OK, chowhounds and heat-lovers, where do you go when you want a night of eye-watering, tongue-blistering nirvana? Here are my votes for "hurts so good" dishes:
--The Szechuan hot pot at Lu Gi in San Gabriel. Basically shabu shabu with a bubbling, lava-like broth -- but boy, is it good!
--The hot and sour beef salad at Yai in Thai town. When you ask them to turn up the heat, they don't mess around.
--The "deviled meat" at my most missed restaurant, Chamika Catering. After they'd been open a while they toned it down, but at first the Sri Lankan curry was very, very spicy.
--The catfish and bamboo shoot curry at Jitlada. It's not on the menu -- we saw a review that mentioned it as one of their off-menu specials, so we ordered it. At first the waitress didn't want us to, but after we assured her we loved the resaurant and would keep coming back even if we didn't like it, she gave in. It's a southern Thai dish, I think -- and besides being one of the spiciest things I've ever had, it had a strange fermented flavor to it. Once of those tastes you probably have to grow up eating. Anyway, as we non-Thais were eating it, one by one the whole restaurant staff came by to see how we were doing. Finally our waiter broke the news: "We made it mild. This dish is for Thai people."
Sigh. There's probably whole levels of heat I'll never see. Now, what are your nominations for the hottest dish in L.A.?