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Nov 1, 2009 03:56 PM

Oakland to Palm Desert - Lunch Along The Way?

I'll be driving from Oakland to Palm Desert this week for a gathering of friends.

Coming down I-5, I figure I'll be ready for a lunch break by the time I hit the LA area...I'm thinking somewhere along where I-5 and the 210 or 10 intersect. Any suggestions for lunch on my way to the desert?

Thanks in advance...

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  1. Well, the I-5 connects to the 210 at the north side of San Fernarndo Valley. You can go that way and find some good places to eat in La Crescenta or Pasadena.

    Map of freeways for others to more easily help you

    (1) Jeremy's Restaurant
    3009 Honolulu Ave
    La Crescenta, CA 91214
    (818) 248-7772
    Just a good, solid, hometown diner, casual, inexpensive

    (2) Dish
    734 Foothill Blvd
    La Canada, CA 91011
    (818) 790-5355
    A little fancier cafe, good prices, good food

    Or take the I-5 to Chinatown in downtown Los Angels area because it's a travel experience and have some good Chinese restaurants and places/stores to walk about and stretch your legs.
    (3) New Dragon
    934 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Looks like a scary hole in the wall, but inside very fresh, excellent Cantonese fare in a clean, well run place with good service. Wooden chairs, no booths, not fancy. Very good prices and authentic with some Americanized dishes.

    Or just walk that street into the restaurants and look at the menu and get vibe if you like it. here are many restaurants on one or two blocks. Fun experience.

    There's a freeway map on the Chinatown site to give you bearings from there.

    In PASADENA I like Green Street Restaurant
    146 S. Shoppers Lane
    Pasadena, CA 91101-2618
    (626) 577-7170

    And there are several other good places in Pasadena

    Have a good trip !

    1. Having made a similar trip dozens of times, I can say that you certainly don't want to go down the 5 to the 10, because of the likely traffic on the 5 and then on the 10 until you get quite far east.

      Taking the 210 all the way to Redlands is normally easier, and I recommend having lunch closer to Pasadena than to Santa Clarita, because of the greater number of good choices. For example, a few miles before Pasadena, you might exit south at Ocean View in Montrose. After a few blocks go east on Honolulu to Zeke's Smokehouse. (By the way, each restaurant I mention is marked on Google Maps.) It's not the top LA BBQ place by any means, but it is a nice one, despite mixed reviews on the Hollywood location, with good brisket and several excellent sides.

      Alternatively, continue on Ocean View a bit further until you reach the merge with Verdugo. You'll find a very enjoyable and popular Mexican place -- La Cabanita -- just north of that intersection. Good soups, enchiladas, and various soft-shell tacos. Locals know to stop a block before Verdugo and go in the back door.

      If you're too hungry when you get to Santa Clarita, try the Wood Ranch outpost in Valencia. Again, not the highest point of Southern California BBQ, but it's an often-overlooked and very comfortable local chain with some of the best barbecued tri-tip around, in addition to very good salads, sliders, and chicken.

      You'll also probably get many good suggestions for Pasadena. I'd recommend Tonny's for carnitas, costillas, and aguas frescas and AP-Petite -- it's right on Lake Ave., but you park in the rear, and Google shows it set back -- for wonderful, tiny, European-style sandwiches and pastries. All these restaurants are friendly, the food is very good, and all are relatively easy-off/easy-on the freeway. I would probably choose either AP-Petite or La Cabanita most days.

      Tonny's Restaurant
      843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

      La Cabanita
      3447 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208

      Zeke's Smokehouse
      2209 Honolulu Ave, Montrose, CA 91020

      140 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

      Wood Ranch Bar-B-Que & Grill Valencia
      25580 The Old Rd, Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381