Sunday, March 7, 2010

Post 12: Swooning for Soon Tofu @ Beverly Soon Tofu (LA: Koreatown)

A few weeks ago I was hired as a temp for tax season at an accounting firm in the Valley.  I hope I don't speak too soon (no pun intended), but I actually enjoy preparing tax returns for complete strangers.  I mean, the the worst part of the day isn't even at work... it's the morning commute.  On Monday it took me a little over two hours to drive 40 miles from the SG Valley into the West SF Valley.  (I won't say how late I was for work.)  In comparison, driving 120 miles from the SG Valley to San Diego only takes 90 minutes... with a non-congested I-5, of course.

The morning stack.
I work my weight in paperwork everyday in the office.

I'm not quite sure what's going on with my taste buds (or my brain for that matter), but recently I haven't been able to fulfill my cravings for Korean food.  It's not that the Korean food I have is not satisfying or that it's not hitting the spot.  It's that... I think I've become addicted to Korean food.  No matter how much haemul pajeon, banchan, or japchae I have... I want more. I look at all the creased 1040 federal filing forms, the wrinkled W-2s, and the folded 1099s plopped on my desk, and I start to think about... kimchi.  The wrinkles, ruffles, and ridges that have been so effortlessly grooved into the creased kimchi leaves... and the swirls of red from chili that glide down through the gentle folds and bends of the fermented cabbage... gawwwd.

Plethora of banchan.
The side dishes (banchan) are served complimentary with every meal.

Lucky for me I have friends who feel the same way.  When the clock struck 5:00, I called up a friend who knew (still knows) her Korean food, and I asked her to take me to the place that she says serves crack in the form of soon tofu... Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant.  When she said the tofu stew was like kimchi-flavored crack, she wasn't kidding.

A simple and refreshing start.
The tofu drops chill in a light soy sauce topped with shredded seaweed and sesame.

I know what you're thinking... it's gotta be the MSG! That's what I thought too.  But after demolishing the entire portion of tofu stew, I didn't feel the tingling numbness that is usually associated with the malevolent monosodium mayhem.  So what makes the soon tofu so good? Other than the blocks of tender tofu brewing in beef broth and the stewing seafood... I'm convinced that it's the crack.  (My eating companion agrees with me.)  I'm sure that it's the same crack that makes the soup bubble so feverishly upon hitting the boiling point.  And it's probably the same crack that makes the soup so thick, which is a quality that distinguishes this tofu stew from the tofu stew at other Korean restaurants.

The bubbles boil over the brim.
Heat + crack = boiling.  Crack + tofu = simple equations.

I rarely ever finish a pot of tofu stew, but on this occasion the beef, egg, and broth were completely consumed.  Just bits of white bean product spotted the sides of the black stone pot... the dregs of the tofu stew.  I'm telling ya... it's the crack.  Anyone have any other speculations other than MSG? Let me know!

Until next time, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.
ML - 20100323/20100301

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