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Cheap Fast Eats #3: Glendale
Colorful array of city activities: food truck, cyclist, vintage car, barber, girl in quinceanera dress; 6th street bridge in the background with purple gradient overlay
(Dan Carino
/
LAist)
Episode 33
10:01
Cheap Fast Eats #3: Glendale
It's Cheap Fast Eats time again, and that means Gab Chabrán is hitting the streets with HTLA host Brian De Los Santos. Glendale has a large Armenian population, and their flavors can be found all over the city. Need a new burger spot? Maybe dumplings? Well, Brian and Gab are digging into it all. Still hungry? Well - Gab's got even more places to check out in this month's edition of Cheap Fast Eats. Locations: Front Yard Burger, Khinkali House, Zhengyalov Hatz Guest: LAist food editor, Gab Chabrán

Brian De Los Santos 

So we just rolled up to this cute little spot in Pasadena. Where are we at?

 

Gab Chabrán 

We are along Washington Boulevard and Sierra Bonita, and we're here to have a bean and cheese burrito.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Okay, y'all let's back up a bit. After a few years working remotely, I'm back in the office in Pasadena, and of course, that means office lunch. But y'all know, I'm not trying to spend all my life savings on a trendy lunch spot, at least not every day. So today, I'm hanging out with LAist new food editor Gab Chabrán.

 

Gab Chabrán

Hey, Brian, how's it going?

 

Brian De Los Santos 

I'm good, muchacho. What are we doing today?

 

Gab Chabrán 

So LA has gotten a bad rap for being super expensive these days. Housing costs a lot. Gas costs a lot.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Dude, tell me about it.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

I'm doing a new series called Cheap Fast Eats, and we're checking out some great things to try nearby.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

This time. We're in Pasadena, but we're gonna be covering a bunch of La neighborhoods. Right, Gab?

 

Gab Chabrán

That's right, Brian.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

From LAist studios. This is How to Eat Fast N' Cheap in LA. Entry number one: Burrito Express.

 

Gab Chabrán

It's a cute little corner building built in 1978, brick red sort of faux adobe. The decor is very much frozen in time-in a good way.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Inside, there's like only four booths-red seats, vinyl tables, this fake wood print. There's a t-shirt hanging on the wall with a big photo of the restaurant on it. It's fine. It's aight.

 

Gab Chabrán

I think we're going to do a bean and cheese burrito today.

 

Burrito Express Employee

Do you want mild or hot sauce today?

 

Gab Chabrán

Mild. Okay, let's do my mild today.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Gab is in charge of my stomach today. But they've got a few other options besides the bean and cheese-

 

Will, Burrito Express Employee

You know who Ross Perot is?

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah, Ross Perot. He ran for president.

 

Will, Burrito Express Employee

Correct-

 

Gab Chabrán

In the 90s.

 

Will, Burrito Express Employee

Yes, so the Ross Perot burrito-beef, pork and chicken inside. And we say it's a it's full of it because, I didn't really remember him too well, but I guess they say he was full of it. And then the Ito Burrito, the Judge Ito Burrito.

 

Gab Chabrán

Right.

 

Will, Burrito Express Employee

Back in the OJ trial days.

 

Gab Chabrán 

Yeah.

 

Will, Burrito Express Employee

Judge Ito was a customer of ours.

 

Gab Chabrán 

Does he still come by?

 

 Will, Burrito Express Employee

Once or twice a year.

 

Gab Chabrán

Okay. That's good, he honors his namesake.

 

Will, Burrito Express Employee

Yes. Yeah. My name is Will and you guys were in Burrito Express in Pasadena.

 

Gab Chabrán

Here in my hands, I have a bean and cheese burrito. Fairly rotundone size, I would say, maybe about five, six inches-packed to the gills with delicious bean and cheese. We have two different red salsas and a green salsa. I'm Team Green for life, personally. It might all come spilling out.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

There we go. There we go. Yeah, that's all good. Yeah.

