Tag Archives: burbank lunch

The New Deal Restaurant Adds Style To Burbank’s Magnolia Park

Since opening in August 2016, The New Deal restaurant has drawn a lot of interest with its stylish, 1930’s-themed vibe and menu of beers, burgers and malts. The New Deal does a lot of things right, but continues to lack consistency in execution.

We have eaten at The New Deal at least half a dozen times since August 2016. Each visit, something was off – either the service was mind-numbingly slow, one of the dishes served was not up to the standard of previous visits or the restaurant was out of one or more items on the menu.

One aspect that has dramatically improved since the opening is the service. For months, service was slow, non-attentive and frustrating. Recently though, we have had excellent, attentive service.

The New Deal’s All American burger in August 2016. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

But, the burgers were terrible on our last visit! It was shocking for a place at which we had enjoyed several terrific burgers in the past.

Although the burgers looked amazing, the patties used on the Blue Eagle and the All American burgers were well done instead of medium as ordered. The meat was dry and tasteless and basically ruined the overall effect of the bite, no matter the toppings. The Blue Eagle was not stuffed with gorgonzola cheese as indicated on the menu but topped with a few crumbles.

Blue Eagle Burger at The New Deal in Magnolia Park. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We had been impressed by the burgers from the first visit – we do hope this was a one-time blip. The All American and Roosevelt burgers have been excellent in previous meals.

This inconsistency in preparation and presentation  has happened before – we’ve had a delicious House Salad of butter lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and Green Goddess dressing one time, only to be served shredded romaine lettuce in the salad another time, with the avocado missing – basically the kitchen took a side salad and added the dressing to serve it as House Salad.

The New Deal made one of the best tomato soups we have ever tasted – once. The next time, the soup was overly spicy, and its accompanying Grilled Cheese Sandwich was dry and hard.

Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The New Deal. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We have also enjoyed The New Deal’s fantastic Brown Derby Cobb Salad – a fresh lettuce mix topped with hard-boiled egg, bacon, Roquefort cheese, tomato, avocado, chicken and a delicious French dressing.

Shakes and malts are consistently terrific – try the Creamsicle. Mini Milkshakes and The Teen Special (cheeseburger or hamburger, fries or chips and a mini milkshake) are perfect offerings for the younger set or lighter eaters.

The New Deal in Burbank’s fantastic Brown Derby Cobb Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The fries have always come out from the kitchen perfectly crispy and warm. The Street Corn is very tasty, coated with mayo, cotija cheese and chili powder. The fried pickles and roasted carrots with burrata and pesto are delicious, too.

The New Deal offers a nice selection of wine and beer. But on every single occasion we’ve ordered a beer in the past six months, the restaurant has been out of at least one or two of the beers requested. They have been able to substitute with a delicious option, though.

The style of The New Deal is lovely, with old-fashioned looking utensils, salt & pepper shakers and a vintage decor. We appreciate the individuality of the place. Restrooms are clean and fun.

Street Corn at The New Deal in Magnolia Park. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Parking is available on the street. Usually, The New Deal is steadily busy at lunch and dinner and the restaurant does take reservations. Sometimes, the wait for a table can be a while because it’s a small place.

Magnolia Park, and Burbank in general, really needs more individual and unique restaurants and shops, and we are rooting for The New Deal to make it all work. Great concept, great menu of food and drinks… but consistency in service and the quality and presentation of the menu items is vital.

For the first time in myBurbank history, we have a restaurant that sits between two ratings. Because it does so many things well, yet really needs to pay attention to some important issues, The New Deal ranks between Could Use A Rewrite and On The Marquee.

Restaurant Info: The New Deal is located at 3501 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505. 818 861-7731. The New Deal is open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 pm.

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Simplethings Burbank Serves Spectacular Sandwiches And Salads

The first thing we always notice walking in the door to Simplethings Burbank is their pie case filled with small sizes of beautiful pies in flavors such as key lime, chipotle pumpkin, salted caramel, banana cream, blueberry and the ‘smores-like mud.

