Tag Archives: lunch

Get Out Of Town!: Taco Nazo

Purveyors of the original Baja-style fish taco, Taco Nazo has grown from a humble lunch truck in 1978 to six locations throughout the Southland and immense popularity. We recently visited the Bellflower location as we were driving by on the 91 Freeway, and were in awe of the food and the service.

At first, Taco Nazo can seem overwhelming – there’s a line of people out the door, a line of cars waiting to turn into the parking lot, a line of people waiting at the Taco Nazo Express stand nearby.

taco nazo

A Taco Nazo feast: (back row from left to right) Mixed ceviche of octopus, shrimp, fish and imitation crab topped with half a sliced avocado and served with crispy tostadas and potato and bean tacos topped with crema, cabbage and pico de gallo, along with two Baja-style fried fish tacos topped with crema, cabbage and pico de gallo (front row.) Photo By Lisa Paredes

But in reality, there’s a huge dining room to accommodate all the diners, the line to order moves fast, the food comes out fast and there’s a parking attendant helping people enter, park and exit the lot. Everything flows smoothly and people are friendly and chill.

A Taco Nazo greeter will answer any questions about the menu that diners have and assist in ordering if needed. First-time visitors are welcomed with a free fish taco.

Waiting in line for a few minutes is good, because their menu has a lot of offerings from tacos, burritos, quesadillas, bowls and tortas (sandwiches) to ceviche, Mexican-style seafood cocktails, and usual sides of rice, beans, chips, salsa, guacamole, crema (Mexican style sour cream) and chile gueritos (grilled yellow peppers.)

Taco Nazo feast of mixed ceviche, potato tacos, fish tacos and ice cold Pacifico beer. Missing from the photo are carne asada, al pastor and fried shrimp tacos. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The restaurant offers six different kinds of tacos – pescado (fish), camarón (shrimp), carne asada (grilled marinated steak), pollo (chicken), al pastor (grilled marinated pork), papa ó frijol (potato and bean). The potato and bean tacos are made with the perfect amount of requeson, a fresh cheese similar to ricotta.

While Taco Nazo’s specialty is Ensenada-style seafood, their carne asada is also top-notch – tender and flavorful. We’ve had better al pastor at other places but it still was tasty and very good.

The fish and shrimp tacos are battered and fried, served on two small corn tortillas and topped with cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro and crema. They are absolute perfection in a bite.

The potato taco is fried and served piping hot and topped with crema, cabbage and a pico de gallo (cilantro, onion and tomato.) It’s an eye-opening dish for those who haven’t yet tried the gloriousness that is the Taco Nazo potato taco.

The Taco Nazo fish taco: fried, battered tender white fish topped with cabbage, crema and pico de gallo, served with a squeeze of lime and a grilled chile guerito. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The mixed ceviche – we ordered a medium – stacked layers of pulpo (octopus), pescado (fish), jaiva (imitation crab) and camarón (shrimp) topped with half a sliced avocado and served with crispy tostadas. It was out-of-this-world delicious and extremely fresh.

Taco Nazo’s homemade salsas carried a nice kick and good flavor. Plates are served with a grilled chile guerito, which are easy to eat but leave a lingering slow burn that can build, so be mindful of the amount and frequency with which those are consumed.

Some locations but not all serve ice-cold beer and micheladas. All locations offer Mexican drinks, sodas and agua frescas, along with free water.

We enjoyed the fast, friendly service and clean bathrooms. There’s a lot of people working there so tables are cleaned promptly. Even though there are a lot of people eating in the restaurant, it’s easy to find a table as the place is run like clock-work and turnover is quick. For those truly in a rush, try the express stand nearby, which also has plenty of seats.

Taco Nazo’s six locations in Bellflower, La Puente, El Monte, La Habra, Walnut and Azusa are easily recognized by their bright blue and orange signs. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lunch or dinner at Taco Nazo is a perfect way to Get Out Of Town. The food is absolutely worth the drive to any of the six locations – Bellflower, La Puente (the original restaurant), El Monte, La Habra, Walnut and Azusa – from Burbank.

Check the restaurant website for locations and hours, but they are typically open from 9 or 10:00 a.m. until 9 or 10:00 p.m. daily.

