Colorado Chow

(including Glendale, Eagle Rock, Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Zelo: Off-Colorado

My first Off-Colorado post has to be Zelo!! I'm trying to keep my Off-Colorado posts to be joints on streets perpendicular and close to Colorado. But today's restaurant is parallel to Colorado in Arcadia. It's just too damn good to pass up and it rightly deserves its own blog posting.

Zelo is located in a non-interesting commercial area of Arcadia. I'm just happy I'm not doing FoothillChow - believe that!

Don't be concerned about the location because Zelo has the deepdish pizza in full effect! This is THE place for some serious deepdish cornmeal crust pizzas. This crust is amazing! I don't know how they do it. I've gone here a few times already and each time, they are consistent - the crust is always perfectly crunchy and delicious.

Using only the freshest ingredients, they have their regular pizza menu plus different special pizzas everyday. You can order by the slice, half or whole pie.

This time I went for a Broccoli and Black Bean Salad and a slice. I should have turned the salad around for the picture but this puppy has broccoli, black beans, mushrooms, greens with a dijon balsamic vinaigrette. I ordered this salad to satisfy my curiousity. The salad was only okay for me. I knew I made a mistake in ordering it, as I noticed all the other slices being served to the other customers - I wish I had ordered another slice. Live and learn my friends.

The pizza slice I ordered with the salad was off the special of the day menu. It's a Potato Pancetta pizza. This beauty has thin roasted potato slices, Italian bacon, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, and tomato sauce. I'm salivating as I write!

This isn't Chicago style, it's unlike Zacharys up north in Oaktown and Berkeley, nor does it resemble the Numero Uno chain thick crust version. You just have to try it yourself.

So I delayed this post so I could go back again later in the week and show some more slices. This time I skipped the salad and went for two slices - one off the regular menu and one off the special of the day menu.

Here we have their regular Corn Pizza and the special Spinach Pizza. The Corn pizza is tasty and unique - it has corn, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, balsamic marinated, oven-roasted red onions, and chives. This pie is highly recommended for those going to Zelo for the first time. Apparently, it's their best seller and you'll see why if you taste it. The Spinach pizza has sauteed spinach, garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, and diced tomatoes. This was good but I'll go for something else next time.

OK, so I delayed this post again so I can make an excuse to go back. This time I went for a Veggie slice (top) - and a Sausage pizza slice (bottom) - both off the regular menu. The Veggie one has Roasted eggplant, marinated green peppers, sauteed onions, shrooms, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The Sausage has everything on the Veggie sans the mushrooms and eggplant and plus homemade sausage.

Three words: GO TO ZELO!

Zelo Cornmeal Crust Pizzas
328 E. Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, CA 91006 (626) 358-8298
Tues - Sat 11:30am - 9pm; Sun 3pm - 9pm

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fritto Misto: West-Side

Today I went to the west side to whittle wood. I shit you not! I took a Japanese wood carving class on Abbott Kinney in Venice. Master Wood Carver, Yo Takimoto, when he's in Cali, teaches these wood carving classes in various stores. Very cool, fun, and relaxing. Check out the piece that I made with 1000 year old Yakusugi wood (with Yo's help of course).

I know I digress so here is where the chow comes in. I was over on the west side before the class, so I remembered that there was a Colorado Ave in Santa Monica....

I found Fritto Misto. This joint was located in an off-the-beaten-track location in Santa Monica. It's a cool Italian cafe with cool wood tables, made with wine crates.

The brunch menu looked great. I always liked a good "garbage pail" or "kitchen sink" breakfast dish. I had some good ones in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, but haven't had one in L.A. So I was intrigued with the Mess de Misto dish and ordered that with the Cajun Chicken (less than $10).

The picture may not do this dish justice, but I got a tell you, it was damn good. Chicken bits, roasted rosemary potatoes, tri-color bell peppers, red onions, mozzarella and egg all smashed together. Totally satisfied after this meal, I was ready for some serious whittling!

I'm sorry, my last breakfast at Le Petit Beaujolais didn't compare to this one. I hope I find better on the East Side....

Fritto Misto
601 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica CA 90401
(310) 458-2829

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pollos a la Brasa:
2161 Colorado Blvd.

Hidden in the back corner of a minimall next to Blockbuster, right across the street from Dave's Chillin & Grillin, is a Pollos a la Brasa! You can hardly make out the faded yellow signage during the day and the interior looks like some former Winchell's Donut house. However, unlike the other Pollos a la Brasa's I've been to like on Western in KoreaTown or on Vermont in Gardena, this joint doesn't look like some lumberyard or firewood store.

Still, the rotisserie oven here is wood fired, but I couldn't see where they store their wood. You can see the oven conveniently through the window so you can start salivating right away. This place isn't that big and was completely packed. Everybody had the Inka Cola pouring, devouring their food, and looked like they would be planted for a while, so I ordered my food to go.

I love Peruvian food, but rather than go for some Saltado de Pollo or Ceviche or some other dish, and making this trip solo, I tried out the Rotisserie Chicken. I went for a half chicken plate with rice and fries (under $10). Once I got home, I devoured it like food was going out of style! The chicken was tender, smoky, and the skin was flavorful. Tasty! The fries were all right - maybe because it got a little soggy in the take out container. But really, it's all about the chicken. The smoky, garlicky, peppery skin - dang, I can still taste it now.

I also couldn't help noticing the Peruvian desserts in the counter cases. I just pointed to something that looked good. This thing had some crunchy layers of filo dough and a layer of carmel and topped with powdered sugar. It was crunchy and pretty good. Sorry, I don't know the name of this thing.