For those who can bypass the glass case and order at the counter from the menu of colorful and tasty sandwiches and salads, there’s something for everyone. Our favorites so far have been the perfectly crispy and picante fried chicken sandwich, the fluffy egg salad sandwich and the best cubano sandwich ever.

Cubano sandwich from Simplethings Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Cubano sandwich from Simplethings Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The kale salad with chicken and a roasted tomatillo dressing is delicious, hearty but not too heavy. The spicy tater tots were nicely crisp on the outside and the chipotle aioli really kicked it up.

And then there’s the pies. We sampled some of the mini-sized pies – the key lime, the mud and the chipotle pumpkin. All were perfection in a mouthful. For the first time ever, I’m considering not making pies for Thanksgiving and ordering from Simplethings. The chipotle pumpkin was a little different, smooth, with a tiny bit of heat – a new combinations of flavors.

Simplethings' Kale salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Simplethings’ Kale salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We’ve only eaten from Simplethings Burbank a few times and there’s a lot to explore on the menu. The restaurant offers the option to customize your plate with the protein, salad and side of your choice.

The brunch menu holds some new twists on old favorites: fluffy french toast with mascarpone and blueberry compote, green eggs & ham with pesto mixed in the scrambled eggs, simple items like avocado toast or a frittata, tasty quinoa & eggs, and more.

Quinoa & eggs from Simplethings (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Quinoa & eggs from Simplethings (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The setup is fast casual – order at the counter, a runner brings your food, they clean up your table when you leave. Lots of seating and brown butcher paper and crayons decorate the tables to pass the time while the food is being prepared. Servers are very friendly and knowledgeable and bathrooms are clean.

Don’t forget to check out their rotating specials. Current specials – Portabella Pot Pie and Butternut Squash Salad and Soup – sound amazing. The restaurant serves from the brunch menu along with the regular menu on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Simplethings Burbank rates a Tops In Town for breathing some fresh, tasty flavors and style into the restaurant offerings in Burbank and Toluca Lake.

Restaurant Info: Simplethings is located at 4013 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505. 818-562-9619. Simplethings Burbank is open Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Simplethings Burbank receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Forman’s Tavern Opens With Excellent Food, Chill Vibe

Since Forman’s Tavern opened in Toluca Lake about six weeks ago, the public house has settled into the neighborhood quite nicely with consistently excellent food, a comfortable vibe and decor, along with friendly, expert bartenders. A breath of fresh air for Toluca Lake and Burbank!

Serving the same, large menu at lunch and dinner, the offerings range from small plates to heartier entrees, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Forman’s serves up a nice menu of beers, IPAs and wines, along with colorful, creative cocktails.

Forman's Tavern Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Tavern Crispy Chicken Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We have stopped by Forman’s Tavern several times in the past few weeks, late at night and for lunch. Every visit has been pleasant, from bar atmosphere to the quality of the food and drink.

At night, a bouncer checks i.d.s and the place is busy inside. We still were able to find a seat at the large community table in the center. The tavern is dark, punctuated with atmospheric lighting. Fortunately, the place isn’t overly loud, like many bars can be.

During the day, Forman’s does a steady business for lunch yet finding a nice table at which to sit is pretty easy. The pub is light, bright and expansive.

Forman's amazing Brussels Sprouts. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s amazing Brussels Sprouts. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

At Forman’s, we’ve had one of the best burgers we’ve tasted anywhere in the United States, the Steakhouse Burger. At $14, the diner gets their money’s worth. Ground fresh daily, the meat is perfectly cooked to order.

A medium burger melts in the mouth, with an incredible flavor. Topped with braised mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and crispy shallots and placed inside a potato bun, Forman’s Steakhouse Burger is simply perfect.

Hand cut fries are available separately, and are expertly crispy, potato-y and a little picante. Forman’s Brussels Sprouts ($7) are a thing of beauty – crispy and chewy with a hint of citrus, heat and nutty, salty cheese.