We were so focused on ordering Taco Nazo ceviche and tacos, next time we’ll have to try out the cocktails, burritos and tortas.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll open a seventh Taco Nazo in Burbank. But until then, we have to Get Out Of Town for our Taco Nazo fix.

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Aeirloom Bakery Serves Fantastic, Fresh Plates Daily

Aeirloom Bakery serves colorful, flavorful breakfasts and lunches seven days a week, from a cute corner spot on Riverside Drive. Fresh and tasty pastries and a wide range of coffees, teas and juices round out the large menu.

Aeirloom Bakery has been open for about four years in Toluca Lake, and there’s been some talk of the restaurant opening in the evening for dinner service. The cafe has become very popular for breakfast and brunch, particularly on the weekends.

aeirloom bakery

Aeirloom Bakery’s Waffleena, seved with chantilly cream and fresh berries. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We’ve enjoyed their French bistro approach to breakfast in particular, opting for salads tossed with light dressing on the side with our egg and sweet breads mains.

A particular favorite is Le Chocolate – french toast infused with orange zest and spices, in a light egg batter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Fresh berries, banana and the most amazing organic chocolate hazelnut spread provides dimension.

aeirloom bakery

Le Chocolat, divine french toast, at Aeirloom Bakery.(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Other favorites include the poached Eggs Benedict special of the day and the omelets. Paired with salad or perfectly made rosemary potatoes, Aeirloom makes egg dishes light, fluffy and absolutely scrumptious.

One thing we really like about Aeirloom – the french toasts and waffles and chocolate spreads are mildly sweet, not overly sweet, or overly buttery, which is often the case at many other breakfast spots around town.

aeirloom bakery

Aeirloom Bakery’s Country Style omelet. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

There’s a large seating area inside and some tables outside but the restaurant can get pretty packed on the weekend. Bathrooms are clean. There is a small parking area in the back and street parking is fairly easy in this part of Toluca Lake. The servers are friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.

For delectable dishes, quality ingredients and a huge menu, Aeirloom Bakery receives a Tops In Town.

Restaurant Info: Aeirloom Bakery is located at 10550 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, CA 91602.
(818) 754-1955. Aeirloom Bakery is open Sunday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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)

Hungry Crowd’s Creative, Fresh Plates Please All Palates

Recently open in Toluca Lake, Hungry Crowd is a stylish, relaxed restaurant serving brunch, lunch and dinner. With a fusion approach, the chef has added a twist to some dishes, while also focusing on tried and true comfort food.

The brunch menu offers some delicious choices, including the French Toast, Steak and Egg, Burrito, Yogurt Parfait and Ranch Egg. The lunch and dinner menus include small plates like Mac and Cheese, main entrees of steak, chicken and pasta, hearty salads, mouth-watering tacos and a nice selection of craft-beer and wine.

hungry crowd

Hungry Crowd’s excellent Ranch Egg (Huevos Rancheros). (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Ranch Egg is a more refined Huevos Rancheros. Moderately spicy pinto beans are placed on two just-crispy-enough corn tortillas and topped with chorizo, two sunny side up eggs, queso fresco, salsa verde and sour cream. It’s absolute perfection and not too heavy.

hungry crowd

Yogurt Parfait with fresh kitchen made strawberry yogurt and mango. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Perhaps the favorite brunch menu item is the French Toast. Topped with green tea cream and fresh fruit, the toast is eggy and perfectly crispy and airy and makes for one delicious bite.

We’ve also tried out the Kimchi Fried Rice, which is mildly spicy and made with fluffy fried rice. Not greasy at all, the cast iron dish comes out super hot and really is too much for one person.

The kimchi cabbage is moist and bits of beef are flavorful. The sunny side up egg on top adds a creaminess to the dish. It’s a lovely combination of textures and flavors.

While we haven’t had a chance to explore more of their menu, we will be back to delve into the healthy-looking salads, fragrant tacos and appealing entrees and sides.

We like that their plates aren’t huge. Prices are fair, for the obvious care and quality ingredients that go into each dish.

hungry crowd

Kimchi Fried Rice (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Hungry Crowd deserves a Tops In Town, for providing excellent food, friendly service and a really large menu. While it’s more of a lunch and dinner spot, but if you don’t feel like standing in line on a Sunday morning for brunch in Burbank, Hungry Crowd is a great alternative.

