...from a long while down the board... sorry, I didn't notice your reply to me till now.
Er, what is it that you mean and want from "hole-in-the-wall." For me, this is a strange way to cut across restaurants.
Do you mean simply size and appearance? Because I can give you my favorite small, less-fancy-looking Chinese restaurants, but that would leave out a lot, for no good reason. For example: China Islamic, which is a large, semi-nice-looking (posh, by some San Gabe standards) place, has, in its lamb with knife-cut noodle soup, the best Chinese noodles I've ever had. It's by no means a hole-in-the-wall - though the price of the soup ($6, I think? $7?) is at or barely above that of certain little dirty restaurants I know.
Do you mean unknown? But my favorite restaurant that actually is a hole in a freakin' wall is the Sichuan place Chung King - which is probably one of the most famous restaurants east of L.A. (Good dan dan noodles, too - alongside everything else.)
Do you mean non-fine-cuisine but more quick-and-dirty noodle shop? Sure: Mandarin Deli in downtown and San Gabriel (you have to *tell* them you want hand-made noodles), a place that tissue recommended in her top-ten-noodle list, which is called - Happy something? - in the Wendy's Plaza on Valley, next to a place called, er, Noodle King? (Which was supposed to have dan dan noodles and beef noodle soup, which had neither, but which had great cold noodles anyway).
Do you just mean small restaurants? A1 Sichuan is small and plenty good. But most of my favorite food is right nearby, and in larger and neater settings, at pretty much the same price.
Anyway, I can't help you on the "west of downtown" part. All the places above, except M. Deli, are in San Gabriel. I gave up on that long ago. Tried all the recommended place around UCLA at at least - Hop Li, Hop Woo, JR, others - all are pretty depressing. There's one half-decent one - Ocean Seafood Village or something, on Lincoln just south of Washington. But why? When San Gabriel is so close, on any freeway, past rush hour. My god! The SG Valley is a food resource unparalleled... I've lived near SF and in Boston, and, in my humble little life story, I've never found anything like it. The number of astoundingly great restaurants within 5 minutes drive from each other melts my mind. I honestly have yet to have a bad meal there. And I hate most restaurants, honestly. K-town, Little Saigon, East L.A. - I've had tons of bad meals in all. But San Gabriel? In all honesty - the worst Chinese San Gabriel meal I've had is still better than the best meal Chinese meal outside of San Gabriel/Chinatown.
It's like living 20 minutes outside of Paris and refusing to drive in for the French food.
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