Forman's Steakhouse Burger with fresh cut fries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Steakhouse Burger with fresh cut fries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($13) is slightly spicy and juicy. A fried chicken breast is topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a tangy sweet honey mustard dressing on a potato bun.

And then there’s Forman’s salad menu, which looks fantastic, from Kale Salad, Citrus & Beet Salad, Quinoa & Berry Salad and Farro Salad to Fried Chicken Salad, Ahi Tuna Salad and Grilled Steak Salad.

Forman's Farro Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s Farro Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Farro Salad ($14), made with nutty farro, house-smoked turkey, tender butternut squash, cranberries, green onions, lemon and olive oil, is tangy, slightly sweet, filling and absolutely perfect.

Another spectacular dish is the Lemon & Ale Mussels. If we had one critique, it would be to request more grilled bread to accompany the dish, with which to soak up the fragrant, lemony, sea-flavored broth. For $15, the plate is a huge stack of mussels steamed with Belgian ale, lemon and parsley. Five slices of sliced, grilled bread are served alongside.

Lemon & Ale Mussels at Forman's Tavern. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lemon & Ale Mussels at Forman’s Tavern. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We also tried the Spicy Bacon Caramel Popcorn ($6.) The combination of flavors worked really well, although perhaps a little more bacon could have been present. The sweetness of the shared plate worked well as a dessert.

Forman’s bartenders make excellent cocktails. The Old Fashioned is served over a single huge cube of ice and garnished with a lemon twist – strong and classic. The Rosemary Paloma is tangy and fresh. Most cocktails range in price from $10-12.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Forman’s wine and beer list is solid as well. We’ve tried several varieties on tap, including the Dog Fishhead 90 IPA, Old Chubb Nitro, Big Whig IPA and the Lagunitas Pils. Prices range from $7-9 a glass.

At Forman’s Tavern, no detail is forgotten. The bathrooms are clean and charmingly decorated. The main room is large and open, with lots of hunting lodge and country-inspired accoutrements.

Eating at Forman’s is a visceral, slightly messy experience. Be prepared for some sticky fingers!

Patrons find their own seats and order food and drinks at the bar. Runners bring the plates out from the kitchen to the tables.

Forman’s Tavern is on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, so be prepared to valet or park and walk.

For consistency, style and substance, Forman’s Tavern gets a resounding Tops In Town. We are thrilled to find an excellent casual place for late-night dinners and drinks, close to Burbank, with a little more sophistication than the usual suspects.

Restaurant Info: Forman’s Tavern is located at 10149 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA, 91602. 818-760-6900. Forman’s Tavern is open Monday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Forman’s Tavern receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

 

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Brings Homemade Freshness And Family-Run Atmosphere To Burbank

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, long a fixture of homemade, fresh Italian food in Tarzana, opened its second location in Burbank a few months ago. The restaurant already has some devoted clientele, who’ve spread the word on the creative and delicious plates served.

We stopped by for a quick workday lunch the other day, and were in and out in under an hour. Although we didn’t take advantage of the $11 Lunch Box specials, they looked to be another option for a timely meal. Frankie’s also delivers lunch and dinner.

Aby's Cajun Fried Calamari at Frankie's Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Aby’s Cajun Fried Calamari at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our meal started with some of the best cheesy Parmesan, fresh garlic, herb and butter rolls I have ever tasted. Soft and warm, these rolls are divine.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen offers the same menu for lunch and dinner, with larger portions and prices for the dinner plates. We enjoyed the very tender Aby’s Cajun Fried Calamari, served with standard marinara and ranch dips. The cajun touch was not heavy, but added a bit of lift to the old standby.

The ever-popular Frutti de Mare and Lionel’s Chicken were absolutely delicious lunch entrees. Even with smaller portions served for lunch, we still had to take some leftovers home.

