Don't get to El Monte much these days, but over the years I've gotten kinda fond of the old Jolly Jug on Peck Road, just a few blocks south of Lower Azusa, as a sort of SGV substitute for Pann's. Very different vibe, of course, being a STUFFY old-fashioned diner as opposed to a COOL old-fashioned diner, but I've always found the sandwiches to be well worth the trip.
So I just happened to be on Peck Road noonish today, and dropped in. Last time I was there (about 2 years ago) it was nice enough but a bit dingy and musty-smelling, and I was afraid it was on its way down. Today, however, it was very clean and tidy, and the CF twirly-bulbs in the overhead lights brightened up the room considerably. The place is now presided over by an Asian woman and two much younger Asian guys, very polite and friendly, and the menus are shiny-white plastic-coated items. Prices still quite reasonable, too. In my trips there I've had the Reuben, the Beefeater and the Club, trying a different one each time, so today I went for the Patty Melt, asking for grilled sourdough instead of rye, and a small side of coleslaw, and plain iced tap-water (since I was on the job and driving). The woman took my order, then a few minutes later stuck her head around the corner and asked, "Grilled onions?" to which I said, "Sure!"
Well, what can you say about something as basic as a patty melt, except that the hefty, golden-grilled slices of sourdough were excellent bread to start with, and done to a perfect crunch. The onions were not the slimy strings you get so often, but grilled just enough to soften the flavor and the bite. That's a nice slab of beef in there, too, not as huge as Pann's half-pounder but big enough for a middle-aged fat boy, and yes, the cheese was as synthetic as it gets, which is of course de rigeur. The fries could have spent a little more time in the basket, and the coleslaw was about two notches sweeter than I really like, but it made a truly satisfying lunch. It cost me just $7.50 before tax and tip, which I just now realized did not include the coleslaw. I'm sure it got left off the bill be accident...so of course I need to do the right thing and head back down there ASAP to make amends. I'll probably do that around noon one day...
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