There’s a restaurant chain in LA called Ocha/Ocha Classic. Usually there’s a lot of latino people at the restaurant, and some weeekends/holidays there’s block-turning lines of people there. A lot of people order the Seven Seas Soup, which I have yet to try out. I used to go here every once in a while for Pad Thai and curries, although I ate more through Thai TG Express delivery and after moving to 6th St, at My Thai Kitchen.
Today, I visited this place after a 4 year gap. Instead of the usual, I wanted to try out something different, and looked at its 100 menu items for a while, settling for 80. Pork with Chili and Onions. Each item had a name in Thai writing next to it. Most descriptions sounded pretty bland, like “Pork with Chili and Onions”, “Pork with Chili, Basil and Onions”, “Pork with Chili and Garlic”, etc. (That’s the Pork section, which is 1/5 of the menu. Then there’s the chicken section and another beef section, with similar combinations, I imagine)
The dish was one of the most bland dishes I had tried out in a while. Yes, its spicy, and it has a decent flavor mix for the water at the bottom of the plate. It has cooked pork. Not seared. And chili. And onions. And that’s it. It tasted boring.
And then it hit me, that’s the majority of this restaurant’s 100-dish catalogue. They are just some meat, cooked on a pan along with the veggies. And the variety of menu is just which veggies you want included in there. And that’s it – there isn’t a whole lot of depth into it.
With how plain my day to day life has turned over the past two years, eating something new turned into one of my little adventures. And this restaurant ruined it. I’d prefer each eating experience to be adding something unexpected, somethig new, something to analyze. Even if I don’t always like how it turns out – like that Ethiopian restaurant from two weeks ago. I won’t be coming back to this restaurant. And it made me realize something I hadn’t quite realized before.