Jonathan Gold Reviews Mon Land | Ask Mr. Gold | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Jonathan Gold Reviews Mon Land 

Thursday, Jun 30 2011
Dear Mr Gold:

My husband and I are about to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary. Do you have any suggestions for a place that is incredibly romantic, where we can eat outside comfortably and (here's the challenge) that is healthy without being boring?

This is going to sound weird, but we don't eat wheat or dairy, and we also don't eat carbs and protein together in the same meal. Also, it's not a deal-breaker, but we'd like a place that serves aged mezcal. Are we doomed to eat at yet another overpriced, Westside "farm to table" establishment, or is there a place with real character that could fit the bill? —Malinee Su

Dear Ms. Su:

Location Info

Related Stories

  • Plan Check Opening Downtown Today

    Plan Check, the gastropub from restaurateur Terry Heller and chef Ernesto Uchimura, is opening a third location today near downtown. The restaurant has enjoyed great popularity at its Fairfax and Little Osaka locations.  The newest outpost is located on Wilshire in Westlake, the neighborhood between downtown and Koreatown. There's been a push...
  • SGV Vietnamese Food 5

    The best food in Vietnam is found not in Michelin-approved establishments but on dirty street corners, where stray dogs linger at your feet carefully gnawing at scraps. Each tiny street stall will most likely specialize in one single dish; maybe bánh mì, maybe pho. That stall’s dish has inevitably been...
  • SGV Cuisine 2

    At first glance, the San Gabriel Valley hardly seems like a neighborhood for a grub crawl. The SGV is the epitome of L.A.'s massive suburban sprawl (enough to make you hum to Arcade Fire), and its restaurants - and there are many scattered around its infinite series of strip malls...
  • More New Port Seafood!

    Say farewell to waiting two hours, or more, at the San Gabriel New Port (two words, by the way, in the title of the restaurant, to distinguish it from the city of Newport) Seafood  – either in the parking lot or hovering over the large crustacean tanks in the lobby...
  • Final Projects: Group 38

    @ Mackey Garage Top, MAK Center for Art and Architecture

Congratulations! Both for your years of apparent bliss and for your pitch-perfect evocation of what it means to be a certain kind of Angeleno. Usually I scoff at the no-wheat/no-dairy crowd, especially that segment of it that disdains the farm-to-table restaurants that exist to serve their ever-so-specific needs, but in this case I salute you. You certainly know what you want.

You could, as you imply, satisfy all your requirements at many of the better Westside establishments. Spago, Michael's, Wilshire and L.A. Farm all have romantic outdoor seating, glittery soft light and a tolerance for whatever dietary quirks you may throw their way. And this is the point where I toss out the idea of a Middle Eastern restaurant — let's say Alcazar — where the meat and wheat are as easy to ignore as the sanboosik you pass by, and whose patio can be plenty romantic on a warm summer night. (The romance level on weekends depends strongly on your enjoyment of live crooning; check for the music schedule.) You will be drinking arak instead of mezcal, but that isn't necessarily a hardship.

Ultimately, though, ideas of romance differ. And at least today, I suggest Mon Land. You won't find a scented terrace with strolling violinists — you'll be dining on what feels like a loading dock, around the corner from a Chinese megamall — and you will be eating Mongolian-style hot pot instead of pheasant under glass. The art — you may not even see the art — is pretty much limited to pictures of yurts. But you will be together, huddled around a kettle of boiling broth, feeding each other chrysanthemum leaves and bean curd if it is one kind of day, or chicken testicles and beef intestine if it is not, while concocting secret dipping sauces and wearing garlic and cumin as an invisibility cloak. It is just you two among the businessmen, extended families and rich SGV teenagers, and only you know why you're there. If there happens to be a bottle of illegal añejo in your purse, that's between you and your conscience. Or you could just grab a mezcal nightcap at Las Perlas afterward for dessert.

MON LAND | 251 W. Bencamp St. (accessed from Abbot St.), San Gabriel | (626) 289-4889

Related Content

Related Locations

Now Trending

  • Barton G Review: A Fiasco From Miami, Now in Beverly Hills

    Emailing with a reader, I mentioned that I was in the midst of reviewing Barton G, the new Beverly Hills restaurant. "I just looked up Barton G," he replied, "and apparently I don't have enough eye masks or plumage to go there." It's true: The marketing for Barton G is...
  • Now You Can Eat Your Birthday Cake and Its Candles, Too

    You know the drill: You bake a birthday cake, or have somebody else bake one for you, then you populate its surface with candles, light them, watch them get blown out, then separate the inedible melted wax from the frosting you do want. Depending on the candles and how many...
  • Hans Röckenwagner's Das Cookbook: German Engineering For California Cuisine (Recipe)

    Among the handful of Los Angeles chefs who have defined this town's restaurant scene, Hans Röckenwagner often seems to go under-appreciated. Maybe because he doesn't show up on flashy food television. Or maybe because he spends a disproportionate time baking pretzels and making his outstanding traditional German-style holiday cookies. Or...