Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ethnic Foods of the San Gabriel Valley: Going Continental

Cuisines covered in previous posts: Mexican, Cajun, Nepalese, Lebanese, Thai, Basque, Argentinian, Cuban, Vietnamese

We'll travel to the European continent for this week's installment.

English food doesn't have a great reputation but, if it's made well, it can be pretty tasty. It's also pretty filling. 

I love a traditional English breakfast of eggs, ham, beans, and toast but it can also be pretty greasy at times.  Bangers and mash, along with meat pies, are also great for lunch or dinner.

We don't have a big presence of British food here in the valley but we do have the three locations of Lucky Baldwin's pubs...two in Pasadena and the third in Sierra Madre (pictured above)...that make quite decent versions of the above foods.

Their pigs in a blanket also make for a filling and cheap meal when you're a bit light in the wallet.

We get a two-for-one with Lucky Baldwin's. In addition to English ales and food, they also specialize in Belgian brews and chews. My wife loves the stewed mussels here.

While we can get some good, savory Belgian food at Lucky B's, some say the pinnacle of Belgian cuisine is the Liege waffle that is so hard to find in this area. You can get a very good rendition at the Shaky Alibi in Hollywood or a more mediocre version at the locations of the Bruxie down in Orange County but...hold your horses...the best local Liege waffle is right here in the valley.

Just head to the corner of Santa Anita and Huntington in Arcadia, about a block east of the race track. Between the Jiffy Lube and the donut shop sits one of the best coffee bars around, Taza, where you can get one of the most sublime Liege waffles, that the owner has flown in from Belgium, for only $4.50.

These are a little more savory that your usual waffle and have little balls of sugar in them that carmelize when cooked. Just eat them syrup, no a la mode...and what a treat you'll have. I like to wash it down with a Mexican Coke that you can also get here.

If you'd like the other Belgian specialty, frites (or fries), head west of Pasadena to Eagle Rock. Oinkster on Colorado Boulevard has the best.

For Spanish food, you mostly have to go to the numerous tapas bars located along the foothill regions.  Bar Celona, La Luna Negra, and Racion in Pasadena; and The Granada in Alhambra are your best bets.

We don't have the extensive Jewish food like you'd find in the great delis of L.A. like Langer's, Nate 'n Al's, or Pat's, but in Glendora, you'll find some great Matzo Ball soup, bagels and lox, kreplach, latkes, and other great deli specialties at Kara's Korner Deli on the corner of Glendora and Foothill in downtown Glendora.

It's one of my favorite comfort food spots in the valley.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

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