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Restaurants & Bars 7

Fun at Hillmont, La Fuente, Tung Lai Shun etc. Long

Slow Foodie | Jun 2, 2003 07:35 PM

The carnivorous of the two pups and I were out Friday evening and we both got a hankering for some red meat. I was too lazy to head down to Taylor's, and in spite of all the negative things recently appearing on this board, I decided the pup might enjoy Hillmont. We arrived at 7:30 on Friday, without a reservation and the place was pretty empty. By the time we left, at nearly nine, it had filled up considerably. They have a decent selection of wine by the glass and I had a nice glass of merlot for 8 bucks. The pup and I ordered (to share) a ribeye, an order of spinach with apples, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. The ribeye was a bit fattier than it could have been but a really tasty piece of meat. I loved the spinach because it was different than the usual cream and nutmeg steakhouse staple. It was garlicy and the apples tarted it up a bit. The macaroni was perfect–not too gooshy but flavorful. The only disappointment was the corn bread which would have been more appropriate for a Marie Callendar's. We also loved the atmosphere. It was convivial and quite fun when it filled up. There was well chosen old rock n' roll playing and a good time was being had by all. The service was really genial and very friendly to my young companion. Cookies and milk were ordered for dessert. The serving was really generous, the cookies were warm but not particularly delicious. I guess because I went in with such low expectations I was pleased to find the place so comfortable and the food so much better than decent.

The pups were at a sleepover Saturday night but Slow hub and I were too tired to get gussied up and really take advantage of their absence. We were reminded of La Fuente in the neighborhood recently by this board and decided that it was about what our energy level could handle. Slow hub left his wallet at home and the pups had cleaned me out earlier and La Fuente is a cash on the barrel-head kind of joint. We ordered and himself valiantly agreed to walk down to Fig for the ATM so I gave him my card. I was so out of it that evening that I stupidly ordered salad (very wet iceberg lettuce drowned in commercial dressing) with my entree instead of what probably would have been decent homemade soup. I was poking at the salad when my husband reappeared from his jog down Fig to ask me my ATM code. This is the moment when the entrees arrived. I grabbed the card and jumped in the car and headed for the no-surcharge ATM and by the time I got back the hubster had cleaned his plate so I don't know what he got but apparently he liked it. I'd ordered machaca. It was really good but not as exquisitely seasoned as La Abeja's. We don't eat pork or shellfish but if anyone has a recommendation for La Fuente, the place was friendly and close enough to home that I'd gladly give it another shot AND BRING CASH.

Sunday we took the pups and some of their pals to Tung Lai Shun. I know that Jerome prefers the OTHER Muslim Chinese restaurant but I like this one. I'll tell you why. All week long I had been dreaming about the "Little yellow fish in salt and pepper." These come fried whole and dainty in a little basket festooned with fresh chiles. The pups always inhale the honey lamb in hoisin sauce and we all eat way too many scallion pancakes. The problem here is that every time we eat there and try a new item we add another "must" to the "must" list and therefore we end up ordering so much food we have to rent a U-Haul for the leftovers. Now, here's something very weird. I was shocked to see a big display of beer and I asked the waitress what the deal was. She informed me that they'd received a beer and wine license. I'm not that familiar with the Muslim faith but, isn't alcohol as verboten as pork? Does anyone have an explanation or inside info on this? And btw, a cold brewski would really be excellent with those little yellow fish...

And the Tung Lai Shun ritual is always followed by the ritual stop at Fosselman's, where I'm happy to say they have fresh peach and fresh raspberry ice cream on the menu which was a perfect way to wind down a weekend of fine dining (and steel oneself for a week of protein shakes...)
Tung Lai Shun 140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel 91776-3760 • 626-288-6588
Fosselman's 1824 W. Main St., Alhambra 626-282-6533
Hillmont 4655 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, (323) 669-3922
La Fuente Mexican Restaurant 5530 Monte Vista 323-258-6109

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