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Grinder spots in Pasadena....

I just wanted to mention a place I drove by the other day that has an awesome meatball sub. Jersey Mike's Subs on Lake Avenue just south Green Street. Website found here:
http://jerseymikes.com/menu/
It's a franchise, so I was kind of skeptical. But I have to admit... the meatball was probably close to the best, if not THE best I've tried in Pasadena thus far. Excellent, soft, slightly crusty bread. Each meatball was halved and layered on the inside of the bun with melted provologne and slightly chunky, not too overbearing marinara sauce that kept me coming back for more. All nicely wrapped up in some tinfoil. The bread, although soft, wasn't excessively chewy, while the meatballs were seemingly melting as I was chewing. A definite winner on the taste scale!

Ok... so why won't I be visiting Jersey Mike's every day? Well, it goes like this. Virtually all subs on the menu are right around $8 each, and that's for a "Regular," which is around 7 inches. If you want the "Giant," which is around 14 inches, it's going to cost you a whopping $12. Between my wife and I (one giant and one regular), the bill was $20 with no sides and no drinks.

Was it worth $12? Ehhhhhhh???? I would probably have to say yes, and judging by what I've read about their other subs, it seems like most people are agreeing the quality is justifying the prices. I'm no cheapskate when it comes to food. If I like something, I buy it, but just look at these other prices for large meatballs.....
Gene's Grinders Monrovia - $7.00
Lee's Hoagie House - $6.75
Pietro's - $6.95

Now those are just prices I pulled off the internet, and I think a couple of the places have gone up a little. But even still.... at $12 you're talking nearly double the price of the competition. Hmmm...........

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Gene's Grinders
800 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

Lee's Hoagie House
2269 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

Green Street Restaurant
146 S Shopper's Lane, Pasadena, CA 91101

Jersey Mike's
423 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023

Feb 11, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

It's funny you should mention that, because my wife (as always) ordered a Turkey Molasse grinder and kept asking,"Is there an extra piece of bread in this?" I guess she was right! As for the meatball, though, no extra piece of bread in the middle that I remember. I can't tell you how much I really enjoyed this place. I wish Mario's was a little closer so I could visit more often!

Jan 22, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

I tried Mario's in Glendale last weekend, and it was fantastic. The entire deli/shop/sub counter is an absolute gem. Fresh baked breads await the scrumptious grinders being made by the friendly staff. If you call your grinder in ahead, there's a separate counter for express check-out. (As long as you're not getting anything from the deli).

The meatball was superb. The bread is already pre-toasted, meaning the shell is already slightly crusted, while the inside remains soft. (They don't put their grinders in the oven AFTER making it, as far as I could tell). Meatballs were top-notch with just enough marinara and ample mozzarella. Their grinders only come in one size, but you won't be disappointed. Not quite as big as Pietro's in Pasadena, but definitely bigger than Porta Via.

Marios also offers quite a selection of Italian wines, some nicer bottles for those interested in that sort of thing. They even had a couple bottles of Opus One.

The deli is split between meats (on the right) and cheeses (on the left). The rest of the store has all different kinds of Italian gems like homemade spumoni, italian imported noodles, dried sausages and salami, a nice selection of sodas (Americana, Boyle's, Stewart's, etc.), even Cappuccino flavored ice cream. Mmmm...... There's also a spattering of tables where you walk in, so you can eat your food there, if you wish.

Not only the best meatball grinder I've tried thus far, but a great place all around. I will definitely be heading back to Mario's!

