NFT Los Angeles Alhambra


This independent city bills itself as "the Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley," but it's too modest. It's quickly becoming a destination for connoisseurs of Chinese food and medicine and for city evacuees looking for cozy homes, tree-lined streets, and some of the last affordable housing in the area. It's a quick hop from Pasadena, the financial district, and the mountains. It's also that rarity in SoCal: a walking town.

Ozzie and Harriet eat out. Alhambra has plenty to offer: a laid-back, small town Main Street with foot traffic and summertime street music, the snow-capped San Gabriels, and great restaurants. Its proximity to predominantly Chinese Monterey Park and Hispanic El Sereno ensures an eclectic smorgasbord of dining options. Oh, and Phil Spector's former mansion is there for the morbid gawking.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Bon Vivant
Photo:  Bon Vivant

Mr. Baguette
I curse the people who make illegal left turns right in front of me to go into the local fast food corporate chain to get their crappy drive-thru breakfast early in the morning but I envy those who go to Mr. Baguette at 6 am to get their Vietnamese coffee and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) fix. I wish that one of these sandwich and bakery shops were closer to me since the thought of eating Vietnamese food for breakfast really turns me on. Actually, Mr. Baguette is good at any time of the day. I love going with a group of people, ordering all different types of banh mi, savory pastries, and desserts, and eating everything family style. The "classic" sandwiches (the perfect convergence of Vietnamese and French ingredients wrapped in groovy Eiffel Tower imprinted paper), as opposed to the "contemporary" sandwiches (Americanized with tomato and lettuce and placed big plastic containers), are also convenient to take on a picnic or to the Hollywood Bowl. Another plus is that Mr. Baguette is just as cheap as the corporate chains (and has much better coffee.)

Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant
The people at Yazmin would really like you to visit Malaysia as evidenced by the multiple signs scattered throughout the premises from the Malaysian tourist board. If you don't have enough money for a plane ticket, at least scrounge up enough change to stop by Yazmin Restaurant for a meal. Their authentic dishes taste great and give a wonderful sampling of the types of cuisine you may actually find on a trip to Malaysia. Everything from the appetizers to the desserts offers a variety of continental cuisine, with most dishes coming from either Malaysia or nearby regions. The wait staff will get around to taking your order and then disappear for quite some time (who knows, maybe they took a trip to Malaysia), but if you don't need to be waited on hand and foot then this is a great place to try.

Posted By:  Bon Vivant
Photo:  Bon Vivant

Luscious Dumpling
Luscious Dumpling is very aptly named. Located at the foodie-centric intersection of Las Tunas and Mission, Luscious Dumpling is the best dumpling house in the San Gabriel Valley—it kicks Din Tai Fung’s ass! Carboholics rejoice! There are two categories of food on the menu: dumplings and soup noodles. The dumplings come steamed (five different kinds) or pan-fried (three different choices). My favorites are the pan-fried pork and sole dumplings, but many people love the steamed pork with soup dumplings (watch out, these explode with hot dumpling juice when bitten into). Outside soup noodles, the pork with szechuan pickle is the most popular. I dream about the soup noodles with stewed pork (huge pieces of unctuous pork belly), but the best soup noodles by far are the beef tendons with hot and sour sauce. Everyone loves tendon, don’t they? Well, no, they don’t, but I’ve turned many people onto this dish, it’s that good. You probably won’t spend more than $14 per person for a feast, which will leave you with plenty of cash to get an uber-cheap foot massage at one of the many such places nearby.

Posted By:  David Horvitz

I have a friend from Vietnam who has tested out every masseuse in the Monterey Park area (if you don't know, this is the real Asian area of Los Angeles—this is where you get the good food and other goodies, like foot massages). According to him, this one is the best. First off, this is not one of 'THOSE' kind of Asian massage places. This place is real. Don't expect to know...a cheap sexual favor. Expect to get your feet soaked in a tub of hot tea and stones. Expect your skull to get rubbed, the muscles in your back to get drilled into, and your feet massaged as you are on the edge of a soporific drift off. Expect euphoria and bliss. This is only $15 an hour. I've heard it is $10 an hour after 10 pm. The workers don't speak English (they speak Mandarin Chinese), so if you start to feel pain you have to tell the owner. Take someone there for their birthday. I took myself for my birthday. Give them a good tip. Oh, and make sure you go to the right one (the one on the right), there is one right next to it on the left.

Posted By:  Ellen Flaherty
Photo:  none

Fosselman's Ice Cream
My credentials: I come from the self-proclaimed ice cream capital of the world, Le Mars, Iowa. I once worked twelve-hour shifts at a humungous ice cream factory for a summer in order to make my college tuition. I’ve eaten tons of ice cream. My proclamation: Fosselman’s has some good “homemade” ice cream (and sorbet) in a multitude of wholesome and exotic flavors, including banana walnut, lychee, root beer, fresh peach, pink champagne, chocolate raspberry mousse, and licorice. I’m not digging the interior décor—which was a tad dour even though the shop has lots of sunlight coming in through the huge front window—but the building’s exterior is fun and nostalgic, with sunny yellows and bubblegum pinks. Ice cream should be enjoyed outdoors, and luckily the Alhambra City Park is just a languid two-block stroll away.

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