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unlucky locations in the SGV

i do a weekly WSGV lunch gathering, and it being friday the 13th, someone suggested today's lunch be at a place that's got a unlucky reputation for location.

i just had lunch at bamboo creek today, so that location is out.

any other prime (so to speak) suggestions?

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  1. someone mentioned the old taste of chong qing / pho bec /
    haige star boulevard location near hawaii restaurant. is anything even open there now?

    1. Corner of New and Valley? (SW corner, IIRC)

      7 Replies
      1. re: ilysla

        Good one!

        But there's literally nothing there now as Grids is gone.

        1. re: TonyC

          I didn't know that there was nothing there! I think the last time I stepped foot on that lot was when it was a Home Savings (or was that next door?).

          1. re: TonyC

            barry, you might want to give the corner of New & Valley a go again as a new place, Hot Kitchen (see SGV Changes thread), is in soft opening phase.

            1. re: JThur01

              is there another friday the 13th coming up soon?

              any hint as to what type of cuisine hot kitchen will feature?

              1. re: barryc

                barry, I just noticed it in passing. Didn't drop in to check. At least there were some people there in soft opening mode.

                1. re: barryc

                  any hint as to what type of cuisine hot kitchen will feature?

                  A ménage à trois of Sichuanese (food) and Mongolian BBQ (cooking/plating technique) and Chipotle (restaurant format).

                  An orgy that even Nero would blush at. A lot.

            2. re: ilysla

              Definitely the one that came to mind IMMEDIATELY

            3. Many years ago, there was a restaurant in a small, free-standing building in Monterey Park called Lucky House (I think), and I believe it was on Garfield, or possibly Atlantic, but I think it was the former. Anyway, whatever street it was, if you're driving north, the street curved to the left just about where the restaurant stood, which was on the right side. On more than one occasion, someone drove straight into the side of the restaurant.

              I have no idea what's there anymore, as the only reason I used to go by that restaurant is because my mom, who was somewhat afraid of freeway driving and especially navigating, insisted on driving up surface streets from the 5, which nearly doubled the commute time, rather than take the 710.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrhooks

                That was Four Happiness at 310 S. Garfield, and is no longer a restaurant. Unfortunately a waitress was killed in the accident.

              2. 621 W. Main in Alhambra has had 11 restaurants there in the last 20 years. Currently is Tasty Dumpling. Another idea is to go to Plum Tree Inn in Chinatown which supposedly is haunted. Two people have died there, one in a gang shooting and another a workman.

                1. I can understand not waiting to go back after having eaten there so recently, but...sadly, they'll probably need all the help they can get.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: JThur01

                    has anyone else been to bamboo creek?

                    1. re: barryc

                      Second hand report that their new Sichuan menu is excellent. However since I received the report while I'm here in Poland, it has to be considered unconfirmed.

                      1. re: barryc

                        I went a few weeks back. Unfortunately, due to the size of my party, and the recommendation of the waitress, I don't feel I ate enough items, nor did I eat the correct items.

                        Got the:

                        Honey Smoked fish - tasty, but i expected sweeter & crunchier. it tasted a bit stale.

                        Jellyfish(?) - not bad but i prefer the sliced kind

                        Pork noodle - pork has good texture and taste, noodle was a bit generic

                        Spicy fish - So the story here was, I arrived wanting to try the spicy version, but the waitress insisted that as someone that doesn't normally eat that type of food, I should try non spicy. She recommended it to the table of chinese next to us as well. I feel that was a poor recommendation because the fish didn't taste any different from steamed + soy sauce

                        1. re: blimpbinge

                          i had their spicy fish/tofu dish, and i didn't find it all that all that spicy, i suspect that they were missing some necessary ingredient.

                          1. re: barryc

                            Bamboo Creek's dishes might be "spicy" for Zhejiang-style.

