Category: Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock
A Quiet Peruvian Spot on Brand
230 N. Brand Blvd.
Phone: 818-956-5888 | map
Peruvian is getting to be a real comfort food for me, but then pretty much all South American cuisine is not going to offend me on any level. On Brand there's Mamita, which I've yet to try, and Lola's near the Alex Theatre.
Lola's is small and intimate, with a large dark wooden bar looming over the room; there looks to be a buffet along the back wall during lunch hours, but honestly it looks a little tired. Go for the great lunch specials instead. They'll bring you a basket with some light, airy bread and a dish of creamy aji sauce which is not lip-searing but has a pleasant kick.
The pollo saltado is good: dark meat chicken fried in a pan with wedges of red onion, served with white rice and large square-cut fries lying underneath like timbers to soak up the wonderful juices. The dishes at Mario's are more robust, but you can return to work and be functional after eating at Lola's. That may or may not be your desired effect.
They also do wood-rotisserie chicken, and have been written up in food magazines for it. The media pollo is juicy and tender. I had that with a Russian salad, which is basically potato salad with peas, carrots, lima beans, green beans, all the things you hate to see served to you when you're a kid but are probably okay with now. Still, I think I'll try one of the other sides next time.
To drink I happily, giddily recommend a chicha morada, made from purple corn, which I know sounds really not very awesome, but tastes like a refreshing hibiscus punch. I promise you.
I'm told their chicken and steak are better than their ceviche, but I will let you know if I find out differently. Let's see, what else... what's this? Fried yucca with huancaina sauce? What's that about? I must go see.
Lola's also has a counter-order place on Victory in Van Nuys.
The Peruvian count:
Mario's: Best Chance for Being Carted Home in a Basket
Los Balcones del Perú: Classiest Place for Making Yourself Useless
Lola's: Best Chicha Morada
Mamita: Most tongue-spanking Aji sauce
Peru's Taste: Most savory sauces
Puro Sabor: Best Lomo Saltado
Choza Mama: Most comfortably home-style
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, Peruvian )
kung ang hanap mo ay lasa
130 N. Maryland Ave. (in Glendale)
Phone: 818-241-0880 | map
I do not claim expertise in Filipino cuisine, but so far I've immensely enjoyed the food over at Salo-Salo. I've seen reviews complaining of dry food and bad service, but perhaps that's from an earlier time, or during dinner hours. My time for Filipino is lunch.
Usually I'll get the Sizzling sisig, which is spicy pork seasoned with chili peppers and calamansi and served with onions (it's probably not authentic, considering that it's meant to be pig's head and liver, but the menu admits it's an "interpretation" of pulutan). That, with a cool glass of calamansi juice (a sour citrus fruit drink that looks like orange and tastes sort of lime-ish), will make me slow and agreeable for the remainder of the day.
Or, I can recommend the Kuya's Fried Chicken lunch special, which comes falling off the bone with garlic fried rice, their slender egg rolls and a single fried plantain-in-the-skin that is more robust than sweet, and a little hard to dig into. There is also a small tub of what they tell me is ketchup but is almost like a sweet jelly.
Or, I can tell you that the miki guisado (stir-fried egg noodles with fish balls and Chinese sausage, and, bless us all, lechon bits), is satisfyingly day-slowing as well.
Want breakfast? Longanisa pampanga: a sweet pork sausage grilled, with garlic rice and two eggs. Is that breakfast? Yes, Virginia, yes. It is.
I have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps all this fried food is not ideal for my cholesterol, sodium or fat intake, but perhaps if I whistle merrily and don't think about it everything will be fine (tongue firmly planted in cheek).
Their slogan is Kung Hanap Ay Lasa, which I can helplessly assume is Tagalog, but if you know what it means, please leave a comment... although I see that my friend Ade has done so already.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, Filipino )
Simple, Fresh Asian Fusion
207 W. Wilson Ave (in Glendale)
Phone: 818-507-0812 | map
Well, it's called Teriyaki Me!, so it's not intended to be an all-encompassing, orgasmically paradisal gastronomical destination. It's simply a good, reliable lunch spot* that makes things fresh. It's mostly Japanese but feels like it has an aunt and uncle living in Honolulu, and bills itself as a "Gourmet Asian Grill."
