Pine and Crane (@pineandcrane)
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Fast and casual Taiwanese (their words not mine) in Silver Lake.
I…am a terrible Hipster.
No, it’s true. I’m a brave enough man to admit it.
Not that I ever wanted to be one, mind you. I think Anthony Bourdain and I are of the same mind on this one. Hipsters are terrible, awful people who think the world centers around them and their tastes.
Problem is the world tends to go out of its way to say…”Hipsters, the world revolves around you and your tastes.” So sad.
Why the opening screed against Hipster Nation? Well, I’ll tell ya…
The first I’ve ever heard about Pine and Crane, was surfing around Urbanspoon and looking at their top ten most talked about Restaurants. Pine and Crane was on there.
Okay, I figure. What the heck. I’m all about the Taiwanese food right? Maybe this place is doing something new. Maybe this place is doing something different.
And this is where Hipster Nation steps in. It’s only new if Hipster Nation discovers it. It only counts if Hipster Nation discovers it.
Well, forget them.
Let me say…Pine and Crane is a damn good restaurant. You should probably go to there and hang out. It is a damn fine meal.
But if you’ve been eating anywhere in Arcadia, or the San Gabriel Valley. You’ve had it before.
Now, that’s not a dig on Pine and Crane at all. This is what’s supposed to happen. They did their job. They served up a very nice meal, with organic local ingredients. It’s also a wonderful, casual environment.
Pine and Crane is a step-up-to-the-counter place. You saunter up. There’ll be a line, so you’ll have a few minutes to think about what you want before you order. You can even grab a soda from the bin to your left. After that, it’s off to the tables, what few there are. There’s even a Communal table in the middle.
Again, it’s a gorgeous space. It’s a Restaurant that despite all else I have said, would do just fine in the San Gabriel even up against all the others. It compares favorably. It would survive easily. I live closer to San Gabriel, but if I were here again, would I come to Pine and Crane? Hell yes, I would.
Of course, it’s a touch more expensive here than in San Gabriel (just a touch), but here you can use a Credit Card and I’m thinking the Rent/Land’s a little more expensive here. And of course, here in Silver Lake, they’ve got the Taiwanese Foodie Market all to themselves .
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Funny thing is, even all the way hell out there in Silver Lake, I got the same thing I would have gotten at Sinbala and Bull Demon King Cafe. I got the Taiwanese Sausage Small Plate. Just like the one at Sinbala, it comes with cloves of garlic. And just like the one at Sinbala, it was delicious.
I also got the Minced Pork on Rice, which is their version of the Taiwanese Sausage Rice I had a Bull Demon. It compared quite favorably to the one I had a Bull Demon. They even added some Daikon Pickle, which gave it a nice texture (crutch) and…yes…sweetness to it.
Finally, to make it a completely porktastic afternoon, I got the…yes…Pork Dumplings. These were of the steamed variety, and knotted up a bit more crudely than you’d find at Din Tai Fung, but they’re about as tasty.
Oh, and biting that little hole and drinking out the juice first, then dipping it into the sauce. Standard operating procedure. Nice.
NOTE: The Menu is seasonal, and to prevent future link breaks, I’m keeping the link set to the homepage.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Urbanspoon has a question they ask when you add a restaurant to their system, if the Restaurant is visible from the Street.
In this case, I don’t know.
Thing of it is, I came on a Saturday, when there was a massive Farmer’s Market going on in front of the Restaurant, so I can’t tell you how visible it is from the street. Well, for me, that Saturday, it was so hard to see I actually went walking the wrong direction when I had parked right in front of the restaurant.
So there’s that…
Also, communal seating. Remember that.
PARKING: This is the toughest part. I mentioned the Farmer’s Market in the Important Safety Tip, right? Well, that made things real difficult. I got spectacularly lucky, finding a empty meter in front of Sunset Triangle Plaza.
Of course…like I said above, Farmer’s Market, walked wrong direction when I was parked right in front of it, etc. and so on.
I’m not going to mention the fact that some @#$% Scooter driver decided to park my space along with me to mooch off my meter.
Seriously, is this a thing now? Do we mooch off of people’s meters? Sheesh!
But Parking looks haaaaarrd. Odds are, you are doing a meter along Sunset Blvd. I hope you find one, and I hope a Farmer’s Market isn’t going on when you do.
Pine and Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tel: (323) 668-1128
Open Every Day Except Tuesday, 12PM-10PM