Hot enough for you? The heat is here steady and strong, and September and October -- fall months in most of the country -- promise to bring the peak of summer weather in Southern California. When it's hot and sticky out, nothing offers relief like eating something cool, whether it’s gazpacho or cold sesame noodles, hwaedupbap or hiyashi chuka. Here are some of our favorites.
Oysters: Get the daily-dozen raw oyster platter ($28) at L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake, always a bargain and a mix of three or four varieties. Or pick them yourself from the dueling lists of East and West Coast mollusks. Matthew Kaner picks the wines for them. Grab a seat in the en-plein-air upstairs bar.
L & E Oyster Bar, 1637 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 660-2255, www.leoysterbar.com
--S. Irene Virbila
Naeng myun: Fans of the Korean cold noodle soup flock to Yu Chun Chic for the iciest bowls in L.A. The noodles here, made with arrowroot flour, are intensely dark and springy and come in a stainless steel bowl filled with tangy beef broth and fistfuls of crushed ice, topped with julienned cucumber, sliced beef and a half hard-boiled egg. Add the spicy mustard that accompanies it for the ultimate simultaneous experience of fiery and icy.
Yu Chun Chic Naeng Myun, 3185 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 382-381.
Gazpacho: A popular peasant food in the south of Spain, Tres’ version is decidedly more refined. Jose Andres’ version is beautifully arranged and finished with a drizzling of EVOO. It can be ordered with Pacific prawns for that extra-special touch.
Tres, 465 S. La Cienega Blvd. (inside the SLS Hotel), Los Angeles, (310) 247-0400, www.sbe.com/tres
--Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee
Ceviche verde: There is ceviche de pescado and then there is ceviche verde de pescado, the slightly more tart variation of Mexico's beloved acid-cooked fish dish. There are no fillers, just chunks of tender fish in a pool of pureed epazote, cilantro, lime and various green chile peppers served with cucumber and minced red onion. It's native to the coastal state of Veracruz and, as you can imagine, highly refreshing. At La Casita Mexicana, the dish is available everyday and served with flaky, freshly fried tostadas that make it all the easier to devour.
La Casita Mexicana, 4030 Gage Ave., Bell, (323) 773-1898, casitamex.com
Hiyashi chuka: Kouraku, Little Tokyo’s popular late-night joint does a nice hiyashi chuka during the hot months. A popular summertime meal, hiyashi chuka is a cold ramen dish topped with a variety of colorful garnishes. Kouraku's has thin strips of cucumber, fish cake, eggs, pickled ginger, surimi and a handful of shredded dried seaweed sheets. A dollop of Asian hot mustard adds the needed extra-spicy kick to bring all the flavors together.
Kouraku, 314 E. 2nd St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-4972, kouraku.menutoeat.com
--Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee
Ceviche: Ricardo Zarate has been plying us with Peruvian ceviche at Picca and Mo-Chica, but his Westside restaurant Paiche specializes in the dish. Choose from over a dozen different kinds of seafood, served well-chilled, sashimi-style on top of the fiery ceviche sauce. It’s summer, and ceviche may be the perfect bar food -- at least this close to the beach.
Paiche, 13488 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey, (310) 893-6100, paichela.com
--S. Irene Virbila
Cold offal: Yunchuan Garden is a mecca for those making a pilgrimage to sample some of the spiciest fare in the San Gabriel Valley. But before the main courses, be sure to pile up on cold plates of offal as an appetizer. Pig ears, gizzards, chicken feet, beef tripe and tongue are aplenty. It’s $3.20 for a choice of three, and the squeamish need not apply.
Yunchuan Garden, 301 N. Garfield Ave., Suite D102, Monterey Park, (626) 571-8387
Hwaedupbap: The best bargain in Koreatown is the hwaedupbap lunch special at this tiny sushi joint tucked into a mini mall off of Western Avenue. Hwaedupbap is a mixed rice bowl that is popular all along the tiny coastal towns that dot the Korean peninsula. Hwal Uh Kwang Jang’s is served in a bowl so generous, it keeps you wondering how they can afford to add such fresh fish and charge so little.
Hwal Uh Kwang Jang, 730 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 386-6688.
--Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee
Cold udon: Tsurumaru in Little Toyko serves up handmade Osaka-style udon. The flour is imported directly from Japan, kneaded and left to sit for a day before being cut up into thick, chewy strands. The bukkake udon is served in a cold broth of soy sauce-flavored dashi topped with bonito flakes, grated radish and ginger. Pair your meal with a bottle of cold green tea or better yet, an ume plum musubi for a wonderfully tangy contrast.
Tsurumaru, 333 S Alameda St., 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, (213) 625-0441
Kong guksu: If you find joy in the refreshing properties of a bowl of cereal with ice-cold milk for breakfast, then you might want to run to try this traditional savory Korean dish of thin noodles in a freshly ground, thick soybean-black sesame milk. The dish is purposely bland, relying on the satisfying nutty flavor and texture of the toasted black sesame seeds. You may or may not give in to the urge to dunk a little kimchi but do enjoy it with the restaurant's notorious bountiful selection of banchan dishes such as marinated eggplant or Korean squash in chile oil.
Mapo Kkak Doo Gee Restaurant, 3611 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, (213) 736-6668
Cold sesame noodles: It may be a surprise to find a Taiwanese noodle dish at a Mandarin noodle joint. But once you find out that the head cook spent some time in Taiwan, you’ll notice a sizable portion of the menu dedicated to Taiwanese dishes. The version here has a heavy Shanxi influence and is different from those found in other places in the San Gabriel Valley. Hand-rolled noodles are served with a heaping serving of sesame sauce, shredded cucumbers, minced garlic, a bit of chicken and some chopped cilantro.
New Mandarin Noodle Deli, 9537 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City, (626) 309-4318
--Cecilia Hae-Jin LeeCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times