Color Porn: The Farmers Markets

Farmers markets is a source of so many beautiful things all in one place. The color, the samples, the random conversations, the freshness of the products and all the fresh meals that will soon be in your pie hole.  Farmers markets are wonderful places to grab a few things and picnic right then and there.  I’ve found myself purchasing some fresh bread, tomatoes and cheeses and have a simple lunch eating my newly purchased wares.  (Lets be honest here…I couldn’t wait to get home so I had to wolf down all my purchases on the quick.)

Supermarkets are convenient and wonderful in their own right but farmers markets are a great place to purchase fresh ingredients and do something great for the farmers and merchants that are available right there in your community.  Plus….all the vivid colors from nature right there for your viewing pleasure!  Oh and also the samples.  Delicious fresh fresh samples.

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R: 187 G: 255 B: 125 X:42164 Y: 0 S: 0 Z: 21 F: 252

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Ideally I wish I could just grab my fruits and veggies straight from the source, like these cherries from my grandfather’s tree in Hungary.  But living in the bustling city this is simply not as easy.

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DISNEYLAND GLUTTON: PART 2.

Disneyland.  The Happiest Place on Earth.  Not just for little kids and families anymore.  If you’re an adult with no kids and with plenty of disposable income to spend on yourself, you can buy yourself an annual pass.  One would wonder why you’d expose yourself to disgusting screaming children, long lines and  hordes of zombie like Disney geeks.  Well besides having a mild dusting of Disney geek in me myself, I go for the food.

Just thinking about the food at Disneyland makes me feel famished.

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While I was in college I worked as a wise cracking Jungle Cruise skipper.  Getting to know the Disneyland underbelly only fueled my fascination with it even more.  I left right before the mouse turned me into a bitter mummy forever.  Fortunately I left with a deep love for it. Disneyland is no longer my childhood dream world or my former employer. In my adult life Disney is now a place where I can go with friends to eat delicious food and people watch.

Main Street USA is a great place to people watch and enjoy a delicious Corn Dog or Turkey Leg.  There’s something rather evil and hilariously entertaining watching stressed out moms and dads (parents that are younger than me) chase after their hyperactive kids.  Those poor saps cant enjoy Disneyland in a chill leisurely manner the way I do.  I sit looking at my ten dollar churro and laugh. Maybe I’m the fool.  Disney knows how to pull a Stromboli and puppeteer us all as he did Pinocchio (never mind he had no strings) well, you know what I mean. If you play Disneyland right you can make it your own Pleasure Island…well except for turning into jackasses.  Hmm well never mind.

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This is my second edition of my favorite Disney foods:

  • The Corn Dog from the Little Red Wagon on Main Street at Disneyland

The Corn dog is a magical deep fried tube meat.  Freshly dipped and made to order.  The corn batter is delightfully crispy and comforting.  They radiate a golden glow that lights up all of Disneyland and into further reaches of Anaheim.  With all of the money that the Disney company has I sometimes wonder whether or not they were actually dipped in solid gold. These puppies used to be a lot bigger and a lot more unmanageable.  The stick could not hold of the weight of the meat.  Now they are a little more Disney friendly.  Be careful while taking a photo with this big boy.  You might offend the faint of heart.
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  • The Lobster Nachos from Cove Bar in Disney’s California Adventure.

The lobster nachos is the Indiana Jones adventure for food.  Its like an archeological dig through the chip and cheese temple.  Now with nachos we all know the goods are up on top.  The cheese holds down the whole fort but once you penetrate the fortress of cheese the world is yours.  With this lovely stack you make your way to the bottom and begin the true difficult excavation process.  You still find warm pools of cheese and lone lobster stragglers.   One of my favorite things about this is the the view of the park, and the cocktails.  The Cove Bar has cocktails, so theres that.
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Things could get wild if you’re not careful in the world of this intense nacho experience.  Lots of chip loving to go around.

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  •  Beer and Pretzels from Disney’s California Adventure.

