Question: Maybe my kids have been watching too much Fear Factor — in fact, I know that they have — but my oldest keeps professing a desire to eat insects. Slimy insects. Rather than have her rooting around in the yard for tomato worms or roly-poly bugs, do you have anything to suggest?
Answer: Alarmingly enough, insect cuisine has become more common around here in the last few years. Typhoon, in the Santa Monica Airport, always has a few creepy-crawlies on the menu, sometimes including crickets and fried worms. A friend of mine occasionally takes his son for boiled silkworm cocoons at a Koreatown restaurant called the Prince. And it is only a matter of time before the famous ant-egg preparation from Cien Anos in Tijuana finds its way to town.
But the only insects I have ever craved are probably the chapulines, grasshoppers, at the original Guelaguetza on Eighth Street. The creatures, fried, stuffed into empanadas, tucked into tacos or, more likely, served straight up with chile and lime, are about as visually charming as you might expect, but the mellow, pecanlike flavor isn’t bad, and the quease factor is just powerful enough to make your drinking even more emphatic. Not that this has anything to do with your kids, of course. The house’s bright-pink horchata works pretty well too. Guelaguetza, 3337½ W. Eighth St., Los Angeles, (213) 427-0601.
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