Instead of driving straight from Pasadena to Thousand Oaks for a family gathering a few weeks back, The Astronomer and I took a roundabout route through Burbank then to Chatsworth for doughnuts, burgers, and more doughnuts. We rarely, if ever, travel this far north and west, so we wanted to make the trip worth our while.
What was really terrific about this jaunt was that it felt like a legitimate road trip even though we never left county boundaries. The vastness of Los Angeles never ceases to impress me.
My heart welled up with pure joy as we approached the bright yellow building on Devonshire Street. The Munch Box has been around since 1956 and is on the Cultural Heritage Commission‘s list as one of the best surviving examples of Googie architecture.
Today, the stand is owned by Buck Barker, his wife, Claire, and their two children, Julie and Andrew. Mr. Barker bought the eatery in 1985 from his uncle, John Kent, who was the restaurant’s original owner.
The menu hasn’t changed too much since The Munch Box first opened 57 years ago. While many diners were downing dogs this afternoon, The Astronomer and I stuck to the hamburgers; it was what we were in the mood for.
Continue reading ‘The Munch Box – Los Angeles (Chatsworth)’
Good Girl Dinette’s Chef Diep Tran loves breakfast, especially ones taken leisurely without consideration for time or caloric intake. She’s been toiling behind the scenes, crafting and tweaking her breakfast menu for the past year now, and she recently rolled out the goods for all to devour and crave.
“The menu for me is a snapshot of what it felt like to grow up in the ’80s, in Cerritos, being Vietnamese,” explained Diep in a recent Q&A. Among her sources of inspiration for the new menu were “Breakfasts of porridge, pho, and fried eggs splashed with Maggi; Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and MFK Fisher books from the library; weekend cooking shows on PBS.”
As Diep was developing the menu and testing recipes, The Astronomer and I served as eager guinea pigs as she perfected her Red Boat-cured bacon, Croque-Garcon, and toasted pound cake.
After months of anticipation, we finally sat down this morning to experience the perfectly edited menu in its entirety. And it was well worth the wait!
Continue reading ‘Weekend Breakfast at Good Girl Dinette – Los Angeles (Highland Park)’
My friend Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet L.A. is curating a taco-fueled food fest next Sunday, June 23rd called Tacolandia. Held from noon until 5 PM at the Hollywood Palladium, Tacolandia promises a stellar line up of the best taqueros from Los Angeles, Orange County, and Baja (a complete list of participants below). In addition to terrific tacos, and lots of them, Tacolandia will include music and a tequila garden! I can’t think of a better way to spend $20 and a Sunday afternoon, really.
Last Saturday, Bill coordinated a taco tour for a group of friends and food writers to highlight three of Tacolandia’s talents. This cross-town jaunt took us to Downtown Los Angeles, Watts, and Inglewood, where each restaurant provided a sneak peek of the dish they’ll be preparing for the event.
The first stop on the #Tacolandia media blitz was Ricardo Zarate’s Mo-Chica for a Peruvian-Mexican mashup.
Continue reading ‘L.A. Weekly’s Tacolandia: A Sneak Preview with Mo-Chica, Tamales Elena & Coni’Seafood’
I fell hard and fast for Marugame Monzo’s made-from-scratch udon noodles. As a testament to my infatuation, I haven’t dined on sushi or ramen while visiting Little Tokyo since the shop opened a few months back. It’s been pure, unadulterated affection for these chubby darlings from the start.
According to a write up by Miles Clements on the subject, the man behind the magnificent noodles is the restaurant’s general manager Kenji Tateishi. Marugame Monzo is his first stateside restaurant after training in Japan.
The process of transforming a hunk of tough dough into slurp-able strands is simply mesmerizing. The glass-encased workshop guarantees that nearly every seat in the house has a stellar view of the magic in progress from start to finish.
I was seated near the front door on my first visit and at the bar on my second. The latter’s so-close-I-can-almost-taste-it access was much preferred.
Continue reading ‘Marugame Monzo – Los Angeles (Downtown)’
Los Angeles played host to numerous National Doughnut Day celebrations last Friday, but the only ticket in town that really caught my eye was the ICDC (Ice Cream, Doughnuts and Coffee) preview at BLD. Slated to open later this summer or early fall, ICDC was inspired by the Wednesday night Doughnut Shoppe that Pastry Chef Mariah Swan has hosted for years at Grace and BLD restaurants.
ICDC, which is currently in the midst of construction, will be housed next door to BLD. Once the shop is up and running, the menu will feature eight doughnut flavors daily. Unlike traditional doughnut shops where wares are left to sit all day, ICDC’s creations will be fried to order and decked out with gourmet glazes and ice creams.
Joining me for the 5-course doughnut tasting ($15) were my friends and fellow sweet seekers Alice, Stassi, and Diana. According to Mariah, the doughnuts served this evening won’t appear again until ICDC opens its doors for business.
The first doughnut served was the Cereal Milk Glazed, a warm, airy, yeast-risen ring iced with a sugary syrup steeped in Honey Nut Cheerios. Garnished atop were bits of Rice Krispies treats made from house-made cinnamon marshmallows. Good morning, Sunshine!
Continue reading ‘ICDC (Ice Cream, Doughnuts and Coffee) National Doughnut Day Preview at BLD – Los Angeles’