When the family’s in the mood for Chinese food, we head south to San Gabriel, Alhambra, or Monterey Park to feast. But when the family’s in the mood for American Chinese food, we stay close to home and dine at Yang Chow Restaurant (or Panda Express, of course). There’s enough gastro real estate for the best of both woks.
The Yang Family opened the first Yang Chow upon arriving in Los Angeles from Hong Kong in 1976. Today there are three locations in Pasadena, Chinatown, and Canoga Park.
Even though there are well over 100 items on the menu, every customer that comes through the doors orders the same thing: Slippery Shrimp ($17.50). An ocean-dwelling cousin of General Tso, Slippery Shrimp is lightly coated in cornstarch and wok’d to perfection before being doused in a sticky sauce made of ginger, garlic, chilies, and plenty of the refined white stuff. It’s sweet as all hell, but also addictively crunchy.
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The Astronomer and I shared our first ShackBurger® in the spring of 2007. If memory serves me right, he was a newly-minted college grad, while I was attempting to cross off as many items on my East Coast to-eat list as possible before moving to Vietnam. We had taken the Chinatown bus from Philly to New York City for a Memorial Day weekend getaway, crashing at my brother’s Lower East Side apartment. Ah, those were the days…
Fast forward to the spring of 2016. The Astronomer and I are back at Shake Shack for the first time in nearly a decade. This time we’re at its first West Coast location at The Park, Las Vegas’s first community green space.
Even before checking into our room at Aria, The Astronomer and I high-tailed it to Shake Shack for a very late lunch. Four hours of driving can really work up an appetite.
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South Lake Avenue Appreciation Week wraps up today at VeggieGrill, a west coast chain serving meatless fare in a bright and airy fast-casual setting. My mom, who occasionally abstains from meat based on the Buddhist calendar, and I came in for a weekday lunch.
After placing our order at the front counter, we snagged a table and plopped down our number (and bums). I gathered a few condiments from near the drinks station just in case any additional seasoning was needed. Blandness is sadness.
The first dish to arrive at the table was the “Chill Out Wings” ($6.95), battered and deep-fried wheat gluten served with house-made ranch and roasted pepper sauce. Both Mom and I were big fans of the crisp-golden seitan rods. She dipped hers in ranch dressing, while the roasted red pepper sauce was more my speed.
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South Lake Avenue Appreciation Week rolls on with a stop at Du-par’s. Known for its pancakes and pies, this classic L.A. diner took over the Hamburger Hamlet space last year. Pi Day gave The Astronomer and me the nudge we needed to finally give it a go.
James Dunn and Edward Parsons, who combined their surnames to create the restaurant’s name, opened the first Du-par’s at the Original Farmers Market. There are currently three locations around town, as well as outlets in San Diego and Las Vegas. All Du-par’s are open 24 hours.
The Pasadena location is quite expansive, even boasting a fireplace, but we opted to join the pies in the atrium because it felt festive there given the occasion.
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