Flan, that is.
After this delicious lady protested too much about how much she doesn't love flan, she gave it another try.
I was right the first time. (And second, third, fourth...I've given it many chances, you see.)
Flan is, and I wish there were a better word but this one actually seems to suit it perfecty, flan is...yucky.
I've never been fond of custard desserts. It's strange, I know, since other people go absolutely bonkers for the stuff. They look at me, completely aghast when I reveal that, no, crème brulee doesn't send me into every kind of delicious orbit. Perhaps they sneer at my utterly uncultured palate that just *sniff* can't *hmph* appreciate a sexy crème caramel, a sophisticated crème brulee, even a pure milky pristine white panna cotta? Is "yucky" uncultured? Yes, yes it is. Maybe, they say, I've just never had a good crème brulee that's silky smooth, soft and supple? However, the texture is precisely why I don't love them. *shrugs* I just can't dissociate a custard from Bill Cosby and his J-E-L-L-O chocolate puddings snacks that come in tiny plastic tubs with a tear off foil wrapper. It's not like I won't tap the tines of my fork and crack through the whisper-thin pane of caramelized sugar of someone else's crème brulee and try a bite just for the sugar high, but I don't order it for myself. I just don't love it. I guess, I need something with more texture. I need something I can feel when I bite into it.
Of course, I totally contradict myself every time my head drops backward with eyes gently closed when a tiny spoonful of ice cream melts into slippery sweetness in my mouth. :) But come on, it's ice cream. Ice cream! A class by itself.
Despite the yucky flan ending at Tia Juana's, our dinner, as usual, was good. Yes, of course I am mildly hypnotized into that opinion by the two kerchiefed, red- and blue-costumed young ladies slapping out tortillas by hand and grilling quesadillas around the fire-fueled tortilla oven. There is always something comforting about being able to watch food being made instead of a server disappearing behind swinging double doors and magically re-appearing with food. It's not necessarily bad to not be able to see, but I suppose that' s why I can lose myself watching people cook on tv.
I always order a little bowl of soup with dinner. It's not a fancy tortilla soup nor a broth teeming with meaty albóndigas. The salty, simple broth is nothing particularly special at all, but the cheese sprinkled on top renders itself into a semi-translucent web across the surface that I lift out in a tangled, dangling delicious mess. Sometimes something as simple as melted cheese is...how you might call? Fantástico.
It's too bad that Tia Juana's only dessert is flan - it was chilled, sitting in a pool of its own filmy caramel residue, but it's okay. I certainly don't mind the excuse to stop at Ralph's next door and pick up a pint of coffee Haagen Dazs.
11785 W Olympic Blvd (@ Granville)
Los Angeles, CA 90064
** a year ago today, i turned into morimoto with figs, goat cheese, and prosciutto **