Frutti de Mare. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Frutti de Mare. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Frutti de Mare had just the right amount of garlicky goodness. High quality seafood – mussels, calamari, clams and shrimp – were mixed with linguine in a garlic wine sauce.

Lionel’s Chicken was our favorite dish of the meal. A lightly floured chicken breast, pounded thin and lightly fried, was complemented by angel hair pasta and steamed vegetables. Topped with a creamy Dijon sauce for a light lemony mustard kick, the plate was absolutely excellent.

We didn’t have room for dessert and since Frankie’s has a variety of homemade desserts daily, we will have to stop back and give those a try sometime.

Lionel's Chicken at Frankie's Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lionel’s Chicken at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our server was very friendly and on top of things. The bathrooms were clean. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. There’s so much more to try here from the extended menu of pizzas, a wide variety of traditional Italian plates and baked dishes, delicious-sounding fresh salads and a good selection of appetizers along with hot and cold sandwiches.

Frankie’s Italian Restaurant receives a Tops In Town for a great first impression, with fresh, high-quality food and excellent service. It’s sure to become one of our regular go-to spots for dining out or getting take away.

Restaurant Info: Frankie’s Italian Kitchen is located at 267 N. Pass Avenue, Burbank, CA, 91505. 818-567-2288. Frankie’s Italian Kitchen Burbank is open Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

New Restaurant/Bar The Hangar Grille Opens In Burbank

Since their soft open on August 6, The Hangar Grille has drawn a steady stream of Burbankers ready to try the new restaurant and bar. Located in the Magnolia Park district, the spot combines tasty eats with comfortable ambiance.

According to the sign outside the restaurant, The Hangar Grille is dedicated “to the city of Burbank and the employees of Lockheed that dedicated their skill and pride in building the best flying machines during Lockheed’s Burbank history.”

The Hangar Grille opened August 6 on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hangar Grille opened August 6 on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The aeronautic theme makes for a nice vibe inside, with fans, photos and decorative accents, including an open ceiling with exposed piping. Several television screens dot the upper walls. However, the television sound is low so the restaurant is not noisy, but rather an enjoyable place for a conversation.

We stopped by a few days after The Hangar Grille opened, and were charmed by the friendliness of the staff. While we ordered some appetizers and pastas for dinner, the lunch and dinner menus include a host of creative apps, soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, steaks, BBQ and ribs. For now, the bar offers wine and beer only.

The Hangar Grille's Snapper Ceviche: plantain chips accompany high quality fish seasoned with tangy lime and chopped vegetables. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hangar Grille’s Snapper Ceviche: plantain chips accompany high quality fish seasoned with tangy lime and chopped vegetables. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

One of our favorites was the Snapper Ceviche, made from a high quality cut of fish. Accompanied by plantain chips instead of the usual tostada, the appetizer was tangy and fresh. The ceviche included pieces of jicama, red pepper, jalepeno and cucumber and was very refreshing.

We also enjoyed the Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. The plate included eight mushrooms filled with breaded crab mix and topped with parmesan cheese. Dipped in the restaurant’s special red pepper aioli sauce, the mushrooms were a hit with the whole family.

The Hangar Grille's Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hangar Grille’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Of the four pasta dishes we ordered, our favorite was the Gemelli & Chicken. Chicken, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms were sauteed in a light cream sauce with Gemelli pasta. The dish has some Cajun seasoning for a bit of a kick.

In fact, many of the plates we tried had a bit of a kick, incorporating a liberal use of spice and heat. Several of the pasta dishes used cream in the base sauce, making for a heartier, richer plate of pasta.

We enjoyed the Penne Vegetali, with roasted vegetables in a spicy marinara sauce and tossed with penne pasta and cheese. The dish reminded us of ratatouille. The Seafood Linguini was tasty too, very flavorful in a cream sauce.