Combining a yummy Karl Strauss craft brewed beer with anything Disney is a magical event indeed.  The jalapeno cheese filled pretzel is delicious.  Warm gooey center, crispy outside layer.  Most pretzels I’ve eaten I’ve had to lather with mustard just to mask the bland taste of a dry pretzel.  This pretzel is so great the mustard is optional, hell, even the nacho cheese is optional.
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I thought the cream cheese pretzel would be more savory.  Its totally more on the sweet side.  The outside has a slight crisp while the inside remains very deliciously warm and gooey.  I still recommend the Jalapeno one over this one.  I suppose it just depends on your taste buds.

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  • Rice Crispy Treat from Candy Palace on Main Street or Pooh Corner in Critter Country in Disneyland.

The Rice crispy treat is a beautiful thing.  Always decorated to fit the season, always an adorable treat to put a big smile on your face.  This pretty blue sprinkled on made my mouth and teeth blue but I was proud to shine my pearly blues in the Magic Kingdom.  Tis the season.
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This one was covered with white chocolate to look like a mummy.  So I could say this mummy was yummy??
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https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/

DISNEYLAND GLUTTON: PART ONE.

Disneyland.  The Happiest Place on Earth.  Not just for little kids and families anymore.  If you’re an adult with no kids and with plenty of disposable income to spend on yourself, you can buy yourself an annual pass.  One would wonder why you’d expose yourself to disgusting screaming children, long lines and  hordes of zombie like Disney geeks.  Well besides having a mild dusting of Disney geek in me myself, I go for the food.

Just thinking about the food at Disneyland makes me feel famished.
medium

While I was in college I worked as a wise cracking Jungle Cruise skipper.  Getting to know the Disneyland underbelly only fueled my fascination with it even more.  I left right before the mouse turned me into a bitter mummy forever.  Fortunately I left with a deep love for it. Disneyland is no longer my childhood dream world or my former employer. In my adult life Disney is now a place where I can go with friends to eat delicious food and people watch.

Main Street USA is a great place to people watch and enjoy a delicious Corn Dog or Turkey Leg.  There’s something rather evil and hilariously entertaining watching stressed out moms and dads (parents that are younger than me) chase after their hyperactive kids.  Those poor saps cant enjoy Disneyland in a chill leisurely manner the way I do.  I sit looking at my ten dollar churro and laugh. Maybe I’m the fool.  Disney knows how to pull a Stromboli and puppeteer us all as he did Pinocchio (never mind he had no strings) well, you know what I mean. If you play Disneyland right you can make it your own Pleasure Island…well except for turning into jackasses.  Hmm well never mind.
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I compiled a very large list that I’m going to cut down in to a few blog posts. This is my first edition of my favorite Disney foods:

  • The Fried Chicken at The Plaza Inn on Main Street at Disneyland.

This fried chicken is some of the crispiest and juiciest pieces of fried chicken ever!  I like to dip my pieces of chicken in honey or in Tabasco, which are both provided at the condiment bar at the Plaza Inn.  I only wished they served waffles and maple syrup..
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  • Bengal BBQ in Adventureland at Disneyland.

A chieftan chicken skewer in a polyneasian sauce and a banyan beef skewer in a hot and spicy peppery sauce. This is when they still served it with a whole stalk of green onions.  They recently stopped serving the onion which was rather sad for me, but then again I was probably the only fool that would eat the whole thing and stink up all of the Magic Kingdom.
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The Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is also very delicious because , bacon.
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Heres one more to wet your beak.  The vegetable skewer, which I like to dip into the Banyan sauce.  I recommend tasting this sauce if you are a fancy of anything peppery and spicy.
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  • Dole Whip and Dole Float at the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland at Disneyland.

Get a feel for a taste of Aloha.  Smooth creamy pineapple soft serve ice cream.  Beware! The Tiki Juice bar always has a long line, but well worth it!
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The ultimate vitamin C fix. Pineapple soft serve ice cream served on top of Dole pineapple juice. Its a tropical version of a root beer float. Refreshing, sweet and insanely delightful.
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All photos are taken by me. I hope you get a chance to go and taste some of these delights. I will compile another list of delicious favorites soon. If you need more information about eating at Disneyland, here’s a link.

