Archive for the 'Restaurant Review' Category

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StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee – San Diego (North Park)

StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee - San Diego

I’ve been enchanted with the idea of gourmet fried chicken and doughnuts served under one roof ever since I got wind of Philly’s Federal Donuts and D.C.’s Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. After two years of praying to the deep-fried gods to bring this delightfully gluttonous trend to Southern California, my wish finally came true. Hello, StreetCar Merchants.

StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee - San Diego

Opened by RaVae Smith and Ron Suel late last year, StreetCar Merchants serves up three things: fried chicken, doughnuts, and coffee. The Astronomer and I, along with Cousin Danny, indulged in two of the three specialties on a recent Sunday afternoon.

StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee - San Diego

Since the fried chicken takes nearly half an hour to prepare, we tucked into three doughnuts while we waited. The shop makes 12 varieties each day, all of which are brioche-based and fried in rice bran oil.

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Veggie Grill – Pasadena

Veggie Grill - Pasadena

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.

Veggie Grill - Pasadena

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.

Veggie Grill - Pasadena

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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Du-par’s – Pasadena

Du-par's - Pasadena

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.

Du-par's - Pasadena

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.

Du-par's - Pasadena

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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PokeMix by Flour + Tea – Pasadena

Poke Mix - Pasadena

I’m officially declaring it South Lake Avenue Appreciation Week on Gastronomy! While not nearly as hip a ‘hood as Old Pasadena, South Lake can hold its own, especially when it comes to casual dining.

Though the street is mostly lined with local and national chains like LemonadePanda Express, and Souplantation, there are a handful of one-off concepts like PokeMix, too—there’s a time and place for both kinds of establishments.

Poke Mix - Pasadena

Pokē is currently having a moment in L.A., with half a dozen shops opening in the past few months. PokeMix, which offers a “Build Your Own Poke Bowl” experience, comes from the folks behind Flour + Tea.

Poke Mix - Pasadena

Ordering here is a multi-step process.  First, diners select a size: small (2 scoops of main toppings), medium (3 scoops of main toppings), or large (4 scoops of main toppings). Second, a “base” of either rice, greens, or half and half needs be chosen. Third comes the seafood— salmon, spicy tuna, albacore, shrimp, scallops, and krab. And finally, a plethora of garnishes and sauces to finish.

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