There are so many choices in L.A. It's easy to get overwhelmed. Rather than have a hard and fast agenda we generally do better with a list of possible options. Then we can choose what works best and when. Spontaneous stops can be way more memorable than planned ones. Rudy's Barbershop was one such stop. We saw it on the corner while at a stop light heading towards Bar Keeper. There are other locations in Portland (planning to take Ellie when we get there) as well as New York and Seattle. Paul was in desperate need of a cut, so I suggested we run in for a quick pit stop and get him looking presentable.
This is where things get good! I really wanted some authentic Asian food since L.A. is known for having all sorts of cuisines. With neighborhoods dedicated to the needs of Thais, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans and more, it seemed silly to only seek out "American" food. So our trusted friend suggested Sapp Coffee Shop. There's no way we would have stopped without a recommendation. It's an unassuming spot in a myriad of other establishments bearing signs not in English. For one, it's so hard to just pick a place when you have blocks worth of choices. For another, it's called "coffee house" and who would expect to get crazy good authentic Thai food there?!
We were told to try three things. The Thai iced coffee, jade noodles and boat noodles with pork. Sitting down to the menu we were glad for the guidance. I'm sure we would have picked out something good but most likely not these three items.
The Thai iced coffee was a glorious blend of crushed ice, sweet cream and coffee. I couldn't ask for anything more splendid really.
Jade noodles are unlike anything I've ever had. The name jade obviously comes from the color of the noodle but the toppings are what get you. There's BBQ pork, duck and crab meat, peanuts, cilantro and green onion. It's a bit pungent upon arrival but when you dig in and get a bite of everything, you'll want to finish the whole bowl all by yourself. We topped ours with a tiny bit of chili paste and vinegar. I know that if I lived here, I'd have a hard time not ordering this Every. Single. Time. I went. My mouth is watering just writing about it.
You'd think nothing could compare to the jade noodles but then they place this bowl of goodness in front of you. It's warm. Steamy. Heady with fragrance. We chose the pork version which comes with things most people probably wouldn't try. Opting to not tell Ellie what was in it until she had tasted it all. A nice mound of rice noodles are topped with pork meatballs, liver, tripe and some crispy pork belly on top. What you would commonly know as cracklins, pork rinds or chiccharrons. The kicker in this dish is that they use pork blood to thicken and flavor the broth. Doubt you'd ever know that without being told but what a rich, flavorful broth it is. Basically, between all three of us, we negotiated who would get what and who would get the last bites. The liver was probably the least favorite part and yet, none was left in the bowl.
Sadly, we didn't order anything else since we still had places to go and more things to eat.