Blood and Slime in LA

September 25, 2017

These are bloody clams – something I’ve never seen on the east coast.  They’re strange and delicious creatures that actually look like they contain blood. They don’t. But they do taste fantastic eaten simply on the half shell with a squirt of lime and perhaps a splash of hot sauce. If you’ve never experienced them, they’re worth trying just for their texture, which is as dense as an ordinary clam when it’s cooked. It’s a surprise in the mouth.

I had them at La Cevicheria in Los Angeles, a modest, wildly popular restaurant on Pico that serves all manner of seafood, mostly raw and almost always spicy. I love their aquachile de camaron – raw shrimp in a spicy green sauce that seems to be mostly chiles, cilantro, onion and citrus.

Loved these tacos de ceviche de camaron too: fresh, spicy and crunchy.

Late at night, one of my favorite LA spots is Aburiya Raku.  The other night (to the horror of a friend), I indulged in a night of slime.

To start, this dish called bakudon– which means “the bomb.” You mix up yama imo (mountain potato), natto, uni, and salmon roe, then roll it all up into crisp sheets of seaweed. The crisp, dry seaweed closes around that flavorful goop to offer you the most superb textural experience.

Another version of slime: poached egg with salmon roe, uni, tiny mushrooms and okra.  The point is to mix it all up and eat it with a spoon. If you’re me, this is pure pleasure.

To horrify my friend even more, we ordered raw liver in thin slices. It’s not the  loveliest dish, and I refrained from photographing 1t, but both the flavor and texture provide a delightful experience. I did, however, take pictures of this beautiful Spanish mackerel which seemed ready for its closeup.

For dessert: there is nothing quite so soothing as fresh tofu:

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