Wednesday, August 3, 2011

California Trip - other food destinations

We didn't just chase food trucks all day long (although, it was fun!), we also visited (more than) a few places around town...

First off, not in town but it needs to be mentioned, we had our first Mexican food experience in a long time at a place in Albuquerque New Mexico called El Charritos.

We each had a twin helping of enchiladas:

And sopaipillas came with every meal. They brought us these things with a squeeze bottle full of honey. I've never had one. Now I know what I was missing. Fried dough? Yes, please. (seriously... that should have been the meal).

They had a little patio, so we could bring Meg. You can tell she was as excited about the experience as we were!


Our Mexican food experience continued when our friend introduced us to Norma's Tacos in Pasadena.

It's a cute little taco stand made from a converted gas station.

The tacos were good and super fresh, made with fresh handmade tortillas, the sauces were excellent and it was a gorgeous day out. Although, they put guacamole on everything, and I mean everything. So if you aren't a fan, as I am not, you may want to be very specific about that. (I know, I know... from California and I don't bow to the glorious avocado... it's a curse I suppose).

One place we ended up at late at night a few times... The House of Pies in Los Feliz.

The House of Pies has been on the Food Network and has an interesting Hollywood-flavored history. Rumor has it, Quentin Tarantino worked on "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" here as did Charlie Kaufman with "Being John Malkovich." If they wrote at night, I'm not sure how... the lighting in this joint is pretty bad for writing. They don't seem like guys who write in the bright light of day... but that's just an observation. Perhaps the pie made up for the horrible lighting.

Behold... the pie.

This is the peanut butter cream pie, which was amazing. I'm a big peanut butter fan. The crust was perfect and the filling to whipped cream ratio was really good. (Although, we later were introduced to the banana cream pie, and I never looked back at the peanut butter again. But I'm guessing, any of their cream pies are superb.)

Another place we frequented was a place on Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta called Everest. It's a drive-thru fast food joint. They have great chicken sandwiches (The Mediterranean Chicken is excellent), salads and breakfast burritos. Great prices, open late and the food was consistently good.

They also have a dog-friendly patio! (Yes, that's Barkley in a stroller. A dog stroller. I'll revisit this again, later.)

The other cool thing about Everest... it was transformed into "Deb's Restaurant" in the HBO series Big Love. It's where Sarah and Heather worked. So, we were eating at a location from one of our favorite shows, which was fun to talk about. I wish I would have snapped a picture of it when they were filming here years ago... I had no idea at the time! They also filmed at a few other locations in the area including Chili John's in Burbank and Wild Thyme in Pasadena.

While visiting downtown LA to see a sort of variety show hosted by the delightful Charles Phoenix (Which I shall talk about in another post!), we grabbed dinner at a place called Starry Kitchen.

There were some bold choices on the menu that day like, the Chinese Hoisin Hamburger, crunchy tofu balls, basil friend rice and assorted pork Banh Mi and lemongrass chicken wrap and sandwich options. Since they were slammed that day, they were crossing off menu items left and right, leaving us with little to choose from. When my Mom got to the front of the line, she ordered something... I can't remember what... and the owner yelled "That's the most f***ing-est boring thing on the menu!!!". He was cute about it... but... I think it took us all by surprise. So, because of his outburst, she ordered something else, they ran out of it and she went with her "boring" choice anyway. My "boring" choice was the lemongrass chicken wrap and basil fried rice. The wrap tasted pretty good, but a bit messy and drippy (hard to eat while sitting on a bench), so I couldn't finish it because I was starting to wear it. I love the lemongrass flavor. A burst of citrus with earthy undertones... very fresh and summery. The basil rice was really good, too. If you are ever near Starry Kitchen... I recommend a visit.

A close up of that sign in the room... referring to their crunchy tofu balls.

And this sign was sort of awesome... and notice their lack of beverages and placement of empty cup on the floor. Definitely was a busy day for them.

So, I'll leave you with Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena. We found this place on a food truck gathering night, and I ended up going back to pick up a pound of coffee.

Great atmosphere... including live music the night we were there.

And the coffee is roasted on the premises. Their coffee has a rich, caramel flavor. So, it's almost sweet without any sugar. Makes for an amazing drip experience at home, or get a latte there... you will not be disappointed!

We visited dozens of other eateries... but the ones above had the most character :)

So, I still have at least 3 more California/trip posts...

awesome LA events we visited, friends' shops we visited, Meg's favorite spots and the actual 5,000 miles on the road!

After that, it's back to art-centric posts. And Halloween is coming!! yay :)

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