These fall greens may sound unfamiliar, but they’re staples in Taiwan and now at Silver Lake’s recent arrival Pine & Crane, which serves up seasonal Taiwanese food. Owner Vivian Ku is especially able to spotlight exotic veggies at their peak, because she sources most of the produce from her parents’ Sunfield Farm in Bakersfield, where they’ve been growing pesticide- and fertilizer-free Asian produce for more than 22 years.
Picture a super-plump asparagus spear with a mop of floppy green leaves on top and you’ve got celtuce, a potassium- and vitamin C-packed vegetable originating from south China. The crunchy stems—which taste like a cross between celery and asparagus—are where the flavor’s at.
Things get leafier when it comes to a-choy, whose long, romaine-like leaves are pointy enough to have earned it the nickname “sword-leaf lettuce.” Be warned, a-choy has a bit of a bitter kick, but like most dark leafy greens it’s full of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals.
Ku sautés the celtuce with fresh ginger, soy sauce and wood ear mushrooms, the a-choy in rice wine, garlic, salt and white pepper and serves them as sides ($7.50 to $9.50). You can also buy Sunfield Farm’s produce to cook at home; the restaurant sells limited quantities by the pound.
See? Sunset Triangle Plaza isn’t the greenest thing in the ‘hood anymore.
Pine & Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd., LA