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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Happy Tasty – San Gabriel

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

Do you remember those Hair Club for Men commercials from the 80s? The ones that end with: “I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client.” Well, I’m not just a Scout for the Los Angeles Times, I’m also a Scout Report reader. A powerful testimonial and roaring endorsement all at once, right?

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

After reading Louise’s Scout Report for Happy Tasty, I immediately made a date with The Astronomer and Mike, our friend and constant Chinese food companion, to check it out.

Wuhan cuisine, which is influenced by the spicy traditions of neighboring Sichuan and Hunan, is a region we’ve yet to experience on our San Gabriel Valley explorations.

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

I was most excited to try the quintessential Wuhan-style dry hot pot. Happy Tasty refers to it as a “Spicy Hot Pot” on their menu. Every pot includes potatoes, cauliflower, celery, tiger lily buds, black fungus, and lotus root ($8.99) and a choice of two proteins. We selected lamb ($7.99) and beef tripe ($7.99).

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Good Girl Dinette Keeps Getting Better and Better (and popping up in Mid-City soon!)

Good Girl Dinette - Highland Park

I eat at Good Girl Dinette a lot. The food makes me swoon, the chef makes me laugh, and the location makes good sense. While I normally leave my “fancy” camera at home when I dine here (a blogger’s gotta chill from time to time), I made an exception on my latest visit with Nastassia because I wanted to photograph some of the newer menu offerings with my newly upgraded camera—Wings! Pâté! Pie! Lights, camera, action.

Chef Diep Tran's Good Girl Dinette Pops Up in Mid-City

Before delving into the obscene amount of good food that Nastassia and I ordered for dinner, a quick plug for the upcoming Good Girl Dinette pop-up at Bloom Cafe on April 10, 17, and 24. Chef Diep Tran is bringing her signature dishes, like chicken curry pot pie, to Mid-City, so swing by for dinner if you’re in or around the neighborhood. Your stomach will be glad you did.

Good Girl Dinette - Highland Park

And now, on to the eats! Nastassia and I started off with two appetizers. The first, Caramelized Ginger Chicken Wings ($7.50), were inspired by thit ga kho, a homey Vietnamese braised chicken dish.

Whereas the traditional preparation yields flabby chicken skin, Diep avoids such unpleasantries by crisping the exterior before coating each piece in a sticky, sweet garlic-lime glaze. We requested “spicy” wings, which meant a flourish of serrano pepper confetti.

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Ice Que – Alhambra

Ice Que - Alhambra

If this summer is anything like the one before it, we’re all going to need a lot of cold treats to survive the long days and scorching rays. While there isn’t a shortage of fantastic frozen sweets to be had in the San Gabriel Valley (my favorites include Carmela, Fosselman’s, Rita’s, and Blockheads) having another solid option, like Ice Que, certainly isn’t going to hurt.

Ice Que - Alhambra

The man behind Ice Que is pastry chef John Park. After working in some of the city’s finest kitchens (Lukshon, Providence, and Water Grill), he struck out on his own in 2013 to open Quenelle in Burbank. Ice Que is his follow up effort.

Pro tip: A second branch of Quenelle recently opened in San Marino.

Ice Que - Alhambra

Whereas Quenelle specializes in ice cream, Ice Que is all about shaved ice. Forget artificially flavored syrups and such—the creations here are composed of shaved-to-order “snow” topped with a plethora of whimsical ingredients. Taken together, it’s a one-of-a-kind dessert experience that only a pastry chef could dream up.

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