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Snack Stop

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Connal’s has been a Pasadena mainstay for over 50 years.  This iconic burger stand is known for generous portions at reasonable prices in a 50’s diner type of atmosphere.  They’ve graciously opened a location in the culinary wasteland that is “The 909”.  It’s nice to have a legend in my neck of the woods (though my part of “The 909” is not exactly “the woods”).  And it happens to be right across the street from the greatest ice cream on earth, Handel’s!

We’ve had their fresh and juicy burgers in Pasadena, but we were just in the mood for a simple snack the other day.  So we stopped in for an order of “Frings” (fries and onion rings) and fried zucchini.  I really like their fries, which are seasoned with a special seasoned salt.  They’re not fresh cut potatoes, but very tasty, piping hot and crispy.  The onion rings are above average, pleasantly sweet with a crunchy batter, but a tad on the bland side.  The fried zucchini are excellent, some of the best I’ve ever had.  Also very crisp and nicely seasoned.  You can see the difference in the coating in the pics below.  I don’t know why they don’t use the same breading for the onion rings.  You could bread a flip flop with that mixture and it would be good!

Frings.

Fried Zucchini.

Connal's Burgers, Salads, and Subs on Urbanspoon

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Filipino Food Truck!

July 23, 2010 3 comments

Yeh, boyeeeee!  Thanks to two Fil-Am food bloggers, L.A.’s first Filipino food truck is now rollin’ (as in driving and making lumpia — insert groans).  The Manila Machine is jumping into L.A.’s chic street food scene with both traditional island fare and unique creations.

It’s not just about taco trucks parking by construction sites anymore.  These wheeled kitchens serve up all manner of gourmet creativity.  Devoted fans will wait up to 45 minutes for Korean BBQ tacos from Kogi, Ube pancakes from The Buttermilk Truck or French Fry filled Tamales from Fresh Fries.  But let’s get back to this post’s primary shout out….

I’m calling on Manny Pacquiao all Filipinos to show some love to The Manila Machine.  If you’ve not had Filipino food, think of it as Chinese food minus the communism.  Nothing too exotic, just savory and succulent food served with white rice and a smile.  Get over to their website to find out where they’ll be.  Guaranteed, in the near future I’ll be stuffing my Filipino face with an Ube cupcake (topped with coconut buttercream), sisig, and one of their pan de sal sliders.  Quite possibly in that order.

Mabuhay!

King Taco

July 17, 2010 4 comments

Yeah, it’s a chain, but King Taco is really a Los Angeles gem.  A hispanic friend told me it was the “Mexican In-N-Out”.  With 20 locations in the L.A. area, King Taco’s loyal following is made evident by the long lines expected at all times of the day and night.  You can expect “hole-in-wall” quality food (which is a good thing) and surprisingly fast service (so don’t be too put off by the lines). 

We had a taco fiesta!  The carne asada and al pastor were both very tasty, but I’ve definitely had better.  The carnitas turned out to be the star of the show.  I’ve had terribly dried out or really greasy carnitas at a number of “mom and pop” taco stands.  King Taco’s carnitas are very tender and moist chunks of roasted pork that are seared on the griddle and pretty close to perfect.  They asked if I wanted the tacos “con todo” (with everything: onions, cilantro and red or green salsa) and, as per usual, I happily said, “Yes!”  I noticed, however, that most people were getting the salsa on the side.  That should’ve been a warning.  The Fun Foodie and The Fun Wife are both into spicy foods, but King Taco’s salsas crossed the line!  They both had pretty decent flavor, but the searing pain overpowered the pleasure senses after awhile.  Definitely get the salsa on the side.  I have to say that it was disappointing that King Taco didn’t have a self-serve salsa bar, which usually comes standard in casual Mexican restaurants in SoCal.  Another disappointment was the nachos we ordered for The Fun Kids.  Instead of the freshly fried tortilla chips we usually get from taco stands, they served up the the bright yellow rounds of flavorless mediocrity you buy from Smart and Final.  Lame.

I did make one culinary discovery at King Taco: the Sope!  Growing up in San Diego, I saw these all the time at grocery stores and always thought a sope looked like the offspring of an English muffin and corn tortilla.  They’re pretty much a big, fat corn tortilla fried to a crisp and topped with refried beans, meat, cabbage and cheese.  I had mine with carnitas and it was excellent!  I’ll definitely have a few more of those before I die.

Bottom line, King Taco is really, really good.  Not the absolute best ever, but one of those institutions that an Angeleno must visit, pretty much just to be able to say that you have.

Carne Asada Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

Al Pastor Tacos

Sope with Carnitas, a new fave!

King Taco on Urbanspoon