Yuko Kitchen's Frozen Mint Lemonade: What to Drink While You're Watching Burt Lancaster in "The Swimmer"
Located a few blocks past LACMA, just off Wilshire, Yuko Kitchen does a brisk lunch business slinging burrito-sized sushi rolls and massive salads with a Japanese bent. The servers are friendly and fashionable. On a recent visit, ours was wearing a giant stiff-brimmed black Yankees hat and white furry boots. However, the real treat, particularly if you're sweating through your business casual togs or trying to freshen up after a mid-day jog, is the frozen mint lemonade ($3.40 for a medium).
First, there's the way it looks. If Kermit the Frog lost an arm in a freak banjo-strumming accident, this stuff would come spurting out of his poor little stump. It's just that green -- as verdant and fluffy as a golf course. Secondly, it tastes as if a whole Ralph's-worth of springy mint bunches have been smashed into oblivion and squeezed into the plastic cup, as if Menthos have been dissolved like Alka-Seltzer tablets into ice-riddled vats of churning lemonade -- but in a good way. It's just a quarter-cup of white rum away from being the best poolside slurpie money can buy, which might, by extension, make it the best afternoon money can buy.
Sure, we could quibble. It's sweet enough to make your teeth jitterbug -- especially once it starts to melt and separate from the ice. Laced with Monin syrup, the apple-mint variety ($3.50) seems even sweeter and not markedly more apple-flavored than the original. Not that you'll care when you douse it with Bacardi, pop it in the freezer for a few seconds, and hop your neighbors' fence, drink in hand, ready to see how big a splash you can make in their pool.
Yuko Kitchen: 5484 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles; 323-933-4020.