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Apr 14, 2009 11:00 AM

Lunch in East LA/monterey park?

So I work in East LA around the library and court and I'm lucky enough to have a lot of great places to eat. I just want to see if there's anything I'm missing. I have an hour, so that poses a problem with Mexican or Japanese sit down places because they like to take their time (e.g. Moles La Tia or Shin sen gumi). Here are my frequent places: Tacos Baja, Cook's Torta's, Los Molcajetes (great pupusas), Astro Burger, Elite, Shau may (for shaved ice), Duck house, NBC, Shakas, Bollini's for pizza. Any mexican places I'm missing that I'll be able to get out in time? Any Chinese places that are actually good? I hate bad cafe food. The food HAS TO BE good.

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  1. Silver & Gold Amazing. (Thanks, I guess, to C. Thi for spilling the beans.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chelmoon

      thanks....i had just printed out some of thi's articles to read but never got to them....I will be sure to check this one out..

    2. Mexi-Catessan on Atlantic Bl in MPK. Been going there for many years for great bean & cheese burritos and good hard shell tacos

      10 Replies
      1. re: Ernie

        thanks...always pass by this place but never knew they had anything good...

        1. re: Ernie

          Concur! This place has a special spot in my heart and stomach..........
          Haven't been in quite a while.......glad to hear it's still open and good......

          1. re: slowrider

            I'm personally not a fan of Mexi-Catessan! Just my two cents.

            El Tepeyac in Alhambra may be a bit of a hike, but they have relatively good Mexican food for the area. It does have sit down seating, but takeout might be ok.

            As for Chinese, there are some great options in MPK like Yun Chuan for sichuan, Yum Cha Cafe for quick and cheap dim sum, Kam Hong for niu ro mien.

            Other Chinese restaurants I've heard/read good things about and have been meaning to check out: Qingdao Breadfood, Dean Sin.

            As for non-Mexican or Chinese: Oasis Pupuseria and Thai House, both in Atlantic Square. I think Thai House is the best Thai in MPK, of the 4 places I've been to. Service at Thai House is great as well.

            I know you'd like to avoid Japanese sit down, but I've always been able to get in and out fairly quickly at Foo Foo Tei for ramen. Service is usually very prompt and attentive.

            1. re: thehungryghostkid

              Foo foo tei in monterey park is really bad. I'm waiting for daikokuya to open for lunch. Thai house i guess is the best thai in MPK but it's not very good. The smaller original one is better.

              1. re: peppermonkey

                Oh, sorry you don't like Foo Foo Tei or Thai House! I like 'em both!

                Of course neither is the best you can have in the category, but I guess options are kind of limited as far as MPK.

                It seems like you know your way around MPK pretty well, so you probably have not missed much then. :P

              2. re: thehungryghostkid

                ooh I would respectfully disagree about Yum Cha! It's the fast food chain of dim sum! I made the mistake of getting about $40 worth from the Chinatown location to share with co-workers on my first visit -- it was really not good and I was embarrased! The Noodle House on Garvey, two blocks west of New has dumplings made to order, see exilekiss' review w/pics! The green onion pancake is to die for!

                1. re: chowmominLA

                  Thanks Chow! I've been to Noodle House a few times, just forgot to mention it.

                  And I agree, Yum Cha is not the best dim sum but may be a good option given the time constraint.

                  1. re: chowmominLA

                    noodle house is a little far and the food is made to order which takes a while...i've been once and loved the fresh taste/texture of the buns, but felt everything was underseasoned.

                    1. re: chowmominLA

                      as far as fast food dim sum..there's actually a place i like lot. It's a standalone shack...Literally a shack. Dim sum express i believe it's call on garfield (between garvey and valley). I'm guessing it's like half made to order. Not the best dim sum but certainly better than yum cha and other dim sum restaurants that have take out on the side.

                      Dim Sum Express
                      326 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                      1. re: peppermonkey

                        Went there Sunday to get some shu mai and baked bbq bao on the way to the Cherry Blossom Festival. They were kind of sub par from what they used to be. I'd prefer Yum Cha Cafe because its fresher and cheaper. 3 shu mai and a baked bao at DSE was $3.85.

              3. What about Pepe's on Valley-great hard shell tacos and I really like their enchiladas. So get the tacos/cheese enchilada plate. Someone also tipped me off to El Loco's off of Atlantic, just as you pass under the 60 (heading towards East LA, not Pasadena). Great hard shell tacos there too.

                Mr.Baguette on Atlantic or Banh Mi My Tho on valley blvd. If you go to Elite, you may have time to hit up Mamma Lu's on Garvey and Garflied, right next to Shau May-I think.

                If you go to Bollini's then you might have time to go to Kuan's for buy one and get one free XLB's and good noodle soup (although I have not tried the soup I have had the XLB's). They're not going to knock your socks off, but it's a good deal and they're not bad. I think they're pretty quick too. They're a little hard to find, they're located behind/next to the Ford Dealer on Wilcox? off of Garfield-I think?

                I'm sure there are countless places to get a good tamale too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bigtums

                  thanks...not a real big fan of mr. baguette...but the other options seem interesting...

                2. I assume you've tried Tacos Real, since it's right across the street. I liked it better when they had pork al pastor on the spit as opposed to chicken, but they make a good torta. Nothing fancy, but super quick for those days you're in a hurry but want to eat decently.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jen.m

                    yeah I've been there often and the tacos are decent. But I feel like the tortillas are a little off since they use olive oil instead of lard.

                  2. Sam Woo BBQ on Garvey just east of Atlantic.
                    Ma Ma's Lu Dumpling

                    Mama's Lu Dumpling House
                    153 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

                    Sam Woo Barbeque Shop
                    634 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754