Cheap Chinese Food Challenge: Is Tasty Goody Too Much For Lunch?
Every Tuesday we profile a random L.A. lunch’er here on the site… get their recommendations for places to eat around their work, and beyond (for those who are willing to drive a bit for something new or good.) Lately I’ve been seriously mining the suggestions of Lunch’er “Jeff”, a Venice based fundraising director who had some great west side lunch suggestions. Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch and the meatloaf sandwich at Bay Cities are at the top of my list, and as promised the lambwich at Venice Beach Wines was excellent. But the most curious of his suggestions was Tasty Goody.
In response to my Cheap Chinese Food Challenge, Jeff recommended the “must try” Tasty Goody on Lincoln just south of Rose. He copped to not being able to handle it for lunch (he’s been there twice for dinner), but didn’t want to “spoil it” by telling me anything else. Spoil it! Spoil what!?! To say I was intrigued would be a massive understatement. What kind of shenanigans could Tasty Goody possibly be pulling? Different ideas were racing through my head. Is it an airplane hanger? Does it have an all you can eat option? Some unheard of citrus sticky sauce covered chicken option, like tangerine chicken- to go along with the industry standard orange and lemon chickens? What could it possibly be!?!
Only one way to find out.
Tasty Goody is actually a chain of 11 restaurants (if you can call cheap steam table Chinese food a “restaurant”) that stretch from here out to San Bernadino. On first glance it seems like any average Chinese fast food spot. 1 item over rice and noodles for $4.29, 2 items for $5.29, 3 items for $5.99. Once again, I love the 3 item option (Panda Express will only do 2) but beyond that everything seemed to be pretty straight forward.
I went for sesame chicken, salt and pepper pork chops, and Mongolian beef. The sesame chicken was above average, and had a nice crunch, while the Mongolian beef was pretty disappointing (too mushy). But the salt and pepper pork chops were pretty good. On the bone and salty, they had some kind of unique spice to them that presumably accounted for their yellowish tint (cumin or turmeric maybe?) At least I’m hoping that’s what made them yellow! Good flavor overall and they provided a nice contrast to the sweet sesame chicken. Rice was not offensive, and the noodles were pretty good. If you go for a third item, they put it in a separate container… making for a pretty enormous lunch. (Maybe that’s what Lunch’er Jeff was talking about? It is a ton of food…)
My buddy went with beef and broccoli, black pepper chicken, and splurged for the creamy shrimp (shrimp dishes are a $1 extra.) I had the same problem with this beef as the other beef, and the shrimp wasn’t worth the extra $1, but that black pepper chicken dish was great (possibly my favorite of them all.) Crispy and peppery, it had some kind of marinade over it, but wasn’t as thick and gloopy as the other chicken dishes.
So… perfect lunch at Tasty Goody = Sesame chicken + Salt and pepper pork chops + black pepper chicken (rice and noodles.)
Well, not entirely perfect. In the interest of full disclosure my buddy claims he got pretty sick from lunch. We shared everything, but I was perfectly fine. (Although he certainly liked that creamy shrimp far more than I did.) Did he get sick from something else? Or do I have a stomach of steel! We will never know. Perhaps this is the surprise Jeff was talking about? And maybe that’s why he only eats at Tasty Goody for dinner. You may need the rest of the day off after eating there.
- Quantity over quality baby! They give you a ton of food.
- I like chicken and pork at these places more than the beef
- I don’t mind my salt and pepper pork chops to be dry, as long as they’re nice and crispy and super salty.
- I have a stomach of steel
- An extra $1 for shrimp? F-that.
- Still not as good as Panda Express
- I like beef, and their beef options are pretty bad
Tasty Goody, 715 Lincoln Blvd (near Rose), 310-392-8889