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Porta Via
424 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Jan 22, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

Last weekend (Saturday) I called in a lunch order over at Gene's Grinders on Myrtle in Monrovia. I ordered one meatball (for me) and one turkey (for wifey). All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this place. As far as the grinder goes, it was definitely different than what I was used to, but tasty none-the-less. First off, they take a long, white sub roll and half it, so the meatballs are visible both on the top and on the bottom. Gene's DOES NOT toast any of their subs, including the hot subs like meatballs, but their bread was definitely a step above the other places I've tried. (But in all honesty, I prefer a slightly sub-par bread that is toasted, verses a better bread un-toasted). Meatballs were definitely homemade, and for those that like onions, you'll definitely love the meatballs at Gene's. There were enough onions mixed in with the meat to get a distinct 'semi-onion' taste, which sometimes even overpowered the mildly placed marinara sauce. All that mixed in with some cheese and wrapped up in some butcher paper and you're good-to-go. (Total for 2 large subs was $17). One thing that really stuck out at Gene's was the service. The person who took the order, both on the phone and on location, was super nice. Excellent customer service to say the least. I would find myself going back to Gene's, but probably not for the meatball. Not that it wasn't good, it just wasn't what I was looking for.

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Gene's Grinders
800 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

Jan 14, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

Tried Porta Via last night.... I like their meatballs, but it's more of a meatball sandwich. Not to mention, at $7.95 (for more or less a 6" 'sub,' I think it's a little overpriced. Nice, crisp bread, maybe one layer of provologne melted on the inside of the bun, just a spattering of marinara sauce. This would be something I might consider for lunch, but not for dinner, which is what I got it for. Picture a 6" sub roll cut in half with 2 meatballs on each side and that's what you get. Like I said, it was tasty, but just not my style.

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Porta Via
424 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Jan 06, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

Connals is strictly a burger place for me... Double BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with those awesome fries and a peanut butter shake.....sooooooo good.

Anyhow, went over to Pietro's tonight and was pleasantly surprised at my 12" meatball sub. Bread was slightly toasted, plenty of scrumptious meatballs with no shortage of marinara sauce, all lightly toasted with some nice melted cheese on the top, all wrapped up in some aluminum foil.

So what was my one quam? The bread was a little more chewy than I would have expected. I know it sounds picky, and it probably is, but I kept thinking to myself, "Man, it is taking me a long time to chew on this bread....." Other than that, Pietro's was definitely a hit. I would totally go back there.

I also stopped by Roma Market next door looking for "soupy," as it was known where I grew up (dried, spicy sausage). The guy behind the counter pointed out some home-made spicy sausage, which turned out not to be what I was looking for, but good none-the-less. The lady at the check-out overcharged me, but I didn't figure that out till I was halfway home. (My fault on not checking that one when I was in the store).

More grinders coming soon...

Gusto

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Connal's
1505 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

Jan 04, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

This is what I was talking about:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/pietros-pasadena

The reviews are mixed... some rave, some not so much. I'm still going to give it a whirl for sure. I just wanted to see if there was something EXACTLY what I was looking for before I went out all over town trying different places. I've got to get over to Marios soon too.

I gave Lee's Hoagies on Colorado here in Pasadena a try yesterday, and the meatball was pretty decent. Lightly toasted, not exactly overflowing with meatballs, but a good taste none-the-less. It was even wrapped in butcher paper, which was a nice touch. Two 9" subs (my wife went with the turkey) for just over $12. My wife was raving about hers.

I'll report back with more (meatball) grinder news soon...

Gusto

Jan 01, 2011
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

Thanks for all recommendations. I'll post back after I've filled up on meatball grinders galore.

:)

Gusto

Dec 30, 2010
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Grinder spots in Pasadena....

Did a search for meatball grinders and didn't come up with much, so let me try and explain what I'm looking for....

Basically, I'm looking for a hole-in-the-wall type place that MAYBE would do pizzas, but the focus would be on grinders. In New England these places are dotted on almost every block, but it seems like most places I've found out here (Pasadena) tend to focus on pizzas and offer sandwiches as an after thought.

Just to be specific... I'm not looking for a "hoagie" or "sandwich" place, but a spot where HOT grinders are the norm, toasted in big ovens, wrapped in butcher paper, and made to-go. Specifically, meatball grinders are what I'm looking for. Usually a place like this has stuff like sausage and peppers, Chicken Cutlit, etc.