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/

THE FAIR IS A VERITABLE SMORGASBORD.

One of my favorite cartoons growing up in the 80’s was the movie Charlotte’s Web. There was a scene where Templeton the rat ravaged the empty fairgrounds at night looking for leftover garbage to eat.  Even as a child I loved animated food, so that scene was super entertaining to me.  Plus, I respected a proper gluttonous rat.
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Going to a County Fair is an American Tradition, like a band of Gypsies the County Fairs roll through each American city leaving behind a trail of grease.  Nothing is more Americana than crazy (questionably safe) rides, crazy (questionably safe) fried food, barn animals and feeling like a barn animal yourself after consuming thousands of calories.  Just take a look at these ridiculous food stands, I love the fact they are giant overwhelming fake food facades.  Only in America.
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Now once you enter the fairgrounds you smell all the delicious BBQ smoke and all the other foods just cooking away.  Then you begin to come to the realization.  I’m going to eat like a pig.  Like a PIG.
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Naturally you’ll start off with a few craft beers with your buddies.  Now remember, the fair is crucial for the buddy system if you want to come out of this food tour alive.  The key is delegating the expensive snack/meal purchases so you don’t overeat and don’t overspend.  I’m a fan of “tapas” style food, I like getting little bites of things.  I’ve never been a big fan of dedicating to just one meal.
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Along your journey you will encounter many temptations.  Now, feel free to indulge your cravings, but keep in mind you have a long way to go.  If you see any sort of “bacon wrapped” or “bacon battered” item, STOP!  The Nike brand would encourage you to ‘Just Do It’.  Besides you’ll  walk a lot, burning tons on calories, yada, yada, yada.
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The bacon wrapped pickles are worth a try.  The bacon is delightfully crunchy (because its deep fried) and the pickles have a crisp wet feel at the end of your bite.  Sounds kinda strange.  Because it is.  But still rather good.
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Now bacon wrapped shrimp?!  Oh my dear swine.  The bacon wrapped shrimp.  It was heavenly.  Super crispy.
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Grilled corn on the cob may be the healthiest option at the fair….well that’s before you lather mayo, Parmesan, chili and other condiments all over it.  It’s totally Mexican street Paleta style.
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(Don’t forget the garlic salt and the Tapatio…an absolute must!)
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The LA County Fair now has various food trucks serving new trendy food options.  A teriyaki ramen burger is all the rage right now.  Not bad, but I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about.
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Now, let me discuss the heavyweight class.  The quintessential ‘MERICA’ FUCK YEA’ food.  The Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger.  This is one you must share with several of your friends.  If this is something you polish off solo…well I’m sure there are ambulances nearby to help resuscitate your poor heart.  But I would recommend at least tasting this once in your life, the sweet and savory go surprisingly well together.  But really, lets call a spade a spade, this beast is a disgusting sticky mess.
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The county fair is nothing without a bunch of sweets to get all the kids hopped up on way too much sugar.  Like these cinnamon and sugar donuts. Mmmm do-nuts.
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If deep fried dough is not your thing.  How about pure unadulterated liquid RED?  Pure sugar straight tapped to the veins.  This snow cone will leave you looking a mess.  Make sure you choose your color wisely because that will be your new tongue and lipstick color for the next few hours.
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Now my favorite dessert.  I’m usually not a big fan of sweets AT ALL.  Well, except for macaroons and soft serve ice cream.  Not regular ice cream.  Soft serve ice cream!  Soft serve is like the down comforter of the desserts.  Soft, smooth and creamy enough to melt into.

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Luckily this event is only once a year because my heart can only handle this insanity but once a year.   This is not the way to live, eating this way will certainly clog your arteries.  Riding the scary makeshift rides that are folded up and built by carnies is probably not the safest thing to do everyday of your life.  But once a year?  Hell yea, I’ll eat like shit and get on the sketchy Ferris wheel to marvel at this stunning view.
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MOTHER OF DRAGONS. NO. MOTHER OF BURRITOS.

