This is a test to see what shows up.
If it works, I'm taking a break, have some paperwork to get to before adding more.
Meantime, this is all in reverse order, as is obvious. And if I keep going, I'll skip a bunch.
101 STARRY KITCHEN
943 N. Broadway, Chinatown
The restaurant has grown up, proprietor Nguyen Tran assures you. He almost never wears his banana suit anymore. His kitchen crew doesn't necessarily show up to events dressed as wookiees. And Thi Tran's spicy-sweet Singapore chili crab, probably the only palatable version in Southern California, still needs to be reserved a couple of days in advance, because he has to order the plump creatures from a guy he knows up north. In the last year, Starry Kitchen has transformed — but it has transformed from a semi-permanent pan-Asian pop-up in a sleek fashion district lunchroom into a semi-permanent pan-Asian pop-up in an old-Chinatown dive, which means that the fried rice with pork belly and dried seafood, the crunchy sea bass tails and the fried tofu balls feel oddly consonant with the plastic chopsticks and the bartenders whose idea of an old-fashioned includes half a dozen maraschino cherries mashed into a crimson slurry. Do try the clay pot sea bass cooked in a complex Vietnamese caramel sauce. And stick around for the disco, if that's your thing.
100 Rocio's Mole de los Dioses
8255 Sunland Blvd, Sun Valley
When the subject of mole comes up in Los Angeles, and it comes up more often than you might think, Rocio Camacho is always part of the discussion. She has expanded beyond the traditional black mole and even past Oaxaca's famous seven, to an almost infinite repertoire of the complex, spicy sauce, including moles made with pistachios, with toasted coffee beans and with cactus and mezcal. Is the mole made with the mushroomy corn fungus huitlacoche really the Mole of the Goddesses? That's up to you. But you can also get an oddly satisfying bowl of cream of grasshopper soup.
99 Kobawoo House
698 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
In Koreatown, the question is not what the best restaurant might be, but what the best restaurant might be for the particular food you might be craving at the moment: Jeon Ju for bibimbap, Soban for marinated crab, Dae Bok for spicy blowfish soup, Bon Juk for abalone porridge. In Koreatown, and in Korea, restaurants specialize. Which is why, when you walk into Kobawoo, every table will be sporting an order of bossam: a combination plate of boiled pork belly, turnip kimchi, sliced chiles and fermented tiny fish, which you wrap into spicy cabbage-leaf bundles. Kobawoo may be a great place to go for crisp seafood pancakes, game hen stuffed with ginseng and sticky rice, and pig's feet pressed into a cool, gelatinous terrine, but its bossam is unsurpassed.
98 Mexicali Taco & Co.
702 N. Figueroa Ave., Los Angeles
The Mexicali-style tacos are pretty spectacular at this tidy storefront near Dodger Stadium, packed into the small, plump flour tortillas the owners bring up from Baja a couple of times a week. You can even get a vegan taco if that's your thing. You sprinkle them with pickled onions, moisten them with fluid taquería guacamole and a spoonful of habanero salsa, and you're good to go. But like everybody else, you will probably end up with at least one vampiro, a large flour tortilla folded over chorizo, chicken or charbroiled carne asada, maybe all three, as well as a squirt or two of garlic sauce and what can technically be described as a boatload of gooey, stretchy melted Mexican cheese.
97 Golden Deli
815 LasTunas Drive, San Gabriel
A lot of the people I know have defected to the new Pho Filet in Rosemead for its northern-style pho with filet mignon, and Pho Thanh Lich in Little Saigon is probably worth an hour's drive from anywhere. Why then does the line outside Golden Deli stretch halfway to infinity on weekends? Because it always has; because the restaurant has set the pho standard in the San Gabriel Valley since Duran Duran was at the top of the charts; and because the cha gio, crackly skinned imperial rolls stuffed with pork and crab among other things, are good on an almost intergalactic level, even if the purists claim that they're a little too big.
98 Nickel Diner
524 S. Main St., Los Angeles
"Polenta?" asked co-owner Kristen Trattner. "You're coming here and you're ordering polenta?" Nickel Diner may attract more loft-dwellers than artists these days, there are leeks and fontina in Monica May's scrambled eggs, and pastry chef Emily Acevedo has been exploring the universe beyond bacon-maple doughnuts, but this is still deep downtown, a half block from the infamous stretch of 5th Street that troubadours like Tom Waits used to sing about. Pancakes and thick-cut bacon, fried catfish and corn cakes, Lowrider burgers and onion rings — that's why you go to the Nickel, which caters as much to the local street people as it does to the tax attorneys who roll in on skateboards. I relent and get an order of biscuits and gravy, with a chicken-apple sausage on the side. The polenta, by the way, is excellent.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
95 Hunan Mao
8728 Valley Blvd., Rosemead
Hunan cooking, which tends toward simmered organs, fermented vegetables and oiliness, is not, at first encounter, the friendliest of China's cuisines. At Hunan Mao, house-cured ham is forest-fire smoky, like Memphis barbecue times 10, even when chopped and fried with handfuls of dried long beans, a handful of garlic cloves, and the vivid red and green chopped chiles that dominate almost everything here. The giant steamed fish heads are comically large, frosted with the chopped blend of dried, fresh and fermented chiles that give Hunanese cooking its reputation for head-snapping heat. Mao's braised pork, a sweet, slightly spicy clay-potful of thick-cut braised pork belly and garlic named for Hunan's favorite son, is almost unbearably rich. And the wall TV is occasionally tuned to things like a broadcast plenary of the National People's Congress, which is distinctly not the Dodgers game. Should you go anyway? You don't want to miss the cucumber toss-fried with shiso.
Well, the photos don't show up, even when I do the usual move the image from the article thing.
I guess I'll keep going (in a while) with just the print - in case my computer clunks and I want to find this on a2k someday.