I've tried Pasadena Sandwich Company, and while I like the sandwiches, they don't offer meatball grinders. I like Domenco's for Italian, but their meatball grinder doesn't even come close to what I'm looking for....

I was thinking about trying Pietro's, but have read mixed reviews. Another place mentioned was Hey That's Amore, but the idea of driving over near Old Town to get take-out kind of puts me off. I've also tried The Kitchen, but was disappointed to say the least.

Anyone help me out there?

Gusto

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Hey That's Amore
27 E Holly St, Pasadena, CA 91103

Dec 29, 2010
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Good Happy Hours in Pasadena

I only saw one other post on this, and was wondering if anyone had new places to list? I try and avoid chains, so please no recs for Cheesecake Factory or the like.

Thanks,

Gusto

Oct 22, 2010
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Vegan/Vegertarian in San Gabriel Valley

A good date spot would be Fatty's in Eagle Rock. It's a little "posh" for my taste, but it would be nice for a date.

Gusto

Mar 21, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

anyone heard of new coffee roaster in Santa Cruz?

Verve is indeed one of the best roasters/shops in Central California. I was there this past weekend, and every time I head up to Santa Cruz I go there. (Coffee is a bit of an obsession). I was pleased to see a write-up from one of the local papers about their shop because they are due of the praise they have been receiving. Their staff is super friendly and takes their coffee seriously. Their Streetlevel espresso is some of the best I've had, and I've been pulling shots with it at home for the past couple of days. Amazing stuff. Expect great things from Verve. (Oh, and technically they're in Capitola - take the 41st street exit off Hwy 1, go towards the beach. It's at the corner of 41st and, I believe, Portola). Enjoy!

Mar 19, 2008
Gusto in California

Breakfast in SLO

Just want to let other posters know my wife and I went to Bon Temps and were very pleased. It's actually just the kind of place we were looking for. Basically, a place where you could get something for breakfast you couldn't get anywhere else. The inside is definitely "fun," with a kind of Mardi Gras theme. I ordered, I believe, the FaiDoaDoa (forgive the spelling). (Actually, I'm not sure if that's the name or not? That name does stick in my head, though). It's the dish with the beans that come layered in the bottom of a skillet with the two poached eggs, sauce, a generous slice of sausage, and I substituted home fries for the grits. Man, what a whopper of a meal, especially with that Bon Temps hot sauce. WOW.

I was surprised to only see one other couple in the whole restaurant. As we left on our way to Big Sur, we passed by Breakfast Buzz with a people waiting outside to be seated. I was pleased we were able to go to Bon Temps!

Thanks for the recs!

Gusto

Mar 19, 2008
Gusto in California

Breakfast in SLO

Thanks for the quick replies. Which of these places, would you say, is the most unique? Judging by the names, Bon Temps seemslike the winner. Thanks again.

Mar 13, 2008
Gusto in California

Breakfast in SLO

My wife and I will be passing through San Luis Obispo tomorrow on our way up the coast. I'm looking for some good recs for breakfast. In all the university towns I seem to visit, it always seems like there are some stellar breakfast spots. Names of any notable places and "specials" to order are appreciated.

Thanks,

Gusto

Mar 13, 2008
Gusto in California

Pasadena/Eagle Rock Vegetarian-Friendly Dining?

I can second the recommendation for All India Cafe in Old Town. Awesome vegetarian options, and if you get the Thali plate, you get to CHOOSE the two vegetarian dishes you want, which I've found to be a rarity. Also, vegetarian korma is not on the menu, but they've also made it for me every time I've been in there. Be sure to give the Old Monk 10,000 or Yeti beer a try. (Comes in a 750ml bottle).

Gusto

Mar 07, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Romeo's Pizza in Pasadena?

