8.21.2012

One Night In Chinatown

I will not pretend that Chinatown in Los Angeles is anything close the Chinatowns in San Francisco or New York City. In Manhattan, Chinatown is cloistered and full of dark secrets. In San Francisco, it sprawls proudly for miles. In Los Angeles, Chinatown consists of a beautiful red pagoda and a surrounding block or two of Chinese businesses in plain concrete buildings and crude signs. That place has nothing on San Gabriel, home of dim sum palaces and Chinese Halal.
Nonetheless, I had a bizarre and intriguing night in LA's Chinatown. Here's what we experienced:

A delicious yet curiously fluorescent eggplant dish

An SUV skidding to a stop in front of a cop, throwing a gun on the ground, then speeding away. The cop  running to his squad car, then skidding off to chase the SUV, sirens blaring

Hop Louie, a historic restaurant with stunning architecture, but insulted by a chain link fence

The fact that someone was cool enough to come up with the name Hop Louie

An elaborate marble bathroom with gold medallions - but no hot water

Men in wifebeaters shouting at one another from across the street

Cops riding bikes through blacked-out streets
A husband insisting we park and walk on the blacked out streets with the men in wifebeaters shouting at one another, cops on bikes and cops chasing gun tossers because it's safe and I'm overreacting

Asian Elder who looks like Glenn Gould

Being slightly disappointed when walking into a Chinese restaurant in the middle of the night and finding it not greasy and dimly lit

Georgia O'Keefe won tons

Elegant restaurant with cascading waterfalls and dishes staring at $18...with a cop standing guard 
Murky fish tanks jammed with sea life. Plush carpeting and chandeliers surround these filthy open tanks. The restaurant was empty.

Gangsters walking Pomeranians

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