While stationed in Toluca Lake for work a few weeks back, I had the very best afternoon pick-me-up at Sweetsalt Food Shop: a slice of Hazelnut Rocher Cake. I wasn’t planning on indulging in anything while on a walk down Riverside Drive, but the cutesy eatery beckoned me with its adorable script font and rustic picnic tables; I had to take a peek to see what was inside.
Nearly every day for the past six months, I’ve driven by Mint Leaf on the northeast corner of Washington and Altadena in Pasadena and wondered to myself, “Is this place any good?” Curiosity finally got the best of me last week when I stopped in for a lunch date with The Astronomer. The verdict? This place is good! I should have tried it sooner.
The Astronomer and I were warmly greeted and seated right away upon entering the sumptuous space. The lunch crowd continued to trickle in throughout our meal; it was great to see that Mint Leaf had garnered quite the following.
After perusing the menu, we settled on two lunch specials—set meals that included a choice of main dish, as well as rice, fresh baked bread (roti, naan, or garlic naan), and either dal makhni or yellow lentils. I selected the matter paneer ($12.50) with roti and yellow lentils.
Food media helps shape our understanding of what we eat and where. But recent controversies, like Bon Appetit‘s pho video, show that the media still struggles when culture, identity, and food intersect.
On April 24, join me at the Pico House for a conversation between chefs and journalists (full list below) about “ethnic” food, appropriation, authenticity, and how media portrayals shape our understanding of the food world.
How do “cheap eats” lists reinforce the idea that food made by immigrants is less valuable? Why are some cuisines ethnic but others aren’t? What makes us call a restaurant authentic? How can the food media tell better stories?
Purchase tickets here—$5 for AAJA members and $15 for everyone else.