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Good Girl Dinette: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

Tucked into a storefront below an old Masonic lodge, in the pierced navel of the Highland Park art scene, Good Girl Dinette is so groovy that sometimes it hurts to think about it, a queercentric, family-friendly, vegan-tolerant storefront with a menu of Vietnamese-American comfort food. It's run by Diep Tran, who used to work at Blue Hen and whose family owns the Pho 79 chain of Vietnamese noodle shops. The neighborhood is obsessed with her biscuit-topped, curried chicken potpie, which tastes like something a homesick emigré might have made in Iowa in 1936.

If you have strong opinions on whether pig's feet should be admitted in a bowl of bun bo hue, this may not be the place for you. The chicken pho will not remind you of your favorite pho ga. The fresh spring rolls are stuffed with tofu instead of grilled pork and shrimp. The beef stew splits the difference between Vietnamese flavors and Depression-era diner cooking. And the best dish here may actually be the spicy fries, topped with the mince of cilantro, fresh chiles and garlic you usually find on Vietnamese-Chinese fried crab or squid. Somehow, this is exactly what this neighborhood, and the times, seem to demand. 110 N. Avenue 56, Highland Park. (323) 257-8980, goodgirlfoods.com. Tues.-Thurs., 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5:30-10 p.m.; Sat., noon-10 p.m.; Sun., noon-9 p.m. No alcohol. Street parking. Cash only. Vietnamese-American.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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Good Girl Dinette
miles

110 N. Ave. 56
Highland Park, CA 90042

323-257-8980

www.goodgirlfoods.com