October Mix

63 years is a longtime for any kind of business—especially for a restaurant. So here’s a deep bow to the venerable Smoke House, a true Burbank dining landmark. The spacious American steakhouse and banquet center has had its share of management ups and downs, and is on a definite up-trend under its current partners. The cocktails, aged beef and time-honored garlic toast are among numerous goodies served in plush, red booths at 4420 Lakeside Drive (Barham and Olive). Talent from nearby film and TV studios can be spotted at lunchtime and the dinner crowd spans several generations merging at “the Smoke.” They truly don’t build ‘em like this today.
The business tragedy that overtook Krispy Kreme Donuts should be an object lesson to franchises’ intent on overexpansion and extravagant investments in a fad product. The chain started spectacularly in NYC and sprouted like a sweet storm across the nation with its cheap and delicious specialty hailed as “the best thing since sliced white bread” til fickle patrons had their sugar fill, or opted for healthier treats. Now KK is under new ownership and shows lukewarm signs of at least a limited resurgence. “As you wander on through life, brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole!”
Hugo’s Tacos, a chain promoted as “the healthy taco stand,” has opened promisingly at 3300 Glendale Blvd. in burgeoning Atwater Village. Their 30-year family-inspired recipes include a jalapeño tomatillo salsa originated at a tiny stand in Tijuana and the Salsa Negra traces back to Michoacán where dark red Guajillo peppers are roasted on open fires. Hugo’s offers vegan and organic, slow-cooked, authentic specialties above and beyond typical take-out standards.
Domino’s Pizza places have added several sandwiches in the $5 range to their fast food fare, including Italian sausage and peppers, buffalo chicken with bleu cheese and spicy chicken habenero.
Picks downtown spawn of the Westside original is now open to offer superior East/West cuisine with soy sauce, raw tuna, truffle oil and more, served outdoors under a plastic chandelier at 325 So. Flower Street.
It’s a stroll into yesterday as you approach the Nickel Diner, not distant from Skid Row’ in old L.A., where the Cobb salad, patty melts, onion rings and golden fries are nicely done in a deliberately grungy setting loaded with memorabilia. If you dare, treat your sweet tooth to a ‘Cher’ cupcake laced with fuzzy candy or a glazed bacon donut.
Come and get it. Boston Market restaurants are doing the ‘free meal for kids’ better. Two kids, 14 and under, eat free from a special menu anytime with an adult purchase of $6 and up. The deal includes a kid’s menu entrée, side dish, cornbread and beverage and includes dine-in, carry-out and drive- thru orders through October 31. This real meal deal saves up to $8.50 per family and no coupon is necessary.

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