February 19, 2007
Ok, so the best Mexican food in the SGV is Babita’s, but I have not been there yet! So this rant will review some other place that you call Cal-Mex for the most part. I can’t contend with “The Great Taco Hunt's” level of taste tests. This post has been spurred on by my recent discovery of Mexican Fried Chicken, at La Nueva Posada in Pasadena.
Yes that is what I said, “Fried Chicken”. We, my S.O. (significant other) and I decided to try someplace new for Mexican food. What we were actually craving was a good margarita, but we figured if the food is good so are the drinks, right? (go figure) Well sorta, the margarita was ok, I have had better. The menu of margaritas at El Cholo, and The Border Grille, that used to be in the Paseo (gone now) has yet to be beat in the SGV, at least from my tasting. BTW Babita serves beer and wine only, so we have no idea what alcoholic concoction could come out of that kitchen!
Saturday night, the place is packed, lot of kids too. I look at the menu, same menu different place, until I spot Mexican Fried Chicken. Hmmm. I ask the waitress, she says it takes 30 minutes because they make it to order, and it is very good; this is a good thing!
My immediate hunger is placated with some really good albondigas soup, chips and salsa, good but nothing to write home about. I liked the texture of the salsa, although it needed a little more zing. When the chicken shows up at the table it is sitting in a thin red sauce, I assume it is the marinade. It is a half of a chicken with the breast cut in half. The chicken is moist and full of flavor, without being spicy. The meat actually has flavor, not from the skin or the sauce, it was actually marinated! I let my cut bites soak up more sauce before I pop them in my mouth; moist, crunchy, not greasy, full of flavor. Yum! How charming. I wonder who thought that recipe up! It was good but could have used more sauce on the side, don’t want ruin the crunch with soggy. I even ate it cold the next day, it was still good. I am wondering how this chicken compares to Dino’s chicken, which is a mariachi band playing in your mouth!
I would definitely go back for the chicken, the carne asada looked tempting. I might try that, and would definitely go back for albondigas a great big bowl!
La Nueva Posada 2835 E Foothill Blvd Pasadena, CA (626)793-7191
February 15, 2007
If you live in the SGV and have never been to Damon’s Steak House, then shame on you!!! It’s camp, it’s retro, it’s fun, it’s a time warp, it’s a tiki hut monument to the bovine. The restaurant has been there for-ever! And the clientele is amusing to say the least, oh and the food is good, but don’t expect JJ’s or Morton’s you will be disappointed.
Expect big strong mai tai’s, double stuffed potatoes instead of baked, beets in your salad with some house dressing that is a bit like French, and big steaks. They recently added a rib eye to their menu, this is my favorite cut, so it is what I order. Just enough marbling and fat, and cooked nicely at medium rare. The portions are big, and you will not leave hungry or sober, unless you don’t drink mai tai's!
Damon’s is not for everyone. If your culinary palate is snobby, or you don’t like bamboo, umbrella drinks, Hawaiian shirts or waitresses who have been there for-ever, then go somewhere else. But Damon’s fills a need for a big steak at a small price, for a strong drink, and some atmosphere and entertainment. My 23 year old niece loves it. We go together, it bridges the generation gap.
So if you have lived in the SGV and have not been there, try it, you will like it.
Damon's 317 Brand Blvd, Glendale, (818)507-1510
February 01, 2007
I love Soup and one of my favorites is French Onion. I almost always order it if it is on the menu, sometimes even in the heat of summer! Because I am not always sure where to find it, I posted a request at CHOW on the best soup in the LA area. I got lots of responses of which I will share with you.
I however have the places I have tried and I want to share those with you too! I live in Sierra Madre and work in Azusa so most of the places I have been to are either lunch places near my office, or in Pasadena. So many of the suggestions which are in LA, I have not had the opportunity to try, yet!
For lunch Village Eatery in Glendora has a decent bowl, the flavor is good, the croutons can be disappointing though. Last time I had it they used some weird breadstick as a crouton, and the cheese doesn’t cover the top.
My favorite is at The Golden Spur also in Glendora, a really retro steak house (leather booths, everyone drinks martinis at lunch). Consistently good, lovely crock topped with a thick chewy layer of golden brown cheesey love and crunchy croutons; I always order it, and it is always on the menu.
I also had a bowl a Bistro de la Gare in South Pasadena, it was good, but not what I expected. Not the rich dark broth that is traditional, it was a light almost chicken broth. The flavor was different yet good, and cheese and croutons yummy, but for some reason it left me wanting more. It wasn’t what I expected and my palate was set on that dark rich soup that I adore.
Now for the CHOW hound recommendations! Morton’s, it is on their lunch menu only, Doughboys on 3rd, both of these were mentioned several times so I am sure that they are worth trying out. The Crepe Vine and the Raymond both in Pasadena, I am not sure if the Raymond has the soup on their daily menu or it is a seasonal thing. You can read the whole thread here if you would like!
The Golden Spur 1223 E Route 66 (Foothill) Glendora, CA 91740 (626) 963-9302