Hell yea England! A proper spanking.
SPAIN FIELD REPORT: None! Spain Restaurant in Echo Park had THE NERVE to be closed on a Monday, and not screening the game. I am utterly devastated. Was looking forward to that sangria. Well, next time…
Jino Pars, Westchester
Not up to leaving the house and being around humans today, so we ordered in for the Iran-Portugal game, which was so fun.
The lamb shank was beautifully braised, and the zareshk polo was well-made, nice and fluffy. No tahdig, though. Chicken was a bit dry. I liked the fenugreek and lentil soup very much.
Disappointed the moogh came in a plastic bottle, ew. Jino Pars is not on the level of Shamshiri or even Flame, but it is pretty decent Persian food for the neighborhood. Did I mention the game was great?!
Sounds like you know Persian cuisine really well, Bookwich! And let’s just say, you ordered-in the most complementary food for today’s game! (Lol, <3) Am proud of ya. xo
Owner is Argentinian (probably pissed at how those lads are doing in the Cup thus far).
< rolling on the floor laughing >
AUSTRALIA FIELD REPORT: The Cock ‘n’ Bull had only a sprinkling of Aussie fans inside (I think I counted eleven), but three cheers for the pub’s special early 7am opening for the game, and cheers to the faithful who came out to support the cause. Several were donned in the varsity-gold color of Team Oz. Venue was fairly dark inside, lit only by the TVs, and is a genuine grungy Amer-Brit pub, soulfully of good vintage. It had a minimalist menu for the event, of just a few brekkie plates; all I ordered to eat was a banger, which was served split lengthwise on a griddled, tastily buttered soft bun. It normally came with an egg on top of it, but I specified mine eggless. Drink was a crisp cold cider beer, and my request for just a small size (as opposed to a pint) was granted. I didn’t consume much because I still had another game and meal to do afterwards, and needed to save room.
NIGERIA FIELD REPORT: I got to Victoria’s Kitchen at 11:10am; the staff showed up 5 minutes later and flipped the sign to “Open” at 11:15; I am the first customer and go inside, and the server-guy didn’t know what channel the game was on (I told him Fox); he finally found it, about 11:20; I sit down; it takes 10 minutes before he asks if I want anything to drink; another 10 before he asks if I want to eat anything, to which I reply, “I need to see a menu”; all this time I am the only person there. (Lol) 20 minutes later, at 12 noon, a few customers all start arriving, so I hurry and put my order in from their menu which is confusingly formatted (in the eyes of a typical American diner) backwards, and lacking explanations as to what the dishes are or what they contain. Using my smartphone I surfed to the website of Totos (the other Nigerian venue on the above list) and brought up their menu, which does have explanations of these superethnic Nigerian dishes. With Totos’ help I was able to choose egusi, a spicy-hot, knockout stew of minced greens (bitterleaf? spinach? both?), faraway spicing, and beef shortribs, in a thick persimmon-colored base. Upon tasting the first spoonful, I instantly knew this was THE most exotic, or co- most exotic, thing I had ever consumed in L.A. It came with a side of a fist-sized blob of steamed yam (this is true yam, a white, starchy root vegie which is virtually tasteless) sealed in clear plastic wrap. What the yam lacks in taste, it makes up in nutrition, according to articles about it. You pull the yam dough/bun off in little pieces by hand, and use it as a stew-scoop. I sure wish we, in the Americas, would acknowledge this true yam, and quit wrongly calling sweet potatoes “yams”.
I looked around and saw that portions were large, for everyone. I overheard one customer say, “You never leave hungry here.” The staff and other customers there were all Nigerians, and one gent plus the server were outgoing and very nice with me. They were all quite engaged with the game; but unfortunately, their team lost.
KOREA FIELD REPORT: I started with a hot green tea at Piper’s sportsbar, but theirs was Lipton made with a cancer-teabag. None of that. Btw, it’s beer/wine only, not a full bar. Abbreviated morning Cup menu included a couple breakfast combos, hotwings, and the house specialty fried whole (but small) “Korean chicken”, so I went for that. It was juicy and cooked thoroughly, but not seasoned. I would up boxing half of it up. Served with thin fries and simple shredded cabbage that was topped with thousand island.
Venue was only about half full; I was surprised at the turnout. They of course were enthusiastic, though. Afterwards I stuck my head in at Biergarten a couple doors down, and it was packed. The outcome of the game was a shock, and great news for Mexico. The looks of agony on the faces of the reigning-champion Germans upon being eliminated was unbearable.
And the champions curse continues…
Great news! Although Poland is out of the competition, our Polka Restaurant is not. They say they’ve decided to again open early and serve their fabulous $15 unlimited Polish buffet for all remaining World Cup games which start 11am. That means June 28 and 30; July 1,2,3,6,7,10 and 11; and maybe the final championship game, July 15 (8am). I cannot encourage y’all enough to go, and try this amazing place for the generous and rare deal it’s offering, while you can. I do say call them first (323 255-7887), as far in advance as possible, to make sure they’ll be open and RSVP if needed.