                            They've added a Sichuan menu!? I hope it doesn't mean they'll phase out their Zhejiang-style dishes (thanks TonyC), but I guess if one doesn't add hot pot of Sichuan, one can't make it in the SGV today. Maybe it's why some Shanghai-style places seem to be fading away.

                    2. isn't tasty dumpling the place where they have the different colored dumplings? <plaintive>

                      1. that place on valley that's maneki neko or something by hawaii market. it used to be a couple of schzewan, vietnamese (pho bac), and chinese restaurants. that place is extremely unlucky. it used to be Fu-Shing but the mafia burned it down and since then, it's been cursed.

                        someone also mentioned the place that used to be grids. that place used be car dealership, bank, and numerous eateries.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: catbert

                          catbert, thanks for explaining this. Burned down, eh? Involvement by some nicely dressed fellows in pinstriped suits? Now I finally understand some of the nudge and wink ipse and others have passed along about that location. Ipse, can you add more? ...or is it better not to? :-)

                          1. re: catbert

                            If anyone is curious grids has become hot kitchen and they're having a soft opening

                          2. Angelo's pizza in Alhambra. It burned down at least a couple of times in its current location.

                            1. decided to go to the mama lu's around the corner from the one that got crushed by that fire engine.

                              BTW, they take credit cards there.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: barryc

                                I was actually going to mention that but I only saw the thread now :| I think her restaurant got hit 3 times. On a side note, is there any development on that one that was crushed? I remember she said she was more than likely not going to reopen at that location.

                                1. re: polldeldiablo

                                  she was actually at that garvey location, i asked her about it, and she turned away. but not before i could see the big grin that crossed her face.

                                1. re: blimpbinge

                                  that's a good one. i can remember when it was a bank. then "the vault" then "ta vu", amongst other iterations.

                                  1. re: barryc

                                    toro actually lasted awhile, and was a hit with some of my ABC friends. Wonder what it'll be next

                                    1. re: barryc

                                      I used to go there when it was Washington mutual (before they became chase and moved across the street to where the theater was)

                                    2. re: blimpbinge

                                      For those who don't travel to the SGV often anymore, what corner is that?

                                      1. re: ilysla

                                        It's Colorado Blvd and San Gabriel Blvd. in Pasadena.

                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                          Whoa. My last recollection of that area was that there was a really dilapidated independent theater....

                                          1. re: ilysla

                                            there was a laemmle's (sp?) IIRC SW of that corner next to what i believe is/was now a wamu bank. i saw "the full monty" there before it closed.

                                            1. re: barryc

                                              I do believe it was a Laemmle's. I can't remember what the heck I saw there; perhaps some Jane Austen adaptation?

                                              I think there is/was a decent drive-through mexican place near there up by the freeway...?

                                              1. re: ilysla

                                                drawing a blank. which of course does not mean such a place does/did not exist.

                                    3. Can we count the space at 305 Garvey in Monterey Park of C.C. Manual Fish Ball? It's burned twice. Bad feng shui? ...bad wiring? or is making fish balls by hand far more hazardous than I first imagined?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. given that they've gone through something like 3 new owners in two years, i decided to add my review of china red here.

                                        the dim sum is menu driven and consequently the selections are very fresh. i particularly liked the shrimp chang fun for the quality.

                                        the menu is limited, but they do have a few of selections that aren't on many menus: the "golden lava" bao which contains a sweetened runny egg yolk filling, and the cream puff with fuzzy pork. i know better than to order XLB at a dim sum place, but i was intrigued by offering of shen jian bao and they weren't bad.
                                        and i liked the cold chicken feet marinated in vinegar.

                                        the siu mai was fresh, larger than most cart iterations, and topped with fish eggs.

                                        i didn't try it, but the lo mai gai (think chinese tamale) also is supposed to contain abalone.

                                        the focus wasn't great, but i also have pics of the menu, which can give you an idea of the brevity of choices compared to the other menu driven places.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: barryc

                                          I really think Red China is putting out some quality dim sum.