 

Gab Chabrán

Sort of tangy and sweet. The beans are salty.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

The tortilla is not bad either. Yeah. So I knew I made it sound like we're just doing this series cus I'm hungry at work, I mean, yeah, that's facts. But we're also going to talk about the different food cultures across LA. Why do you think they set up a burrito shop or Mexican-American shop here in the middle of Pasadena?

 

Gab Chabrán

You've seen a lot of people that are here on their lunch break. A lot of construction workers or contractors. I mean, this is a substantial amount of food. You know?

 

Brian De Los Santos 

How much was it in total?

 

Gab Chabrán

I think it was a little over six bucks.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

We're going to be honest, real quick. Burritos are not the healthiest option, but they're pretty fast and it's cheap.

 

Gab Chabrán

If you're looking for a nice economical way to feed yourself, it's perfect.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

All right Gab. Tell me what's next?

 

Gab Chabrán

Have you ever had a "Grinder" before?

 

Brian De Los Santos 

(Giggling.) Not that grinder, right?

 

Gab Chabrán

Sandwiches by Connal.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Okay, I'm glad you added the sandwiches, because there's other "grinders" out there. (Laughter.) What the heck is a grinder though?

 

Gab Chabrán

That's a good question.

 

Sandwiches by Connal Employee

Turkey grinder, guys.

 

Gab Chabrán 

What makes it a grinder?

 

Sandwiches by Connal Employee

Our oil and vinegar blends with our salt-our seasoning salt, the provolone cheese, the lettuce.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

We're here at Sandwiches by Connal.

 

Gab Chabrán

There's lettuce falling out everywhere, but I don't care. I think it's part of the appeal of it.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

You have to have some fun with your food somehow, right?

 

Gab Chabrán

It's kind of like confetti. You're having a little sandwich party to yourself, you know?

 

Brian De Los Santos 

So you might have noticed a trend so far. We're not out here going to McDonald's.

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah, it's true. Mom and pop shops are the bread and butter in this part of Pasadena. And I'm a sucker for these old types of establishments. The sign at the sandwich place is one of my favorites of all time.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

What's so cool about the sign?

 

Gab Chabrán

Oh man, it's the lettering. There's these cool sort of mid century design at the bottom. And then right underneath is this beautiful bougainvillea that's growing, so it's this beautiful contrast of colors that I think makes it so uniquely SoCal.

 

Gab Chabrán 

Okay, Brian, next spot is Roma Market.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Okay.

 

Gab Chabrán

You haven't been to this part of Pasadena before. Is that correct?

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Yeah.

 

Gab Chabrán 

We are currently at a small shopping center on the corner-of the intersection rather of Lake and Mountain, slightly rubbing against Altadena. Historically, the 210 kind of served as a racial divide between Old Town Pasadena, which was primarily white, and the Altadena area which has been primarily African American. Smack dab in the middle of all this is going to be a traditional Italian grocer. And that's what we're here today to try the sandwich.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Wow, they still got Christmas lights in here.

 

Gab Chabrán

We're inside Roma Market. It's a grocer, it's a deli. An institution, as far as I'm concerned, if there ever was one.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

If you're gonna make an Italian meal or some pasta or something, you come here.

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah, this would be the place. We got to pretty much I would say industrial size can of San Marzano tomatoes, Italian sodas, some bits of octopus, beautiful fresh ricotta cheese, burrata too if you need that. Some of this stuff I'm not even sure what it is. But maybe you want to go on a food adventure and you just want to grab something and try it for the first time.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

I love all this stuff in this market. It's pretty cool, but we're here on a mission, Gab.

 

 

Gab Chabrán

Okay, okay, okay, come on.

 

Gab Chabrán 

Hello. We're gonna do one of the sandwich.

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

Just one?

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Just one.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

So what's THE sandwich?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

What is the sandwich? It's a combination of cold cuts-mortadella, capicollo, salami, cheese and olive oil.

 

Gab Chabrán

How many of them do you make a day?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

A lot.

 

Gab Chabrán

A lot?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

A lot.

 

Gab Chabrán 

More than 500?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

Way more than that.

 

Gab Chabrán 

Can you tell me anything about the bread?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee  

This regular bread. French roll.

 

Gab Chabrán 

And you do a vegetarian version too right?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

Yes we do.

