The first question you may have about World Tripe Day is whether the occasion in fact exists. It has not, as far as I know, been sanctioned by Congress or any other official sanctioning body, and unlike Melon Day in Turkmenistan (Aug. 9), or National Pigs in a Blanket day in the United States (April 24), it appears on no sanctioned calendars. In fact, if you want to be official about it, Oct. 24 is designated National Food Day by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is the organization intent on telling you that your last plate of kung-pao chicken had 1,400 calories in it and that a single bite of spaghetti carbonara will put you into immediate cardiac arrest. Have fun celebrating with those guys.
But World Tripe Day, which seems to be spun out of the efforts of the possibly satirical Tripe Marketing Board and its possibly fictitious chairman Sir Norman Wrassle, so ably profiled by Russ Parsons earlier this week, may be as real as any of the other food holidays this week, including National Brandied Fruit Day, National Bologna Day and National Oatmeal Day. Samuel Pepys’ Diary did indeed mention tripe in the entry for Oct. 24, 1662. (He prepared it himself, with mustard, and found it most excellent.) So you may as well indulge -- if indulging can ever truly be a word associated with tripe.
Where can you celebrate World Tripe Day in Los Angeles? Here are a few ideas:
There are a few restaurants in town with delicious trippa alla Romana, the classic dish of tripe cooked down with tomato sauce and mint, including the gooey tripe served as an appetizer at Osteria Mozza. But the tripiest tripe in tripetown has always been whatever slightly fragrant version Gino Angelini is serving. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the tripe with cuttlefish -- see if you can tell which is which without looking.
7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 297-0070, angeliniosteria.com
In some circles, a Polish meal is inconceivable without a bowl of flaczki, a thick soup with root vegetables, soft strips of long-cooked tripe, and more nutmeg than you really might think is advisable. The splendid Warszawa, which is among the better Polish restaurants in the country, calls its take on the dish Tripe Polonaise, but it is still a tripe dish you want in front of you on a chilly autumn night.
1414 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 393-8831, warszawarestaurant.com
Tripe is almost unavoidable in real tapas bars -- it takes exceedingly well to quick service in a cazuela, and was born to showcase paprika, garlic and rowdy herbs. Still, the best in the city is probably Perfecto Rocher’s callos, a rich, meltingly soft Valencia-style tripe stew with garbanzo beans and spicy chorizo.
7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 930-7900, smokeoilsalt.com
Who makes the best menudo in Los Angeles? Your grandmother, or your best friend’s grandmother if you don’t happen to have been born into (or married into) the right family. The second best is the one your mother-in-law says is the best, if you know what’s good for you. But the third? On Sunday morning, the people most in need of menudo are rarely in a position to be picky about its provenance. So since the Highland Park place that served perfect Poblano mole de panza is no longer in business, you might as well go for the old-school menudo at La Abeja.
3700 N. Figueroa Ave., Cypress Park, (323) 221-0474
Awu Delicious Food
The latest trend in San Gabriel Valley Chinese restaurants is probably the Forest of Skewers, a tureen of chile-infused broth brought out to the table bristling with elongated toothpicks jammed into bits of immersed food. You will find bon bon chicken at most of the new Sichuan dining rooms in town. And at the Henan-style restaurant Awu, the impaled morsels are marinated tripe: delicious.
558 Las Tunas Dr., Arcadia, (626) 445-5588