iDoña Rosa. Behind one counter at Doña Rosa are racks and racks of freshly baked pan dulce, the pink-frosted conchas, the gingery puercitos and the crunchy, sugar-glazed orejas. Near another is a sort of superheated turntable on which lumps of dough bubble and bake into fresh tortillas. Taquitos fry. Shrimp steam. Thick chocolate burbles happily in a heated vat. The air outside is perfumed with the smoke from grilling carne asada, which is chopped and folded into tacos, stuffed into gorditas, or layered onto huaraches with great rivulets of Mexican crema and cheese. The Doña Rosa burrito is a majestic creature, a stretchy tortilla stuffed with rice, black beans, avocado and an oozing, orange mass of beef fried in chorizo grease, the sort of burrito that will coat your teeth for a week and live in your insides like a frisky pet. 577 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, (626) 449-2999. Open Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–mid., Sun. 6 a.m.–11 p.m. Wine, beer and margaritas. Lot parking. AE, MC, V. Lunch or dinner for two, food only, $10–$15. Mexican. JG ¢ * H

iRestaurant Halie. This is a meat-and-potatoes menu, literally and figuratively. The lamb loin is an astonishingly good hunk of meat: tender, deeply flavorful, usually delicious. The charred-rare rib-eye may have been ordered rare and delivered closer to medium, but who cares? The flavor and juiciness transcend that. And the pork chop, if anything, is even more delicious: big, sweet pork flavor and succulence. Never mind that the accompaniments are sometimes indifferently cooked and heaped on the plates — the meats are extraordinary. 1030 E. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 440-7067. Lunch 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., dinner 6–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun. Full bar. Takeout. Valet parking. Entrées $15–$32. AE, D, DC, MC, V. American. MH $$ *

iStroh’s Gourmet. Since its inception, Stroh’s (a small corner shop on Abbot Kinney) has had a following. In addition to the cheese case, a cold case of drinks (including large glass bottles of Badoit water, which are rare here and price-controlled in France) and a small selection of high-priced, premium groceries (chestnut honey, organic coffee, rustic pasta, anchovy paste, that sort of thing), there’s a third refrigerated case, displaying a large array of big, shaggy sandwiches, all freshly made and wantonly stacked in preparation for the hungry hordes — who do indeed come. 1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 450-5119. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat. 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sandwiches $6.44 each. No alcohol. Takeout. Lot parking. AE, MC, V. Sandwiches. MH $ *

LA Weekly