Chatty has managed to eat her way through 5 countries in one weekend – without ever leaving the Valley of the Sun.
Chatty has already mentioned her adventures at the grand openings of an Italian restaurant
and a Japanese restaurant
But, she forgot to tell you about her lunch at Little Saigon – her favorite Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Glendale. Sadly, they had no handouts other than their sublime take-out menu, so Chatty has no picture to show. Next time, she will take her camera, because they have an amazing tropical fish tank Chatty could stare into for hours…
Moving on to Saturday night, Chatty,The Wiz, Steeler Girl and Steeler Boy hit “Chino Bandido” – a – get this – Mexican/Chinese establishment that gets 5 out of 5 stars every time it is reviewed (which is often), and which has been around for years. Why is Chatty just finding out about it now? Oh, well, better late than never!
Chatty has been to Chinese delis, and to Chinese kosher restaurants in LA. She has also been to some Italian kosher/dairy restaurants. But she had never been to a Chinese/Mexican place, possibly because the combination is slightly unusual, at least to Chatty. Starting with the fact that the Chinese use very little dairy, while Mexican cuisine is famous for its incredible cheeses; and the fact that Chatty has never seen beans on a Chinese menu – bean SPROUTS, sure, but not her beloved pintos! The sauces and spices (aside from chilies) are also poles apart, and while the vegetables may overlap occasionally, they certainly are not prepared the same way. However, rice is a staple in both cuisines, and both (at least at the good establishments) rely heavily on the freshest of ingredients to make the tastiest dishes.
Still, Chatty feels it must take special effort to make two such different cuisines on a daily basis, and this restaurant has been doing it for years, very successfully.
You must understand that Chatty has been disappointed in her search for both egg foo young the way her favorite Chinese dive in N. Hollywood makes it (with tons of bean sprouts and fabulous brown sauce), and for really good chile rellenos (nicely battered and puffy, with good Mexican cheese and a poblano pepper). To be sure, since living in Arizona, Chatty has eaten magnificent chile rellenos – but she has had to go to Mexico to find them. And, what with gas prices being what they are, 3 hours to Baja California-Mexico or 4 hours to Sonora just to get a good chile relleno is way outside Chatty’s sphere of acceptability.
So, imagine her thrill at finding both last night. And, in the same place!
Chatty was overjoyed, especially because while The Wiz doesn’t much like Chinese food (go figure) she hoped he wouldn’t mind going back to Chino Bandido, because he loves Mexican food. Obviously, Chatty loves both – her only problem was deciding which one to get. Last night she solved her dilemma by ordering egg foo young AND a chile relleno – just on different plates. Chatty uses the term “plates” loosely – they were aluminum take-out containers. She realizes it was an odd combination, but Chatty was so starved for both that she just didn’t care how weird everyone thought she was.
At least the guy who took her order managed not to drop his pencil while taking it. He must be used to people like Chatty.
Now that she knows both are great, next time she’ll probably eat Mexican there, and take an order of egg foo young to go. Next visit, she will eat Chinese in-house, then take Mexican home. It’s a simple system, but Chatty has a feeling it will work for her. She’s pretty simple, after all…
In short (oh, wait – too late!) Chatty is already planning her next visit to the panda from south of the border.
She may have to do it without The Wiz, though – he wasn’t impressed with the Mexican menu. He ordered a cheese quesadilla, which he admitted was good, but then went next door for a hamburger. *sigh*
At least Steeler Girl and Steeler Guy liked it. Maybe they’ll go back with her sometime. If not, Chatty will just have to go alone, darn it!
Finally, because Chatty thought the handouts from Picazzo’s and Be were really pretty, she reproduced them above.
But now, it’s only fair that she also show a representation of Chino Bandido’s, right? Let Chatty just preface this little treat with the comment that people do NOT visit this place for the décor. On the other hand, you can’t eat the décor! So, from the sublime to the ridiculous, she herewith presents (drumroll, please)…
You can now say you’ve seen a panda with a Pancho Villa mustache, and the sombrero and bandolier to match.
Chatty is all about providing new visual experiences.
Catch you later, alligators!