Jun 2020

Feasts From My Trunk: Jamaican Goat Curry, Impossible Lumpia, and More

Pasadena Fish Market - Pasadena

Even though restaurant dining rooms are now officially open across Los Angeles, I’m not quite ready for crowds, enclosed spaces, shared restrooms, and full service just yet. So instead, I’m picking up takeout and eating it from the comfort of my trunk.

Sometimes I dine alone, but on most occasions I have family or a socially distancing friend in tow. While this mode of socializing is admittedly strange, so far it’s been a manageable way to keep safe while supporting local restaurants. Here’s where I’ve been eating lately…

Pasadena Fish Market - Pasadena

Pasadena Fish Market is home to expertly fried seafood and the finest Caribbean cooking in the neighborhood. After calling in our orders, June and I met up with Cecilia for a trunk-side picnic.

Pasadena Fish Market - Pasadena

June and I ordered a trio of fried seafood (oysters, catfish, and shrimp) with mac salad and hush puppies on the side, a Jamaican goat stew served with rice and peas and plantains, a Jamaican beef patty, and an order of french fries. Cecilia shared a sanddab for good measure. Everything was incredibly well prepared, from the battered seafood to the aromatic goat curry. Don’t sleep on this fish market in disguise.

Petite Peso - Downtown Los Angeles

Petite Peso debuted during lockdown and has been humming along with takeout and delivery for the past couple of months in the former Rice Bar space. Chef Ria Barbosa and her team are sustaining Downtown denizens (and beyond) with all manner of Pinoy comforts — from flavor-forward salads dressed with fermented shrimp paste to hearty rice bowls topped with chicken adobo.

Petite Peso - Downtown Los Angeles

The Astronomer and I took our takeout order to Elysian Park to enjoy. One of our favorite dishes this afternoon was the sisig salad ($12), a powerhouse of chicken livers, chicken skin, and Thai chiles.

Petite Peso - Downtown Los Angeles

Also fantastic were the impressively crisp lumpia made with Impossible “meat” and served with a sticky sweet dipping sauce.

For dessert, we shared an array of pastries and sweets including polvorones — delicately crumbly shortbread cookies made from firmly pressed flour, sugar, and milk powder. Petite Peso makes three different flavors — cream, white chocolate, and peanut butter milk chocolate — and all are fantastically balanced and dissolve on one’s tongue in the most pleasant of fashions.

Muffin Can Stop Us - Glendale

I was lured to Muffin Can Stop Us in Glendale because of its punny name. This daytime concept serves breakfast sandwiches on house-made English muffins. The “Sujoo” ($7.50) comes stuffed with sujuk, a spiced and seared Armenian sausage that’ll give bacon a run for its money. 

Muffin Can Stop Us - Glendale

The “Zaatar and Friends” ($4.80) with fresh mint, cucumbers, tomatos, and whipped feta hit a lighter but still satisfying note. The toasted muffin held everything together nicely.

Carrot & Daikon Banh Mi - Garden Grove

When the Astronomer, June, and I traveled to Orange County for strawberry picking at Tanaka Farms a few weeks back, we stopped by Little Saigon for lunch and dessert afterward.

Carrot & Daikon Banh Mi - Garden Grove

The banh mi at Carrot & Daikon were huge and delicious, especially the one filled with turmeric fish, pickle slaw, and spicy cilantro lime cream. For dessert, we drove to Hien Khanh for thach, che, and banh bo.

Knead Doughnuts - Long Beach

I was recently in Long Beach checking out an exciting new place to eat and stopped into Knead Doughnuts for a sweet pick-me-up before the long drive home. The bacon maple did not survive the hourlong trip.

Goldburger - Highland Park

And last but not least: a lunchtime hang in the parking lot of El Super with Thien. Cheeseburgers are a passion of mine, and the ones at Goldburger are fantastic — caramelized meat, gooey American cheese, and plushy bun. For dessert, a superb slice of chocolate chess pie.

We’re living through unprecedented times, and I’m finding that small joys, like supporting a neighborhood restaurant, catching up with a girlfriend, or exploring the world at a distance with my family, keep me going. So keep your head up and stay safe.

One year ago: {swoon} Spam Fried Rice at Omma Rice and Chicken
Two years ago: {swoon} Three Sisters at Good Girl Dinette
Three years ago: 
KCRW Press Play with Madeleine Brand | Vietnamese Food in El Monte
Four years ago: 
Smooth sailing in the Canadian Rockies
Five years ago: 
Q Sushi – Downtown
Six years ago: 
Slacker.
Seven years ago: 
{swoon} Weekend Carnitas at Central and Slauson
Eight years ago: 
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)
Nine years ago: Thịt Nướng – Vietnamese Grilled Pork
Ten years ago: Chocolatería San Ginés – Madrid
Eleven years ago: Providence – Los Angeles
Twelve years ago: Bon Bon Bakery – Ho Chi Minh City
Thirteen years ago: Gino’s East – Chicago

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3 thoughts on “Feasts From My Trunk: Jamaican Goat Curry, Impossible Lumpia, and More

  1. I moved out of California in 2019 but was back two weeks ago and had a long list of old favorites to hit (Yang Chow, Zankou, Fish King, etc.). Pasadena Fish Market was on the list but I just didn’t have the time. I’m glad to see it’s still open, though; I never once had a bad meal there.

  2. OMG! June is so big! Shrink her back down.

    The food looks fab!

    You drive a Prius too. I traded my 2014 Prius 3 with solar PV roof getting 64 MPG for a 2020 Prius Prime Limited plug-in hybrid PHEV 5 passenger in all midnight black metallic with dark gray interior.

    I’ve only plugged in 7 times since November 2019 because there is a hybrid battery recharge mode. EPA rated 133 MPGe with 640 mile range and it is costing me $10/month (HI $3/gal) recharging with hybrid engine.

    Very quiet and smooth ride, more power than old prius, luxury fake leather interior but all safety features included plus (front and rear video cameras), radar and sonar 360 degrees around like a Tesla but way cheaper.

    HI delivered price $33K and I added $4K dealer installed exterior options and security, trade in plus IRS tax credit dropped my final price to $19K.

    I’ve only

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