Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ethnic Food of the San Gabriel Valley: From the Greek Islands to the Hawaiian Islands

Cuisines covered in previous posts: Mexican, Cajun, NepaleseLebanese, Thai, BasqueArgentinian, Cuban, Vietnamese, English, Belgian, Spanish, Jewish

What about Greek Food? Well, we do have some strictly Greek restaurants, such as Corfu in Sierra Madre, most of the Hellenic immigrants around here...and we have quite a few...are more in the line of the Greek diner, like you'd find in New Jersey.

Greek Diner/Burger Stand cuisine is like the John Belushi sketch on SNL. We have a ton of great places that make decent, hearty food like steaks, traditional breakfasts, and...yes...burgers run by proud Greek families.

The most famous is probably Tommy's Original. The "Original" is put on there because Tommy's has many imitators using the same or very similar names. We also have the Jim's chain, Angelo's, Kosmo's, and Grand Burger.  

Greek diners include Costa's, Palms, and...our favorite...the Monrovian.

While you might not think "Greek" when you go there with all the burgers, steaks, chicken, eggs, pancakes, and sandwiches on the menu, look closer and you'll see gyros, Greek salads, feta omelets, souvlaki, and more. 

Here's where you'll get the "Greek" in Greek Diner.  Above, you'll see one of my favorites, the gyro at the Monrovian, with their outstanding zucchini fries.

Hawaiian Food made some inroads here in the last few years, mainly with the Hawaiian barbecued chicken chains like L&L, which has branches in Pasadena and West Covina.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Christian Razukas under CC BY-SA2.0 License

It's good, but try to Spam dishes like Moco Loco for a more authentic flair. Also Hawaiian tinged burger and bowl fast food joints Spike's and B' Man's make great teriyaki and pineapple burgers, just like you'd find at Duane's Ono burgers on Kauai.  Well, maybe not quiet that good but still pretty decent.

Salvadoran Food is represented by the two outlets of El Salvadoreno in Duarte and El Monte. Pupusas, plantains, and Salvadoran tamales are the big items here. Although good, I've never thought it rises to how good some of our Mexican food around here can be.

And that brings us up to 18 different types of ethnic cuisines in our little valley. 20 more to go...

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
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