, I have become way more flexible, and now embrace any fusion cuisine and twist on a recipe that involves real food (as in: ketchup on my spaghetti still seriously frowned upon). I think what triggered the change was a friend telling me that I had been eating my ginger all wrong – it doesn’t go on sushi, but rather cleanses your palate in between different fish – salmon, tuna etc. Oops. I still like it on top of my nigiri though, so that’s how I eat it, unapologetically, and leave people be if they want pineapple on their pizza.
All this to say that I tried two foods my last weekend in California that I thought I never would, and that I utterly loved.
The first is a taco place – I seriously love tacos – but this one is unusual in the sense that it borrows its flavours from Northern African cuisine. Fish, potatoes, pumpkin, and all sorts of other delicious food end up in these mini-tacos. Best enjoyed with their chutneys and sauces, and a side of fried cauliflower.
Revolutionario North African
1436 W Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
The decor is lovely, too.
The second is a Persian ice cream place. I didn’t even know Iranian people were into ince cream, but wow, was this stuff delicious. The place’s apparently called Bastani Sonnati. Again, being Italian, I know my ice cream. (These are the rules of good ice cream, in case you didn’t know: colour shouldn’t be too bright; it shouldn’t leave a greasy film on the roof of your mouth; it shouldn’t make you thirsty.)
Mashti Malone’s ice cream is good. Seriously good. It’s a very rich ice cream that comes in irresistible flavours such as rose water, saffron, and pistachio (did you know Iranian pistachios are delicious? I didn’t – shame on me). They also let you taste however many flavours you want!
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream
1525 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028