Gemelli & Chicken at The Hangar Grille. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Gemelli & Chicken at The Hangar Grille. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Penne With Lobster Claws was another favorite dish, combining spinach, tomatoes and penne sauteed with The Hangar Grille’s signature and spicy Santa Fe Cream sauce, and topped with lobster meat and chopped cilantro.

We enjoyed our meal at The Hangar Grille and look forward to returning to try some of the amazing-sounding salads, sandwiches and appetizers. Magnolia Park’s newest eatery, The Hangar Grille, is On The Marquee. With later hours, open until 11:00 p.m., Burbank finally has another option for those of us who eat dinner on the later side or want to go out for a casual drink in the neighborhood.

Restaurant Info: The Hangar Grille is located at 3821 W. Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA, 91501. 818-842-5250. The Hangar Grille is open Monday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The Hangar Grille receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

Centanni Trattoria Burbank Opens With Excellent Italian Menu

Centanni Trattoria Burbank has been getting quite a good word-of-mouth action from Burbank residents since opening its doors recently. When a notoriously picky friend raved about the restaurant’s home-made pasta, we knew we had to see what the fuss was about.

And the fuss was well-deserved. Centanni Trattoria Burbank’s casual but stylish atmosphere and well-planned menu satisfy a range of tastes and moods. Heavy on the salads, sandwiches, salmon and chicken, the menu also includes creative vegetable dishes, potato fries, soups and plenty of pastas.

Fried Calimari at Centanni Trattoria Brbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Fried Calamari at Centanni Trattoria Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While the fried calamari appetizer is a ubiquitous offering at many restaurants, at Centanni, the dish is absolute perfection and well deserves its popularity. Some of the most tender squid we’ve ever had is battered and fried gently and served with a nicely spicy marinara sauce and juicy lemon.

The Mozzarella e Pomodoro sandwich is tasty and fresh., with creamy mozzarella, sparkling tomato and a delicious pesto spread on airy ciabatta bread. The Beet Salad with chunks of fresh parboiled corn and flavorful, sliced red beets and fava beans was topped with a light vinaigrette – another hit.

Centanni's Beet Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Centanni’s Beet Salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Risotto di Funghi was probably the table’s favorite dish – creamy, cheesy and freckled with mixed wild mushrooms, everyone had several bites and cleaned the plate. The homemade meat Lasagna was delicious, with a twist – a creamy, cheesy sauce was added, in addition to the aromatic and zesty marinara. The table enjoyed the entree immensely.

Although we were way to full for dessert, they looked amazing, especially the Tiramisu, Torta della Nonna and the Cioccolato tortino. A selection of gelatos and sorbets were available too.

While we haven’t yet been able to delve into Centanni’s wine list or try out more of their menu, I can assuredly say we will be back, and soon.

Risotto di Funghi at Centanni Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Risotto di Funghi at Centanni Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Centanni Trattoria Burbank, the second location of the popular Venice eatery, has taken the former South Street Cheesesteak space at Clark Street and Victory Boulevard and spruced it up a bit, closing up the glass walled kitchen and putting a small bar in what was previously the check-out counter. Mood lighting and simple decor have upped the vibe a notch, too.

With a front dining room/bar area and the larger, more standard dining room down a short hallway, there’s plenty of seating. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable and service is solid.

Centanni Trattoria Burbank gets Tops In Town for its relaxed chic atmosphere and fresh, tasty menu. A great addition to Burbank’s restaurant offerings!

Restaurant Info:  Centanni Trattoria Burbank is located at 117 N. Victory Blvd., CA 91502 . 818-561-4643. Centanni Trattoria Burbank is open Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for lunch and Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for dinner. They are also open Saturday and Sunday 11:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Centanni Trattoria Burbank receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honeydew Cafe Has Breakfast and Lunch Wrapped Up

Tucked in amongst towering office buildings between Riverside Drive and Alameda Avenue, Honeydew Cafe builds an impressive sandwich, along with delicious breakfast items and salads. Catering mainly to the workday crowd of this part of Toluca Lake and Burbank, Honeydew Cafe may be a tiny place, yet has grown a large following in the past few years.

