Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 30: Dominican/Puerto Rican Food and Basketball

It might just be me but it doesn't seem like there are a lot of places in LA to get Dominican food. We drove to Bellflower for this place.

It's a small-ish interior, total table seating of may 20? There were lots of people coming in and ordering take-out, though, so they seem to do good business.

I love the drinks at these places. It's been a while since we went so I can't recall exactly but I'm pretty sure this is the Morir Sonando - the original Orange Bang, I suppose.

A side order of pastele and tostones (fried green plantains) are a must.

I think we went on a Friday, so this must be the Carne de Res Guisada (beef in red sauce).

I'm pretty sure I had the Puerco Asado - roasted pork, although I don't see it on the Friday menu online. It might be something they just have every day. The side of beans completes the meal and then some.

There was one side order we tried to get and they were sold out, so we got the tostones above - but then, the waitress also brought out this side of fried ripe plantains to make up for whatever we wanted that they didn't have. That's so nice! Except the last thing we needed in this meal was another side dish! Hahaha! It was of course delicious. I think I liked this better than the tostones.

I with there was a place like this closer to Crenshaw. Oh well, at least this was pretty close to the freeway so it wasn't that bad of a drive. It sure makes a nice treat.

Mama Fina Dominican Restaurant
17625 Bellflower Blvd.,
Bellflower, CA 90712
(562) 867-8128

Today's Sports
The UCLA sports news world is abuzz about football (Coach Neuheisel's firing, the Pac-12 Championship Game, possible bowl appearance, the search for a new coach, etc.) but I am excited about the women's basketball team. We went to see them for the first time this season tonight at the Wooden Center.

My excitement isn't from the anticipation that this team will advance to be a national championship this year. In fact, it may be far from it. Their star player, Jasmine Dixon, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the offseason and is out for the year, and their other star player, Markel Walker, has also been out so far this season with a thumb injury, though she hasn't been declared out for the year.

I'm excited because this is the first year for Coach Cori Close. I like the anticipation and excitement that a new coach brings to a sport. I really, really liked Coach Nikki Caldwell the last three years, and I have no hard feelings for her for leaving to go to LSU. If I was offered a million bucks I'd probably leave too. I don't think Coach Caldwell was here long enough to really build any lasting foundation but at least I think it may have sparked some interest in women's basketball, which I hope Coach Close can build on.

I like being able to see the players develop year to year. I saw many of the games last year, so I feel like I got pretty familiar with the players and the way they play and their strengths and weaknesses. In this first game I saw, although they were pretty rough and their defense wasn't as good as last year, I did see some improvement in some of the players, so that was nice to see.

Hopefully I'll get to see more of their games this year. And, the other exciting thing is that, the later in the season it gets for women's basketball, the closer it gets to the start of the baseball season! I'm so very excited to see the baseball players again. This will be an important year for the guys who came in as freshmen two years ago, since they can get drafted this year. Those guys were so impactful that first year when they got to go to Omaha - Beau Amaral, Cody Keefer, Cody Regis - even though they somehow seemed to take a step back last year, I hope with the new assistant coach and not having the two star pitchers this year, they really step it up and play their game.

The men's volleyball season will start soon, too, and it'll definitely be one to watch, what with it being Coach Al Scates' final season of coaching after 50 years. Unfortunately the team isn't very good so it's not like a magical season where they'll win his 20th championship for him in his final year (wouldn't that be nice) but hopefully at least they can play well enough so he can retire with dignity. His career certainly warrants it.

I like this time of year with women's volleyball in the post-season (that team should be a good one to watch in the coming years as well, as 2nd-year coach Mike Sealy develops his team), women's basketball starting, men's volleyball coming right up, and baseball and softball starting soon. It's a nice escape from what's going on in the world, and it kind of energizes me to watch them play their heart out. I wasn't much into college sports when I was a student but appreciate what they do for our school and hope to be able to continue to support them.

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