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.
Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville has apparently emerged as a Tepper student’s top date spot. The BYOB policy may have something to do with it, but I had a feeling the food was probably pretty good as well when I decided to make it the place for my wife’s birthday dinner. As with most cool places, they don’t take reservations so we arrived early enough to get a table quickly.
Just as with the band MGMT, I am never quite sure whether to pronounce BRGR as “B-R-G-R” or as “Burger.” Such is the conundrum of a word without vowels, but in truth pronunciation matters little in such a situation compared to how good the burgers are. To many people, there is a debate as to the merits of BRGR versus Burgatory. Having truly, madly and deeply enjoyed Burgatory, BRGR certainly had its work cut out for it.
Perhaps best-known for their pizza, The Porch at Schenley is a semi-gourmet little restaurant perched on the cusp of Schenley Park. Also, it happens to be owned by Eat’n Park, a Denny’s-esque restaurant that The Porch works hard to leave out of any marketing. From what I’ve heard from Eat’n Park, I can’t blame them. Yet, The Porch has a good reputation and I wanted to see whether that rep was founded in truth.
How do you know if an ethnic restaurant is authentic? You look inside and see if people resembling that ethnicity are inside. Or, better yet, you let one of them take you there. At least that’s how it went down for me when a Taiwanese friend of mine invited me to Rose Tea Cafe in Squirrel Hill (supposedly the Oakland location isn’t as good) to get some Taiwanese food. Rose Tea Cafe isn’t just some tea house, it’s a full-on restaurant with almost too many options to choose. So we turned to my friend to figure out what to get.
Down in Redondo Beach is one of those corner liquor stores. You know, the type that sells mostly overpriced snack food, but a couple beer brands cheaper than average for when you’re desperate. What makes this liquor store different from all the others, however, is the addition of a kitchen in the back carrying the name of The Standing Room. With a more diverse menu than you could ever imagine from such a place, they happen to be best-known for their burgers.
EDIT: This Grand Lux is dead, but you can find others in different states serving the same old thang.
Sometimes you are so hungry you’ll eat anywhere. Well not just anywhere, but the place closest to you that seems to have good food. Such was the case when I found myself eating at the Grand Lux Cafe in Beverly Hills. This is not meant to knock the place, but simply to say that this place has never been on my to-eat list and I probably never would have sought it out. To tell you the truth, the name simply sounded like an overpriced fancy restaurant and not what it truly is – a Cheesecake Factory with a different name.
Up in the valley is a place called Stanley’s that I have been hearing about pretty much from the day I started dating my fiancee. Very little about the valley is exciting, but Stanley’s is in a stretch of Sherman Oaks on Ventura that’s pretty cool, so I found myself surprisingly excited to go. Previously, I had heard they have delicious wings, but we were in a rush and I am not a man who rushes wings. Instead, I went with my arch-nemesis.
On a Saturday night the girlfriend and I were sitting around feeling lazy. Neither of us had eaten dinner, and we weren’t terribly hungry, but we knew that we needed some sort of food in our systems. It had to be light, and as I looked over my list of restaurants I wanted to try, only one seemed to tickle our fancies. This was a remotely new (8 months or so) restaurant called Tinga, in Mid-City.
The interior of Tinga has a nice wooden atmosphere that is almost like a bar except that it is BYO. In the middle of the small seating area is a long communal table and the walls are lined with stools. The ordering takes place at the counter and although the full menu is on the side wall, they also have paper menus for those who don’t want to stare awkwardly over the shoulders of fellow patrons.
EDIT: This location is closed, but miraculously Sorabol lives on elsewhere.
Since Korean BBQ has never let me down and the Century City food court has also never let me down, I decided to check out Sorabol, the Korean BBQ place in the Century City food court. At the time it seemed like a great idea. I walked up to their stand and saw a few different food items hanging out in heating trays, so I chose their beef short ribs. They looked a bit dry, but the woman behind the counter ladled some sort of Korean sauce over them. They came with noodles, rice and some vegetable sides. I dismissed the vegetable sides and paid my 10 bucks, which I thought was a pretty good deal. I was wrong.