From the San Gabriel Valley News:
Dining on a budget
Appetite for comfort food
by CLAUDIA PALM
Nestled in a Baldwin Park shopping center that is home to a real estate office and a laundromat, a quaint Italian restaurant offers a whole lot of comfort.
El Appetiz serves more than your typical fine Italian cuisine. This is not your local Olive Garden. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Olive Garden.
But I love how El Appetiz throws more variety into their dishes, which range from salads and pizza to calzones and sandwiches, all at reasonable prices.
When I head out to El Appetiz, one of my favorite local spots for lunch, I am usually craving my version of “comfort food:” warm, rich, guilty-pleasure food.
The pasta dinners here are so hearty with flavorful spices and sauces drenching tender pasta and fresh chicken, seafood or vegetables.
On most occasions I order a pasta dish like the blackened chicken fettuccine or the shrimp New Orleans over linguine that has the spicy kick I crave.
A half-plate of pasta runs between $6.50 and $7.50 while a full plate ranges from $7.25 to $9.50.
But on this outing I decided to try something new. The grilled chicken and avocado club pizza bread sandwich called out to me. I love anything with avocado,
A tender slice of grilled chicken, crisp bacon, a slice of tomato, mixed greens, melted Mozzarella cheese and mustard tarragon sauce are topped with a healthy serving of sliced avocado then neatly sandwiched between two slices of fluffy freshly backed pizza bread.
Though the size was a little intimidating, the sandwich was surprisingly light and tasty and just filling enough for my appetite.
I would have preferred pieces of lettuce or spinach instead of the chopped mixed salad greens.
With my meal, which cost $6.50, I had the choice of the soup of the day, Caesar salad or French fries. I decided to opt for the Caesar salad since I was already feeling guilty about digging into the warm garlic rolls that are served to every guest. The rolls melt in your mouth.
The salad was just enough to keep me satisfied before my main entrée but could have used more greens. I probably should have chosen the soup.
All in all, I was happy with my sandwich and went back to work satisfied…until the next time I crave comfort food.
The restaurant can get busy during lunchtime so expect a wait most weekdays. Outdoor patio eating is available.
Catering for office meetings or parties is available. For information call (626) 337-2014 or (626) 915-5525.
The Baldwin Park location is at:
3709 “P” Baldwin Park Bvld., and the
Glendora location is at 631 W. Arrow Hwy.
It’s all good at El Appetiz restaurant
in Baldwin Park
By Linda Fields Gold
Last week my boss and I decided that we would like to go out for lunch. It had to be fairly close by, reasonably priced, and taste really good. And then we remembered that it was Friday and that El Appetiz has clam chowder on Fridays! Reason enough.
The clam chowder is very good, thick and creamy. New England. Not an enormous number of clams, but a nice, rich seafood flavor and lots of vegetables. I have been to El Appetiz several times and always try to go on a Friday. Several of the menu items either come with soup or it can be added for a nominal extra charge.
This past week, I picked the calzone with soup-of-the-day combo. It was $9.50. As you may know, a calzone is like a folded-over pizza or a pizza turnover. There were four choices, including a vegetable with cheese option.
There are 10 pizza choices: several are traditional, but there is also a barbecued chicken selection, and the one I’m curious about for next time, seafood with fresh salmon, scallops, shrimp and baby chopped clams.
There are also pizza bread sandwiches; the bread is literally made from pizza dough and there is a choice of fillings, from the reliable grilled chicken and avocado club or roasted eggplant to fajita chicken or steak The pizza sandwiches come with a choice of pasta salad, green salad, or fries.
I have enjoyed the steak spinach salad, which has a generous portion of grilled marinated flank steak slices over the spinach leaves, with roasted potatoes, Roma tomatoes, feta cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.
My boss had a Cobb salad (first created in 1937 by Brown Derby owner Bob Cobb at his famed Hollywood restaurant) with turkey breast, bacon, smoked Gouda cheese, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs, and avocado.
Salads are available in a full size or for a few dollars less, a half size. Still very ample.
I have also had several pasta dishes there, including blackened chicken fettuccine and the homemade lasagna.
Portions are generous, service is quick and courteous. The food can be casual or more sophisticated, depending on your mood.
This is a good place to keep in mind, especially on a Friday.