Friday, January 4

Blogger adventures: Cozy Cafe

This winter break while back in the SGV Lyndsay and I decided to have lunch, and little did we know what an adventure it would be! After much discussion and perusal of SGV food blogs for over an hour, we decided to hit up Luscious Dumplings, helped by the fact that it is conveniently located near a Phoenix food boutique where I wanted to get pecan tarts.

Unfortunately for us, Luscious is one of the few asian eateries that is actually closed on Christmas eve. I mean, come on! That's one of the good things about living in the SGV...almost everything is open on any given holiday. Our faces were sad, but I was cheered by scoring some pecan tartlets for $3.50 (6 to be exact) at Phoenix. The smell wafting from nearby Vietnam House was very enticing, but since I had professed an urge for Taiwanese food, we reluctantly passed. Lyndsay remembered going to a Taiwanese place in Arcadia with Lillian named Sin Bala, so we decided to find it and eat there.

Driving east on Duarte, we congratulated ourselves on finding it in an asian strip mall...until we saw that it too was closed! Just our luck. By now so hungry we were almost desperate, we looked around that strip mall for something to eat. May mei restaurant almost made it, until we saw Cozy Cafe and its Taiwanese bento boxes! This was the perfect amalgam of my two cravings: Taiwanese food and bento.

Huge menu on the wall

We sat beside this couple in the extremely small restaurant (seating 25 max) and waited for service. Looking at the menu on the wall, I ordered the short ribs bento and Lyndsay ordered the unagi bento. Each bento came with rice, a vegetable, some pickled vegetables, and some meat sauce with a hardboiled egg, all for $6.50! We waited, waited, and waited for our food. The couple next to us waited, ate, and paid their bill before Lyndsay got her unagi! The woman's dan dan noodles smelled and looked extremely good, and I contemplated wishing I had ordered that instead.

Short ribs bento

Although the service was lacking and semi-difficult because of language barriers and the extreme wait time, the food was excellent. Each part of the bento worked well together, and each was delicious on its own. My only dislike was the chewiness of the short ribs, but I blame that more on my own folly for choosing it than their cooking of it. Lyndsay's unagi was very good, but the portion size was small.

Since the bento do not have to be piping hot, I think it would be good for a take out lunch for an exciting day trip where the access to food is questionable. They also had three refridgerators full of available side dishes and Taiwanese specialties. Also, ordering ahead would probably alleviate some of the wait, which was the our main problem with our experience at Cozy cafe. Now if I could figure out how to order in Taiwanese...I'd be eating there every time I visit the SGV.

A huge variety of take out

Cozy Cafe
651 W Duarte Rd. Ste. B
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 294-2981

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