I was on a cooking strike this weekend, recovering from a big bash we'd had the following weekend and allowing my knife nicked, charred fingers heal. It seemed like a perfect weekend to do some serious hounding.
We started the weekend early Friday evening at Elena's Greek-Armenian restaurant in Glendale. Even early (5:30) the parking was a tad tricky and the atmosphere is quite funky. And I'm not sure if it's in a good way. The chowbabes hated the lentil soup but Mr. Slow polished off all three portions with an enthusiastic thumbs up. I spied some huge bottles of Real Lemon lemon juice on the counter in the kitchen and I suspect that this might be the secret ingredient. Then, we all ate beef and lamb and rice. All very satisfying and wallet friendly. I would happily eat the beef or lamb again but I think the atmosphere may have crossed the tolerance line. There was a blaring television with a blatantly sexy (and demeaning) program and even though the server was fully aware of my kids' jaws dropped, she did nothing to change the channel and we made them switch places at the table with us so they could no longer see the t.v. The service was abrupt and while not blantantly rude, definitely lacking friendliness. I think overall we'll stick to Carousel in Glendale where the food is reliable and as another hound noted, the appetizers are fab and the service is most genial. We have, however, experienced really rude and incompetent service at the Hollywood branch a couple of times so it's off the list--except for take out.
Saturday morning I was faced with the need for provisions and the reality that my fave market--Mayfair Silverlake was closed for Gelsonization. I ventured to the Pavillion's in South Pasadena which I will note has only middling produce and almost item for item was slightly more expensive than the (I admit)
overpriced Mayfair and ridiculously more expensive than Trader Joe's on items they had in common. Ever vigilant however, on the way home I spied The Union Bakery (1138 S. Fairoaks, S.Pas.) and stopped to check it out. I bought two danish and a banana bread and both were absolutely heavenly. Perfect, buttery and wonderfully textured. Can't praise this wonderful little bakery more highly.
Finally, after a hard day at the movies we decided to try another board favorite, Gueleguetza (the one on 8th) Now Mr. Slow and I spent our honeymoon in Oaxaca and we walked into this charming place and were delightfully transported back. The little foodies, except for the Sidral Apple soda, were not in love. The chicken soup was too lemony for them (and again, Pops polished it all off) and the mermelita (tortillas slathered with beans and melted cheese) tasted "funny." I ordered an empanada (which at other Mexican restaurants would have been considered a quesadilla) with huitlacoche. I loved the Oaxacan cheese it contained but the rest of the filling was too musty tasting and even a bit too picante for me to really enjoy. I also had a chicken tamale and again, I found the mole flavorful, it's just too rich and dense for me to enjoy more than a small amount. Mr. Slow had the chicken in mole, and again, we found the sauce too much of a good thing. There are other dishes on the menu I'd like to try-like the flor de calabasa and some of the beef items but I think it's a girlfriend, rather than family destination for the future. Furthermore, being well over 40, Mr. Slow and I notice that in addition to weaker knees and eyes (and other things which our none of your business), our tummies are also not what they used to be. I used to be able to eat a Tommy burger but when we got home from Gueleguetza we nearly had to arm wrestle for the last Alka Seltzer. Pretty pathetic. So, all you young hounds, I implore you, enjoy it while you can...