For years, my absolute favorite pizza place in L.A. was Albano’s on Melrose, just west of La Brea. Having done my fair share of time in the Northeast, I am a bit partial to New York style, thin crust pizza. Albano’s was not close to where I live and the parking was often less than convenient , but the pies made it worth any hassle. For a short time, they opened a second location in The Valley (twice), which was easier to get to, but I still preferred visiting the Melrose location. However, by the end of 2007, Albano’s was no more. While the owner was briefly involved with Robano’s when it initially opened in Toluca Lake in 2008, he ended up leaving and their pizza hasn’t been the same since.
I was driving to an appointment last Friday and as I drove by the former Albano’s location, I looked over as I usually do. I was shocked to see the old sign instead of that of one of the pizza joints that took over the spot after Albano’s closed. I didn’t quite believe what I saw and was running early, so I drove around the block for confirmation. OMG! Later that night, we went for slices and were hugged and kissed by Anthony Albano, who knew us as regular customers before and appreciated us coming back over the hill for Albano’s, the Best Pizza in L.A. It’s delicious. Try it for yourself.
Saturday August 21st – I’ve made a reservation for 12 in the dining room at 5:15. This gets us in under the early bird special: 25% off anything on the dinner menu until 6pm. At this point we have about 10 peeps who are coming, so there is room for more! If you are coming just for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, that’s cool too, pile in. As ever, look for the Classic Eats sign.
From the towering neon sign to the statue of the rotund boy in his distinctive red and white checked overalls to the 1950’s coffee shop architecture, Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank is undoubtedly one of L.A.’s most well-known and beloved landmarks. In 1993, this oldest remaining restaurant in the national chain was restored to its 1949 glory and designated a “California Point of Historical Interest.” At that time, the sign was repaired, the dining room was remodeled, and an outdoor patio was added. Car-hop service was also re-established on Saturday and Sunday nights. Every Friday night, a classic car show is held in the ample parking lot, which fills with shiny hot rods and cruisers from the 1950s and 60s.
I discovered Bob’s Big Boy shortly after moving to L.A. in 1994. We could walk to it from our apartment and more importantly, discovered we could do so 24 hours a day! While we can still walk to Bob’s from our current home, it does take quite a bit longer. Much more frequently, we take advantage of the hours and catch a bite to eat after a concert or movie. It’s become our go-to place after Halloween festivities because the place is packed with other costumed people and the party seems to continue.
If you’re looking for a gourmet meal, Bob’s will not be your first choice, but they do serve up decent, affordable diner fare. You can get breakfast and homemade milk shakes around the clock. The staff is friendly and we recognize other regular customers, as well as the occasional celebrity, when we eat there. I’ll admit that we do go to Bob’s about once a week, often on a particular night to see some friends who have a regular meet up at the restaurant.
Bob’s Big Boy is located at 4211 W Riverside Dr. in Burbank/Toluca Lake. You only have a couple of hours to catch the classic cars, but you have all night to grab a burger or some chili spaghetti.
A full list of the posts in our L.A.’s Great Landmarks series can be found here.
For those of you who like to know how to make stuff, my favorite Mexican joint in Silver Lake, Tarascos is hosting a Tamale Class on Tuesday, November 17 at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm. The class is only $15.00, which includes all of the materials you will need to make a small batch of your very own tamales from scratch.
Students will have the option to take their tamales home to bake on their own or Tarascos will bake the tamales for you and let you pick them up later (tamales take about 4 hours to bake). Students will learn how to make chicken, cheese and vegetarian tamales.
To sign up, call Tarascos at 323.669.3300. Click here to follow Tarascos on twitter for their daily specials.
This morning, Harold and I were sitting at the counter at Millie’s waiting for our breakfast and I noticed how the potatoes, pancakes and french toast all share the same tight grill space as the corned beef hash, bacon, sausage and pork chops. I’m not vegetarian, but I began to wonder if this is something that bothers vegetarians. Are you OK knowing that your rosemary potatoes are cooked within inches of bacon and the same spatula used to flip a hamburger patty is used to shovel those meatless potatoes onto your plate? Is it OK if meat juices touch your veggies as long as you don’t actually eat the meat? Are these potatoes still fit for a vegetarian diet? I don’t have a strong opinion on this, so I ask you vegetarians: How far will you go to make sure that your food is prepared in a meatless environment?