Used to order take-out from there. The pizza..... well, it's pizza. It won't be the best around, but it won't be the worst either. I wouldn't hesitate to order take-out from there, but if you're looking for the best pizza around I would head down to Petrillo's.

Feb 07, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

LA MILL

Finally got to LA Mill this past weekend. They definitely pull a tight double ristretto there.. Probably only an ounce, at most. Damn good, though. It's definitely a unique place. It's weird having a coffee shop, but not being able to sit down and just have a cup of coffee (when it's busy, anyway). This place is not a traditional coffee house, though. It is a place to enjoy fine coffee/food delicacies, so in that aspect, it can't really be compared to a "normal" coffee house. I will say the beans I got this past weekend (Brazil Poco Fundo) and the espresso I got at LA Mill were both excellent.

Feb 06, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Azeen's Afghani Restaurant, Pasadena (VERY LONG!)

Indeed, Azeen's is one of the jewels of Pasadena. My wife and I first discovered this place almost 1.5 years ago on citysearch.com We've been going ever since. I would agree that the food seems like a mix between persian and indian, but it definitely has its own flavor.

The tea is great (it's a blend of black tea and cardamom). Easy to make at home too. One thing I should mention is there are vegetarian options at this restaurant. They aren't super plentiful, but they're there. The challaw kadu is what I order every time. That butternut squash is amazing! Also, many of the dishes come with a "meat sauce." For vegetarians, you can ask to get it without the sauce.

I'm always amazed there aren't more people in that place whenever we go. The food has such a unique flavor, and the staff has always been really friendly. I think it's more of a location thing, being that it's on Union instead of Colorado.

Lastly, if you're looking for another great restaurant on Union barely a block from Azeen's, I would check out the Tibet-Nepal House. The food there reminds me more of Indian. It is pretty tasty, and the inside is decorated with some cool paintings of the Himalaya. (I would check out Azeen's FIRST, though).

http://www.tibetnepalhouse.com/

Gusto

Feb 02, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Mexican in Pasadena?

Another "crowd pleaser" type of place might be the new "Fred's" in Old Town. Not authentic mex. food, but $4.50 margaritas during happy hour and decent food. (Where the old Moose McGillicuddy's used to be on Colorado at the edge of Old Town).

Jan 31, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

San Bernardino Recommendations?

Try Casa Maya on highway 38 in Mentone (that would be W Lugonia Avenue coming out of San Bernardino). Excellent Yucatan-Mexican food.

Gusto

Jan 31, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Are there any Yucatecan Restaurants outside of CI & Flor de Yucatan?

The place referred to in Redlands is, more specifically, in Mentone (on Hwy 38 heading towards the mountains). It's called Casa Maya. Incredible food. Probably one of my top 5 places to eat. Mentioned here:

http://www.redlandsweb.com/directory/...

If you plan on heading to the Inland Empire, or want to make a day trip out of it, I would highly recommend it.

