Memories of Lost L.A. Eateries, Part 2
Still more nostalgia for those long gone L.A. favorites……………..
- Sambo’s, 1322 Beverly Blvd., Montebello, California. Super good pancakes and they gave you these little wooden Sambo’s nickels that you could redeem for a cup of coffee. It’s now a Baker’s Square.
- Las Carnitas, 4003 East Olympic Blvd. E.L.A., CA I loved this place. A welcoming interior with sticky red vinyl booths and low lighting. Everything on the menu was fresh & tasty and had a homemade quality. The staff was always warm & friendly and would chat you up before taking your order. I always ordered my usual; the Tampico Plate, it had a tender slice of beef steak, enchilada, flauta, rice & beans. Yum.
- Thrifty’s Ice Cream, various locations, I’m just another of the countless fans of the famous old-time Thrifty’s ice cream. You got flavor, creaminess, fruit chunks, whole pistachios, whatever you liked and more of it for just 5¢ a scoop!
- The Monke-Uddle, Hamburger Stand, Fetterly Ave and Whittier Blvd., ELA, CA. For whatever reason, the magic of the burgers at an old legendary place like this defies description. I can say it had a beef patty, condiments and a bun and it would mean nothing to anyone today. But if you had only been there and experienced a true old-fashioned burger like this, you’d be talking about it 40 years later as well.
- Helms Bakery, Drive-by Bakery Delivery Trucks. We’d be lying on the living room floor watching Felix The Cat on our black & white TV, when suddenly we’d hear the familiar TWEET-TWEET! of the Helms Bakery truck coming by. The cool thing about it was that as a kid, you’d run out because you knew you could count on getting a freebie almost every time from the nice guy driving the truck. He’d park; jump out and flip open the back panel doors of his brown painted truck. And when he slid out those wide wooden drawers you’d hear the ooohs and aaahhs as pies, cakes, pastries, loaves of bread and all the glistening sweet donuts were displayed before us. I remember this brown bakery truck coming by up until about the 90’s in Montebello. By then, the lettering on the side had been changed to Holm’s Bakery and the goods weren’t so fresh anymore. A friend of mine said he once took a tour of the Helm’s bakery and got a free sample mini loaf of bread, a chocolate donut and a little cardboard Helm’s truck. Lucky bastard.
- Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, Rosemead Bl. Near Mission Rd., Rosemead, CA. I’m sure that it was places like this that helped bring down the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, the sheer indulgence and gluttony of this place was vastly ignored for the sake of the tremendous fun you and your friends would have spooning copious amounts of ice cream out of a huge trough adorned with lit sparklers. Afterwards, everyone was awarded a ribbon that read: “I made a Pig of Myself at Farrell’s.”
- Bob’s Freeze, 5144 E Beverly Blvd, E.L.A., CA. This delightful walk-up soft serve ice cream stand specialized in Sundaes, Parfaits, Banana Splits, and creamy Malts & Shakes. Situated next to an also now gone Garduno’s burger stand, you could find long lines of locals almost every day and night, partly due to the fact that the staff was painfully slow in filling orders. But it was the place to be seen, to check out the action, and to show off your Ranfla under the glow of the big neon ice cream cone. My favorite item was the Smog Sundae.
- Casa De Fritos, Frontierland, Disneyland. USA. This place was so bad it was good. A classic example of Mexican food for white people, but I kind of found fun in the Goofy attempt to recreate a Mexican eating experiences. You could enjoy a “Ta-cup” with “Frito the Kid”. The menu was based on ground beef, cheese & beans combinations and you also got a miniature bag of Fritos with your meal, because in Mexico, of course, everyone loves Fritos.
- Spikes Teriyaki Bowl, 1530 S. San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA. Yes, this place is still in operation, but it changed management some years ago and has not been as good since. Their Teriyaki bowls were divine, their Curry sublime, the Gyozas so fine, and the Burgers bovine. They also had a good fountain serve Cherry Coke, which I think is still there.
- The Tikis, 1975 North Portero Grande Dr., Monterey Park, CA. Truly an unbelievable place. Picture a Tiki themed Disneyland with free flowing booze and scantily clad hula girls. The Tikis Dinner Show would feature an all you can eat Hawaiian buffet and an elaborate entertainment that featured giant apes that would swing down on vines and send the women screaming for their lives as a full scale volcano exploded into the sky. A maze of dark and mysterious underground tunnels catacomb the area and explorers could discover hidden bars, discos and Polynesian wonders. I still keep one of their original matchbooks. Here’s the printed description:
· 12 acres of tropical enchantment
· 50 feet of underground lava tubes
· 50 feet of underground lava tubes
· 80 ft erupting volcano
· Waterfalls, lagoons, jungle trails
· 3 to 7 bands
· POLYNESIAN EXTRAVAGANZA featuring the finest of Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga & New Zealand.
· Accommodates up to 5000 persons, 18 acres of parking
· We specialize in holiday parties
· Sundays bring the kids
· 12 exciting rides, petting zoo.
· Polynesian cultural center of the islands Train ride through ½ mile of Polynesian settings and monster caves. During October, The TIKIS would also host nightly Halloween Horror Nights with the some of the most elaborate and horrific Haunted Mazes. They did not skimp on the gore. Truly an unforgettable experience.
11. Assorted Treats, Fizzies Soda Tablets, Candy juice inside wax shapes, Scooter pies, candy cigarettes, candy lipstick, half of a lemon with a saladito stuck in it, soda vending machines where first a paper cup was dispensed then the soda poured out into it, Nesbitts soda, Royal Crown Cola, Maypo, Space Sticks, Bosco and so many others……………………