The Veggie sub typically comes on a 10" whole wheat roll. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Veggie sub typically comes on a 10″ whole wheat roll. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The cafe is our go-to spot for fresh, creative lunches. We often order sandwiches at 4:00 p.m. for our Hollywood Bowl picnic basket. Add some chips, beverages and dessert, and one delicious Bowl picnic is ready.

Wrapped in clean white paper, the sandwiches are a festival of colors and tastes. We have enjoyed a majority of the cafe’s menu selections including the Roasted Red Pepper Chicken, Turkey Pesto, the divine Grilled 3 Cheese Bacon Avocado, Club Sandwich, Turkey Havarti Melt and Southwest Pepper Jack Chicken.

Honeydew Cafe makes excellent breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Honeydew Cafe makes excellent breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Most recently, we shared a Veggie sub and a Muffaletta for our picnic. Filled with vegetables such as mixed greens, cucumbers, tomato, roasted red peppers, avocado, and red onion, the sub adds aged provolone and hummus for protein and packs it all into a tasty wheat roll.

The Muffaletta always pleases the tastebuds with layers of ham turkey, genoa salami, sharp cheddar cheese, aged provolone cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato, olive tapenade, romaine lettuce and red onion. Dressed with mayonnaise, the sandwich is piled between two slices of toasted sourdough bread.

Honeydew's Muffaletta layers meats, cheeses, olive tapenade and vegetables in between toasted sourdough bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Honeydew’s Muffaletta layers meats, cheeses, olive tapenade and vegetables in between toasted sourdough bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We like to call in to-go orders ahead of time. Be prepared for a bit of a wait in line if you walk in for lunch. While there are a few small tables with shady umbrellas outside the shop, the interior is tiny. The cafe also offers freshly-made smoothies, soups and coffees. Salads and sandwiches can all be custom ordered and the Build-Your-Own options are very popular.

For consistently making some of the best sandwiches around, Honeydew Cafe gets a Tops In Town. The cafe is only open weekdays, closing at 5:00 p.m. Parking can be a challenge during peak morning and lunch hours.

Restaurant Info: Honeydew Cafe is located at 171A N. Maple Street, Burbank 91505. 818-557-7556. Honeydew Cafe is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Honeydew Cafe receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)

 

La Bamba Adds A Caribbean Twist To Burritos And Tacos

Under the canvas-covered patio punctuated with colored lights, diners at La Bamba restaurant have been enjoying Cuban plates and a Caribbean/Island style menu for over 25 years. Regularly busy at lunch and dinner, the convivial restaurant is casual and friendly, and, most-importantly, consistent.

From a small kitchen in a converted house on the corner of Glenoaks Boulevard and Lamer Street, dishes sail forth: half a chicken with fragrant yellow rice and black beans, a Cuban sandwich filled with pork, pickles and cheese, freshly made salads topped with chicken or shrimp and colorful veggies.

A trio of tacos - pork, chicken and beef - are propped up by Cuban rice and beans.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

A trio of tacos – pork, chicken and beef – are propped up by Cuban rice and beans. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

La Bamba’s take on the taco is a hearty one: two corn tortillas for each taco, filled to bursting with the meat of choice (pork, chicken, beef, fish or shrimp), and nestled next to a generous serving of rice and beans. Two people can easily share a three-taco plate.

While La Bamba has the Cuban specialties on lockdown, their Garlic Avocado Lobster Burrito is my current favorite on the menu. The lobster is the definition of succulent – sweet, tender, light. A perfect combination of flavors makes this burrito stand out, along with its market price, currently $18.95. However, two people can share the lobster burrito and split a plate of fries or plantains and be comfortably full.