Restaurant Info: Hungry Crowd is located at 10140 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 91602. 818-853-7858. Hungry Crowd is open Tuesday through Thursday for lunch 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday for lunch 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Hungry Crowd 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)

hungry crowd

French Toast with green tea whipped cream and fresh fruit at Hungry Crowd. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

 

The Canyon Grille Brunch Combines Best Of Both Menus

When we first visited DeBell Golf Club’s The Canyon Grille last year, we enjoyed the fantastic view, relaxing space and the terrific sandwiches, sides and salads. We profiled some of their tasty and creative sandwiches last year in this article highlighting some of the lighter lunches around town.

We’ve continued to visit The Canyon Grille several times since their grand re-opening, nearly one year ago. While the restaurant functions primarily as a breakfast and lunch spot for golfers, weekend brunch and dinner have added to the dining options.

Crabcakes Benedict at The Canyon Grille's Sunday Brunch. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Crabcakes Benedict at The Canyon Grille’s Sunday Brunch. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The beautiful views and relaxed open-air California Art & Crafts-inspired space reinforces The Canyon Grille’s casual pace and slow-paced vibe. It’s perfect for a leisurely meal any day of the week, even if you’re not hitting up the links.

Recently, we stopped in to check out The Canyon Grille’s regular Sunday brunch, which they serve from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The brunch menu combines the restaurant’s more popular breakfast and lunch items. We tried out the Nutella Pancakes, French Toast, the California Omelet and Crab Cakes Benedict.

Nutella Pancakes at The Canyon Grille's Sunday Brunch. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Nutella Pancakes at The Canyon Grille’s Sunday Brunch. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The verdict from all in our party: excellent, all around. Fresh fruit and sliced tomatoes evened out the cheese, sugar, cream, Hollandaise sauce and chocolate components of our meals.

Our waitress was very friendly and capable, and seemed to be the only one taking orders and making drinks for the several already-seated tables. While it did take several minutes for her to bring menus and waters and take our order, once the order was placed, the food was ready fairly quickly.

The Canyon Grille's California Omelet with fresh salsa and a side of sliced tomatoes perks up brunch on a Sunday. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Canyon Grille’s California Omelet with fresh salsa and a side of sliced tomatoes perks up brunch on a Sunday. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our coffee and water refills were looked after and overall, service was very good and not intrusive. We enjoyed the view of the canyon and golf course surrounding the clubhouse and the leisurely pace of the meal.

The Canyon Grille continues to be a favorite spot for meals and drinks. We only wish it would be open later for dinner during the week and weekend. Understandably, The Canyon Grille functions primarily for the built-in clientele of the golf club, with hours limited from dawn to dusk. The Canyon Grille receives a Tops In Town; it’s a gorgeous restaurant with terrific dishes and a great retreat from the clatter and noise of the city.

Perfectly made French Toast from The Canyon Grille at DeBell Golf Club. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Perfectly made French Toast from The Canyon Grille at DeBell Golf Club. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Restaurant Info: The Canyon Grille is located at 1500 E. Walnut Avenue, Burbank, CA 91501. 818-736-5530. The Canyon Grille is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the winter and for dinner service on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Reservations are required for dinner service. Summer hours will be posted on the restaurant’s website when available.

The Canyon Grille 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)

California Omelet with green chiles, avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese and fresh salsa at The Canyon Grille. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

California Omelet with green chiles, avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese and fresh salsa at The Canyon Grille. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

 

Newly Open Lemonade Bursts With Color And Flavor

Lemonade, another bright and colorful addition to Toluca Lake’s Riverside Drive, has already garnered quite a lot of interest since its recent opening. The cafeteria-style restaurant seems to serve just about every kind of food known to man, from meat to meatless to vegan preparations, along with every grain and vegetable under the sun.

At first, one enters and is greeted by a row of about 20 salads in varying textures and colors. The menu options can seem daunting because there’s so much from which to choose. Luckily, there’s a roving manager who’s ready to explain how the service works and how the food is organized.