Jan 26, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

LA MILL

The "Golden Rule" of espresso is 1oz of espresso for a 25 second pull for 14 - 16 grams of coffee. However, places like Intelly (and I'm assuming LA Mill, although I haven't visited there to cofirm) pull what is called a ristretto, which is a "short shot" (~.75 ounces). The idea behind the ristretto is to enhance the overall flavor of the espresso to its peak. Think of it as getting the most flavor out of the coffee possible. Because places like Intelly, I'm assuming LA Mill, and Cafe Luxxe in Santa Monica are dedicated to giving the highest quality experience with coffee, they pull a "double ristretto," which comes out to about 1.5oz. This is what you get when you ask for a shot of espresso at Intelly. You see, when you ask for a single shot, the barista is probably thinking a ristretto single shot (.75oz), which they don't normally make (the grind would have to be changed, portafilter baskets changed, amount of coffee used changed, AND would probably come out so small to the average person would scoff at it. In the espresso world, from what I've been told, the single shot is known as a finicky piece of work, and even the most die-hard espresso enthusiasts will normally ask for a double ristretto because even that will only render 2 to 3 sips, at most. Simply put, at places like Intelly, and I'm assuming LA Mill, they don't use single shots. Instead, they use slightly more coffee (18-22 grams) and aim for a 1.5oz pull. I know it can all be kind of confusing, but just have it be known that the baristi working in these places are dedicated to coffee. So you can gauge what you're getting next time, if you order espresso, most of the espresso cups used in these places usually hold about 2oz.. You'll probably notice the espresso hovering below the rim of the cup, which mean it's just less than 2oz (a ~1.5oz double ristretto). The problem lies where people are so used to ordering extra "shots" of espresso at different coffee locations, but people weren't really told what the extra shot (or the original shot) ever constituted (was it 1oz, 2oz?). Who knows? There's a lot that goes into every cup of coffee at places like Intelly, and there can be a big difference between a 2oz pull of espresso and a 1.5 oz pull. My recommendation would be to just order whatever drink you normally get and see how it tastes. If you want more espresso, simply ask for an extra shot, instead of a "single." Furthermore, if you really want to taste what the espresso has to offer, be sure to try and get the smallest milk drink possible. (At Intelly this would around 5 or 6oz).

Hope that helps.

Jan 26, 2008
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Great Afghani in LA?

That's pretty interesting. From what I've read, Afghanistan is a pretty cultural place with many different languages and people. That said, with your reference to Pakistan, there is a GREAT Pakistani place in the middle of Little India. I wish I could remember the name, but if you go down there you're sure to find it (Little India is only a couple of blocks long). Here's a link to one of the Indian places in Little India, for those who don't know where it is. This is NOT the link to the Pakistani place (couldn't find any info on the net for that one).

Sep 25, 2007
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Great Afghani in LA?

I would definitely give Azeen's a big thumbs up. My wife and I live in Pasadena and go there pretty frequently (around once every month and a half). As for how it fairs to other Afghani places, I can't say because it's the only Afghani place I've tried. That said, I really enjoy the food there. Many dishes come with a kind of meat sauce, but if you're a veggie person like me, they always say you can order without. My wife's favorite is the Kebob et Mur (sp????). Anyway, it's basically 2 skewers of large cubes of chicken with some great spices. This is accompanied by some super-flavorful rice and some flat bread.

My personal favorite is the challaw kadu. It's basically a large, thick slice of steamed butternut squash, but I think they use cardamom when they steam it.... Man, you talk about flavor!

Lastly, I'm not a big yogurt fan, but a lot of the dishes come with a kind of minty yogurt on top. It really adds to the dishes, so even if you're not into yogurt, I would try it.

It's on Union in Old Town.

Gusto

Sep 24, 2007
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Has Anybody tried Intelligista in Silverlake?

Sorry if I came out sounding like I dislike corporations.... I don't have anything against Starbucks at all. By the way, "$bucks" is just an abbreviation I've seen used on other boards, it wasn't done as any type of negative-bashing-corporation thing. I think if you look at my post, the focus is more on how they roast their coffee, which doesn't really appeal to me. Lastly, like I've said already, each person's taste is unique. I know some people who swear by dark roasted coffees. If that's your thing, Starbucks is probably a good fit. :) If you try a straight shot of espresso from Starbucks and then try a straight shot of espresso from Intelligentsia, you'll see what I mean (I'm more of an espresso person). :) Happy cupping!

Sep 23, 2007
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Has Anybody tried Intelligista in Silverlake?

Wow, I'm pretty surprised by some of the comments of "underwhelmed" on this board. I don't proclaim myself as a coffee afficianado, but I can respect a good cup. To simply state that you were "underwhelmed" cuts things a little short. Was the coffee bitter or sour? Was it just not to your taste buds? Different coffees, obviously, have different flavors. Some people will rave over a certain blend, where other people will scoff.

