Officially referred to as “Curry House CoCo Ichibanya”, the chain of Japanese curry restaurants has locations throughout Asia as well as several in California and Hawaii. The idea of journeying to the spot for lunch had been proposed by yours truly after a memory jog from a grueling hunt for bubble tea in Taipei a few years back.
Frankly speaking, I could have omitted this step since over half of the restaurant had vacated by the time of our arrival.
As the single member in desperate need of vacating the premises in a timely manner, I requested placing my order sooner than the others. The waitress, though, made no attempts to quicken the processing of orders. Respecting the other members of the party is important, but crucial is arriving at the airport in time for a flight. Thankfully, CoCo was swift in its operations. Our table was lined with the comforting fragrance of sweet roux in under ten minutes.
The first few spoonfuls were phenomenal! The combination of delicate egg, warm rice grains, and mild curry sauce was satisfying and absolutely delicious. The curry sauce itself was none too reflective of Japan’s lighter palate, but rather a thicker, more flavourful rendition to suit the tastes of North Americans diners. Chicken katsu pieces decorated the surface of the dish. To my delight, they were crisp without being greasy, and tender without exhibiting signs of dryness.
In my haste, I hadn’t reviewed the downgrade (rice reduction) details as meticulously as I should have, for I was only able to consume half of the dish before admitting defeat. Others around me found themselves in a similar situation; it was as if the fare had instantly settled into one’s digestive system, bringing about sluggishness and food coma(s). I could have easily saved the remainder for another meal, but transporting perishable foods on a stifling subway then to the airport did not sound too appealing a task.
Truth be told: CoCo’s bathroom was only a smidgen more favourable than the 7 Eleven at Donlands and O’Connor. And that’s saying quite a bit.
A nearby bakery by the name of 85 Degrees had caught my attention for its close proximity to my place of residence. With a little under fifteen minutes to spare, I detoured to its sleek storefront, only to find a weaving lineup forming inside the premises. Mondays were apparently discount coffee days.
In all honesty, this meant next to nothing to me as one who seldom uses metric units. Upon requesting additional clarification though, she simply spat, “I don’t know how long that is. It could be five minutes. It could be longer. I don’t know the traffic intersections in that area….” As she trailed off, I could not believe the level of common sense and degree of severe inefficiency I was hearing over the phone.
With a dying phone battery, I continued to wait. Editing time had been lost. Stress levels had reached new heights. Anxiety was as prominent as ever.
At 6:00 PM, exactly ONE WHOLE HOUR after my specified pickup time, the Super Shuttle pulled in. The driver, a jolly old man, waddled from the seat and heaved my luggage in the back.
At 6:05 PM, we were finally headed in the direction of departure.
It wasn’t long before we hit the infamous LA congestion, but fortunately there was minimal volume on the highway.
At 7:00 PM, the other passengers on the shuttle had disembarked, leaving me to roll my baggage into the Air Canada with no assistance.
Man, it’s good to be back.