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Jul 28, 2014 08:17 PM

Valley Blvd Eats - looking for eating partners

I have this ambitious goal: try ALL the restaurants on Valley Blvd between 710fwy and 605fwy (Alhambra, Rosemead, El Monte, etc.)

Here's a guideline I have in mind:
Two eating a week.
Each eating we visit 4-6 restaurants. Most likely all those restaurants in the same plaza.
Limit budget: $20 per person goes into a pot.
Limit time: 20 min per restaurant.
Limit dish: One (or two) dish per restaurant. We will ask the owner/chef to pick one dish that will represent their restaurant.

Who's interested?

If I have three people interested, we can get this started.

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  1. that approach will work with some places that are a one trick pony when it comes to their menu. but even then i can envision a lack of enthusiasm on the part of owners who have to set a full table for folks who order one scallion pancake, etc. at a place like chengdu taste, you can spend your entire allotment on a meal there easily.
    and frankly, some places are worth missing IMO; i'd say start with ming wa on valley and go east from there.

    and FWIW, there are plenty of great places on main/las tunas and garvey worth hitting.

    i have a loosely organized group who does a friday lunch in the WSGV. we typically chime in around 10:30 am on facebook friday mornings to see who's available and to decide on one of the choices i put out there. if that works for you, you're welcome to join us if you can't find people to join you in your quest.

    1. The number of awful to decent restaurants on that stretch of Valley probably number 10:1. Against you.

      The odds increase against your Chowhound cred if the metric is "awful to great restaurants". Something on the level of 20:1.

      Just thinking about it now, there are at least 3 McDonalds on that stretch of Valley, if not more, plus some place called Yoshinoya. And then there's that Thai place in the strip mall on the SW corner of Valley and Lower Azusa, which on last reports was still unable to produce a decent bowl of white rice.


      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Ah, but those McDonald's fries are so heavenly...

        1. re: J.L.

          Soft serve is pretty good (for the price), too.

            1. re: Johnny L

              I love the large beef bowl + extra broth but, once I saw what a sodium bomb the bowl was, I just couldn't anymore. =(

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I don't disagree that there might be more awful restaurants than decent ones. But I think most of them also have been around for years. I'm curious to find out why. And Yes, I'll skip the chains. There are more mom n pop ones than chain stores on that valley stretch.

                1. re: delynchow

                  then you won't be hitting every restaurant. that's going to discredit you for whatever merit badge you're trying to earn.

                  1. re: delynchow

                    Not all restaurants stick around for years because they're good, and not all chains are bad.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    And those ultra disgusting and utterly vile though somehow curiously delicious McD's filet o fish sandwiches.

                  3. One of the great things about Chowhound is that someone else has probably already done the "heavy lifting" for us in terms of separating the wheat from the chaff.

                    (pause for eternal respect to heavy-lifting Chowhounds like Chandavkl, ipsedixit & TonyC)

                    My admonition: Be prepared to sift through lots and lots of mediocre food.

                    Bonne chance.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: J.L.

                      Well I have eaten at every Chinese restaurant on Valley Blvd. except for a couple recent openings, but I had a head start. First authentic Chinese restaurants came to the San Gabriel Valley in the mid-70s, but it took a while for them to move north to Valley Bl. First Valley Bl. restaurant I ate at was Ocean Seafood in 1983 (same Ocean Restaurant as in Chinatown, now home to Boat House). From that point in time it was just a matter of catching the new places as they open. If you start to do that now you'd be 200 restaurants in the hole.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Well I have eaten at every Chinese restaurant on Valley Blvd. except for a couple recent openings ...



                        How was Sunny? Or Yummi? And Chopsticks Kitchen?

                        Stomach of cast iron!

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Just because I ate there doesn't mean I remember anything about them. All I remember is that they were in El Monte. Thank goodness for databases. I've eaten at 525 Chinese restaurants on Valley Blvd. over the years.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Your Excel spreadsheet makes shaving Schrödinger's Cat with Occam's Razor seem like a quick stop at the local barber's shop.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                If I know where he is eating, and I look, then he cannot be there.

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  It turns out that he's both there, and not there.

                                  btw - I found an excellent quantum mechanic to work on my flux capacitor and now I get my DeLorean fixed before it needs work...

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    Ah, I now finally have an idea as to who you look like...

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      I can do better than that. One time when I was in line at Carney's on the Sunset Strip the guy behind me in line asked me if I was Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers fame and another time someone asked me if I was Kenny Rogers (before the plastics man got a hold of him)...

                                    2. re: Servorg

                                      you look like doc brown ???????

                                      no joke ????????????????????

                                      damn, you're ancient. :)

                        1. I work on Valley Blvd near the 710. I can meet you for some lunches if this is still on.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: granadafan

                            are you responding to the OP or to me?

                          2. You realize you'd have to eat shit like Shang Hai Yau Fat? And Noodle World? And Petrillo's? Sunday Bistro? And Vittoria Pizza?

                            I couldn't even be bothered with eating every Chinese restaurant on Valley all the way down to 605. That's just foul. Maybe you can eat every non-Asian restaurant, just to (ironically, but without a mustache) say: this is possibly the worst stretch of road for food in Los Angeles?

