10 Restaurants Off the 10 Between Downtown and the SGV Where You Can Escape Traffic and Regain Your Sanity

Click for the Google Mapped version of this list.
Click for the Google Mapped version of this list.

We recently covered 10 conveniently located eateries off the 10 between Downtown and Santa Monica perfect for those times when you'd rather eat than sit helplessly in traffic. The eastern stretch of the 10, between Downtown and the San Gabriel Valley, may not be as perpetually bottlenecked as the stretch between Downtown and Santa Monica, but that doesn't mean being stuck in traffic there is any more bearable. After all, this stretch includes one of the busiest interchanges in the world, the point where all hell breaks loose and drivers wrestle, wrangle, and curse their way to proper lane position just as the freeway splits between the 5, the 10, the 60, and the 101.

If you're on this part of the 10 and need to get out of traffic, whether it be to fuel up before heading into a game of freeway Frogger or to take a break after emerging, traumatized, from that brutal derby, you're in luck. A plethora of great bowls of pho, steamy plates of dumplings, and other assorted delicious Asian eats line both sides of the freeway on Garvey Avenue and Valley Boulevard. Here are at least ten of the restaurants where you can rest up and recharge.

10. Guisados (State St. Exit on the 10W / Cesar Chavez Blvd. Exit on the 10E). Often, when you walk into Guisados, you're handed a sample of the soup of the day, a little amuse bouche that probably is exactly what you need right at that moment. The tacos are just as comforting: the enormous chalkboard menu lists the day's selection of stewed and braised meats and fillings, lovingly simmered in an amazing number of sauces and spices. Whichever you choose, be it the calabacitas (corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and pepper) or the bistek en salsa roja (steak in a smoky salsa), you really can't go wrong. If you need someone to decide for you though, order the six mini-taco sampler and let the chef take care of you. A tamale or two to go, and you're ready for whatever bottleneck awaits. 2100 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 264-7201; Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

9. King Torta (Soto St. Exit). On a rather drab, industrial section of Valley Boulevard, on the right side of the tracks, is King Torta. Choose your meat - carne asada, carnitas, al pastor, lengua, etc - and they'll make you a delicious sandwich with freshly baked bolillio bread. "Super" fries or nachos are topped with guacamole, natch. 4507 Valley Blvd, Los Angeles; (323) 222-7006; Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday - Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

7 & 8. Huge Tree Pastry and Ten Ren's Tea Time (Atlantic Blvd. Exit). A tenth of a mile from the freeway exit is Huge Tree Pastry, noteworthy for the complete lack of trees, huge or otherwise, near its location on the lower level of a two-story strip mall plaza. What the bakery lacks in foliage, it makes up in Taiwanese-style food. Steamed dumplings, pork belly gua bao (vegetables and pork wrapped neatly inside a hot bun), and the fan tuan (sticky rice wrapped around a fried donut, or: what happens when sushi goes to the county fair) are your best bets. 423 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 106, Monterey Park; (626) 458-8689; Daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cash only.

Just a stone's throw away in the brand new Atlantic Square Plaza is Ten Ren's Tea Time, a tea house enormously popular for its teas and boba. Small plates like sweet potato fries and mochi sesame balls are perfect snacks to munch on while you finish off your drink. The free wifi and generous outlets make this a perfect place to finish up your work, so you don't take the office home with you. 500 N Atlantic Blvd., Suite 179, Monterey Park; (626) 872-0800; Daily 11 a.m. to Midnight.

6. Beijing Pie House (New Ave. Exit). The "pie" in the restaurant's name refers to xian bing, a disc of bread about the size and thickness of an English muffin and stuffed with various meats and vegetables. Each order yields four pies, which means you can split the plate with your fellow carpoolers, or take the leftovers to-go. If you don't share or pack it up, you won't have room for a bowl of hand-pulled noodles and an order of the homeland meat cake, a delicate meat lasagna of sorts, with minced meat alternatively layered between thin sheets of dough. 846 E. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park; (626) 288-3818; Tuesday - Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Cash only.

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