Tender, tasty and succulent lobster fills this flavorful burrito at La Bamba.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Tender, tasty and succulent lobster fills this flavorful burrito at La Bamba. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

La Bamba’s plates are reasonably priced, with most entrees under $10. In addition to a selection of fragrant teas, beer, wine, pina coladas, bloody marys and margaritas are also on tap. The house pico de gallo and green salsas are fresh and full of flavor. With the green salsa, a little goes a long way!

We have enjoyed meals at La Bamba for many years, and the spot is a popular one in Burbank. There always seems to be enough street parking on Glenoaks and nearby streets, and tables generally turn over pretty fast.

La Bamba's Key Largo Chicken Burrito combines Caribbean flavors into a tasty meal.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

La Bamba’s Key Largo Chicken Burrito combines Caribbean flavors into a tasty meal. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The food is always delicious, every time we’ve visited throughout the years. At night, the colorful lights under the canopy add to the festive island vibe. Night or day, La Bamba is a pleasant casual dining experience.

Restaurant Info: La Bamba is located at 2600 N. Glenoaks Boulevard, Burbank, CA  91504. 818-846-3358. Open Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

La Bamba receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)

Toluca Lake’s Malbec Perks Up Lunchtime

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

Malbec, in Toluca Lake, brings the flavors and style of Argentinian cooking to the Burbank area, with expertly-prepared steaks, fish and salads. Long a mainstay of the business lunch, making reservations or arriving on the early side is the best way to get your choice of seating on the patio or inside. On busy days, there is a back room that can hold latecomers.

Chimichurri and fresh bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chimichurri and fresh bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While we have been eating at Malbec for years, we’ve only ever stopped by for lunch. Malbec is open into the evening for dinner and even has a Tapas and Wine Menu, served from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. The dinner menu is the traditional expansion of the lunch menu, providing more variety in appetizers and hearty options for steaks and fresh pastas.

Recently, we visited Malbec for a quick and early weekday lunch. We ate inside, as it was overly warm outside. The inside dining space is very live – when the room gets full, the noise level can get fairly loud. Malbec does a great job with portion size – plates aren’t overly big, but often, enough to share if family-style is your thing. Often, I get the steak salad and a glass of Malbec wine, but this most recent lunch, I was determined to spice things up and try some different plates.

Beet and pear salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Beet and pear salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Starting off the meal with a light red sangria served over plenty of ice and the homemade chimichurri sauce and soft pieces of bread was delightful. We deliberated between the always-delicious, buttery and garlicky Almejas y Mejillones Provenzal – a rustic broth of clams and mussels, and the slightly larger bowl of soup Cazuela del sur – a mixture of small shellfish and seafood in a tomato base, both served with crostini.  We ended up trying something new for us, the Cazuela del sur. While the seafood soup was tasty, it just did not reach the heights that the clams and mussels always do, so it was a bit of a let down.

Milanesa, breaded steak sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Milanesa, breaded steak sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our main entrees arrived: the Remolachas y Peras (Beets and Pears) and the Steak Milanesa (Breaded Steak.) The substantial salad tossed together yellow and red beets, roasted pears, tomatoes, walnuts and blue cheese crumbles on a bed of arugula, dressed with a light red wine vinaigrette. The pears were roasted to a soft, yet firm texture and a delicious complement to the beets, walnuts and cheese. The Steak Milanesa has changed in composition since our last visit to Malbec, turning out even more delicious. Beef tenderloin, pounded thin, breaded and fried, is served with avocado, tomato, lettuce and mozzarella, with a creamy aioli between two pieces of extremely soft and airy bread.

Our server was extremely attentive, and plates were cleared away quickly. By the time we had finished our early lunch, the place was packed. The food was delicious; the restaurant remains one of the better choices for lunch in the area. Malbec makes it high up On The Marquee, closing in on Tops In Town, because Malbec can always be relied upon for prompt service, clean amenities and dining room and consistently delicious food. Perhaps a visit in the future for tapas and/or dinner may change that rating.

Restaurant Info: Malbec is located at 10151 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA  91505. 818-762-4860. Open Monday – Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Malbec receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)