                            What a tremendous waste of time and money. How about a month-long trip back to Myanmar to find ancient Burmese cookbooks instead?

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: TonyC

                              Shanghai Yau Fat was one of the better places to eat in the early 1980s. They even had two locations and that's where we took Gweilo to eat to show them what the new style Chinese food was about. Now how they've stayed in business in Alhambra for all these years is indeed a mystery.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                chandval, the restroom cafe has closed right ??????

                                Did you ever actually try it ??????

                                my bad.

                                but i never made it there.

                                i can't remember if you sat on an actual toilet there or the food was served in toilet shaped bowls or whether you sat on a real working toilet and took a dump right after your meal as it were. hopefully this wasn't tmi.

                                but that restaurant does have another thing coming. :)

                                1. re: kevin

                                  Yes, it closed, but under my revised strategy of trying a restaurant as soon as it opens because you can never how fast it'll shut down, I did get to eat there. You sat on replica toilets and ate out of these cute little bowls shaped like toilets.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                    that place went down the crapper real quick.

                              2. re: TonyC

                                brutal. this is my first post on chowhound. now I'm scared! just when I thought yelpers where scary, I have no idea what I got myself into on chowhound.

                                Personally, I love Noodle World. it has been my family's regular eatery ever since we landed in SGV decades ago.

                                And, yeah, I also like Sunday Bistro back it was on Atlantic Blvd. JJ Cafe, Garden Cafe, Old Country Cafe, Shao May, etc. these places are the ones I grew up eating.

                                Just because I'm "worldly" now eating at fancy places in DTLA and know how to pronounce prosciutto, foie gras, fondue, hollandaise sauce . It doesn't mean I won't have appreciation for greasy, oily, salty, MSG full Chinese eateries.

                                Now that I'm on the other side of the restaurant business, I thought I would have different experience trying those places on Valley. The truth is these places still get to my heart.

                                1. re: delynchow

                                  no worries, man.

                                  eat to your hearts content and don't let the intermittent naysayers sway you away from a joint you wanted to try

                                  first hand knowledge is the best hand knowledge

                                  And that ain't no joke.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    It's hard to talk about a restaurant you haven't eaten at, so there's nothing wrong with trying them all.

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      There are some restaurants you don't want to talk about.

                                      Especially if you've eaten there.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Actually some of those make the best conversation. Like Philippe Chow or Chi Lin. Or Wing Lei in Las Vegas.

                                  2. re: delynchow

                                    tony pretty owns his end of the spectrum. but he did express what some of us may have been thinking.

                                    what you want to do has meaning for you. i get that. but do consider the idea that you approached a group of people who care enough to participate here because they specifically DON'T want to eat bad food.

                                    if it's not clear, i'd rather go to a proctologist named DR HOOK than waste time and money deliberately eating at what are considered by chowhound consensus to be bad restaurants. i'd be surprised if any regular participant on chowhound didn't feel much the same way, (we don't have the time to go to all the restaurant we WANT to try, much less the ones we'd otherwise avoid) though they (with the exception of tonyc) may express it more artfully.

                                    if it's what you really want to do, then i wish you luck and i regret that i can't recommend a place where you might find people more sympathetic to your quest. but i'm pretty sure that you won't find anyone to join you from chowhound.

                                    1. re: delynchow

                                      Do whatever you like, regardless of what anyone on here says. =) But just also expect that, if posters disagree w/ you, they're going to do so very bluntly ;)

                                      I'm not interested in joining your exploits (mainly b/c of geographic distance), but I'm certainly interested in reading about them. =)

                                      JJ Cafe sounds so familiar, but I can't place it. I do remember Helena and ABC as (perhaps) being among the first wave of HK style diners here. I was (very, very) young, and I've got fond memories of steak w/ black pepper sauce and spaghetti bolongese.

                                      1. re: delynchow

                                        Nobody's saying don't go to Old Country Cafe or Shau May, or that those places are bad. If you're just going to the places that have some nostalgia for you, I don't see any problem with that.

                                        I just don't know why you would take a shotgun blast approach to eating all these things again when sites like CH exist to share that knowledge. Even if I had a near-death experience and a new lease on life, I still don't think I'd enjoy Wonderful.

                                        Anyway, if you find 2 others daring enough to join you on this, report back!

                                        1. re: delynchow

                                          big D,

                                          I'm still thankful for the invitation to the collab, so I'm watching out for your wallet + waist line. =)

                                          Shang Hai Shau Fat wishes it was as good as Old Country/Shau May. We're talking about a whole 'nother level of degenerates here. Like.. Dong Nguyen, Amrose. Good god how is that shit so bad? What else is open on Valley? That sushi restaurant, Yoshi's? There's also the really horrific Mexican joint, Armando's. O man.. Sometimes you gotta feel bad for Latinos in WSGV, eating 38 Degrees, Alondra Hot Wings, Petrillo's..

                                          1. re: TonyC

                                            What makes you think Latinos in SGV only eat at those places? And again, why are you so hung up on race? Is your family new to this country?

                                        2. re: TonyC

                                          Bring on Petrillo's, that place is pretty crappy the one time I tried it.

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              no shit. once was enough. now i can say dont waste your money to people