HERMANO SEGUNDO LOST IN LA LA LAND: DAY TEN
Tuk-Tuk is just a neighbourhood Thai restaurant, but it is the sort of Thai restaurant that I wouldn’t mind having in my neighbourhood.
We both woke up a little jaded the morning after our blow out at Providence and persuading ourselves reluctantly that noon was late enough for us to lounge around, Sybil drove the few short blocks to her favourite little Thai joint for us to have a restorative lunch.
Tom Yum soup immediately hit the spot with its plump shrimp, shreds of chicken and classic hot and sour flavours. The Bengali boy in me craved a bit of extra spice, so I spooned fresh chilli into my bowl to take it up a level and the combination began to perk up my overwrought palate straight away.
More solid dishes followed. Spring rolls were a little doughy, but deep fried, too, helps combat the consequences of the night before, I find and I ate mine and Sybil’s fair share, while she tucked into her own favourite, chilli, crab noodles. Only a bowl of red curry let the side down with the duck tasting like it had been cooked the day before and the presence of enough pineapple for Carmen Miranda to make a nice headdress.
Still, for a little over £15 a head, it was a perfect way to kick start the day and, to be honest, we would have left it at that had we not already made plans to join two of Sybil’s friends at a great L.A institution, Mastro’s Steakhouse, for supper.
There is nothing on earth to compare to a great American Steakhouse, the wood panelled walls, the clubby atmosphere, the chintzy music, the unfeasibly large wine lists and, of course, the equally unfeasibly large chunks of flesh.
Mastro’s ticks all the buttons and the tinkle of the piano player’s efforts hits your ear the moment you enter through the door “remember, folks, be good to your parents, they’ve been good to you”
My companions have a different take on eating here than many, eschewing starters in favour of diving headlong into a wide variety of Mastro’s famous and gargantuan side dishes. So, for once, after choosing my steak, an 18oz Bone in Kansas Strip, I left the ordering to them. They were right when they warned me not to fill up on bread as the table was covered with enormo portions of spinach, sauteed mushrooms, lobster mash potatoes, onion rings and Mac & Cheese.
To be honest, I was less impressed with these than the ladies who dived in with noises I seldom hear from women when in my company and the love of Mac & Cheese in particular remains a great American mystery for me. The steak however was perfect and perfectly cooked with a crisp char and a rare centre.
It is not a cheap option, your average steakhouse and, after some desserts which substituted size for taste, we wandered out of there the best part of $100 each poorer but with enough left overs, beautifully packaged, for another couple of meals.
My night’s dreams were an odd combination induced by chilli, red curry and chunks of digesting beef. Many involved Natalie Portman, If only I could remember them.