Dining Reviews

Cooking up the competition at Gelson's, Ralphs and Whole Foods

Cooking up the competition at Gelson's, Ralphs and Whole Foods

A parking lot lined with red tassels marks the opening of the 18th Gelson's Market location in La Cañada Flintridge. Food chat sites like Chowhound suggest that the shopping experience at Gelson's is somewhere between that at Whole Foods and Ralphs. In an effort to get to know the store...

Dining Review: Room for improvement at Thee Elbow Room

Dining Review: Room for improvement at Thee Elbow Room

New restaurants are popping up, or set to pop up, all along Honolulu Avenue in Montrose. The most recent opening is Thee Elbow Room at the eastern end of town. With a Cordon Blue chef-curated menu of unique sandwiches and salads and a quiet patio to enjoy them in, Thee Elbow Room carves a distinct...

Dining Review: Modern Coffee Commissary fills an old-school niche

Dining Review: Modern Coffee Commissary fills an old-school niche

Back when I worked in television, I was always on the lookout for a place to get a quick breakfast that wasn’t made of sugar and white flour. Those early morning shoots required more substance. If Coffee Commissary had been around, it would’ve been my go-to spot. It’s no...

Dining Out: A French café that is a crêpe above

Dining Out: A French café that is a crêpe above

In the charming village of Sierra Madre, a new French cafe has popped up with an atmosphere as fresh as the food they serve. Monsieur Crêpe is a light-filled space with easy counter service, making it a top choice for local workers, shoppers and residents wanting a place to read the paper or...

Dining Out: Bar Verde proves to be hidden treasure

Dining Out: Bar Verde proves to be hidden treasure

There's a secret spot in the Americana with a wicked hamburger and a mean Mai Tai. You won't find it street side as you wander down shopping lanes. You probably won't see it from the fountain or green. No, this hidden gem is up three escalators, past mannequins bearing high-end children's clothing,...

Dining Review: Rediscovering an old favorite

Dining Review: Rediscovering an old favorite

Have you ever had a favorite restaurant but for one reason or another stopped going there? Such was the case with the Olive Branch in La Crescenta. Perhaps it was the chipping exterior in need of a facelift that kept me away. Or the fact that I go to dozens of kebab places. But when a friend from...

Dining Out: Handy Market serves up delicious barbecue

Dining Out: Handy Market serves up delicious barbecue

No need to wait for summer to enjoy smoky, backyard barbecue. Handy Market, the well-stocked corner store where Magnolia Boulevard meets Buena Vista Street in Burbank, spills out into the parking lot on Saturdays, 'cueing up pounds and pounds of beef, pork, chicken, turkey and sausage for the hungry...

Dining Out: Pizza of Venice has the right perspective

Dining Out: Pizza of Venice has the right perspective

A few exits east of La Cañada Flintridge, in a mini-mall anchored by a security-bar-heavy liquor store, sits a little restaurant with a big heart. Pizza of Venice oozes neighborliness and a spirit of unbridled experimentation. The one long, communal table ensures you'll be making friends...

Dining Review: Far Niente still has that special vibe

Dining Review: Far Niente still has that special vibe

When I was a little kid, my father was an executive with Pan American Airways. I would sometimes get to tag along on his business lunches in Manhattan. I remember linen tablecloths, waiters in neat clothes and a table full of men's hands holding amber-colored liquid in short glasses. I knew it was...

Dining Out: It's worth making a Sunland-Tujunga side trip

Dining Out: It's worth making a Sunland-Tujunga side trip

Even the residents of Sunland-Tujunga would agree the community is not exactly a foodie mecca. Still there are some good reasons to head over to this historical, artsy section of our valley. Sure, there are plenty of smoke shops, body shops and wrought iron fences but who knows? It could become...

Dining Out: Meeting the checklist at the Wooden Fork

Dining Out: Meeting the checklist at the Wooden Fork

I asked my husband recently what he looks for in a lunch place near work and he prioritized his requirements this way:

Dining Out: JC's Cuisine is short on niceties, big on taste and service

Dining Out: JC's Cuisine is short on niceties, big on taste and service

While it's not a hard and fast rule, we generally avoid highlighting chain restaurants in this column, preferring to review independently owned businesses. Mom & Pop restaurants are a little hard to find in Burbank. So I was happy to see a new spot open up that is owned and operated by Chef Juan...