A sampler of Lemonade's delights: (from left) Green Apple Curry Chicken, Avocado Salmon Louie, Voodo Indian Lentils, Curry Caulifower and Soba Noodle. Braised Short Ribs are served in a cup. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

A sampler of Lemonade’s delights: (clockwise from left) Green Apple Curry Chicken, Avocado Salmon Louie, Voodo Indian Lentils, Curry Caulifower and Soba Noodle. Braised Short Ribs are served in a cup. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lemonade serves up hearty portions, so sharing family-style is one way to taste a little more of the new restaurant’s variety. Even on these recent hot days in L.A., there are plenty of nutritious, cold salads on the menu, including current favorite Green Apple Curry Chicken and Soba Noodles with kimchi marinated vegetables, peanuts and sesame.

The Avocado Salmon Louie, is made of the perfect half avocado stuffed with a tinned salmon salad and topped with a cucumber and slice of grapefruit – absolutely delicious. For a tender meat option, the braised Red Miso Beef Short Ribs is a good choice.

The roasted Brussels sprouts looked fantastic along with the selection of chilis and mac and cheese. The sandwich section also offers an attractive variety of cold and hot sandwiches that should keep customers returning for new tastes. The Herb Grilled Chicken sandwich was very tasty and light and accompanied by a mixed greens salad.

Herb Grilled Chicken sandwich with mozzarella, basil pesto and arugula at Lemonade. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Herb Grilled Chicken sandwich with mozzarella, basil pesto and arugula at Lemonade. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

After the bombardment of salads, grains, meats and sides, diners then slide their tray past the dessert case. Chocolate and coconut and strawberry lemonade cakes, cookies and brownies and gluten-free sweets and a macaroons rainbow of color and flavor all populate the massive display. Lemonade almost dares its customers to pass by without picking something up for later.

Of course, the ubiquitous lemonade, in six flavors, including the popular Ginger Peach Lemonade, is the popular drink for diners.

Airy and bright, Lemonade is a fun addition to the restaurant options in Burbank and Toluca Lake. There are a decent amount of indoor tables and a large outdoor shaded eating area, too. Bathrooms are clean and tables are wiped off promptly between diners.

Staff are friendly and helpful. For cafeteria-style casual, Lemonade uses basic white paper plates and cups as a contrasting palette for its colorful and creative dishes. Perfect for take out or a quick bite, this new restaurant chain looks poised to grow, with 12 locations just in Los Angeles County alone.

Restaurant Info: Lemonade is located at 4400 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank 91505. 818-841-3900. Lemonade is open Monday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 9:05 p.m.

Lemonade 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)

 

Sharkey’s Bistro Cooks Up Tasty Memphis-Style BBQ

Open just 10 months, Sharkey’s Bistro is located in a typical unassuming strip mall (where else?) on Glenoaks Boulevard in Burbank. Dujuan Sharkey and his family brought their recipes to Burbank from the South. They serve homemade, hearty and absolutely delicious plates for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week.

Sharkey's collard greens and pulled pork sandwich are out-of-this-world delicious. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sharkey’s collard greens and pulled pork sandwich are out-of-this-world delicious. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While Sharkey’s has a wide menu selection and the burgers we tried out were excellent, the BBQ items are the true stars of the restaurant. The pulled pork sandwich, made Memphis-style with coleslaw, pickles and barbeque sauce, was an absolute explosion of flavors. Sometimes, pulled pork can be tough but this pork was extremely tender and perfectly prepared.

Complemented by a side of collard greens flecked with slices of garlic and flavored with a slight vinegar tang, the plate was approved by everyone at the table.

We tried two different burgers, the standard cheeseburger and the Jazzy Burger. Both were big hits. The ground beef in the burger tasted very fresh and got everyone’s attention.

Sharkey's Cheeseburger - tasty, tasty. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sharkey’s Cheeseburger – tasty, tasty. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Dressed with cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and mustard, the cheeseburger was a classic recipe done perfectly, all the way to the airy, toasted bun.

The Jazzy Burger was an exercise in indulgence. Topped with cheese, bacon, onion rings and BBQ sauce, the burger was a burst of all things decadent in every bite.

Sharkey's Jazzy Burger is decadence and deliciousness. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sharkey’s Jazzy Burger is decadence and deliciousness. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

After eating that Jazzy Burger, we all felt our next meal should be primarily vegetable-based. Sharkey’s offers some colorful and healthy salads as well, including a basic mixed green salad and a grilled chicken salad with spinach, pecans and cranberries. They also have a Kale Avocado Salad and a Kale and Spinach Salad, each complemented with nuts, apples and homemade dressing.