                                          The printed menu selections might appear sparse, but every time I've been there has been at least half a dozen specials trotted out by the kitchen in impromptu fashion.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            i didn't see any today. in general i would rather see a place produce a smaller selection of things that they do well than a ton of mediocrity to try and appeal to everyone (*noodle world cough cough*) but that's me. there is talent in the kitchen here.

                                            we ordered a total of 8 items, the most expensive probably being the chicken feet at around $7 and the bill for 2 was about $33 including tax. we could have probably fed a third person with that and without the chicken feet, which means you can come in with 3-4 people and eat for about $10-15 a person.

                                            that puts china red in my new top 5, about even with king hua and ahead of lunasia. behind sea harbor elite & king hua, but for folks on a budget, king hua & china red will be my recommendations for good dim sum without spending $25-30 like i could easily do (and have done) at elite or sea harbor.

                                            i appreciate your mentioning it as it would have stayed off my radar because i don't hit that stretch of arcadia all that often.

                                            1. re: barryc

                                              i didn't see any today.

                                              Try the weekends.

                                              Downside is the wait can be an excuse to go shopping at Arcadia supermarket.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                i generally avoid dim sum on weekends because of the crowds and the wait.

                                                1. re: barryc

                                                  I tried going last weekend and the wait was 40 min.. :/

                                                  1. re: blimpbinge

                                                    same kind of wait at lunasia on a saturday.

                                          2. re: barryc

                                            Ended up being able to go over the weekend. The wait wasn't long for a party of two, as they had a number of small tables avail.

                                            The menu reminded me of the one from Monterey Palace, some items and menu sections even had near identical names minus a character or two. The names in english were more extravagant than necessary imo.

                                            Siu Mai - larger than average, but also below expectation. I couldn't even find shrimp on a few of them, and one fell apart as I picked them up. They reminded me of the big & messy ones I had at SH#1. I thought it was a sign of things to come, fortunately, that was the only poor item.

                                            "French style" char siu bao - It's a snow capped style bun that has a slight cookie finish on the top, but filled with char siu. The filling was fresh and packed with meat. Very little fatty or inedible parts.

                                            Golden egg yolk filled purple yam.. bao? - I'm not sure how to describe this, but it's the "lau sa bao" but with a chewy sweet potato tasting shell. I thought it tasted better than the steamed and baked kinds as the skin was unusual (but filling). Yellow "sand" pouring out of a purple bun is interesting. Another place to try this is at Monterey Palace, they do it quite well there.

                                            Fung zau (chicken feet) - Made extremely well, skin was fall off the bone good, and the sauce was so good we started using it to dip different things.

                                            Veggie Dumpling - this green dumpling was steamed quite well, the skin was like a chewier har gow skin, and green. One of them was already punctured by the time it got to our table. The innards appeared to be a veggie medley. It wasn't bad but I wish there was the same exact thing, but with shrimp or scallop.

                                            Scallop + tofu cheung fun - fried tofu and scallops in steamed rice flour rolls. Not bad, could use some salt.

                                            Mango pudding - Quite good, probably better than the stuff that phoenix serves as mango pudding. Nice texture and nice balance of flavor and sweetness.

                                            daan taat - We originally had ordered po taats, but they said "the machine we need to make it is broken" and asked if we'd like the regular ones instead. Lucky we got them, they were extremely good. Fluffy and sweet in the center, crispy and slightly flaky crust. Didn't fall apart as i picked it up and even held up well after i tore it in half. After eating that, I thought having po taats would have made the meal too heavy. This was the perfect dish to end dimsum. Though I want to try their po taats as well.

                                            Overall, it was pretty good. Service was prompt, and they even changed our plate halfway through the meal. Pricing was about $15 per person, so not the $10 or so you'll pay at places in monterey park, but I think the quality is there. I'll definitely be back to try other items.