Dolphin Bay (Artesia): Taiwanese Noodle Soup & Murderous Robots
If you're a Westerner, all Bollywood movies, with their gleeful disregard for logic, verisimilitude and emotional continuity, will blow your mind. Robot (Endhiran or Enthiran in Tamil), however, will sandblast through your neural cortex. The most expensive Bollywood movie ever made, Robot is about a scientist (Rajinikanth), his long-suffering girlfriend (Aishwarya Rai) and the ass-kicking, number-crunching, break-dancing robot (also Rajinikanth) who comes between them.
It has comedy, tragedy, absurdly cartoonish violence, frighteningly realistic violence, pratfalls, romance, lavish song-and-dance numbers, soap opera histrionics and gritty drama -- often within the same two-minute span. Where do you go from there?
I opted not for the obvious choice -- any of the umpteen Indian restaurants in Artesia's Little India neighborhood -- and, instead, took a tip from Sinosoul and headed to Dolphin Bay, a small, ultra-casual Taiwanese café with home-style comfort food and prices that can't be beat.
Dolphin meat is not on the menu at Dolphin Bay, but noodle soup, peppery, expertly fried pork chops and a mind-boggling array of boba and other chunky drinks are. Dolphin Bay boasts a six-page menu, four of which are devoted to drinks. I had a simple milk tea with boba, but I could have had it in 24 flavors with my choice of coconut, jelly, aloe or pudding instead of boba.
Per SinoSoul's recommendation, we ordered the fried pork chop with rice (#12), which could have been a pork chop in a country diner if it were served with biscuits and gravy instead of rice, kimchi, steamed cabbage and tofu.
One of my friends, who loathes anything spicy or tendony, picked the salted pickle with pork noodle soup (#26), which turned out to be a mild broth bobbing with pork, leafy greens, bean sprouts and green onions.
The evening's winner was the half-beef, half-tendon noodle soup (#20), where chewy bits of tendon share space with tender beef nubbins, all of them glistening with the fat of their originating cow. Less spicy than I expected given its orange sheen, it was the perfect soup for slurping on a cold, rainy Los Angeles afternoon while contemplating the existential dilemma: Will robots eventually overthrow their human overlords? And when they do, will they make delicious soup noodles?
Dolphin Bay: 17806 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia; (562) 865-9901. Cash only.