Live and Let Dine: Big Trouble in Little China

silverblandaka The Most Dangerous Blandest Meal, Ever

The concept was simple. Two bloggers, two sites. One potentially dangerous meal. Neither man knew what the other would eat. Neither man knew what the other would write. They knew only that they would eventually describe the same hour to parties unknown. Online. This is one half of a joint review of Silverlake’s LA Chinese Food. Be sure to read Will Campbell’s take on the same meal at blogging.LA

Will posted the photo and said he’d always wanted to eat there.

Fire Monkey Fish said:
Don’t do it. It is very bad greasy food. I can’t understand how it survives.

Jamesinger said:
Yeah, I was told not to eat here and I just stayed away. I was told it gave my friends (FRIENDS) the bad poo.

Rabbit was the first one to hear it.
Duck was the first one to see it.
Cat was the first one to feel it.

Ryan and Will were the first ones to eat all hell out’t.

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720pm. As usual, I’m running late. Will’s waiting. He’s standing outside when I arrive. Now we’re both standing outside. We stand outside a crummy-looking “Chinese” joint near the intersection of Sunset and Silverlake. What’s the name of this place anyhow…“Chinese Food”?…That’s no name. I go ballsy. Cocky. I’ve seen worse. “I’m ordering the scallops.” Will laughs. “You’re going to seafood town!?” “Hell yeah, what’s the worst thing that could happen to you with food poisoning. Like do you just get really bad diarrhea for a few days? Or could you possibly die…”

He looks me dead in the eye. “It is possible,” he says. “You could actually die from food poisoning.”

Neither of us say anything for about ten seconds. We stare at the door. The grimy signage. The dim lights. The murky, electric gloom of the interior.

“If it has to be tonight, what better place than Silverlake. Let’s do this.” I push open the door and we go inside.

We hear feet and the thrum of an ice machine. Lady shuffles up. “Sit where you like.” We do.

At the table Will’s all business with Lady.

Will: What’s the name of this establishment…?
Lady: Why you wanna know!
Will: I live just around the corner. In all this time I have never eaten here.
Me: Are you the LA Cafe? It says LA Cafe on the menu.

We’re giving her the full court press now. We don’t even pause for answers.

Will: How long have you been in business here?
Lady: About 34, 35 years.
All three of us: Damn…

Ore-IdaWill (agitated): I don’t understand. What is the name of this place?
Me: Do you have scallops?
Lady: No scallops.
Will: They have shrimp.
Me: Do you have shrimp with walnuts?
Lady: No, we don’t have much in the way of seafood.
Will: What do you recommend? Do you recommend one of these?
Lady: No…
Will: What do you recommend? I’m looking for input here.
Lady: I don’t recommend Anything!
Me: I’ll have the french fries.
Will: I’ll have the french fries.
Me: Pork…That’s the BBQ Pork, the sliced…
Lady: This one.
Me: That’s the one. I’ll take it.
Will: I’ll have the ribs.
Lady: Something to drink? We have coke, diet coke, orange…
Me: Hot tea. And tap water, please.

Various bland foodstuffs arrive with pomp, circumstance and mind-throttling silence.

Me: Will, if we weren’t talking right now I think my head might explode. It’s so weirdy quiet in here.

Will agrees.

Louisiana Hot SoyMe: Excuse me. Do you have rooster sauce? Or some hot chiles? Any hot sauce?
Lady: We have Louisiana Hot Sauce, is all.
Me: That’ll do.
Lady: Just this one. I put it in a soy sauce bottle, but it’s Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Me: This is the magic bottle, huh? Works for me. Louisiana Hot Soy. Nice one.

The meal continues. I stare at Tom’s across the street.

All three of us: This food has no flavor.
Will: Totally bland.
Lady: The worst!
Me: Jesus, even the Louisiana Hot Soy has no flavor.

The Bottom Line: “Chinese Food” actually does three things remarkably well:

  • Ore-Ida™ fries. You want frozen Ore-Ida™ fries, you come here with a dollar and go to town. Make somebody else fry them. They’ll taste the same, what do you care. They have salt and they have ketchup. What the hell else do you need.
  • The Deafening Silence of the Passing of Time. This place can freak you out with silences so deep your thoughts begin to escape your head, swim about the place and beg to be released streetside. Add creeptastic lighting and insane asylum decor to the mix, and you get a recipe for madness.
  • Blandness. This food is not dangerous. It’s just incredibly, unforgiveably unremarkable. I would go so far as to say it is the most unremarkable food in the entire city of Los Angeles. I said it. You want unremarkable, you go to the motherlode at Silversun’s “Chinese Food” or you go home.

I took the most amazingly bland and freakishly silent potty of my life eighteen hours later