Decent coffee in the SGV at Taza

I’m not sure what is “social” about this social coffee house I went to called Taza in Arcadia, but it’s probably one of the better ones I’ve been to on this side of town.  The dark lighting and retro typewriter makes this hipster-decorated place look straight out of Silverlake or at least the hip part of downtown LA.  They walk the walk, but I was afraid they couldn’t talk the talk.

A decent macchiato for prelunch. Taza coffee.

I ordered a macchiato and was slightly worried that because it wasn’t on the menu, they wouldn’t be able to make it, but the barista behind the counter assured me it would be fine.  I also ordered a vanilla waffle because I can’t resist having a starchy pastry with my morning coffee.

The macchiato came out with just a teaspoon of milk on top. Perfect! The espresso under it was thick and had the right amount of tanginess.  The waffle was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and not too sweet.

Sometimes, I just want to do work out of a local coffee shop that doesn’t serve 30 flavors of milk tea and where I don’t have to hear the people at the next table studying for their AP calculus exam.  Taza just might be the perfect place for that. Now if only it were walking distance of my house.

Taza: a social coffee house
11 W Huntington Dr
Arcadia, CA 91007

Yun Noodle House

One does not often think of a meal procured from a food court as a great meal, at least not in any of the food courts found in shopping malls. But Asian food courts are where it’s at!  Many a great noodle dish can come from a food court: ramen at the west L.A. Mitsuwa food court.  The countless noodle booths at the Torrance Mitsuwa food court.  Bowls of naengmyun from Korean food courts.  Add Yun Noodle House to the list.

This little noodle booth inside the food court next to the Arcadia Ranch 99 supermarket was so inconspicuous that I skipped it the first time I went there and it wasn’t until last week that I decided to give it a try.  There’s something nice about eating at food court style seating and slurping a bowl of noodles. I could close my eyes, let the smell of the nearby booth’s fried stinky tofu waft in, hear the Chinese grandmas complain about produce prices, and pretend I’m at any food court in China.

Vegetarian noodle soup from Yun Noodle House.

The vegetarian noodle soup is a hearty mix of all sorts of stuff. Carrots, sweet potato (or is it squash??), celery, bean sprouts, dried tofu, fresh tofu, mushrooms, green onion, all join the party in this bowl.  The soup is refreshingly clean tasting with a sweet nuttiness to it.  And surprisingly low on MSG or even MSG free. Add in a healthy spoonful of the chili sauce on the counter and you’ve got yourself a nice bowl of noodle soup. The noodles that come with this bowl are usually thin, but the proprietress of the booth said they can also do wide noodles if you ask for it.

Beef noodle soup. Clean flavors. Reminded me of pho.

The beef noodle soup was surprisingly good for its modest appearance.  The pieces of beef are tender without being too mushy.  The broth had a wonderful sweet aroma that reminded me of a more refined pho broth.  The slightly wide wheat noodles were the perfect size for slurping up the hot broth.  This simple but delicious bowl of noodles was exactly what I needed on a brisk day.

Tofu appetizer

If a bowl of noodle doesn’t seem like enough, there are also supplements on the menu.  Will and I split the cold tofu appetizer, which was baked tofu drizzled with hot sauce, ginger, and scallions.  It needed no extra frills.

Hours after consuming my bowl of noodles, I was pleased to notice that I wasn’t overly thirsty.  Could it be that this food court noodle restaurant made a wonderful broth without resorting to cheating with MSG?

Yun Noodle House
1220 S Golden West Ave
Ste E
Arcadia, CA 91007