I usually get the #6: Beef, Chicken & Shrimp at a nicely inexpensive eight bucks. The meat comes on skewers over rice (I get the brown rice, which I think is tastier), salad drenched in dressing, and some well-fried yet supple tempura. It all comes in a black styrofoam to-go box, delivered by the crisply casual, tall Asian woman behind the counter.
The main thing to do here is to grab one of their squeeze bottles of spicy teriyaki sauce and dash it plentifully. It's not really that hot but it's flavorful, and goes with everything.
* Right near my friend Dennis, who pleaded for a Teryaki Me! mention.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Japanese, Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock )
Those who have been to my other site know my predilection for things kitschy, especially the faux-Polynesian craze of the '50s. It breaks my heart to know that so many wondrous places with peaked grass roofs, bamboo bars and insanely colorful tropical beverages no longer exist.
Damon's, however, is still here. It started on Central Avenue in 1937 and moved one street over to its current location back in 1980. It retains its tiki theme and its old-school feel, with idyllic murals on the walls, an outrigger dangling from the ceiling, grass-tufted bamboo bars, and lighting nearly low enough to make it all invisible. The music is faint and often Hawai'ian.
They have Mai Tais, of course, strong and respectable. The garlic parmesan chips are crunchy, flaky threats to your sodium intake. The side salads are small, chopped affairs with lettuce that is perhaps not the farmers' market selection, ruddy with Russian dressing and tossed with beet slivers and celery. You eat it anyway.
Years ago my friend's dad always used to get the Patty Melt on rye with grilled onions, and I can vouch for its juicy splendor. Their steak sandwich is justly famous. The BBQ chicken sandwich is decent, not too sweet. The fries are crisp and dusted with seasoned salt.
Follow up with Kona Coffee Mudd Pie and another Mai Tai. Your date, or your business associate, or whomever you brought with you to this murky, moody paradise, will thank you.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, American )
It's a cozy, friendly location, hip without being pretentious, with easygoing color and dark wood floors that are just uneven enough to give it a sense of warmth. The people at Canelé are concerned with good food, not their rating in magazines.
And the food is quietly brilliant. Roast chicken with polenta and stewed mushrooms? Bianca has much to say about it. I've had the Boeuf Bourgignon with buttered noodles, which is exactly as good as you'd expect it to be. It's one of the few places where I've sat and said nothing for a moment after a bite. Even the simple Farmer's Market salad is deceptive.
They also have spaghetti aglio olio, as a nod to the restaurant who was in this spot before, Osteria Nonni.
Dessert? Flourless chocolate cake. Yes, good. Better? Orange butter cake.
Yet upon your way out the door, after you're stuffed with all the desserts you sampled and the dinner you tried not to eat too energetically, you're offered a canelé, a fluted French pastry, from a plate. It's a nice way to end things.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), French, Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock )
Simple Name, Satisfying Food
1013 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale
Phone: 818-243-5928 | map
There were four Eat Wells of which I knew: one on Sunset, one on Brand in Atwater, one on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, and one on Beverly. All unique, all good. The one on Sunset, in our neighborhood, is closed down. The one on Beverly is also gone, but that was apparently the runt of the litter.
Eat Well is hip but not overly so, because they concentrate on bringing you solidly healthy stuff in a comforting environment. Try especially their chorizo & eggs (or soy-rizo!), the Buddha Bowl, or the Big Mess. This is a local favorite in each of their locations.
The one in Silver Lake was populated with sleepy, beautiful people with scarves and interesting shoes, and their dogs. It also had Bingo, the neighborhood Dachshund, who lived at the "Pull My Daisy" clothing store next door and patrolled the sidewalk regularly. Eat Well closed down, Bingo has departed, and Silver Lake is a little less than it was.
The one in Glendale/Atwater is more diner-ish in its presentation, a little more panicked, and they do the black beans differently but make a better iced coffee. They're also more likely to plunk down a complimentary coffee cake while you're waiting. There's also a parking lot, which the other locations lack(ed).
Update: Their Garden Melt is now really a Garden Melt... the patty is no longer one of those generic vegetarian meat substitutes, but it's positively green, with split peas and other definitely vegetal content. It's not bad, honestly.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Healthy/Organic, Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, Diner )