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Main and Garfield, Alhambra?

Pei Jul 27, 2007 09:37 PM

What's great for lunch in the area? A friend's doing me a favor and running an errand with me, so I want to take her to lunch and Fosselman's afterwards. What's to eat in the area?

Backup plan is 101 Noodle Express on Valley and New for the beef roll, but I would love to try something new.

Casual, cheap, and delicious. Preferably Chinese like a good noodle house, open to other ideas.

  1. russkar Jul 27, 2007 10:01 PM

    Lake Spring

    1 Reply
    1. re: russkar
      m
      monkey Jul 30, 2007 07:22 AM

      Lake spring? Isnt that on Garvey? quite a trek....

    2. ipsedixit Jul 27, 2007 10:07 PM

      Toros for Japanese and sushi.

      Golden Deli (or Vietnam House) for Vietnamese and pho.

      Newport Seafood for that great garlic lobster.

      Luscious Dumplings for dumplings

      Pho 79 for pho.

      -----
      Pho 79
      29 S Garfield Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801

      Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood
      500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

      Golden Deli
      815 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      Newport Seafood House
      835 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      Luscious Dumplings
      704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit
        s
        snooze button Jul 27, 2007 10:12 PM

        Toros has good rolls and great restrooms!

        1. re: snooze button
          ipsedixit Jul 27, 2007 10:18 PM

          "... and great restrooms!"

          Touche.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            s
            snooze button Jul 30, 2007 03:20 PM

            I first went there upon your recommendation so I should thank you. It also made me look mighty good in front of my ravenous dining companions. Score!

        2. re: ipsedixit
          c
          calabasas_trafalgar Jul 30, 2007 10:57 AM

          Second Toros, and add Yama. I've heard Charlie's Trio is good, but have never tried it.

          -----
          Yama Restaurant
          433 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
            m
            monkey Jul 30, 2007 01:14 PM

            you are not talking bout Yama across from the library i hope? Only second time in my life I left Sushi on the table it was so bad....

            1. re: monkey
              c
              calabasas_trafalgar Jul 30, 2007 03:20 PM

              Oh yeah. They are not sushi specialists by any stretch. Very good chicken teriyaki(I won't order anywhere else, I'm so spoiled by how good their's is)and sukiyaki. The sushi is very limited, but if you stick to nigiri like salmon, tuna and yellowtail, or sashimi, it's quite good for the price.

        3. JAB Jul 27, 2007 10:15 PM

          http://www.cubanbistro.com/#

          4 Replies
          1. re: JAB
            s
            snooze button Jul 27, 2007 10:16 PM

            What's good there?

            1. re: snooze button
              barryc Jul 29, 2007 01:44 AM

              the restrooms? for real cuban, go to el cochinito or el colmao! they're just about the only two places my cuban friends will patronize.

              actually, ipsedixit listed some pretty good choices although a few aren't *that* close to main & garfield. too bad the chinese restaurant on the corner changed hands. used to have some great lunch specials there.

              1. re: barryc
                JAB Jul 29, 2007 10:54 AM

                And where exactly are these 2 in relation to Main and Garfield in Alhambra?

              2. re: snooze button
                JAB Jul 29, 2007 10:56 AM

                I don't remember the name of the pork dish but, it's advertised as crispy on the outside and tender on the inside and it delivered as promised.

            2. b
              bulavinaka Jul 29, 2007 10:09 AM

              Yazmin is right off this intersection. Malaysian food is what they serve which is not fairly common in So Cal. The noodle dishes are quite extensive, both wet and dry, and so are the rice dishes. Curries are a mainstay in Malaysian cuisine as well.

              If you've never eaten Malaysian cuisine, it can be quite varied, as three Asian cultures are represented there (Malay, Chinese, Indian), and a fair amount of culinary crossover has occured over the centuries. Adaptation is particularly obvious in Malaysian Chinese cuisine, where curries and roti are mainstays.

              If I were trying Yazmin for the first time, I would probably choose from the following: a fruit salad called rojak, a noodle dish (char kway teow, mi goreng, Hokkien mee,), a soup (wonton mi, asam laksa, laksa lemak, curry mee), a protein (beef rendang, satays, any grilled or fried chicken (ayam), Yong tau fu, sambal undang (spicy shrimp), ikan bakar(grilled fish), roti canai (cha-nai), kangkong belacan (water spinach w/ fermented shrimp paste), and a dessert ice like chendal or ice kachang.

              If I were eating food from this region for the first time, I'd start out with nasi lemak, a very traditional dish that is known throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. It's kind of an all-in-one sampler that has coconut rice as its basis with tidbit-sized portions of dried anchovies (ikan bilis), peanuts, cucumbers; a protein like curry chicken, grilled fish, or beef rendang, and sambal (chilli sauce). Usually all wrapped in a banana leaf and eaten as breakfast but it can be found and eaten just about anywhere, anytime.

