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post-Hawaii pastry fix at the La Brea Bakery

I was in Honolulu for a week at a conference, and as much as I love the idea of having sushi available at the 7-11, I couldn't find a decent croissant for the life of me. Being in the Convention Center neighborhood was no help at all, so when I got back (to Hell-A) I ran to La Brea Bakery, since it had been months since I'd been.
Weekends, despite the roving crowds are a great time to go, because they put out a different assortment of pastries, and more importantly, George is there. George rules. period.
They have a lovely selection of sandwiches for meat eaters, but veggie options always involve cheese. But it's some of the best damn cheese in the city (selections in the deli case are highly recommended.) If you haven't had a Campanile/La Brea Bakery grilled cheese sandwich, you really haven't lived yet. Stout LBB white bread with gruyere grilled to an evanescent crispy, buttery, filling perfection. I had to get on the bus before I could eat mine, and despite the accumulating moisture in the bag, the bread was still crunchy when I ate it about 15 minutes later. But you really have to eat it while it's still warm or else the cheese looses that buttery creaminess.
I still haven't been for a Thursday night Campanile Grilled Cheese, but maybe I'll have to drag the Planktongirl after she's finished with her exams.

La Brea Bakery cafe and store
La Brea Ave between 6th and Wilshire, open til about 5 or 6 most days.
accessible from the Wilshire 720 and 20/21 busses, the 212 line on La Brea, and not too far from the 16 line on 3rd st.

George reports: LBB products are available somewhere in the Ala Moana Shopping Center, but they sure as hell are not in the *food court*, because it was a quaint multiculti hell for vegetarians.
  • Current Music
    no music, but maybe french cafe music would work there
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Native Foods, Westwood

I heard about this place on KCRW (they give a 15% discount). Small and cramped, cafe style, with a New American menu. Mostly, if not all vegan. I was in a hurry so I opted for the "Iron Yam" salad. The idea of a "hot salad" is new to me, but it had a perfectly cooked half sweet potato, topping a green cabbage/carrot/zucchini/cauliflower mix on top of chopped romaine, with a topping of onions sauteed in what I imagine was the balsamic dressing. The balsamic was a little too much in my opinion, giving the overall flavor too much sourness, but it was an interesting idea. It was definitely healthy, with not much subtlety, and virtually no fat. But the price was right (<$10) and there was so much on the menu that I'd definitely go back for another try. Why isn't there any place like this near USC??? I always end up in Westwood having dinner before shows at Royce Hall, so this will be a destination for sure. The service was expedient, and the gals working there Sat night were really cute.
Note--the seating area is postage stamp-sized. If you're hoping to eat there during prime dining hours, you'd be better off with take-out unless you want to stand and eat.

Westwood Village, 1110 1/2 Gayley Ave, near Wilshire
accessible via the Wilshire busses (20,21,720), the big blue busses that go to Westwood, and a short walk from the Sunset Blvd (2,302) stops
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    alt rock mix, featuring Fugazi!!
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Happy Family Restaurant, Monterey Park

Because this place is not in central LA, I don't get out there unless my pals are giving me a ride. But it's so worth it!!! It's Buddhist vegetarian--no dairy, and probably no eggs in most of the dishes (though I'd ask just to be sure). I was there last Sunday, and I always have a great time. The food is simple, Chinese-restaurant fare, with lots of fake meat substitutes prepared in most popular permutations and some different ones you won't see in a regular Chinese place. The Lettuce Cup dish is excellent--crunchy fried noodles, mystery fake meats diced and sauteed with a varity of veggies. Also recommended are the edamame (young soy bean) and tofu skin, orange chicken, and fried chicken roll. I haven't been there enough times to try everything on the menu, but the sauteed string beans aren't top notch--not quite spicy or garlicky enough. I also hear the soup is to be avoided. Prices are inexpensive, in the $10-15 per person range; there's an all-you-can-eat option with a more limited menu. The tea is bagged--if you're a tea snob, I'd advise you to bring your own!

Happy Valley Restaurant
608 N. Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park, off the 10.
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    not the Dead Kennedys; in fact, none at all