The great thing about Intelly and Groundworks is they both roast beans locally, which gets you a far superior cup of coffee than what you could normally get at a coffee shop where the beans may be months old. (Regardless of air-tight bagging methods, nothing will beat fresh roasted coffee).

As far as the clover, the benefit lies in getting freshly ground coffee combined with the "vacuum press" extraction. I've tried the Clover only twice. The first time I tried it I didn't see what all the fuss was about. I was expecting a flavor orgasm in my mouth (justly so for an $11,000 price tag). Instead, the coffee seemed watery. The second time I tried the Clover, with the same blend, it was updosed slightly and the result was greatly enhanced. Better mouth-feel and the flavors popped-out. Just goes to show how different amounts of coffee can really change the flavor profile. Don't expect an awesome cup of coffee from the Clover, unless you (or your barista, hopefully), knows your expectations for a cup of coffee and are familiar with the blend.

That said, I think most people will be happy with a simple (I believe) 8 gram dose for a 12oz cup. I've switched exclusively to espresso drinks, which probably explains my preference for a higher dose on the Clover. As for espresso, there are few places in Los Angeles that can compete with Intelly. Their Black Cat is known nation-wide and is a pleaser for most home-espresso enthusiasts like myself.

Lastly, for those of you trying to compare Intelly to, say, something like Starbucks or something. Let me explain that Starbucks roasts their beans beyond dark. Some people refer to them as "Charbucks." Anyway, when you roast a bean like that, you basically burn away much of the true taste of the bean. You end up with some kind of burned, carbon-tasting flavor. At places like Intelly and Groundworks, you'll find a variety of beans from all over the world. You'll notice that some of the beans are light and medium roasted. This is so more of the flavor profile of the beans will come forth in the cup. And and as far as milk-based drinks, most of the $Bucks style drinks are so overwhelmed with milk you can barely taste the coffee in the first place. At places like Groundworks and Intelly, the focus is on the COFFEE making the taste in your mouth, not the milk.

Sorry if this came out as kind of rant, but I've spoken with the people at Intelly and tried 3 different kinds of beans at home thus far (their Black Cat, Kid-O, and their Yrgacheffe), all of which have been phenomenal. I would recommend anyone who goes there to try and learn what flavors of coffee tickle your palate, then order to your liking. If you didn't like a certain cup of coffee, you might just want to try a different blend the next time you stop by.

That's my 2 centavos worth.

Gusto

Sep 23, 2007
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

What should I order from Casa Bianca?

GET THE BRUSCHETTA!!! Man, my wife and I never order appetizers, but for some reason we ordered the bruscheta when we went there. WOW. A circular plate with pieces of garlic bread surrounding a coctail-like glass filled with some absolutely incredible diced tomatoes and such (your topping for the garlic bread). This could be a meal in itself, but definitely order a meal too! Trust me, it's really, really good.

Sep 23, 2007
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Blue Bottle Worthy Coffee? Best In LA?

Depends on what you're looking for. I've had Blue Bottle, but specifically focus on their espresso. If you're looking for espresso, these would be the best spots:

Intelligentsia on Sunset
Caffe Luxxe in Santa Monica on Montana
Coffee Klatch in San Dimas
Groundwork on 2nd and Main in Downtown

If you're looking for drip coffee, Intelligentsia on Sunset and the Groundwork on 2nd and Main both have Clovers, which is kind of the new fad. All these places roast their own beans, except for Luxxe, which gets their beans from Vivace in Seattle. Luxxe only does espresso drinks. (Highly recommended, if that's your thing).

It's tough to match up to Blue Bottle, which in my opinion, is the best coffee in CA.

Hope that helps.

Sep 21, 2007
Gusto in Los Angeles Area

Best Burrito San Francisco

Thanks for all the input. I understand there is some variance in the different Taqueria Cancuns. My understanding is the one on Mission/19th is the original, but I read somewhere else there is one close to Valencia that is making more consistent burritos. Any thoughts?

Jul 19, 2007
Gusto in San Francisco Bay Area