My Mom has really taken to keeping up with Deals and Discounts, even though she doesn’t live in Los Angeles, and she’s been after me for some time to say something about Mao’s Kitchen. She says it’s her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, and definitely a great deal. That’s saying something too, because I’ve been living here for a while now; so, she’s been to quite a few.
I think she is a little partial to the place because she knows something about the way women lived in China before 1949 and, she was inspired to learn about it because of her visit to Mao’s!
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As it says on their menu, Mao used to love to say, “Wei renmen fuwu!” “Serve the people!” That’s what’s going on at Mao’s Kitchen. The food is fresh; the produce is never taken from a can; dishes are made to order and priced for the proletariat - no MSG.
Mao’s is full of cultural accoutrements, from the décor at the two locations, right down to the visual arts and music on their website. I love to click on [maoskitchen.com] the site and listen to the little guy on the accordion accompany the chorus of children chanting militantly.
It’s a real education to dine in at Mao’s. The first thing you notice is the artwork on the walls. They are sporting genuine Chinese pop posters. These posters, created over the decades, reflect the many social, cultural and political changes China has gone through since 1949. Chinese opera is also projected on an overhead screen.
While you soak up all this revolutionary culture, you can order plates with names like Gang of Four fried shrimp - $6; Peace not War won-ton soup - $8 and Long March camp-fry - $7. If you’re really down on your capitalist luck, you can surely afford a light lunch of a humungous and scrumptious egg-roll and a tasty salad for $1 each.
They’ve got the best ginger ale around – homemade right there in the restaurant. They don’t serve alcohol; but you can bring your own bottle and there is nary a corking fee! If you haven’t thought to bring a bottle, there’s a little liquor store within the next couple of blocks west on Melrose.
Mao’s now has lunch combinations and they’re on offer all afternoon - from 11:30am to 5pm. This is great. Don’t you just hate it when you don’t get to lunch til 2:00 or 3:00 p.m.; you look at your watch; and, you just missed the lunch special? For take-away & delivery, lunch combinations include your choice of entree plus steamed rice, salad & spring-roll - $7.50 ($8.50 for seafood & smoked tofu entrees).
The Venice Beach location is a block from the beach. As we all know, that’s a double edged sword. Nice for some beach time but parking is catch-as-catch-can. Free parking is available right beside the restaurant at the Melrose locale.
NEED TO KNOW:
7313 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles 90046
Hours: 11 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Delivery: 323-932-9681
1512 Pacific Ave., Venice, 90291
Hours: 11 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Delivery: 310-581-8305
(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at www.RecessionCafe.wordpress.com is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.) –cw
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