We also tried the Shrimp Po-Boy – four huge grilled shrimp in a bed of lettuce, mayo and tomato inside a grilled french roll. Tasty and simple, it was a good sandwich for a lighter meal.

Sharkey's Shrimp PoBoy. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sharkey’s Shrimp Po-Boy. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Fries heaped with minced garlic and fresh parsley for the table and a bowl of fantastic macaroni and cheese rounded out the meal.

Typical morning fare including eggs, omelets and breakfast sandwiches are listed on the menu. Sliders, a variety of cold and hot sandwiches and a plethora of burgers, ribs and smoked meats round out the offerings. Sides of collard greens, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, corn muffins, chili and different kinds of fries add to the experience.

Piles of fresh garlic and parsley accentuate the fries at Sharkey's. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Piles of fresh garlic and parsley accentuate the fries at Sharkey’s. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We found the bathrooms and tables clean and plenty of parking in the lot. Service was very friendly. It did take a while for orders to be prepared, as they seemed to only have one cook on duty when we visited and the restaurant was steadily busy. We found the leisurely wait worth the end result, but for someone in a hurry, calling in to order in advance may be a better option.

Sharkey’s also caters large and small events and delivers throughout Burbank. For their pulled pork sandwich and the burgers, Sharkey’s Bistro gets a Tops in Town. We look forward to stopping by Sharkey’s a lot more in the future and checking out more of their menu.

Restaurant Info: Sharkey’s Bistro is located at 520 S. Glenoaks Boulevard, Burbank, CA  91502. 818-842-5116. Open Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Sharkey’s Bistro 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)

Healthy Bites Burbank Provides Fresh Flavors For Lunch And Dinner

Healthy Bites Burbank has been open for several years in Magnolia Park and consistently serves up delicious, filling meals that are healthy to boot. From the front entrance to the back patio, to the to-go bags and the artistic walls, the space is alive with color, and even more so than with its gorgeous snacks, meals and smoothies.

The Garlic Chicken Wrap at Healthy Bites gets pumped up a notch with a tasty sauce. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Garlic Chicken Wrap at Healthy Bites gets pumped up a notch with a tasty sauce. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Made-to-order salads are crisp and alive with color, texture and flavor. With about fifteen different concoctions to choose from on the menu, including Strawberry-Spinach and Cabbage-Kale, they range from traditional Mediterranean tastes to popular favorites.

Wraps and plates, for the meat-eater, vegetarian and vegan, make up the heart of the restaurants menu. Falafel, lamb, beef and chicken are all prepared with flavor and style at Healthy Bites. Accompanying sauces – cool cucumber-yogurt, powerful garlic butter and more – add dimension to standard Mediterranean fare.

Colorful and tasty, the Healthy Bites Gyro Wrap has it all going on. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Colorful and tasty, the Healthy Bites Gyro Wrap has it all going on. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Falafel Wrap was a serious family favorite – tender and only lightly fried. Fresh parsley, cucumber, lettuce and tomato were heightened with some excellent cucumber sauce.

The Shish Beef was fantastic and complemented by some of the best rice we have ever tasted. Roasted tomato and pepper were perfect to add, along with top-notch garlic butter spread.

While the Garlic Chicken Wrap’s chicken may have been a bit dry without the creamy sauce, with it, the wrap came together in a symphony of flavors.

By far my personal favorite, the Gyro was fresh and absolutely fantastic. I have had Gyros from the East Coast to the West and this one, my most recent, is a bona-fide hit, up there in the Gyro hall-of-fame.

Shish Beef plate with tasty rice, grilled pepper, tomato and lemon, along with fresh pita. A side salad of cucumber and tomato and garlic butter spread are packaged separately for take out. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Shish Beef plate with tasty rice, grilled pepper, tomato and lemon, along with fresh pita. A side salad of cucumber and tomato and garlic butter spread are packaged separately for take out. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Healthy Bites gets our vote for Tops In Town Mediterranean food, beating out other nearby Mediterranean restaurants with their emphasis on flavor and freshness. While the restaurant is long and narrow, with a few two-person tables inside, the back patio can accommodate about 30 people.

