It turns out, pretty damn well. I ordered the New Yorker: pastrami, corned beef, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing. As with other visits, I only ate half the massive sandwich at lunch; I took the rest home and snacked on it for the next 24 hours. I haven't been to Katz's yet, but I've been to plenty of delis, and this sandwich would not be out of place at any of them.
And, as any homemade beer needs, there were snacks. Salami, rosemary ham, bread, crackers, cheese with porter, and more.
One of the my favorite patios in Pasadena is the one just below street level at Cafe 140 South - the restaurant that was known as Crocodile Cafe for more than 20 years and then changed its name while pretty much keeping the same menu.
Julie had the salmon salad, one of the day's specials, and she loved it. I had the barbecue chicken pizza, which I have been eating in this location for all of my adult life. It was very good. In my memory it used to be better, but I admit that may just be my mind playing tricks on me. I still ate all of it and was very happy.
My only complaint? It was 75 degrees and the overhead heaters were on. Seriously. I don't want to become one of those jackasses who comes back from the East Coast and says things like "This isn't cold, you guys don't know what cold is"... but there is a lot of room between doing that and pointing out that heat lamps are not necessary when the temperature is in the 70s.
The first time I ever had pizza at 72 North was Christmas Eve a few years ago. That sentence sounds funny, or perhaps depressing, but it was actually a great evening. The pizza was amazing. My friend Dave, who grew up in the Northeast, thought it was as close to East-Coast pizza as any he had ever had in California. I agreed with him. We went back a week later to try it again and it wasn't as good. And over the years I have tried their pizza probably a dozen times, always hoping it would be like that Christmas Eve pie. But it never has.
However, their pizza is still good - and very good for bar pizza.
I got a tri-tip shawarma wrap for my dad. "What do you think?" I asked him.
"This is too exotic for me," he replied. "I was going to have white bread for lunch."
So let that be a lesson: if your idea of a good lunch is a few slices of white bread, Zankou Chicken might not be for you.
So I made my own.
One night I was pretty hungry and didn't feel like cooking, so I went by Carl's Jr. to try the burger. It was much better than I expected it to be. I imagine that's because the crispy onions, pork, and barbecue sauce overpowered the flavor of the beef patty, which I have never liked at Carl's.
Still, my version of the burger was much better.
My mom had a carnitas tacos and chile relleno. My dad had two carne asada tacos. He hated them - he thought they were too spicy. (This is why he loves the bland food at Chiquita Bonita; to his credit he admits that's why he likes the place.)
It was my parents' anniversary (41 years) so I picked up the tab.
"Thanks," my brother said, "I'll get dinner."
Since dinner would end up costing seven times as much as this lunch, I was just fine with that arrangement. But more on that tomorrow.