On my way to lunch the other day, where I was meeting an old friend who I have not seen in a long time, I stopped at the 99 Ranch Market… We needed some items that could only be found in an Asian market, and for some odd reason, I had never been before.
It happened to be the Chinese New Year… which probably added to the vibe a little… but this is my new favorite place.
One one side is a Vietnamese restaurant… packed… on the other side a Chinese restaurant.. also packed.
And inside… oh man… Gourmet heaven.
From the moment the doors slid open, I felt like Kirk entering a new and amazing planet. There was some funky Chinese music playing on the sound system… no, I won’t forsake my bagpipes… and I was one of only two or three dudes… but all I cared about was roaming the aisles.
The produce was all fresh and cheap… and the fish… wow. I was really tempted to buy the whole fish I used to be afraid of buying and cook it up… especially now that I took my Fish Cooking Class at Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom.
The lobster tanks were packed with gorgeous Maine lobsters. Everything was stunning, including some of the other shoppers.
I grabbed my fresh gobo… a slight mistake, but I wound up pickling it myself and I think it turned out pretty good. Gobo is a root vegetable that is also known as burdock, and most times you will see it pickled and orange. I used to think they were just carrots… but no, they’re not. In its natural state gobo is brown and actually looks like giant parsnips… I mean these things looked like 2-foot long whips. I had to snap them in half just to fit them in my bag.
Red lettuce… scallions… cilantro… all half the price of the regular markets… and much nicer looking…
Then I grabbed my Spring Roll wrappers… duck sauce… sweet chili sauce… mirin… oh boy, Spring Rolls here I come.
I could have stayed at that joint for hours… looking at the woks, cookware, spices, etc. but I had to run to lunch. Next time, next time…
The Spring Rolls turned out pretty good, but I did not have the real pickled gobo and forgot the pickled ginger, so that could be why they are not as good as my mentor’s, the great Dundee… but I have made her promise to tutor me and take me under her Spring Roll wings.
I will keep you posted, as I am sure you are glued to your chairs… but in the meantime, go to Van Nuys and visit the 99 Ranch Market… and stay for lunch!