Most people get food to go and I see this as a perfect take-away meal for busy families and people. Healthy Bites also caters events. Weekly specials highlight a regular menu item and knock a dollar or two off the usual price. Check them out on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram @healthybitesburbank.

The classic Falafel Wrap at Healthy Bites may be the best in the City of Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The classic Falafel Wrap at Healthy Bites may be the best in the City of Burbank. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Restaurant Info: Healthy Bites Burbank is located at 3511 W. Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA  91505. 818-508-0008. Open Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Healthy Bites 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)

 

 

Tender Greens Hits A High Mark In Burbank

With its emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients, friendly service and healthy plates, Tender Greens’ newly-opened location in Downtown Burbank seems to get it all correct, right out of the gate.

Lunchtime can be especially busy anywhere in Burbank and a recent weekday in Downtown Burbank was no exception. While the Tender Greens order line stretched to the sidewalk entrance, it did move rather quickly. After a 15 minute wait, we had ordered. We were sitting at our table and eating lunch, just five minutes later.

Tender Greens' Chipotle BBQ chicken salad is filling and delicious. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Tender Greens’ Chipotle BBQ chicken salad is hearty and delicious. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our wait was made a little easier with the wandering host, who approached everyone in line and answered questions about how the restaurant services and menu options work. Plenty of seating was available in the nearly 2400 square foot dining area and tables were checked and kept clean by several roaming employees.

With options ranging from tender marinated steak, to chicken grilled, barbecued or fried, to wild-caught Pacific Albacore tuna and roasted and grilled hearty vegetables like corn and zucchini, there are plenty of main dishes to choose from for the omnivore to the vegan. Daily specials from entrees to sides and soups are also available.

The Happy Vegan salad looked amazing, with farro wheat, quinoa, hummus, tabbouleh, lettuces, cranberry, hazlenuts, cucumber and tomato.

Steak sandwich on ciabatta bread with roasted red peppers and aioli, along with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Steak sandwich on ciabatta bread with roasted red peppers and aioli, along with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Falafel salad was stupendous. The fried falafel balls were green and fragrant inside and very filling. Complemented by a fresh and cool yogurt dressing, lightly toasted pita and gem lettuces along with cucumber and tomato, this dish was not just healthy but delicious.

The Chipotle BBQ Chicken salad was also fantastic. Pieces of flavorful, tender chicken, fresh romaine lettuces, avocado, queso fresco, tortilla strips and onion were mixed with a light cliantro-lime dressing, making each bite a surprise and delight.

I rarely order a salad without finding a least some wilted or turned lettuce in the batch. Every leaf on our plates at Tender Greens was crisp and fresh. I also really enjoyed the addition of a favorite cheese like queso fresco to the dish.

Falafel salad with red gem lettuces, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and a yogurt dressing. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Falafel salad with red gem lettuces, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and a yogurt dressing. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

For those who just want something more American-traditional, Tender Greens has steak, crispy fried chicken and mashed potatoes. The Backyard Marinated Steak sandwich, served on light ciabatta bread spread with aioli and roasted red peppers, was juicy and extremely tender. The side of mashed potatoes was an explosion of buttery goodness down to the last mouthful.

Tender Greens' dessert case features fruity sweets, gluten-free options and chocolate cake. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Tender Greens’ dessert case features fruity sweets, gluten-free options and chocolate cake. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While the price point is a bit pricey, at $11.50 per regular plate or salad, the amount of food served is plenty for one person. Smaller salads, soups and desserts are also available along with teas, agua frescas, sodas, coffee, water, beer and wine.

Although we couldn’t possibly eat another bite after this first meal at Tender Greens, we were sorely tempted by the colorful dessert case.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes, Vegan Blackberry Agave Cupcakes, Blueberry muffins, a multi-layer chocolate cake with white frosting, gluten-free peanut butter cookie sandwich filled with grape jelly, blueberry homemade Pop tarts and more sweets awaited. We plan to return just for a sweet snack sometime soon.

Airy, bright and sleek, Tender Greens can seat a lot of customers inside its nearly 2400 square feet of dining space. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Air, bright and sleek, Tender Greens can seat a lot of customers inside its huge dining space. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

A meal for three, with simply tap water to drink, cost about $37 including tax. Tender Greens is not a cheap dining-out option, but for the quality of the food, the menu prices seem reasonable.

