The Greasiest Spoon in Pasadena

by James Boo on July 23, 2008 · 1 comment

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The first part of this cross-post can be read here.

In this day and age, it is almost a crime to admit to liking good, greasy food. It is especially fitting in SoCal that the salad—throughout most of history a side dish or appetizer—has taken the place of the baptism: that which serves to wash us clean of the sin of gluttony.

Don’t get me wrong. I like good salads once in a while. But everything in moderation, including health.

When my friend James (of The Eaten Path) stopped by town with his friends Zach and Alex for a wine tasting, I decided to take them to the high temple of the fallen, the gastronomical equivalent of the La Brea Tar Pits. This place, of course, was none other than the world-famous Lucky Boy.

I am proud to live in Pasadena. There are great things to do here, and great restaurants: for instance, 750 mL is in South Pasadena; there is Saladang on Fair Oaks; etc., etc. But this was the man who spent a few weeks last summer driving around the South, sampling the best of Southern BBQ. This was the man with whom I had devoured ribs in Seal Beach and in Oakland. He deserved the very best.

At first, James did not want to go to Lucky Boy. He was getting ill, he said, and greasy food would potentially push his compromised immune system over the edge. However, this is the man who has devoted an entire blog to the pursuit of good eating—i.e. greasy food—so it wasn’t entirely too hard to persuade him otherwise. Zach and Alex were both vegetarian to degrees; this fact did not stand in the way of my goals.

Behold the neon-lit, dreary exterior of Lucky Boy.

Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA

We stood outside and ordered our food. We each got breakfast burritos, which are two-pound logs of hash browns, cheese, eggs, and meat. Bacon and sausage are the two most popular choices, though they also offer chorizo and ham. The vegetarians omitted the meat. To share, we ordered a side of chili cheese fries and zucchini fries.

Around us were high schoolers from South Pasadena High School, shady characters from Highland Park, and one or two college kids back for summer break. The cars whizzed by on Arroyo Parkway.

Breakfast Burrito - Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA Breakfast Burrito - Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA
Chili Cheese Fries - Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA Zucchini Fries - Lucky Boy - Pasadena, CA

How can you describe the breakfast burrito except by saying it is pure bliss? It is heaven, if heaven came wrapped in extra-large flour tortillas. The only improvement could be liberal application of Lucky Boy’s spicy green sauce, of which there was plenty.

And the chili cheese fries? Soft, yielding, every bite like a kiss. A kiss from a beautiful voluptuous brunette saying “It’s all right, it’s all right” on the darkest of nights.

Perhaps the most ridiculous thing is the zucchini fries. These are not huge spears but are instead little curls of deep-fried zucchini. Or is it zucchinis? Because in that one translucent waxed paper bag there must be at least three zucchinis. Four grown men could not even finish half the bag.

After three bottles of wine, breakfast burritos, chili cheese fries, and zucchini fries, it’s fair to say that we each lost about a week of our lives. But life without certain sins is not worth living, just as much as living without friends is not truly living.

Joon Song is an aspiring drunkard and law school student. You can read his wine stories at Vinicultured.

Lucky Boy Drive-In Restaurant
640 S Arroyo Pkwy
Pasadena, CA 91105


zmmann July 23, 2008 at 1:32 am

Lucky Boy was delicious and totally worth it at the time.

And totally not worth it the next morning.

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