Restaurant of the Week: Tacos Baja Ensenada

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Tacos Baja Ensenada, 853 E. Route 66 (at Elwood), Glendora

Probably the most highly regarded fish tacos in L.A., Tacos Baja has locations in East L.A. and Whittier. But, improbably, there’s also one in Glendora.

I knew it was there but had never seen it. When I tracked it down, it turns out I’ve driven past it for years, noticed only the “Tacos” sign on what seems to be an old Streamline Moderne building and didn’t realize it was Tacos Baja Ensenada. I was happy to find it. Parking is a challenge; there’s a lot behind, but it’s small.

Tacos Baja is known for 99-cent fish tacos on Wednesdays. I went on a Sunday, guessing the location would be less busy. It was my lucky day, because on a temporary basis, they’d lowered the Sunday price to 99 cents.

The decor is much like a Rubio’s, only smaller. I ordered two fish tacos and a shrimp taco ($2.09) at the counter, plus a Jamaica drink. Essentially all they have is fish and shrimp tacos and burritos, plus ceviche, shrimp cocktails and fish soups.

I haven’t been to the other locations and thus can’t compare them, but these tacos were really good, as expected, with cabbage, cream and onions and crunchy fish or shrimp. A refrigerated case holds bottled sodas, including Mexican Cokes, which I didn’t see until after I’d ordered. Next time. Families were enjoying lunch and an American football game on the TV. I’m sure I’ll return.

It doesn’t hurt at all that Donut Man is a block away. I stopped there for dessert before heading home.

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Restaurant of the Week: Flappy Jack’s

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Flappy Jack’s Pancake House, 640 W. Route 66 (at Grand), Glendora; open daily until 3 p.m.

The name Flappy Jack’s makes me laugh, in part because it’s a cute name for a flapjack specialist, in part because it reminds me of a TV commercial from childhood in which a hillbilly mother called her son to dinner by yelling, “Hungryyy? Hungry Jack?” So whenever I think of the name Flappy Jack’s, I hear that hillbilly saying the name. I wish I didn’t, because it’s getting on my nerves. (Flappy Jack’s, which opened in 2003, preceded the “Family Guy” pancake house of the same name.)

Anytime you drive past Flappy Jack’s at mid-morning, there’s a bunch of hungry people sitting or standing outside, waiting for a table. It’s the same scene you see at BC Cafe in Claremont. This first-timer decided to try beating the rush by showing up at 8 a.m. My wait was only five minutes. It’s a busy place, one that operates like a well-oiled machine; two people handle the seating list and phones, and when you sign in, they give you one of those devices that buzzes when they’re ready for you.

While you wait, you can check out the cool mural inside. It depicts Route 66 from west to east in legendary fashion. Al Capone is in Chicago, John Wayne is in Arizona and in L.A., James Dean and Marilyn Monroe share a motorcycle. Tin advertising signs and Route 66-embroidered booth backs, seen below, add flair.

The menu has, by my count, 23 styles of pancakes, including Hawaiian, cream of wheat, pecan and bacon, as well as crepes, waffles, french toasts, skillets and, if you’d rather have lunch, sandwiches and salads. I went for cinnamon apple pancakes ($8.89) plus two eggs and sausages ($2.39 extra).

My three pancakes were exceedingly fluffy, with slivers of apples as well as an apple compote on the side in lieu of syrup. Really good.

“No rush at all,” the server said as she left my check. I had one pancake left, and I realized I was suddenly too sluggish to rush. But I did manage to finish. Flappy Jack’s is so busy you probably won’t feel comfortable lingering, as everyone from the staff to the mobs waiting for a seat want you gone, but you can’t blame them, and the food’s good.

When I left, shortly after 9 a.m., a dozen people were outside, waiting for a table. They should have gotten there earlier.

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