No trip to Los Angeles is complete without meeting up with Alyssa for at least one meal and/or event. After being at Camp Blogaway all day, I looked forward to a little mellow-out time before making the trip back down to San Diego. Since I would already be in the car for 2 hours, I didn’t want to travel far from the Viking Showroom (ooo, pretty kitchens) where the conference took place. After minor discussion, Alyssa was hip to my choice of going to a little deli called the Market Grill in Monrovia, CA.
I got to the Market Grill first since it was only about a 10-15 minute drive from where I was. Alyssa and J weren’t as lucky with a short driving time. I knew they’d be late as I eyeballed the traffic going east on the I-210. Ahh, Los Angeles. This is why we can never be friends.
I found the deli/grill, even though upon first glance it look to be closed. I got out of the car and into the sweltering hot sun and went into the Monrovia Market with a book in tow. I got a drink and some cash and sat instead the deli as I waited for Alyssa and J to arrive.
I struck up a conversation with one of the chefs/owners (?) of the place. He asked me if I was staying cool, and I explained I was waiting for my friends to arrive. “No worries, it’s not busy in here, I wouldn’t mind if you were in here to stay cool.” He told me about some of the goods on the menu, how their burgers were rated very high and they had been visited by a few other food bloggers (he caught me taking photos of the outside, I thought I was being all slick and spy-like – hah!). Very nice guy, easy to talk with, and more than willing to share a bit of conversation.
Alyssa and J finally arrived and we got to order – yay!
Since my afternoon had been filled with tastes and bits of homemade foods from the Camp Blogaway conference, I wasn’t super duper hungry. But I did see that they had “New England Style” hot dogs – I knew exactly what this meant upon first glance:
The buns are like this! Making the surface of the bun grill-able. You can’t get buns like these outside of New England. Primarily they are used for items like lobster rolls or clam rolls – delicious things like that. The chef/owner guy told us that they make these buns themselves (including their hamburger buns). It was a more cost-effective way for them to get the New England style buns; shipping them from across the country was not only expensive, but the buns didn’t last very long. He told of us a now-defunct restaurant they had shipped in buns from New England, only to have to throw away a good portion of the buns because they didn’t get used and went bad.
The result here is a really excellent hot dog with a really tasty hot dog bun. I was really happy to see this style of bun since I haven’t seen it since my college days in Boston. I got “The Naked Dog” ($3.95) with just onions and mustard – really simple, really good.
My side dish was the Minted Lemon Potato Salad – creamy, no mayo, and a good balance of mint and lemon. The chef told us he uses yukon gold potatoes for the extra creaminess – such a good idea!
J also got a hot dog combo like I did – this is “The Mad Dog” ($4.75) which has bacon, chillies, grilled onions and spicy ketchup.
Alyssa ended up getting the “Veggie Patch” sandwich ($6.25) which had cheese, fresh veggies, hummus, garlic and mayo. I know she liked it and the potato salad.
The chef/owner came by while we were munching on our meals and gave us some Cherry Cheesecakes. He explained that they were closed on Sundays and since it was near closing time, normally they would have to just throw these desserts out. Instead, he decided to give them to us to enjoy – how nice of him!
Normally I’m not a fan of cherry things, or things in my cheesecake, but this was a pleasant surprise for me. I ate maybe a 1/4 of it before taking the rest to go but it had a nice rich, smooth, and creamy texture. The fruit didn’t really detract from it at all and it had a really solid I-won’t-fall-apart-on-you crust. Score.
After chatting a bit with Alyssa and J we parted ways. I climbed into my car, put a playlist on my iTouch, and started my drive back to San Diego. So long, Los Angeles. I’ll catch you on the flip side.
The Market Grill
525 S Shamrock Ave
Monrovia, California 91016
11AM – 7PM, Monday through Saturday