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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There’s been a line snaking down Fair Oaks Avenue ever since Ramen Tatsunoya opened late last year in Old Pasadena. Good ramen, the stuff that warms bellies and soothes souls, has been largely absent in the neighborhood, and everyone is clearly glad that this is no longer the case.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Ramen Tatsunoya is the first American restaurant from a well-established Japanese chain of ramen shops, which founder Ryuta Kajiwara opened in his hometown of Kurume, in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1999.”
The Astronomer and I tucked in for dinner on a recent #datenight. Even on a Thursday evening on the early side of dinnertime, a line was winding out the door. Without too long a wait, we snagged two seats at the bar overlooking the open kitchen.
To start, an order of the Crispy Spicy Chashu Wrap ($4.10). This oddly interesting appetizer consisted of iceberg lettuce, pulled pork, crisped rice cereal, and shredded cheese layered atop a sheet of seaweed. The combination left something to be desired for me, but The Astronomer was game to eat all three.
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Every other Thursday evening, The Astronomer and I leave our respective offices at a reasonable hour, request overtime from June’s nanny, and escape for #datenight. Quiet dinners together are a really, really lovely treat.
On a recent outing, we finally made our way to critically-aclaimed Ración. Opened by Teresa Montaño and Loretta Peng, Ración has been wowing diners with its inspired and inventive Basque-style small plates since opening in 2012.
Dinner felt a little like a stroll down memory lane since The Astronomer and I honeymooned in San Sebastian. Ahh, memories…
Without our little lady in tow, we went wild and ordered a drink each. I sipped some sangria made with red wine, sherry, and apple cider, while The Astronomer had some Spanish cider on draft.
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Roma Italian Deli‘s beloved “Sandwich” has been on my list of tasty things to eat since Jonathan Gold touted its merits back in 2012. Ironically, it’s often the food finds closest to my home that take me the longest to try. Go figure.
The Astronomer, June, and I finally stopped in to Roma on a recent Sunday afternoon. We were all in the mood for something low-key, so picking up sandwiches and enjoying them at the park was just our speed.
In addition to a well-stocked deli counter brimming with meats and cheeses, Rosario Mazzeo’s lil’ market boasts produce, wines, and a plethora of imported Italian provisions (pasta, olive oil, and the like). A return visit to peruse the shelves is definitely in order.
Even though “The Sandwich” is quite sizable, we couldn’t resist procuring a trio of cured meats to round out our spread.
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