It’s amusing how much you take after a parent, from the shape of your eyes, the width of your nose, to your personality and interests.
As much as I would love to have inherited my mom’s sweet gentleness, I mostly take after my dad.
I have his temper. I have his stubbornness. I have his passionate and sensitive emotions. I have his interest in literature and art. I have his humor and boldness.
I even have his taste preferences.
My mom and my dad are completely different people, and the distinction is evident even in the things they like to eat.
My mom is a meat-lover, and she would choose rice over wheat products any day. My dad, on the other hand, only began to tolerate meat after 20+ years of marriage with my mom. But he adores vegetables and seafood, and he could slurp up oodles of noodles for all three meals. My mom prefers her food slightly on the bland side, while my dad would happily squirt puddles of chili sauce into his dish.
But like any other loving couple, they’ve learned to compromise. My mom has learned to enjoy vegetables more, while my dad has developed an amateur taste for meat. My dad would get his noodles for lunch, but they would have rice for dinner. Some form of seafood, however, is served at every meal. That is non-negotiable.
Whenever we go out for meals, I try to take both their preferences into account, though admittedly, I selfishly do tend to pick places that my dad would enjoy more because we share the same tastes.
I finally found a place that all three of us could enjoy. It’s a new Japanese curry place open at Little Tokyo, called Fat Spoon:
It’s a small pasta and curry joint, squeezed into a row of sushi and ramen houses. I know the sign also says “salad,” but I think everyone should ignore that part. It still befuddles me when people go to a restaurant like Fat Spoon and order a goddamn bowl of raw greens.
I knew Fat Spoon would be good, because it’s opened by Michael Cardenas, the culinary business genius who also opened a slew of other top-notch restaurants in Los Angeles, including Aburiya Toranoko.
Fat Spoon is built like a little homey cottage. Painted wood planks bordering cream-colored walls, with a thatched ceiling and bright lights.
You can also sit by the bar to dine, where you can smell the croquettes being deep-fried and the cooks preparing your meal.
I love their logo, a cute anime bunny carrying a big-ass spoon.
Just as I was wondering what it meant, my dad vocalized it. “Why do you think it’s called Fat Spoon? What’s with the rabbit?”We’re similar in that too. Always curious and wondering about random things.
“Maybe it’s because the food is so delicious you want the fattest spoon to shovel it into your mouth,” I said.
“Or maybe it’s because the curries are typically stirred with a big wooden spoon,” my dad said.
“I’m hungry, let’s just eat,” my mom said.
As for the bunny in the red apron? I guess it’s just there to be cute.
The menu is minimalistic. You’ve got your pasta section, your curry section, your salad section, and side dishes section:
It didn’t take long for us to decide what we want.
My mom ordered the Beef Curry with brown rice:
It’s a slow-simmered, tender short rib luxuriously disintegrating in a smother of rich, smoky Japanese curry.
Damn that was good. The meat was incredibly juicy, and it just fell apart with a poke from the spoon.
Here’s a nugget of information about Japanese curry. In Japan and Korea, it’s pronounced “ka-reh.” It’s really popular in both countries, and it tastes totally different from Indian curry. It actually was brought to Japan during the Meiji era by the British, so we consider it a “western dish,” not an Indian dish.
The curry is made with a complex mix of difference spices, including curry powder, and thickened with starch and buttered up with oil. It’s sweeter, less spicy and less oily than Indian curries, but still deliciously rich and fragrant.
My dad’s order should be obvious. Anything with seafood and noodles. He got the seafood curry pasta:
A mix of shrimp, calamari, clams and scallops in the same tanned gravy.
My dad loved it. He slurped it up three times and it was gone in a flash into his happy belly.
The noodles were your average spaghetti, but cooked perfectly al dente.
Like father like daughter, I also got the seafood + pasta combination. I ordered the Shrimp & Tomato Cream Sauce pasta:
Ooooh. Heavy cream sauce makes me feel a bit sick after a few bites, but I love it when the basic tomato sauce is fused with a touch of cream. It’s the perfect balance of tangy and creamy; I could finish the whole bowl without the taste getting cloying.
The shrimp was nicely cooked to a blushing pink without getting chewy and tough. But the star was definitely the pasta. It was coated brilliantly with the tomato cream sauce, so that every bite was flavorful.
This place is a win. If you’ve had Japanese curry or Japanese-fusion pasta before, you might think Fat Spoon has a boring menu, but I think it’s a place that sticks to what it specializes in, and does it well.
I’m planning to return for its famous curry croquettes. I could smell the golden fried aroma from where I was sitting, and I can still remember and crave it.
“It’s so cool! I love it!” I exclaimed.
“It’s just a napkin,” my mom said, practical as ever. “You use it to wipe your snot.”
See? We’re so different. But that’s what makes my family interesting.
Question of the Day: Which parent do you take after in terms of tastes? How different are your parents?