Archive for 'Strip Mall Chinese Food Challenge'

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.

Read more »

Cheap Chinese Food Challenge: Chinese Deli


So let’s briefly recap for those of you who have just turned in.  I am fat.  I am semi addicted to cheap (read: Americanized) Chinese food… and while Panda Express is one of my few fast food chain weaknesses, I feel obligated to give the mom and pops a fair shot. So, a few months ago I agreed to eat at any of the tons of these spots that litter the L.A. food landscape between Downtown and Santa Monica… provided I received a challenge from a reader.  The last one was (surprisingly) good.  Here is the latest…

From Lunch’er Daniel: “Huge fan, I’ve been following your blog since my days working at BusinessWeek in NYC. Anyhow, I now live in LA and currently work in Culver City and have been interested in trying this Chinese Buffet and thought you would be the perfect person/guinea pig to try it out for me :-). It’s called the Chinese Deli and it’s located at 5808 Rodeo (cross street is La Cienaga)”

Daniel, that sounds right up my alley. I accept your challenge.

Read more »

Cheap Chinese Food Challenge: Fortune Cookies Isn’t Nearly as Bad as it Looks


I become mesmerized in the presence of cheap Chinese food steam tables (you know- the ones where you point to what you want), and I know there are some of you who are with me… after all, how else would so many of them exist in L.A.? How do you know if you’re afflicted with cheap Chinese food-itis?  It’s pretty simple actually. At mall food courts, do you find it difficult to choose anything but the place that has the best free samples of orange chicken? When you travel, have you ever walked to another terminal hoping for Panda Express (but willing to settle for Manchu Wok)?  Do you find yourself wanting to try every single crappy looking Chinese place you drive by?  Well, I’m here to help.

Last month, after a particularly mediocre meal at Patty’s Chinese Express downtown, I agreed to eat at any of the cheap Chinese food dives that dot our wonderful city… not just as an excuse to eat at all the gross Chinese fast food spots that dot our strip malls, but also because I wanted to serve my community!  Oh, who am I kidding.  I just wanted an excuse to eat gross Chinese food.  So I was pretty excited when I got this email from Lunch’er “Cathy” (who also happens to run Gastronomy Blog):

“I passed by this awful looking chinese restaurant on Santa Monica the other day and thought of you. It’s called fortune cookies. please go there without me one day.”

How could I not?

Read more »

The ML Strip Mall Chinese Food Challenge Begins at Patty’s Express

I have a confession to make.  I love steam table “Chinese” food.  You know the places I’m talking about, right?  You walk in, point to two or three things plus rice and/or noodles, pay around $5, and walk out with a delicious meal that leaves you with nothing but regrets a few hours later.  I can’t help it.  I love dim sum.  I love Sichuan peppercorns.  I wish I lived in the San Gabriel Valley.  But I also love Panda Express, and will defend their orange chicken and lo mein as benchmarks of their genre until the day I die (possibly from eating General Tso’s chicke too much…  it did send me to the hospital in college.)

That being said, Panda Express isn’t really a Midtown Lunch.  Sure, if one opened in Midtown Manhattan it would be huge news… but here, they’re on every corner.  In every outdoor mall. In every food court.  And this site is about finding the off the beaten path places.  The lunch spots that your boring non Midtown Lunch’er co-workers would turn their noses up at (as they order another turkey $5 footlong.)  So when a friend of mine and I walked by the never been reviewed on Yelp (we’re talking off the off the beaten path here!) Patty’s Chinese Express Downtown the other day, after discovering that Uncle John’s Ham & Eggs had closed, and he said “why don’t we try this place out?”, I couldn’t resist taking it as a personal challenge.

Read more »