The steak and chicken, according to the menu, while not certified organic, are raised hormone- and antibiotic-free. The vegetables and lettuces are from nearby farms in Ventura County and from throughout California, and are organic when possible.

We were in and out of the restaurant in under an hour. The place was clean, cheerful and enjoyable, with a few large community tables and many tables for two to four people.

Tender Greens gets a Tops In Town for serving up vibrant, flavorful meals that are also healthy. The restaurants’ nod to the farm-to-table movement is an admirable tack. Tender Greens is a terrific addition to Downtown Burbank and we expect to become regulars.

Restaurant Info: Tender Greens Burbank is located at 325 N. San Fernando Road, Burbank, CA  91501. 818-333-8340. Open Sunday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Tender Greens 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)

 

 

World Empanadas Combines Exciting Flavors For A Hearty Burst Of Deliciousness

World Empanadas has been operating for over a year as a take-out spot in the rear of a liquor store at the corner of S. Victory Blvd. and W. Providencia Avenue. This little shop has the best empanadas around, from the standard flavors of beef, corn, spinach and cheese, to more exciting combinations including fresh crab, chile relleno, chicken marsala, fajitas and pulled pork. The empanada dough is not too heavy or greasy or too abundant, but rather, just right.

Chicken Milanesa sandwich and a Chicken Marsala empanada special are brightened with some fresh pico de gallo and chimmichurri. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chicken Milanese sandwich and a Chicken Marsala empanada special are brightened with some fresh pico de gallo and chimichurri. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

With changing weekend specials, more options for lunch and a newly added breakfast menu, World Empanadas does more than just make spectacular empanadas. The Chicken Milanese sandwich is out-of-this-world good, joining lighted breaded tenderized chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, melted cheese and a flavorful, garlicky spread in a soft roll. Chicken tortilla soup, a chorizo sandwich and a Chicken Milanese salad are also available for the lunch menu.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chicken Milanese sandwich next to a several different empanadas – the varying shapes and marks on the empanada exterior help tell the various kinds apart. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The breakfast menu includes burritos, muffins, cinnamon buns and coffee. It’s more for the late riser or a mid-morning bite, since the shop doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m.

Started by young chef and Le Cordon Bleu graduate Matthew Hirtz, who gets some help from his parents Lia and Carlos, World Empanadas is known for baking, not frying, the empanadas, which leads to a fresher, lighter taste. The creative combinations of ingredients and flavors shines here. Hirtz is not afraid to try some pretty wild recipes sometimes – which usually turn out exceptionally well.

Corn empanada and Beef empanda. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Corn empanada and Beef empanda. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Because World Empanadas is a true mom and pop take-out restaurant in every sense of the word, we have found it’s better to call in our order ahead of time. That way, if the staff is very busy, we have a better idea of how long it may take to make our order. It’s not unusual for the shop to run out of popular items before closing. Sometimes the order taking is a bit hit and miss, and sometimes it takes a while to make the Milanese sandwich – which is okay, because it’s so delicious and worth the wait.

All the ingredients used are so fresh and the resulting creations are bites of deliciousness. World Empanadas often have a dessert empanada special; the recent Chocolate Gelato empanada was absolute perfection. Cool, softening chocolate gelato (from Ciao Cristina’s supplier) fills a flaky pastry topped with hardened chocolate. One-half of this dessert empanada is plenty for one sitting!

Chocolate gelato dessert empanada. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chocolate gelato dessert empanada. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

This coming weekend, in celebration of the Super Bowl, World Empanadas is offering two specials. Inspired by the Denver Broncos, the shop is offering a pulled pork, green chile, pinto bean and veggie empanada. For the Seattle Seahawks, the chefs are making the longtime-favorite, fresh lump crab meat empanada with tomato-mayo, veggies and cilantro.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

World Empandas’ website and Facebook page list their upcoming specials weekly. We have eaten from this restaurant regularly for over a year and the place continues to wow our family, young and old, with consistently good food and exciting specials.

World Empanadas gets a Tops In Town for elevating the basic empanada and sandwich to new levels and is always a popular choice for a delicious, easy meal for the whole family.

Restaurant Info: World Empanadas is located at 529 S. Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA  91502. 818-934-1820. Open Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sundays.

World Empanadas 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)