I took a chow walk on Van Nuys Blvd from Roscoe to San Fernando. It's wasn't actually that much of a success.
The most interesting thing is the Island Pacific Filipino supermarket on the NE corner of Van Nuys and Roscoe. It has a lot of Filipino stuff. I got some purple yam pastries there that didn't end up tasting like much of anything. There are three Filipino steam-table places nearby, all of which seemed plausible but none of which quite convinced me to eat at them.
There are also about ten Latino markets along that stretch -- big, small, old, new, etc. I went to the tacqueria in the one at the SE corner of Van Nuys and Nordhoff and got a chicken taco (good) and a pork pupusa (bad). And there are some good Latino bakeries. My favorite is El Competador (sp?), a large, scruffy place on the SE corner of Van Nuys and Nordhoff, but there are also good ones inside the Gallo Giro (NW corner of Van Nuys and Roscoe), where I got a rather good pumpkin empanada, and the Gigante market (NE corner of Van Nuys and Woodman).
There really aren't that many convincing restaurants anywhere along that whole stretch. The only one I'd think of going back to is a new Thai place called Ocha Classic on the SW corner of Van Nuys and Nordhoff. The only reason I didn't eat there was that I was holding out for some good Mexican food. As it is, I ended up eating at Cafe San Juan, SE corner of Van Nuys and San Fernando. It's the sort of neighborhood where the big ticket item on the menu is $4.50, and so that's what I got: chicken with rice and beans and tortillas. The people are friendly, the orange juice is fresh squeezed, and a steady stream of fresh hot tortillas shows up at your table while you're eating, but I'm afraid that the food is most honest than good. You feel like you're at the end of the known world out there.
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