 

Gab Chabrán 

What's on the vegetarian version?

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

Artichoke and cheese.

 

Gab Chabrán 

All right. Well, I'll have to try that next time. All right.

 

Anna, Roma Market Employee 

All right, thank you.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

That's Anna behind the counter. I love how matter of fact she is. Like, what do you mean, what kind of bread? It's bread.

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah, something so simple can be amazing. That's what makes Roma Market great. Anybody can come here. Your grandma fixing a traditional Italian meal. Or maybe you just got done with a hike and you're famished.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Oh, that's like a torta for sure.

 

Gab Chabrán

So this is The Sandwich, as they call it-thinly sliced provolone. You can tell they actually cut this here, you know. I mean, it's all made in house. I think this is like a Capocollo or something like that. And then we have salami. And that's pretty much it. It's olive oil, no mayo or anything like that. So it's a fairly-again-simple straightforward sandwich. Six dollars.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Six dollars flat?!

 

Gab Chabrán

Yup.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Wow.

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

In this economy.

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Okay, girl. Can you try it?

 

Gab Chabrán

Yeah, of course.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Mmm. (Speaking with a mouth full of sandwich.) It really does remind me of a torta, but the way that my dad made it. The bread is good. It's cute.

 

Armani Washington

As a food connoisseur, just by loving food. 10 out of 10 would recommend.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

That's our intern Armani Washington. Armani's originally from Chicago, so this is her first time exploring the food, and even the sights and smells of Pasadena.

 

Armani Washington

Compared to like the local gas stations in Chicago, like on the corner, like the neighborhoods and stuff. This might be close, and that's saying a lot.

 

Gab Chabrán 

So, now we are going to mix it up a little bit. And we're gonna go to an Armenian bakery called Old Sassoon Bakery.

 

 

Music plays: “I'm feeling good.”

 

Gab Chabrán 

Oh, no. Guys, looks like we're out of luck.

 

Gab Chabrán 

No.

 

Unknown

(unknown) This time you're gonna have to do it on three because you guys did it too early. 1-2-3.

 

Armani Washington, Gab Chabrán, Brian De Los Santos 

Oh, noooooooooooooooo. (Laughter.)

 

Gab Chabrán 

The Armenian bakery, Old Sassoon Bakery is closed.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Shoot. Alright, y'all Sorry, we don't have those amazing Armenian baked goodies to share with you. But I've got two sandwiches and a burrito to finish up. So that's it for this one. But, Gab. Where are we going to next?

 

Gab Chabrán

Well Brian it's specific to the Pacific. Long Beach.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Not Lil Rob! Are you quoting him on this show like that? Okay.

 

Gab Chabrán

Couldn't help it.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

If you want to check out more of today's cheap, fast eats we'll include a list of everywhere we went to and more in our newsletter. By the way, if you love this show, leave us a review please. It really helps us out. Special thanks to, of course, Gab Chabrán and-

 

Gab Chabrán

-and thanks to all the establishments that we went to today.

 

Brian De Los Santos 

Oh fo sho, in order that's Burrito Express, Sandwiches by Connal and Roma market. This is How to LA, I'm your host Brian De Los Santos. Catch us Tuesdays through Thursdays wherever you get your podcasts. Our producers are Evan Jacoby and Caroline Champlin. Aaricka Washington writes our newsletter. Our summer intern was Armani Washington. Our fall intern Olive Bieni. Megan Larson is our Executive Producer. Shana Naomi Krochmal is the Vice President of LAist Studios. Hasmik Pohosyan and Parker McDaniels help engineer this show. Our theme music is by Donald Paz. Chris Farias runs our social media. Check us out on Instagram @LAistPics and on Tik Tok @LAistvids. Our website is designed by Andy Cheatwood and the digital and marketing teams at LAist Studios. The marketing team also created our branding. Our art was designed by Dan Carino. Thanks to the team at LAist Studios, including Taylor Coffman, Sabir Brara, Kristen Hayford, Kristen Muller, Andy Orozco, Michael Cosentino and Leo G. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. Catch you all next week.