              Yazmin
              27 E Main St
              Alhambra, CA 91801
              626-308-2036

              7 Replies
              1. re: bulavinaka
                s
                suvro Jul 30, 2007 01:26 PM

                Yazmin, in a former incarnation, used to be further east on Las Tunas (in the same mall where House of Vietnam is, diagonally opposite from Golden Deli and Newport Seafood). We loved the food there - specially their rojak. Great tamarind base sauce, with crunchy fruits. We loved other dishes too.

                Then they moved to the current location on Main. We went back - once, twice - and came back disappointed. The food quality seemed to have slipped, and the service certainly was worse. It is a bigger location and they did not have enough people serving.

                We used to frequent Kuala Lumpur which started in the Cellophane Building in Old Town Pasadena, then moved to Green Street. But they folded sometime ago! :-(

                1. re: suvro
                  b
                  bulavinaka Jul 30, 2007 07:49 PM

                  We don't expect Malaysian food in LA to be like Malaysian food in SE Asia. We did like them as well when they were on Las Tunas, but we didn't think they slipped markedly at their current location. Maybe our expectations aren't high enough? Whatever the case, we still find their food quite exceptable, and considering the number of Malaysian/Singaporean eateries are becoming as rare as a cool day in KL or a quiet day on the MRT. We find their food alot more like home cooking - not hawker food. They tend to be lighter on the salt and fat. This is how we like it - "un-ba-reev-a-burh - just like-a momma yoostoo make-aht," as Jo-koy says... well almost as good...

                  We tried Kuala Lumpur and liked them as well at both locations - I don't know if they are reopening somewhere else but that was the rumor.

                  You also might try Belacan Grill if you're ever around the South Bay. They've got quite good food as well - a little pricier than what you may be used to paying in SGV, and definitely alot more than Malaysia or Singapore.

                  All in all, I think the problem with keeping one's game up with this cuisine here is two-fold. One is the fact that as good as sourcing once-impossible-to-find ingredients has gotten, there's still an issue with this cuisine. Sourcing Kerbau (Malay for water buffalo) is impractical but makes a much tastier beef rendang, sourcing tenggiri (SE Asian kingfish) is also nil for really good otak otak. You get the picture... Another is I have yet to find any place that can replicate the tastes of dishes that don't require special ingredients from the mother country. I strongly believe that this is because the humidity factor adds alot to the tasting experience, as well as the other endemic issues that arise from the very specific environment created by the climate there. The Malaysian food I eat here, no matter how well-prepared (even when my MIL is out here preparing the exact same things here as there), tastes blunted compared to what I recall over there. I digress... anyway, if that's how you feel about Yazmin, that's okay... I fine with it...

                  Belacan Grill
                  2701 190th St
                  (North) Redondo Beach, CA 90278
                  310-3701831

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    s
                    suvro Jul 31, 2007 04:17 PM

                    You make very good points. I come from India, and understand exactly what you mean about not being able to source raw ingredients like back home. One example is that the raw mangoes we get here lack the acidity and flavor of those back home, so dishes (fish curry and lentil soup and chutneys) made using this is simply not the same as in Bengal.

                    Having said that, I owe it to your post to try Yazmin, at least once more. I will report back on my experience this time. bulavinaka - what dishes are your must haves?

                    I will jeep Belacan Grill on my list fora visit to that area.

                    1. re: suvro
                      b
                      bulavinaka Jul 31, 2007 10:03 PM

                      To be honest, we don't really stick with any particulars. We just order based on what we feel like having there. The basics are reliable. We enjoy the kangkong belacan, laksa lemak, asam bakar, and of course beef rendang. The dry noodle dishes in general are good, but my wife enjoys the wonton mi. It's been a few monthes since we were out that way but I'm guessing nothing's changed...

                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        s
                        suvro Aug 1, 2007 02:46 PM

                        I went to Yazmin today with my frequent lunch companion. We ordered
                        1. Laksa Curry - this was OK but slightly disappointing. They used the thigh meat of chicken, and it had a slight off flavor. I don't know if it was because of the thigh meat itself, or if it was slightly lower quality meat, but I have found in other cuisines (Thai - particular reference to Chandra Thai in Pasadena) that if they don't use the more neutral tasting breast meat for chicken, sometimes the specific flavors of the base produces some off-notes for the chicken. Also the gravy was somewhat gritty when I compared it mentally to what Kuala Lumpur used to make.
                        2. Beef Rendang - this was good and quite a decent portion. Beef was soft and gravy was quite flavorful.
                        3. Char Kway Teow - this noodle dish was quite good. Good wok flavor and good portions. It is similar to the pad see euw noodles at our favorite Thai restaurant in Pasadena, and worth coming back for.
                        4. Red beans with shaved ice - though we are not big on desserts, this had got my attention and was a fitting way to end the meal. The red beans were sweet, the shaved ice had some syrup in it (could not tell, except that I detected slight hints of rose water - but perhaps it was some slightly perfumed sweet berry syrup).

