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Ask Mr. Gold 

Thursday, May 22 2003

question: Can you tell me where in this city I can find tripe? And I don’t mean menudo, tripe tacos, or that Vietnamese tripe that looks like bathing caps, but good, old-fashioned tripe. There’s got to be some place out there that doesn’t consider tripe to be an excuse to ladle on the chile sauce.

—Justin, Eagle Rock


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answer: I assume you also, for some reason, disdain the pleasures of Peruvian cau cau, or Colombian mondongo, or the delicious Korean grilled tripe at Soot Bull Jeep. Cold Szechwan tripe is clearly out of the question — sometimes the dish is 75 percent chiles by weight — and Filipino tripe, although mild, tends to be on the funky side. Jamaican tripe and beans? Probably not.

The bowls of boiled book tripe that show up on better dim sum carts? I don’t think so. The lampredotto sandwiches they sell near the drooling pig statue in Florence? Thousands of miles away. Even a classic trippa alla Romana, if you could even find an example out here, is seasoned with hot red pepper.

Which leaves us, I guess, with the orzotto at Tre Venezie, a tiny, awesomely expensive Northern Italian restaurant in Pasadena’s Old Town in which the careful authenticity of the food must be balanced against the fact that dinner with a nice wine can cost not much less than a round-trip ticket to Venice itself. Still, I love the orzotto, a soothing Friulian stew of tripe and grain that emphasizes the gentle muskiness, the slippery contours of the meat, without an offending chile in sight. 119 W. Green St., Pasadena, (626)-795-4455.

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