This time of year, conversations at Chow Bella staff meetings tend to turn to who's eaten what and where. With the summer travel season in full swing, we bring you Food Tours, our writers' suggestions of what to eat and drink out of town. California is the land of the plentiful -- plentiful in its offerings of whatever cuisine you might want that day. Hawaiian food? Done. All-you-can-eat Korean barbecue? Done. Don't forget the fish tacos, Ensenada-style, which you wish you could find in the desert. The next time you vacation in Los Angeles, make some time to head northeast to the San Gabriel Valley, a place with enough restaurant choices to leave you searching for days. We've put together a list of our favorites so you don't have to do any of the heavy lifting.
El Taco Nazo 14343 Ramona Blvd. Baldwin Park, CA 91706 626-338-6420 Taco Nazo is located in strip mall between optometrists, a liquor store, and another Mexican restaurant -- in fact, it's across the street from King Taco, an overrated taco shop. But no other restaurant or hole-in-the-wall can compete with the fish tacos at Taco Nazo. The fish is deep-fried and comes out with a crunchy exterior and a moist, flaky inside. Tacos are piled high with chopped cabbage, tomato, onion, and lathered in the white Mexican crema that is so hard to come by in Phoenix. Go ahead and order no less than four for yourself. You'll be glad you did. After, wash it all down with a large cup of horchata.
P&G Super Burger 1030 N. Citrus Ave. Covina, CA 91722 626-967-6846 If there's one burrito to make a priority when in California, it's the breakfast burrito. P&G may seem like your average mom-and-pop burger spot, but their breakfast burritos (the sausage is the best), served all day, set the standard high. There's no skimping out on meat, and don't expect to get only a mouth full of hash browns. Other places overcook the eggs or don't know how to evenly fill burritos with ingredients, but P&G is on it.
Aloha Food Factory 2990 W. Valley Blvd. Alhambra, CA 91803 626-308-0215 The little restaurant, family-owned and operated since 1994, is best known for its macadamia nut pancakes. The pancakes are homemade, melt in your mouth, and come with a sweet, homemade cream and crushed macadamia nuts on top. Don't bother asking how the cream is made because all you'll get is, "Mostly cream and other secret ingredients." Breakfast is the highlight at Aloha Factory. Also available is the Hawaiian breakfast, which comes with two eggs, white rice, and your choice of teriyaki chicken, cha shu, spam, kalua pig, Portuguese sausage or loco moco. Choose any one and you'll know why the owners keep hush about their recipes.
El Compadre 1449 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 213-250-4505 El Compadre has two locations -- one in Hollywood and one in Echo Park, right outside Dodger Stadium. Any game day, you can rest assured you'll see everyone clad in blue and white, crowding the bar waiting to cheer on their boys. El Compadre doesn't just offer a good ambiance; it has homemade Mexican food and drinks, too. Its seafood menu is our favorite, with fresh king crab meat and shrimp stuffed inside the Enchiladas Acapulco, or the fresh seafood wrapped in bacon in the Camarones Cancún. If you just want a place to take it all in and sip on a few drinks, order a flaming margarita, which is what they're known for, or their strawberry daiquiri. Both restaurant locations are family owned and run, and you can often find Cesar and his son Dustin behind the bar mixing drinks for customers until closing.
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Moodaepo 1725 S. Nogales St., Ste. 112 Rowland Heights, CA 91748 626-964-3389 We're not sure whether K-Pop is still a thing, but Korean barbecue sure is. Rowland Heights, a compact city in California, is the hub of the all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque. Moodaepo is open until midnight, and offers a night club sort of feel: loud music, music videos, dim lights, and a fast pace. Order the black angus bulgolgi, or the brisket and wait for the meat to melt in your mouth. Pace yourself and take full advantage of the two-hour limit allowed to each party. It's a fun experience and even better to enjoy it with a large party.