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Ask Mr. Gold

QUESTION: Where can we find good Belgian food? We’re feeling kind of Euro today.

—Susie, Pasadena

ANSWER: Ah, Belgium, the hungry man’s land of enchantment, where the mussels are sold by the kilo, the portions of steak tartare are as big as your head, and the potatoes are fried — twice! — in horsemeat fat and served with tubs of mayonnaise. Carbonnade, one of the world’s great stews, is fortified with strong Belgian ale, and on a cold winter’s day, you’ll probably be fortified with strong Belgian ale too. Belgium has Michelin-starred restaurants like Los Angeles has drive-thru Jack in the Boxes. There may be no freshwater stew on the planet as delicious as a fish waterzooie tinted pale green with puréed watercress. But is any of this wonderful food available in Los Angeles? Pretty much not, although the bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien does serve pretty good café au lait in bowls, chocolate-espresso tarts, artisanal breads, and open-faced sandwiches called tartines that must be Belgian, because the chain is based in Brussels. 8607 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 651-4741; 9630 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 859-1100; and other locations. Got a burning culinary question? Try us: askmrgold@laweekly.com

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