On a stretch of Pico right in the middle of Jew Central, there happens to be a crazy amount of Chinese restaurants. I know my people love Chinese food on Christmas, but the fact that these places are able to stay in business beyond that holiday must surely mean they have good food. To test out this theory, we headed to Twin Dragon one morning to see what they could offer. Twin Dragon claims to have Shanghainese food, so I was especially interested in seeing how it could hold up to the Chinese food I know the best.
If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you’ve probably heard of a nightclub called Tao in the Venetian. But did you know there was also a restaurant called Tao? No? Well neither did I, but when I went to Vegas, my buddy had an elaborate plan of attack one night. First, he found out that the restaurant existed. Next, he found out that you could get into the club for free if you eat at the restaurant. Lastly, he made us a reservation for the place at 9:45 for some pre-club eating. Not much of a clubber, I just hoped the food would be good enough to enjoy without that extra clubbing incentive.
After what feels like years of hearing about the deliciousness that dwells within Mao’s Kitchen in Venice, I finally found myself an opportunity to try the place out. A big perk of the place was that it was BYO, so I grabbed a sixer of tasty beer and brought it along to see if Mao’s could really be good Chinese food. Before delving into the meal itself, let’s take a moment to consider the name of Mao’s Kitchen. Honestly, I’m not so sure I would want to eat whatever Mao would have served. Most likely it would have involved mass atrocities and a side of untimely death. Cultural faux pas aside, I was still drawn in by their reputation for culinary goodness.
For a little dinner break on the way back from Arizona, we stopped in Rancho Mirage to hit up the grandparents for a meal. They thought Chinese food sounded good, so we headed to Lotus Chinese Restaurant to see what they had to offer. The place was pretty full when we arrived, so I assumed it must be pretty good despite being in the middle of a desert. We grabbed our seats and got a look at the menu, which was pretty typical American Chinese fare.
For a little Chinese lunch, I headed to Szechwan in Manhattan Beach. It had come highly recommended, so I went expecting something pretty good. When we arrived, the restaurant was only about half-full, but we were still told to wait for a table. This seemed strange, especially when were standing around for five minutes looking like fools. Nonetheless we eventually took our seats and got the chance to check out the menu. The first thing I noticed that seemed off was that the food wasn’t quite Sichuan style (Sichuan being the way Szechwan is actually supposed to be spelled). Sichuan style is usually really spicy food and different from what we usually think of as “Chinese” food. Instead, the menu looked like any other Chinese restaurant.