More Mediterranean in Montebello

I know it’s been a while but I have finally ventured back out into my neighborhood to try more Mediterranean offerings in Montebello. Check out the first spot in this entry.

The next spot is Krazy Kabobs. From their website, Krazy Kabobs looks pretty nice and welcoming but my first impression was not the same.

I’ve noticed this spot before but it is so hidden and no one else mentions it that I forget it is even there. Krazy Kabobs sits at the end of a strip mall and is pretty much blocked from street view by Chela’s Tacos in front of it (the former Taco Bell on Beverly Boulevard).

I parked in front of the barbershop next door and went in through the first door I saw.

When I stepped inside I saw it was like a small market and deli. I didn’t see anyone inside, customer or employee, at first. Then a woman came out and asked what I wanted. (I’m sure her courtesy was lost in translation).

I asked her if they have food-to-go and she gave me a confused, bewildered look. Finally a younger man came out and I asked him the same thing. He said that they do and they serve it next door. 

I gave him a confused look. I hesitantly walked to my right towards where he pointed.

Apparently there was a separate entrance to the same building. But the other entrance leads you to some tables and chairs and to a counter with a menu of Mediterranean food complete with pictures. 

All the pictures looked delicious. They offer everything from salads and small lunch plates to dinner servings and family meals.

I went with the pork kabob plate – a skewer of tender pork marinated in a secret Armenian recipe, salad, basmati (armenian rice) or rice pilaf and a choice of one appetizer for $8.99.

Appetizer offerings were hummus, babaganoush, red kidney beans, tabouleh, shirazi salad, Mediterranean pasta, stuffed grape leaves and more.

I went with the basmati and the pasta – very tasty mixture of rainbow colored pasta and red onions in an olive oil mixture.

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I guess I was their only customer for hours, it took a little longer because they had to warm up the grill.

It was fine with me because I was entertained by the news on the flat-screen television in the dining area. The only thing bothering me was the big industrial fan blowing in my face and making my contacts dry out. It was hot and this helped keep the place cool but it was on the floor and right in my face as I watched the t.v.

I took a break from the television and the fan to peruse the little market offerings of the store. I saw some baked goods packaged and ready for sale. They reminded me of a little bakery I lived next to on San Fernando Road in Glendale.

I loved going to get some of those fresh baked goods about once a week. I can’t say if they were Armenian baked goods but they were tasty. Some flaky with white powdered sugar, others with a slightly sweet mixture with nuts rolled into a soft dough.

I was curious to see if they were anything like I remembered and grabbed a small container of the sweet nut filled dough when I paid for my meal.

When I did get around to having myself a serving of the baked goods I must admit they were a little dry and not what I remembered from the bakery in Glendale. I’ll keep trying.

After tasting the basmati at the Garden Grill down the street, Krazy Kabobs was more moist and flavorful. Definitely my favorite so far. I couldn’t stop scooping it up.

Even though it was quite a wait for my meal, in the end I was glad they took their time on the pork because it was perfectly cooked, tender and moist and the seasoning was delicious.

This is only my second stop on my Mediterranean dining train around Montebello but Krazy Kabobs gets my vote. Next time I’ll order over the phone though and I’ll go in through the second door.

Krazy Kabobs has an extensive menu available online and they do catering. They are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Call (323) 725-2929 for more information and to order or visit www.krazykabobs.com

UPCOMING STOPS ON THIS MEDITERRANEAN TOUR OF MONTEBELLO: ANI’S CHICKEN and ZANKOU CHICKEN.

GOT ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS? LET ME KNOW!

Dining on a budget: Gyros King in Glendora

By Amanda Newfield, Correspondent

Gyros King in Glendora is an enjoyable Mediterranean restaurant if you can look past the interior decorations. 

The Greek theme was splattered throughout the entire restaurant with forest green drapery and fancy floral wallpaper that matched the fabric on the plastic-covered chairs. 

More than one decorative painting could be found on the walls of the room, depicting what seemed to be Greek goddesses. Gold statues are strategically placed throughout the somewhat empty parts of the room to add another color scheme to the decor.

The west wing of the restaurant gave me the sense I was about to be part of a Greek wedding. The setting was a bit awkward but the food made the experience worth my $8.50.

After asking the helpful cashier which plate he would suggest, I chose the most expensive meal offered, the Shish Kabob “Tri-Tip” plate.

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The food took a little more than 10 minutes, which seemed like a long wait for a fast-food type place. But once we had the plates in front of us, our surroundings were unimportant.

The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful, I savored every bite. The hummus, which had a hint of garlic and lime, was the perfect taste with the tomatoes and rice.

I also had a bite of the $4.95 chicken kabob sandwich, which was delightful. If I were in more of a rush, this would be a great option. 

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The sandwich contains the same ingredients as the plate, only in smaller amounts and wrapped up, which makes it easy to travel with if necessary.

The experience overall was satisfying. The food exceeded my expectations while the decorations provided entertainment.

Gyros King is at 338 E. Route 66 in Glendora and open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. For information, call (626) 963-7270.

Dining on a budget: Mediterranean Garden Grill in Monrovia

By Lafayette C. Hight Jr.

After a visit to the Mediterranean Garden Grill in Monrovia, I believe I’ve found a new favorite location for Middle Eastern food in the Valley.

While I often find myself dining along Myrtle Avenue, or Huntington Drive, I drove around town, looking for something new and exciting, and happened upon this restaurant, located next door to the Aztec Hotel.

At first I was a bit confused after walking inside. The dining room is designed to look like an anteroom and has the feel of a large covered patio for outdoor dining. The ceiling is even covered with faux grape vines. And when I tried to walk in the direction of what I thought was the “indoor dining” section it turned out to be the kitchen.

But after I recovered from my discombobulation, I did make it to a table where I ordered the $6.50 fried kibbeh appetizer.

When it arrived – along with some piping hot pita bread – garnished with lemon wedges I decided to accept the invitation to sprinkle lemon juice over them, despite the fact that I can’t recall any other ground beef dishes that work well with added citrus.

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I’m glad I did, though. The kibbeh (pronounced kib-bay) was seasoned well and the meat tasted more like ground steak.

Deciding on an entree, however, was harder than I thought. My first instinct was to go for the $22.00 Sauteed Frog Legs, however my dining companion would have had a conniption watching me eat a green amphibian. Next time I think I’m going to go alone, or find a kindred who wants some “ribbet” satisfaction.

They also offer $22.00 Sauteed Quail, in a recipe that seems like the Cajun-style, chardonnay-sautee’d version I’m familiar with, kebabs and shawarma that can be served as a sandwich, or an entree in the $6 to $10 range, as well as salads, falafel and other standard Mediterranean fare.

I settled on the $12.99 pan-flamed salmon served on rice, though for an extra $2 the rice may be substituted for marinated spinach.

The salmon arrived with an abundance of garlic and lemon, which is just the way I like it, and though it was a thin fillet it was very juicy, which to me, signified that the folks in the kitchen know what they’re doing.

The vegetables and rice that accompanied the salmon were good as well and I thought that the latter was buttered rice. But after inquiring with the staff, I learned that the restaurant doesn’t use butter and it had been cooked with olive oil.

I later found out that the restaurant’s many windows, and patio-style atmosphere are conducive to hookah, which is available for $15 with a dozen or so different varieties of honey and molasses flavored tobacco.

Mediterranean Garden Grill is located at 335 W. Foothill Blvd. in Monrovia. They are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed from 2:30 to 5 p.m each day except Sunday which is open from 11 am. to 8 p.m. For information, call (626) 301-0555 or visit www.mediterraneangardengrill.com .