                        Overall, well worth the trip and I will go back to try other dishes from their menu. One note: my stomach detected heavy use of MSG (unfortunately).

                        1. re: suvro
                          b
                          bulavinaka Aug 1, 2007 07:53 PM

                          Thanks for the report - sorry about the msg... I should have warned you... it doesn't bother me but I know for some... its use is just like in Malaysia - many if not most places use at least some...

                          1. re: suvro
                            b
                            bulavinaka Aug 13, 2007 08:33 PM

                            We stopped by Little Malaysia last night on the way back to LA from Vegas. Although we enjoyed it, both my wife and I still prefer Yazmin over Little Malaysia. The styles are different for sure, but we also found Yazmin's kitchen skills to be better, especially when it came to the noodle dishes in general. I did enjoy LM's version of beef rendang - more curry-like, soupy, and the beef was very tender. We'd go back again if we were in the area.

                2. Reeter1 Jul 29, 2007 01:34 PM

                  Lots of great lunch options here, especially if you just want to park and not drive anywhere.

                  Hop Woo at 1 Main Street is a perfectly good, old-fashioned Cantonese food joint. Usually, they have some amazing lunch deal featuring crab or lobster.

                  If you're in the mood for cold noodles, not hot pho, Pho 79 is great for that too. My fave is always the cold noodles with BBQ pork and shrimp. YUM! With a cafe sua da, you're ready to tackle anything after lunch cuz you're caffeined-up, but not weighted down with a heavy meal.

                  We love Cuban Bistro's excellent ribs and classic Cuban roast pork. Be warned, you'll probably want to nap afterwards, however.

                  Other Chinese -- a few blocks west at 500 W. Main is Triumphal Palace. They can be crowded at lunch, so try to go early. (They open at 10:30 a.m.)

                  If you want Mexican, you can always get excellent scallop burritos or tacos at Senor Fish too!

                  1. b
                    Burger Boy Jul 29, 2007 01:56 PM

                    For Hawiian try Shakas, get some beef teri, some spam masubi and by all means get the bacon fried rice and ask for easy on the soy, damn im getting hungry!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Burger Boy
                      b
                      bulavinaka Jul 29, 2007 02:07 PM

                      So the Shakas with bacon fried rice is the one in Alhambra... ok, that's why I don't see it at the one in MP - still great though, and the folks there are classic Island-nice...

                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        b
                        Burger Boy Jul 30, 2007 09:45 AM

                        It is good grinds, I am just used to less soy, that is how my friends dad made it! Aloha Foods has good fried rice, the rest is okay. Alhambra also has a full bar.

                      2. re: Burger Boy
                        monkuboy Jul 29, 2007 03:55 PM

                        My daughter and I ate at Shaka's in Alhambra yesterday.. made nicer because her friend works there (although I didn't know that yet when I suggested the place). What I like about this place is it is a cut above the other Hawaiian places in the SGV in terms of atmosphere, food presentation (nice plates instead of styrofoam) and variety of food on the menu. The food itself is pretty good and served in fairly generous portions. It's definitely not for the diet-conscious! It's my first choice for Hawaiian in the area because of the above reasons; all of the other places have much more limited menus and dumpy surroundings.

                      3. raytamsgv Jul 30, 2007 02:32 PM

                        Hop Woo has some pretty decent Cantonese dishes, and it has lunch specials, too. Since the theater went up, they have added lots of English to their menu...there goes the neighborhood. :-)

                        Pho 79 is also very good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: raytamsgv
                          m
                          monkey Aug 1, 2007 07:24 AM

                          Hop Woo opened quite some time after the theater (two years ago or so).....They have several specials you have to ask about if you dont read chinese and een then are not very forth coming offering them to non asians...

                        2. i
                          iknowfood64 Aug 9, 2007 08:52 PM

                          If you like Thai food, I suggest Thai Purple that is located on Main and Garfield. The front door face the Movie theatre across the street. If you go down to Valley Blvd there are many place to choose from. Try Bacali or Noodle city for good pho.

                          1. k
                            keithlca Aug 10, 2007 03:33 PM

                            Definitely Toros!

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