The Unvegan

Featured Posts

A Good Burn at Jack Stack Barbecue
Welcoming Mofongo at El Jibarito
Slurping Ramen at Slurping Turtle
Braised at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina

Fried Cake at Shanghai Dumpling House

The main chow.
The main chow.

In my latest sojourn into the San Gabriel Valley, I made my way to Shanghai Dumpling House in the city of San Gabriel. I had heard this was one of the better spots to get authentic Shanghai-style dumplings a while ago and wanted to see if it could deliver. Of course, I went with a crew to ensure that I could try more than just that. The only hard part was ensuring they didn’t walk into Shandong Dumpling House, which is house in the same mini mall.

A Hot Dog Burrito at The Slaw Dogs

No slaw here.
No slaw here.

Usually when a restaurant name includes something that I hate very much, I go into that restaurant expecting the worst. Yet, while I have never had any need for slaw, I somehow knew that The Slaw Dogs in Pasadena was going to be an experience to remember. Sure, there were all sorts of options that made my mouth water, but it was the throwback to Oki Dog that really got me excited.

A Good First Szechuan Impression

Impressive!
Impressive!

When it comes to Chinese food, I typically seek out Szechwan (or Sichuan or Szechuan), Shanghainese or Cantonese, so when I heard about a great newish place called Szechuan Impression in Alhambra I knew I had to get there – and fast! Thus I found myself at the place just before 6:00 pm on a Saturday. The earlybird risk paid off and we were seated nearly immediately.

Getting Pancheezy at Pizza of Venice

So unevenly good.
So unevenly good.

In the world of pizza, it seems that Sicilian style and Neapolitan style come up pretty often. Roman style is apparently also a thing, but a Google search for Venetian pizza only seems to produce pizza options at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Nonetheless, a spot in Altadena calling itself Pizza of Venice has gained quite the following and it was high time I made it there myself.

Fishless at Fishing with Dynamite

Oh my chilaquiles.
Oh my chilaquiles.

As I’ve said many times around these parts, I have very little need for seafood in my life. Thus, when a decision was made to pay a visit to Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach, I was relieved to find out that there were not only a few more terrestrial options, but that they looked so good that I had a hard time deciding.

Almost China at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

I have to braise you like I should.
I have to braise you like I should.

Living right at the edge of the San Gabriel Valley can be a beautiful thing. Especially, that is, if you love Chinese food. There are parts of the SGV that literally make you feel like you have been transported into the heart of China and Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village is one of those places. While it has supposedly gone through some management changes lately, it has been a regular on lists of LA’s best restaurants and has a menu the size of a long novel.

All About That Skull at Ramen Tatsunoya

Perfection.
Perfection.

Pasadena isn’t exactly known for being at the forefront of the food world. Often a restaurant finds success elsewhere in LA and decides Pasadena is a good outpost for a sequel. You could say that is the case with Ramen Tatsunoya, which first found success in Japan, then as a popup in Torrance, but Pasadena was officially chosen as it’s first location for a long-term foray into the United States. The incessant hour-long line out the door proves that this wasn’t a bad idea.

The Best of 2015

This happened somewhere between Pittsburgh and Pasadena, so check out my travels and don't miss out!
This happened somewhere between Pittsburgh and Pasadena, so check out my travels and don’t miss out!

Once again, the year has brought many changes in my life, which means you loyal readers have seen food from exotic places like MoroccoPuerto Rico and Montreal, plus Middle American places like Hays, Kansas. Sadly, these won’t make it into my best of, as I’m only including places that are new to me and in the places I’ve lived in this year – Pittsburgh and the LA area. Oh and before you jump to the conclusion that Pittsburgh places won’t stand a chance, you’ll probably want to check out Zagat’s Top 17 Food Cities of 2015. I’ll give you a hint – LA isn’t #1. As with every year, there is so much good food so please don’t limit yourselves to just these fantastic places and be sure to check out the Travel page for everything in-between and beyond.

Smoking at Firehouse Subs

With bits of real fire, so you know it's good.
With bits of real fire, so you know it’s good.

According to Anthony Bourdain, firemen make some of the best food around because they have some sort of crazy camaraderie in which they are always cooking for each other. Maybe Firehouse Subs came from that. Or maybe it was because some firemen wanted to make some extra cash and thought it would be a good schtick. Either way, Firehouse Subs exists and I finally tried it out in the middle of Palm Desert.