Burritos may be the most delicious meal on earth. All your favorite foods all wrapped up in a big warm tortilla.  Sometimes big enough to hold like a little baby or big enough to have a romantic moment with.  Except it wont cry for a bottle or  break your heart and most importantly it wont let you freeze in the Atlantic ocean.  

“There will always be space on my raft for you burrito.”
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The ingredients vary from place to place.
Meat, beans, rice, onion/cilantro and salsa.
Some have guacamole, sour cream, cheese lettuce and other veggies.

this one is from Boca Del Rio
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The California burrito has fries in it. Yes friends, fries.
This one is from Alberts Mexican Food
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All of them have their own charm and endearing qualities.
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I’ve been contemplating my love/hate relationship with rice in my burritos. I think rice may be the evil that breaks your burrito into a exploded mess.

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One side of the tortilla flaps open to dump all the rice right on your lap.  When a burrito explodes we all know it wasn’t a random event. Sure, we can all blame it on Sauron but I’m sure even his beautiful blazoned eye would shed a single tear.  Truly a sad event.  I suppose thats why forks exist.  But still, the “fun” in a burrito has now become defeat.

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Of course I’m not going to be the asshole that tells you the rice is the evil (even though it kinda is).

Lets think about the ingredients.

  • Sometimes its the beans-too much bean water that makes everything soggy.
  • The greasy meat– that not only saturate your arteries but also the tortilla
  • or sometimes its the guacamole and sour cream that makes the whole thing turn into a handheld slip and slide.
  • RICE!!-piece-y. Usually greasy.  Soft and hard to control.

Let’s not play the blame game.  Every burrito has a different personality and should all be treated with respect.

What if YOU are the one to blame for the explosion?
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There are many different ways to eat a burrito.
I like to unwrap and assess the situation (which side looks more stable)  I wrap the foil/paper around the less crazy bulgy side and immediatly consume the precarious side.  The stable side is what will save you.

this burrito from Chipotle was bulgy on both sides. “choose wisely.”
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At a certain point you will be able to sit your burrito down on its own little fat ass.
here’s the burrito sitting down in front me. my date, the burrito.  This ones from Taco Del Rio.
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But when you get to this section of the burrito you know you’re in the clear and you’re beyond the exploded burrito.

And this is the way way you feel.
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So even if you’re the worst burrito eater that immediately goes for the fork and knife (only ok for a wet burrito).  Although I would be mildly entertained by the person that tries to eat a wet burrito with their hands.

Get it girl!
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photo courtesy
http://thesimpsons.com
http://cartoonnetwork.com
http://www.yelp.com/biz/taco-del-rio-la-puente
http://www.yelp.com/biz/alberts-mexican-food-la-puente
http://www.yelp.com/biz/boca-del-rio-la-puente
http://www.buzzfeed.com/kincairm/12-classic-love-scenes-improved-by-a-chipotle-burr-a4wp

WOO FOR WOO!!!

A couple of years ago I worked as a server at a “semi fancy hipster” Chinese food restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.   (Now, what I mean by “semi fancy hipster” I mean each noodle dish costed $15,  the decor was clean/modern and it was in the hipster-y arts district neighborhood).  I remember coming home smelling like noodles and spices.  Before I worked there I rarely craved Chinese food.  I think those smells implanted themselves into my brain.  Thats when the hunt for Chinese food began.

I roamed and ate my way through Chinatown.  Found some wonderful contenders.  Most of them are still on my radar, but I’m always on the prowl.  “The heart wants what the heart wants” or as I say “the mouth wants want my mouth wants”.

Most real Chinese food restaurants are crazy cheap and the decor looks pretty dingy and sketchy.  The really good ones are in strip malls with a giant “B” grading emblazoned in the window.

I’ve been hearing tale of Alhambra, San Gabriel and Rowland Heights being great pockets to find hole-in-the-walls.
So go ahead.  Drive down Valley blvd in Alhambra.  You’ll pass about a hundred tiny little places.
Play a little roulette.
Close your eyes spin around in a circle a few time with your finger pointing outward and just choose.  Chances are you’ll choose a good one.  But most normal folks generally don’t play love games with thy own tummy, they’ll  just go on Yelp or ask a friend.