I gotta go back to try some more dishes and postres. Now, which Pollo a la brasa do I like better - KTown or Eagle Rock? If I had to choose, I would go for the lumberyard hole in the wall in KTown but it's great to know that I don't need to make a trek to Ktown to get some wood-fired Peruvian Chicken.

Pollos a la Brasa
2161 Colorado Blvd, Suite 106-7, Eagle Rock CA 90041 (323) 255-6322
Mon-Sat: 11:30am - 9pm, Sun 9am - 9pm

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yang Chow:
3777 E. Colorado Blvd.

When you go new places exploring for chow, sometimes your IN, but most of the time your OUT. That's why I usually go to places for lunch - to check out the food and vibe and its cheaper. Today I tried out Yang Chow for lunch. It's located in the East Pasadena area right accross the street from the interesting looking Frank and Dean's joint. (That place was closed for lunch, unfortunately. Will need to give that place a go sometime.)

The interior looks okay. But the only Chinese people in there was the staff. Not a good sign. Just as at Fu Shing last month, I ordered the Kung Pao chicken lunch special as a comparison. Bad move. You can see the freebie pickled cabbage above - too sweet for me. The egg drop soup was cornstarchy, thick and slimy. Not appealing. Had to put a lot of pepper in it but after a few spoonfuls I stopped. Couldn't put it down.

The Kung Pao was actually sweet tasting and very saucy! No good! Only green onions and peanuts and a few tiny bits of peppers. Give me Fu Shing anyday. And the rice was dry and old! Yuck. I won't be back here. Yang Chow - You're OUT!

On my way out, I was thinking I need some coffee to get the taste out of my mouth. I was surprised to see a Zagat Rated sign on the door. Maybe they have some good dishes? A hidden menu? I don't know. Not worth my time to look into - there's more chow out there to explore.

Yang Chow Restaurant
3777 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena CA 91107 (626) 432-6868

Monday, March 06, 2006

Zephyr Coffee House:
2419 E. Colorado Blvd

This is a cool hidden cafe in Pasadena's east side. Driving around you may not even notice it. I went there for a quick lunch. It's in a house that's been converted into a cafe, art space, live music space. The interior is very comfortable with tables and couches with many rooms to lounge. Plop down with a cup of joe, plug in the laptop and get to work or read the paper or a book.

The cool thing is that the busy Colorado street is just outside but aside from a little traffic noise, you feel miles away. They have a back patio area that feels secluded from the bustle of the street. From what I can gather there is no wireless access.

I ordered the Roasted Red Pepper Panini which also had Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, Spinach and Pepper Jack Cheese on Olive Bread. The bread was fresh, tasty and cruchy. The insides were good but the sandwich was thin.

I've had more quantity of food for the same price at other places, but the meal was good for a light lunch. With the chill factor atmosphere - I can see coming back to "get away" again in the future and I may have to try one of them crepes.

Zephyr Coffee House and Art Gallery
2419 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 (626) 793-7330

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dave's Chillin-N-Grillin:
2152 Colorado Blvd

Needed to get a quick bite to eat, so I cruised over to Dave's Chillin-N-Grillin. I've been eyeing this place everytime I drove by. With a name like this, you HAVE to try it out. It's sandwiched (sorry for the pun) in between PC Bang and Lucky Money, a little east of Eagle Rock Blvd. The place is small and they prepare their grilled sandwiches expertly on a small hot plate. It goes to show you how you can make things happen with very little.

Every seat in the place was taken and Dave seemed to know everyone. The cool thing was the mix of high school students, oxy college students, Eagle Rock residents, blue collar workers, and seniors - all chillin together, eating while listening to classic rock. I got a good dose of Led Zeppelin while I ate.

Unfortunately, they ran out of sausages and turkey by the time I got there. So I went for the Tuna Melt and I have to admit the Tuna Melt was jammin! The bread was fresh. The grillin was perfect - not too greasy and toasted enough to be crunchy. Inside wasn't soggy or sloppy, with chunky tuna, cheese, tomatoes and peppers. It really hit the spot.

I saw a few people come in and order just a smoothie and I saw someone having one and it looked damn good so I had to try a Berry Blast smoothie. Ask Dave - he'll tell you. Dave doesn't use ice in his smoothies so you don't get watered down stuff here, you get the real deal.

This meal was $10. This is definitely an unpretentious neighborhood joint you have to check out. Grab a paper and chill!

Dave's Chillin-N-Grillin (Dave Evan)
2152 Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 490-0988

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Le Petit Beaujolais:
1661 Colorado Blvd.

You need to find a good breakfast joint close to anywhere you live, so I set out to start exploring in my hood. First up, I went to Le Petit Beaujolais. Now there are two of these "Beaujolais" places on opposite sides of Colorado. I'm referring to the one on the North side.

The decor is a french cafe scene with French posters hung all over. The display cases in front full of fresh breads and pasteries. Promising. But I just had a jammin croissant at Cafe Los Feliz the other day. So instead of going for coffee and pasteries, I figured I would order something standard to do a comparison of various breakfast joints. I ordered a latte and the ham and eggs. The latte hit the spot. The ham was 2 slices of thick ham that was grilled. Not bad. However, I was disappointed with skimpy portions of potatoes and they were skimpy on taste. The scrambled eggs were standard. This didn't "wow" me but didn't scare me away.

Next time, I'll pick another dish - probably an omlette. I'll also check out the lunch scene - it looks like they may have some good sandwiches/salads. This place is starting to be open for dinners a few nights a week and they look to have some wines too. May have to walk over here for dinner and try some dishes and stumble home.

Le Petit Beaujolais
1661 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 255-5133