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Jan 21, 2013 02:08 PM

ISO Local cheap eat gems with easy access to I-5

Hi All-

I will be travelling from SF to Escondido and was hoping I could get some lunch recs while passing through on I-5. Preferably something that isn't done as well in the SF bay area, such as deli, cheep but good Chinese, Korean, Thai, etc. Open to almost anything along I-5 without a white tablecloth except Mexican.

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  1. As long as it's not a Sunday it's a short detour off the 5 to Langer's and their wonderful pastrami

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      +1 for Langer's Deli, the best pastrami & rye on earth. Just a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Also they do close at 4pm.

    2. I think Langer's is too big a detour.

      Cheap, okay Korean, Seoul Garden off Red Hill Ave in Tustin.

      Cheap, great Chinese, Yu's Garden & AJ's in Irvine at the 5 & Jeffrey.

      Cheap good Taiwanese in the same center, Liang's Kitchen.

      BUT, depending on the day of the week and time of day I would not use the 5 Freeway to get to Escondido.

      I'd take the 210 Cutoff as you come out of the Grapevine and take the 210 to the 15 Freeway south to Escondido....

      And using the 210 instead opens up amazing Chinese options in the San Gabriel Valley.

      10 Replies
      1. re: scottca075

        I definitely agree the 210 to the 15 is a much better route.

        1. re: scottca075

          Okay, as much as I've always wanted to try Langer's, I'm sold on the 210 to 15 if it is a better route around lunchtime. Are any of those amazing Chinese options close to the freeway?

          1. re: Civil Bear

            210 to 57 to 71 to 15 is even faster, and lets you hit Din Tai Fung or 101 Noodle (both Arcadia) for lunch, Mother Moo (Sierra Madre) or Donut Man (Glendora) for dessert, and Dripp (Chino Hills) for fine coffee.

            [and yes I know you're not exactly hurting for fine coffee in SF, but you'll need something to get you past that carbohydrate crash...]

            1. re: Bradbury

              Both places sound great!. Are their any particulary unusual or outstanding items to choose from for a SF hound? I'm a fan of good dan dan mein wich can be hard to find up here.

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  Nothing *really* unusual, but here's what I'd suggest...

                  Din Tai Fung: juicy pork dumplings (xiao long bao), pork chop fried rice, green beans w/ garlic, cold tofu/sprouts appetizer, Shanghai rice cakes, black sesame dumplings (not on menu, but available)

                  101 Noodle: beef roll, oxtail & hand-torn noodle soup, shrimp&spinach dumplings, scallion pancakes

                  Mother's Moo: anything, really, though for a limited time now she has medlar ice cream (Persian winter fruit only grown commercially on 1 or 2 farms in CA)

                  Donut Man: tiger's tail, apple fritter (if fresh), maple cruller

                  Dripp: Turkish coffee

                  1. re: Civil Bear

                    I would skip DTF. There are plenty, and better, XLB options up in SF.

                    Instead, I would head over to Chang's Garden since you want Dan Dan Mein as they probably make the best iteration of that dish near the route you are taking. (Lucky Noodle King probably does make one of the better renditions of Dan Dan Mein, but it's too out of the way for you.)

                    And in that same strip mall (with DTF and Chang's Garden), I would also stop by Sin Ba La, even if you don't eat in, you should pick up some of their housemade sausages to-go.

                    A bit west of that plaza is Duo-Pot, which is another good place for lunch. A chinese hot pot restaurant, but if order correctly, noodles and Sichuan dry pot, you could probably make a pretty decent ghetto Dan Dan Mien.

                    Also, right off the 210 is Zelo Pizza, worth a stop.

                    In addition to Mother Moo for ice cream, consider also Bulgarini for some gelato.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Thanks for the suggestions. Too bad Lucky Noodle King is out of the way as their website looks awesome.

                      Re: Chang's Garden, I am having a hard time finding much info on it. A Yelper referred to it as formal. Is this the case? I am hoping to find a casual place where we can get in & out relatively cheaply.

                      I will be travelling with my wife, son, and mother, the latter of which loves Chinese food but her exposure is limited to the American/Cantonese standards (walnut prawns, kung pow chicken, etc.). It would be ideal to have her able to try more Sichuan or Shanghai dishes. I'm thinking XLB, dan dan mein or Shanghai fried rice cakes, and a spicy whole fish dish among others.

              1. re: scottca075

                I would trade Seoul Garden for Shik Do Rak off the 5 at Jeffrey in Irvine. Not AYCE buffet style like Seoul Garden but SDR's meat quality is much higher.

                Additionally, the 5 will be more scenic IMO than the 15 but you will miss out on the aforementioned Chinese options off the 210.

              2. Renu Nakorn Thai

                13019 E. Rosecrans Ave., Ste. 105
                Norwalk, CA 90650

                1 Reply
                1. re: DWB

                  Have you been recently? My last few experiences and several others here on the board indicate this place has gone severely downhill since it's heyday.

                2. Thanks all. We ended up at DTF and had a very nice meal. Although the food was good, what really stood out was the friendly service. I would highly recommend this place to anyone passing through.

                  1. Well, Coni'Seafood fits the requirement except that is it Mexican. But it isn't typical Mexican (tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc) - it is Mexican seafood, with a heavy emphasis on ceviche.

                    3544 W Imperial Hwy
                    Inglewood, CA 90303
                    (310) 672-2339