I’m the friend that will tell you about
Sam Woo BBQ.
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Upon entering this wonderful divey establishment you will see a case of ducks hanging by their nooses.  Crispy red and delicious Peking ducks.  I heard you can even order a full roast BBQ pig for events.  Any true friend of mine will now know where to get my birthday present.
You can get take out or sit in the dining room. The menu is huge but if you have all the old memories in place like me, you’ll go directly to your jam.

Fried Rice Vermicelli Singapore Style.
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Beef Chow Fun with Black Bean Sauce
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Fried Rice with BBQ Pork
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All three of these are great shared family style.  But if you’re a small gal with a big appetite like me and my friend Desiree, then well lets get three huge dishes and share a meal thats probably meant for a family of five.  It took some will power to NOT order more.  The price point is generally in the $6 range, but if you get lobster or shrimp it may be up to $13.  Such the deal!

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The Singapore style noodles have a delicious curried dry-ish type of noodle.  Whereas the Chow fun noodle is a wide and flat noodle with an amazing black bean sauce.  The fried rice is what surprised me the most.  The BBQ pork is spot on.   Some of the best I’ve ever had.  This was such a great food coma inducing meal.
This meal got me drunk on food.  We only paid $24 for all three dishes and still both walked out with a take out box.  The food tasted almost better later on as a leftover because all the delicious essential oils had collected on the side of the take out box.
mmmmmm essential oils….

So don’t let the sketchy exterior (and interior) bum you out.  Get a few items to-go and take them home to put on your solid gold plates.

Sam Woo BBQ
 514 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 281-0038

 

 

COLONIZE MY MOUTH

About 20 miles East of Downtown Los Angeles, nestled in the San Gabriel Valley is a small city called La Puente. If you visit my hometown of La Puente you’ll see lots of concrete, industry, strip malls and strip clubs. Aside from all this majestic beauty we have an old school Drive-In theater and the most crazy delicious hole in the wall Mexican food dives.
Colonia Taco Lounge is not one of these dives. I’ll discuss delicious street La Puente meat another time.
This restaurant is right off the 605 freeway off of exit Valley Blvd. It’s right next to a motel that rents its rooms for a mere $29 an hour and its across the street from a tittie bar called ‘Satin Gentlemen’s Club’. I’m still waiting to see a man wearing a top hat and monocle come out of one of these infamous “gentlemen’s clubs”.

These tacos are well crafted and have distinctively unique flavors. I can only dream of eating a taco with seared queso fresco, bacon and avocado (The Campeon). Here, this dream is a reality.  Bacon is finally in a taco, BACON!

Plus I want to mention they have great cocktails and delicious craft brews.  Tuesdays here are a  magical day because ALL tacos are only $2.50.  This may be the best time to sample everything on the menu.

When I get tacos I usually order all the meat ones before even think about the vegetarian options. Because lets face it, USUALLY the vegetarian option is sub-par. Throw a few veggies on a tortilla, or fry up a quick potato taco. Not here. At Colonia the vegetarian tacos may be some of the best tacos in all of Los Angeles. Here are a few of my favorite vegetarian vibes.
-Battered Cauliflower (Coliflor)
-Mushroom with a Bourbon Cilantro Sauce (Huitlacoche)
-Squash Succotash (Chayote)
-Potato with a bit of fried lemon wedge (Papa)

Some of my favorite meat options here are all Guisados style stewed meats
-Pork and Pumpkin
-Beef/Beer which is beef braised in stout beer
-Duck Confit

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Below (Beef and Beer)
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Below (Papa)
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Below (Bunelos)
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So ridiculously good. Borderline upsetting.

As a representative of the La Puente board of tourism, I urge you all to go eat some tacos and drink some cocktails at Colonia then go watch a double feature at the Vineland Drive-In theater.
-(side note: I’m not from the board of tourism)

Colonia Taco Lounge
13030 E. Valley Blvd
La Puente,  Ca 91746
626-363-4691
http://www.yelp.com/biz/colonia-taco-lounge-la-puente

http://vinelanddriveintheater.com/