Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let me count the ways I love Korean food: Western Doma Noodle.

In the last year, "home" has been Dubai, New York, Nebraska, Colorado and California. In these journeys, my favorite comfort foods have become Yemeni, Lebanese food and Korean food. (It's probably the most random game of connect the dots I have ever played.) So, in the process of saying goodbye to yet another locale, east Hollywood, for ocean side Santa Monica, fingers crossed for permanently, we took ourselves out to a lingering and lovely "goodbye Hollywood" lunch at Western Doma Noodle in Koreatown. They don't seem to have a website but I found this post here, and of course, they're all over yelp.

Homemade banchan with lunch.

Every time I eat Korean food, it is the best Korean food I have ever had.  This may make this post seem a tad one-sided. The cuisine alone makes me want to travel to Korea, or be adopted by a Korean grandmother, or both.  So, into the books goes another simple yet stunning handmade meal in Los Angeles.

It was chilly in the restaurant, whose main patrons were Korean businessmen.  The lone woman filling all stations in the front of house and I suspect the proprietor came out and put her sweater on my loving compadre.  This is not the first time we have walked in to a restaurant and he has been mothered by the matriarch of the establishment.  In Boulder, Colorado, recently, the proprietress of the also-spectacular Ras Kassa's Ethiopian restaurant fed my LC with her hands from our dish of Ethiopian food.

Loving Compadre had the Bibimbap.  Every time we have seen it, it has been served cold and on a bed of lettuce. A lazy description for it would be the Korean Cobb salad; a lettuce bed topped with individual stacks of vegetables, meat and an egg.  This bowl, however, was served warm and on a bed of rice, and was topped with pickled root vegetables, bean sprouts, shredded nori, marinated beef and topped with a fried egg and a peanuty sesame sauce. Warm or cold, it is utter comfort in a bowl.

My Bulgogi was a marinated shredded beef, seared with jalepenos, peppers and onions. It came to the table on a searing hot cow platter. Topped with the homemade spicy red sauce on the table, ... uh it was lunch crack.  Spicy, tangy, balanced, earthy. Did I mention the searing cow platter?  Yay.

Such is a great way to leave east Hollywood, with a little bit of east side food culture in the rear view mirror.  Onward, to the west side, Santa Monica, until further notice! Happy New Year to us.

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