Dining Review: Tip-top service matches the dining at Brand 158

Dining Review: Tip-top service matches the dining at Brand 158

The first thing they tell you when you sit down at Brand 158, the month-old restaurant across from the Americana, is that they don't accept tips.

Holiday hangover cures abound around town

Holiday hangover cures abound around town

In the spirit of the spirits imbibed this season, this column is dedicated to the best hangover cures in our area.

Dining Review: At Frame 128 soup is the ticket before the show

Dining Review: At Frame 128 soup is the ticket before the show

It's ironic that at Frame 128, a restaurant dedicated to luxury, the shining star is the humblest of foods: soup. With the Soup King in charge, how could it be otherwise?

Dining Out: Goodie Girls cupcakes are the surprise of the season

Dining Out: Goodie Girls cupcakes are the surprise of the season

I try to approach restaurants with impartiality but the cold hard truth is I don't like cupcakes. The white sugar, white flour, and unnatural colors turn me off. They're the adult version of Barbie dolls. I prefer my sweets more rustic.

Dining Out: Green and clean eating at Green Corner Cafe

Dining Out: Green and clean eating at Green Corner Cafe

For vegans, gluten-free eaters, allergy sufferers, and those concerned about added hormones and antibiotics, going out to eat must be like stepping into a mine field. Is the food truly toxin-free? Has there been cross-contamination?

Dining Out: Sweetsalt might just prove good for your health

Dining Out: Sweetsalt might just prove good for your health

Looking like a fine boulangerie in southern France, Sweetsalt Food Shop is a study in white marble, pewter, vintage silverware and cafe tables. The front window is filled with plates piled high with beautiful macarons, bars, bundt cakes and pies.

Dining Out: Everything's on the Thanksgiving table

Dining Out: Everything's on the Thanksgiving table

There are as many ways to do Thanksgiving dinner as there are things to be thankful for. Some like home-cooked dishes handed down through the generations. Others attempt the latest foodie trend (is that turkey deep fryer gathering dust?). Some order in from the new place around the corner.

Dining Review: The Americana lands legendary Din Tai Fung

Dining Review: The Americana lands legendary Din Tai Fung

The dumplings at Din Tai Fung are practically world famous.

Dining Review: Cozy food at Kozy Korner

Dining Review: Cozy food at Kozy Korner

Everyone has their favorite Thai takeout place. Where I live, I typically do Min's Kitchen or Woodlands Cafe. But if I lived near Kozy Korner, I'd be going there regularly.

Dining Review: Modern gastropub Basin 141 taps into L.A. history

Dining Review: Modern gastropub Basin 141 taps into L.A. history

Fat Dog, the Montrose gastropub catering to locals, was a good thing. Basin 141, which took over its location, is an even better thing. Brothers Dave and Joe Friedman mixed some mean drinks back when they were bartenders at the prior incarnation.

Dining Review: A familiar menu keeps an old bungalow aglow

Dining Review: A familiar menu keeps an old bungalow aglow

Little Beast is the second child of married co-owners Sean Lowenthal and Deborah Schwartz. I say second because like their first child, after whom the restaurant is named, Little Beast has been a labor of love.

Dining Review: It's warm, satisfying and very trendy food

Dining Review: It's warm, satisfying and very trendy food

Not everyone loves shabu shabu, but I do. You have to enjoy the simplicity of water-simmered food, to like cooking it yourself, and to not mind making a bit of a mess.

Dining Out: Food trucks serve up help

Dining Out: Food trucks serve up help

What do you get when you mix five food trucks with a handful of Crescenta Valley High School alumni seasoned liberally with admiration for 100 or so teachers at their old high school? You get a Thursday night hot spot in La Crescenta.

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Columns

Read On: People need to stop with the 'selfies'

Read On: People need to stop with the 'selfies'

This is probably going to sound odd coming from a guy who has a giant picture of himself running with his column, but I don’t really get the whole “selfies” thing. If I could...

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