Scooting down Hyperion after work I noticed a pizza joint I have never seen before called “Tomato Pie.” Hungry from ritual starvation, I pulled up their web site as soon as I got home. After impatiently scanning the online menu, bombarded with more options than I expected, my stomach began to groan with anticipation. Tomato Pie’s menu boasts “east coast flavor” pizzas, pastas (hot and cold), salads, subs, desserts, there is really so much to choose from that I couldn’t decide so I called them up to ask what they suggest.
Another surprise. I totally expected the phone to be answered by an apathetic clock puncher who would be openly annoyed with all of my questions. However, the guy who took my call was friendly and helpful, taking his time to assist me with my virgin Tomato Pie experience. I later found out that his name is Freddy and, along with partner Garrett, runs the joint.
ME: “What do you think is the best thing on the menu?”
FREDDY: “Our most popular item by far is the Grandma.”
For those who wanted to go to the last private-home-hosted dinner from underground chef David Weidman but who couldn’t get in (he had to turn about a dozen folks away), hoo boy are you in luck! Chef David is hosting another dinner, this time at the super-cool Downtown location known as Abundant Sugar.
This artist’s loft/warehouse/performance space will play host to his “Dinner & A Movie” event on March 14. For only $25 you get a gourmet dinner and a movie–Sergio Leone? The Godfather?–well, something Italian, as you’ll guess from the menu. It’s a super cool venue and an amazing chef, so find a babysitter, grab a date or a pal, and go here to sign up (if you’re not on facebook, leave a comment & I’ll connect you with Chef David). Only twenty-five seats are available.
Cold seafood Cioppino (clams, mussels and oysters steamed in vermouth with tomatoes, olives, anchovies and saffron)
Blood oranges and wild greens
Antipasti: 3 meats, 2 cheeses, marinated mushrooms, eggplant salad, white bean puree, bread
White lasagna in a cream sauce with caramelized garlic w/ yellow-foot chanterelles…OR…Penne with pancetta, Italian sausage, Chianti, garlic and tomatoes; meat balls (pork and beef with bread crumbs and Parmigiano in tomato sauce)
Assorted cheesecakes, coffee with Belgian chocolate, Cinnamon apples
Thanks to Vix over at her “History, Los Angeles County” blog I’ve discovered yet another restaurant at Union Station. At first, I assumed Traxx had been built within the old “Harvey House,” but upon inspection it appears as if Vix’s photos of the deserted Harvey House date from 2007, while Traxx opened in 1997.
Apparently Harvey House is now used primarily for wedding receptions and the like. This evening while we’re at Traxx for Classic Eats I hope to sneak in to the former Harvey House location and snap some pics.
I’m also intrigued by Union Station’s Union Station’s environs’ former occupants, the original citizens of LA’s first Chinatown (now relocated several blocks to the northeast) and am grooving on this great collection of images of relics unearthed from beneath the station, from opium bowls to Bromo-Seltzer bottles.
Looking for a DJ gig? Ray Ray’s Eat to the Beat needs an in-house DJ to spin while patrons sup. We stumbled upon Ray Ray’s a Japanese restaurant in Alhambra and quickly fell in love. Affordable prices and good food are always appreciated, but the music was key.
The walls are adornd with record sleeves in frames and tucked into a corner is a DJ set up, including records. There’s no chance that of not finding something everyone can groove to. When we walked in, Sergio Mendez was spinning. I played a Bossa Nova record and my husband followed me with The Clash. Funk, punk, pop, disco, hip-hop, and country were available in the bins next to the table.
I spoke with Ray Ray briefly and learned the restaurant has been opened for about 9 months now and they are looking for an in-house DJ. Didn’t get the details, but I’m sure if you call and ask you’ll learn more. Other patrons I spoke to that day, all said the same thing, “Ray Ray’s is the best Japanese fast food in Alhambra.” We’re definitely going back. Hey we may even put our DJ skills to use and spin a few.
Ray Ray’s Eat to the Beat 1900 W Valley BlvdAlhambra, CA
After a roller coaster morning touring assisted living facilities with my husband (for his mom), we treated ourselves to a beautiful lunch at Leaf. Leaf serves organic, vegan, raw and beautifully prepared food.
We are not vegetarians or vegans or raw foodies by any means. On any other Saturday we might have just as easily had a Double Double with fries at the LAX In-N-Out. But last Saturday we drove by the lovely green building and said, “let’s try.” We didn’t even know it was raw food until we ordered — though how often do you eat raw foods without thinking about it? Big salads, cold soups, etc., all very refreshing on a warm afternoon.