Ham makes everything appealing — remember what it did for green eggs?
Dish. With lots of light, lots of room and smart, friendly servers, Dish, located in the small foothill village of La Cañada, is a prime example of the new American coffee shop. Its look is scrubbed-California-farmhouse, the ingredients are fresh, and the all-American menu reveals our national love of sugar, salt, meat and crunch. Have eggs or fluffy cornmeal jonnycakes along with apple-wood-smoked bacon, sausages from Schreiner’s, the local German butchers, or thick slices of baked ham encrusted with gingersnaps and brown sugar. For lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with the Dish burger — a fat, juicy, meaty thing in a grilled-till-crisp sesame bun. 734 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, (818) 790-5355. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily 7 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Beer and wine. Lot parking. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Entrées $7.95–$15.95. American. MH $
Fu-Shing. The hottest Thai curry in Los Angeles? It’s hard to say. But the soupy Szechuan beef at Fu-Shing may be the most incendiary Chinese dish in Southern California, a brothy, brick-colored thing — gritty with ground dried chiles, thick with garlic, leeks, slices of cow — that sometimes resembles a hard-fought set of tennis in its uncanny ability to soak your shirt in sweat. Fu-Shing has always been renowned in the Chinese community for the sharpest Szechuan food in town: kung pao squid and Chinese squash with crab eggs; crisp taro duck and cold tripe with chile oil — as well as the unimpeachable Hunan honey ham. 2960 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 792-8898. Open daily 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Full bar. Takeout. AE, CB, D, DS, MC, V. Chinese. JG $