Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Almost Forgot Dessert! - Mashti Malone's

Mashti Malone's
1525 N La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 874-6168

143 N Maryland Ave
Glendale, CA 91206
(818) 662-0400
Google Local Map

You folks with sweet teeth must think I hate you. I've been raving on here for over a year, post after post about appetizers and main courses: steak, tacos, sushi, noodles, tofu, you name it... and not once have I mentioned dessert. Fact is, I just don't have a sugar jones. I don't object to desserts, mind you. I dig a cheesecake or creme brulee as much the next foodie. But as a true metrosexual, I like to maintain my girlish figure while keeping a good buzz on, so I' usually pass on that flan at El Coyote (excellent, btw) or the what-the-hell-is that-du-jour at that Korean joint, and head home to spend my calories on a nightcap instead.

Unfortunately for my figure, Mashti Malone's Ice Cream Parlour is on my way home from just about everywhere.

We're zipping up LaBrea, and I see that quirky sign. (The legend is that when two Persian brothers bought the place to sell their exotic ice cream, they could only afford to change the first name on the sign left by the Irish former tenants.) "Mashti!" I scream, and we screech into the skanky parking lot the parlor shares with a skanky liquor store, a skanky laundromat, and The Lava Lounge.

Mashti's has a couple dozen flavors, all made fresh on the premises. There are favorites like chocolate and vanilla, butter pecan, blueberry. And they are really, really good. Award-winning, in fact, as the festoonery on the wall will inform you. But you go here for the Persian ice cream at the far right of the counter.

Made with a base of rosewater, the flavors read like the aromas of a bivouac on the ancient spice road: Creamy Rosewater Saffron, Orange Blossom, Ginger Rosewater. You could get 'em on a cone or cup, but why? You want the full experience, so order a "Mashti." It's a scoop of ice cream squished between two light, sugar-cone style wafers. It's a unique dessert in every way, from flavor to presentation. My wife loves the Ginger Rosewater, though it's a flavor I find odd in a sweet. Give me the Rosewater Saffron with pistachios: yellow like Indian pullao rice, creamy like a good French vanilla, and punctuated with big, juicy nuts.

And the best part is, you can take the experience home with you. Check the freezer in the corner, and you'll find their signature flavors by the pint, as well as plastic-wrapped Creamy Rosewater Mashtis-to-go. Though the sugar wafer is nowhere near as good frozen as it is fresh, they're still a staple in our freezer.

Face it, as long as you're food crazy-ing around L.A., tasting all those diverse ethnic cuisines , you might as well cap it off with a little detour to Persia on the way home. And I see there's a new Mashti outlet in Glendale, too!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Taquito Revisitado -- Rodolfo's


8 Olvera St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 625-8501
Google Map

You may recall that some time ago, I posted a near-encyclopedic review of the numerous taquito stands lining the East side of Olvera Street. I concluded that while Cielito Lindo is the most famous, the best was Juanita's Cafe. I apologized at the end of the review for having mis-calculated my taquito intake on the way up the street, and being therefore indisposed to check out Rodolfo's at the top of the street.

Perhaps some of you saw the comment that appeared on the post a few weeks later:
you can't write a taquito review of olvera street without eating at Rodolfo's. Juanitas is good and you are right about the other restaurants, they suck (Luz del Dia excluded) but you started on the wrong side of the street cuz you would've eaten 10 straight up had you eaten at Rodolfo's and your review would have been totally different.i guess what i'm saying is you have yet to eat the best taquitos at Olvera Street... our taquitos kick ass. so come back and ask for Daniel and i'll give you the goods.
I went back to Rodolfo's. Now, even though I'm a blogger, I at least pretend to have some journalistic ethics. I rarely post about a place after only one visit, and I never let an establishment comp me a meal. Not that any have offered. But still, I would never have accepted special treatment from Rodolfo's, despite the invitation. That would not be fair you, my humble readers, who might not receive such preferred taquito treatment.

Besides, "Daniel" wasn't there when I asked for him.

But you know what? Rodolfo's taquitos do, indeed, kick ass. What sets them apart from the other tubes of greasy goodness on the block is the delicacy of the shell. Where Cielito Lindo's taquito is positively chewy, at Rodolfo's the tortilla itself manages to be crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, like a pastry or a perfect french fry. That's no mean feat to achieve in the 1/16th inch width of the flattened-maize medium. Only one small gripe: the stand's photographic menu tantalizingly shows taquitos served with a chunky, fresh guacamole, but it is in fact topped with that very different beast, avocado sauce. But it's a tangy, creamy one with a nice kick so no points deducted.

Add to that Rodolfo's delicious beef filling -- yes, it passes the whole-thing-wants-come-out-in-the-first-bite litmus test for stringy beef -- and Rodolfo's has clearly earned its spot at the top of the Olvera Street.