Gregg Hunter’s Newspace

“The Ranch” had a welcome pair of visitors this week. John and Maggie Beth number among our favorite people and have been missed since they moved from Valley Village to Glendale (Arizona). She’s a vegetarian while he’s a dedicated carnivore, so planning a home-cooked menu is tricky. Fortunately the Palate had previously introduced my friends to the splendid Gold Star landmark at 1623 South Brand Blvd., a couple of blocks beyond Los Feliz and the Star was at the top of their “must” list. Maggie Beth savors the tuna salad sandwich and shares my addiction for their golden fried zucchini spears, while John over-indulges in the gargantuan pastrami sandwich with a bucket of French fries. All combos include a choice of a refillable soft drink. The burgers and breakfast burritos are very good, and their mornings ‘til 11 fare includes gigantic flapjacks.

Portions are more than generous and pricing is moderate. The service is prompt and friendly, and the Gold Star stays open ’til 11 nitely. Take out and drive thru orders are popular here. John stopped by for another pastrami before they hit the rainy Sunday highway. I’ll wager it didn’t make it past the state line.

Also on the couples’ “must go back” list was the venerable El Charro Mexican Restaurant at 3741 Verdugo Rd. in Montrose. Beyond the inviting old dining booths, there’s a “Cheers” style bar. Its magic eludes the Palate, but the ground beef tacos are good and hot, and the prices are right. Good service and adjoining parking add to the experience.

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