BRAZIL FIELD REPORT: I never got to eat at Cafe Brasil because it was a madhouse. Not much of anyone else got to eat, either. Their terrible management didn’t help any. I arrived more than an hour ahead of 11am, which was their normal opening time as well as gametime; only 2 people were out there on the sidewalk before me. More people began to arrive, and form a line outside that stretched the length of the restaurant. After standing and waiting 40 minutes outside the locked entrance, a guy wearing an apron came out and said something quietly to the first 2 guys; the two then walked away and headed behind the building. At 11am gametime, a staffer came out and told us they had “a big delivery order to get out,” and for us to go behind the building. When we all did, it turns out they’d had a TV with the game on set up in the parking lot all along; this is apparently what the staffer quietly said to the first two guys in line but to nobody else. Other people had already been gathering there. After watching the game outdoors in the beating sun for 15 minutes with 60 other folks, many of whom had to stand, I saw a patron walk up and silently mouth-mime to his own party that the front doors were finally opening. All 60 of us get up at once and bolt back around to the front door, only to find ANOTHER long line had formed outside the front door, of entirely new people who got there after us. So much for my getting there an hour in advance and being 3rd in line, eh?
The doors opened, and it was like human floodgates had burst open. People rushed like maniacs to pounce on tables and snag chairs for their buds. It took some canoodling but I managed to get a seat crammed about 6 feet from the back corner. Everyone in the rear half of the room was promptly immobilized, as attendees had moved their chairs to completely block the center walking aisle. At the halftime break people were finally able to get up and budge, at which time I left, disgusted.
It was bafflingly bad management on the part of Cafe Brasil, and frankly inexcusable, seeing as they dealt with big crowds in the previous Cup (2014) which their home country Brazil hosted (!). If they had been smart about it they would have set up tables and a buffet around the TV in the back parking lot with an overhead shade. Everybody would have bought food. Instead, hardly anyone did, inside, because there were no servers, and you would have had to leave your seat to go order at their kitchen window. When you came back, your precious seat would be long gone. The largeness of the crowd per se was certainly not Cafe Brasil’s fault; and as the saying goes, “It is very hard to control a mob.” But I will point out that Cafe Brasil did not even try.
I will not be back for any more of this nonsense during Brazil games. I will instead go to the infinitely smarter Bella Vista Brazilian Pizza. (Note the Brazil venue description in the original post/list has been updated accordingly.)
The guys at El Patroncito (in DTLA) were offering free burritos and lemonade to any Koreans during lunch.
The kicker, of course, was that they get ZERO Korean clientele.
But still, the offer was good.
BELGIUM FIELD REPORT: This is coming to you live via smartphone, from the Little Bear downtown. I really like this place. It’s spacious, and intelligently decorated with Old World touches in a modern space. Clientele is Boomers down to Gen X; with just a sprinkle of millennials. Service is slow/understaffed, though, and the clientele cacophonously chatty.
From their great mixology menu, I selected a gin/tonic/lemonade with fresh cut lemon, lime and cucumber chunks in it. Xlnt drink. The tomato soup was pleasantly tart and consistent with grated tomato, but the size of its accompanying half grilled cheddar sandwich was a joke. (More like a couple “fingers” of sandwich.) Fish & chips had a fine thick billowy batter in which I could really taste the Belgian beer component. It came with a superior homemade piquant tartar sauce. Re the chips, we all know how they are actually French fries and French fries are actually Belgian fries. I am not into them and usually try to swap out for a different side, but what the heck, being a Belgian venue, I gave 'em a go. These had skins, were slender, fried to perfection and presented salted; with an intense smooth-garlic dipping sauce. Thumbs up!
People here were rooting for both Belgium and England. The game didn’t matter; both teams have already qualified to advance.
I remember when the Goat guys opened Little Bear
Postscript to Japan endeavors, is that for today’s game I was not at a food venue but wound up watching it in the lobby of the Doubletree Inn Little Tokyo. About 25 Japanese travelers were there, intently fixated on the game on a lobby TV while sitting/standing together tightly. The result was a good one for them; they let out a cumulative cheer when it was over, then they dispersed. I was happy for them.
Me too. Such nice sports fans, and nice people in general. They always leave the venues cleaner than when they first arrived. Politeness counts: Team Japan qualified for the next stage in no small part based on merits of garnering less yellow / red cards !
They didn’t even try to play and deserve every bit of the 5 goal shellacking they will receive from Belgium. Nice people though.
Hehehe we shall see. I visit both Belgium and Japan with relative frequency. It’s all global love. Namaste.
True, and of all the soccer-dining venues I’ve been to, Japan’s (the Miyako Hybrid Hotel bar) has been the cleanest. Namaste!