January 31, 2010

Mama of all gummy bears

This is a dentist's nightmare, but delighted me and Son on our family's recent visit to a surreal store called IT'Sugar at Universal City Walk in Los Angeles: the world's largest gummy bear. At least that's what the store claims. To me it looked like $40 worth of dental caries. I mean, look at Son's hand in relation to this chewy ursine monster. It probably would have fed everyone in the theater and still outlasted Avatar, which we were about to see a few doors down the Walk.

The whole City Walk was a puzzle to a New York City kid who couldn't undersand that this was a Hollywood theme park interpretation of an urban shopping avenue..

My favorite shop was a place called Mercado Chocolaté Loco, which sells Mexican confections. I bought a tarugo de tamarindo, a dried and sugared tamarind fruit, and mango chamoy. The dried chamoy came in two versions, sugar- and sugar-and-chile dusted, and both were great. They reminded me of the Hawaiian dried seeds that my friends used to bring back from the islands when we were kids, which were sweet, sour and totally mouth puckering. Now, I realize that they were the Hawaiian version of  the Japanese umeboshi. Does anyone know what those seeds are called? Do they stll exist?