Wide-ranging vegetarian Vietnamese for the LA Times:
PHOTO by GINA FERAZZI / LA TIMES
Bo De Tinh Tam Chay is so serene it can transport you to a meditative state. The sound of trickling water flows through the dining room, a peaceful backing-track that blocks out the occasional clangs and whirs that erupt from the kitchen. A forest of fake bamboo surrounds the dining area, and Buddhist statues are placed throughout the room
The Westminster restaurant is not reserved about its Buddhism (the restaurant’s name derived from the sacred Bodhi tree, and Buddhist brochures and texts are strategically stationed near the doors), and with that comes a boundless menu of vegetarian Vietnamese cooking.
Although Bo De’s Beach Boulevard branch is a mere 3 months old, the restaurant’s roots are far deeper, having outgrown a long-standing location near the Asian Garden mall on Bolsa Avenue. There, the restaurant operates in a comparatively cramped space that, by virtue of both size and reputation, is constantly crowded.
That original location remains, but the second Bo De is even better — the expansive Beach Boulevard restaurant brings all of Bo De’s 100-plus meatless meals into a significantly more upscale and impressive setting.
Read the rest here.
A Little India standby for the District:
PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES
Twenty years into its venerated tenure, Jay Bharat is still stuck halfway between a snack shop and a restaurant. A stretch of lilac lights illuminates one specialty: a display case filled with a rainbow of sweets, some shaped like tiny watermelons, others like shrunken slices of pie. The kitchen, however, focuses on thalis, diverse, compartmentalized meals divided into seven or eight separate tastes. Tradition connects the sweet and the savory here, but Jay Bharat continues to anchor Artesia’s Little India because it expertly prepares the best of those two Gujarati worlds.
Gujarati cuisine, the predominantly vegetarian fare from India’s western, Pakistan-bordering state of Gujarat, is well represented on Pioneer Boulevard. Yet none of Jay Bharat’s peers offers quite the same variety. As excellent as Surati Farsan is, it’s best at small bites and take-away snacks. Rajdhani, meanwhile, is defined by its all-you-can-eat thalis, endless meals that litter its tables with constellations of steel cups. Jay Bharat strikes the ideal medium.
Classic roadside restaurants are memorialized in a new photo book by John Eng and Adriene Biondo. Find the flier below for a schedule of upcoming book signings at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood, Bun n Burger in Alhambra and Bob’s Big Boy in Downey (former home of Johnie’s Broiler).
Croatian classics for the District:
PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES
South Shores Meat Shop once seemed from a different time as much as a different place. The Croatian-minded store is the kind of neighborhood market that’s been eradicated by history, marginalized to the point of near nonexistence by the human pursuit of hyper-convenience. It’s a throwback to simpler and smarter days, staffed by knowledgeable craftsmen understanding of every facet of their work. But for as foreign as South Shores may seem to modern kitchen traditions, the market has endeared itself to San Pedro, so much so that a San Pedro without South Shores is beyond culinary comprehension.
The shop’s enduring success is owed in large part to owner Darko Skracic, who arrived on American soil some 40 years ago. Skracic has molded South Shores into a family operation that’s as welcoming a butcher shop as you’re likely to find. As a result, it’s become a crucial component of San Pedro’s Croatian community and the town as a whole, operating as a supplier for local restaurants (including reigning pizza champion Pavich’s Brick Oven Pizzeria) and home cooks alike.