HOT POT HOT POT and $10 massage

by janet on March 10th, 2008

Did I say I was taking a hiatus? Sillies. I’m a shit – I just couldn’t stay away!

Vanessa, randomly one day: HEY! What are you doing tomorrow? Wanna get a ten dollar massage?
Me, a la Chris from Family Guy: WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?

Apparently there is a place in San Gabriel Valley that has $10 massages after 10:30 pm. And to kill time until then, Vanessa, Mimi, Tinx and I decided to do some hot pot beforehand. I swear to god, San Gabriel is a treasure trove of…treasures.

As all good San Gabriel joints are, this one was in a strip mall. We were seated around a biiig table and a huge pot of goodness was promptly brought out and plopped into the middle of the table (look how nummy above!). We dug into the broth without even anything inside, slurping slurping slurping. The broth was milky but not creamy. It was gingery and garlicky, briny and silky. I LOVED it.

Even without any insides yet, the pot was full of STUFF! Stuff I was probably not intended to eat, but I ate anyway. Some things were inedible, like some random stick things that I tried to chew on. These red thingies were…plums? But they just tasted like very soft garlic. Yummalicious. The green onion, by the end of the night, was also soft and gorgeous. The other stuff…tasted like wood.

The plates: some sort of soaked peanuts (fine), pickled daikon (MMMM! This tastes Japanezey), and some sort of folded bread with tiny strips of green onion inside (perhaps yummy when fresh, but waay stale and ew ew on this plate).

Thank god for Mimi, who spoke Mandarin and ordered for us. I find that other Asians get angry when you are Asian but don’t speak their kind of Asian. We got: beef, chicken, spinach, oyster mushrooms, egg dumplings, wintermelon, taro, and meatballs. Pictured below is the veritable pantheon of food that we got, which we went DUUUUUUUMP and threw into the soup in one big splash.

But HA! You think that is enough food for us? Fools. We ordered, on top of all that, spicy pork dumplings and stir-fried noodles with chicken. They weren’t kidding when they said spicy. I thought the brown shit on top was crispy garlic or something, but it was just straight red pepper flakes. In the words of Johnny: FLAME ON!

We also ordered some sort of pancake. Not as moist as the Korean pajun, but just as crunchy and onioney. Vanessa told me it was Chinese pizza. Is that the authentic name of this? Either way, it was crispy and just oily enough to make it freaking addictive.

When everything was cooked (see top), we ladled bowl upon bowl of hot pot into our gullets. The winners: wintermelon (so melt-in-your-mouth that grandpas and babies could eat it, no problem) and taro (potato without any of the blandness of potato). The losers: egg dumpling (just cuz I think there was shrimp in it and I’m allergic boo). We split on the meatball – Asians are not freaked out by a meatball with the texture of a cucumber. White people like Vanessa and Tinx were. I understood, and I forgave Vanessa’s “this is icky” face. (Which looked a lot like her thizzZZZz face, which she does all the time.)

HOT POT – CHECK! Onto…massages! (Please forgive the lack of photos. I’m sure you understand why there aren’t any.)

I was hoping it would be sketchy. I was hoping for neon signs. I was hoping for no one who spoke English. Three for three!

We stepped into one big, dark room with gigantic armchairs (5 across x 3 deep) all facing a plasma TV on the wall, which initially was showing a Chinese cooking show, but ended with the most boring show ever, with one guy talking, another guy talking, some calligraphy, back to the first guy, ad nauseum, until one moment when the first guy randomly started crying.

ANYWAY! The chairs were gigantic – any football dad would have died for one of these. There were also huge ottomans, which actually functioned as seats for you during your back massage and seats for your masseuse during your foot massage.

First, they came out with a huge wooden tub with a hot, tea-ish substance inside. I put my feet into the steaming hot water, and they made a little sauna in my leg region by putting my feet in a huge plastic bag and covering my knees with a towel. Note: do not wear skinny jeans to get a massage, because it will be hard to pull them up to your knees and will kill your circulation the entire time.

Me, to Tinks: Do we drink this later?
Tinks: FEET TEA!

Then commenced an extremely skillful back and neck massage. My hair and hoodie kept getting in the way so I just put my hood on, which made everyone laugh. I’m a riot? “Andy” (they all had white people names, strangely) zoomed in on my sore spots, and was relentless, particularly on my left shoulder. I bent my neck forward and let my hair hang down my face.

Me, to Tinks: Hey. Hey Tinks. Hey. Do I look like the girl from The Ring?
Tinks: [fake laughter]

There was a moment of stress when out of nowhere some patron said, “I’m CALLING THE POLICE! THIS IS DISCRIMINATION!” and walked out the door. Apparently he didn’t have money to pay, but he said, “I have money in the bank! You think I don’t have money! This is discrimination! I’m calling the police!” I was worried that he would come back and shoot up the place, which was not relaxing at all. But the next part made me forget everything.

With my feet still in the hot tub, Andy told me to lean my head back onto the back of the chair. This was the loveliest and shortest portion. A gorgeous head massage, complete with delicate ear pinching. Tinx’s guy “Jeff” put his fingers in Tinx’s ears, but Andy didn’t do that. He did plant a thousand zits on my forehead, though, by molesting my forehead with his oily fingers. It felt goooooood.

The piece de resistance was the foot massage. It went on for ages – honestly like 20 minutes per foot. Parts I liked: the calf massage, the inner foot massage, the ball of foot massage. I think those parts were specially designed for high heel wearers like me. Parts I wanted to die in: the knuckles down my foot, the poking of the tips of my toes with his nails (WTF?), and the intense poke into my pressure points (which I recognized was probably really good for me, so I endured), the scraping off of my skin during the final towel-dry (OW).

I LOLed when he tried to pull my pants legs back down. I TOLD you about those skinny jeans! Perspiration beading on his forehead, he giggled a little as he finally scooched the fabric down my shins.

At this point, I thought it was over so I said thank you. Then he suddenly lunged up and grabbed my thighs. I was startled but it felt good so I went with it. In any other circumstance it would have been sexual harassment, but in this case it was very welcome trespassing.

Then I thought it was over again so I said thank you again. Then he went for my arms for an arm massage up against the chair. The forearm massage was the best part. I don’t know if it was all the clenchy-fisting from kickboxing earlier that day or from typing all day long, but my forearms were sore and he knew it. I was buzzing in anticipation of the hand massage, and when it came it was everything I hoped it would be. My hands are the one spot where no massage can be too tickly or ouchie, so I was like, BRING IT ON, ANDY. My favorite part was when he held hands with me (relationship-style, with fings intertwined) and rotated my wrists. It reminded me of my favorite exercise in my weird Christian Science modern dance class that I took as a child – “Ragdoll Time” – where you had to be completely limp and relaxed and the teacher would pick up your limbs and shake them around. Creepy?

All of this, for $10. An hour-long massage!!! I tipped him 100% and left. I woke up the next morning with bruises everywhere, but it was totally worth it.

Hot Pot
Exit New Ave off the 10
Right on Valley
not sure exactly where…but it’s on the 2nd floor. Pick one – it’ll be good I bet.

$10 after 10 pm
Valley & Walnut
Follow the sketchiness

One Response to “HOT POT HOT POT and $10 massage”

  1. tinks says:

    mmm crunchy meatballs. those were GOOD vanessa was the one that didn’t like them. i swear they gave us our feet tea to drink… it was pretty nast. but hot pot hot pot! and singing super loud! and massages! and secretly recorded conversations!

    good times.

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