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My name is Elaine and I am addicted to Armenian food. I wish to remain a very happy addict, so no interventions please 🙂

Monta Factory is a SIX seat place in East Pasadena that will serve you their creations hot or frozen to go so you can make it at home. Think of it like ordering a pizza hot to eat soon or there, but also having the option of taking a frozen one to make yourself at home later. Monta are tiny dumplings made by hand that is a very labor intensive food. Unless you have a grandmother or great grandmother who is dexterous enough and who loves you enough to make a batch for you, your best hope for a taste of this wonderful food is to go to Monta Factory. They are the only place anywhere outside of someone’s home where you can eat these. They tell me people travel from out of state to buy several trays, pack them in ice, then drive or fly home.

The marvelous family here are so warm and welcoming that whether it is your first visit or thousandth, they will treat you with a gentle disposition and broad smile 🙂

The family here makes everything from scratch daily, so they may be the hardest workers in the city. I can’t even imagine the repetitive, laborious, and exacting labor of love this requires every morning as they hand make each tiny piece for the day. I love their spicy version as well as their regular version. As long as you have an oven or toaster oven, any leftovers can easily be reheated in 10 minutes.

I took a large frozen tray for a picnic to go and took a picture of the directions to make sure I followed them correctly:)

This is how they turned out with the yogurt garlic cream poured over the entire tray. An Armenian friend said he was going to get a tray to take home to his elderly parents because it was something he had not eaten in decades.

They only sell a few things on their menu, the Monti (or Monte), that everyone knows about, but also the best Wild Salmon Sandwich I’ve ever eaten. It is made with a special tahini sauce, that was so good I went back twice in one week for it, and the serving was such a generous portion that I ended up with two meals!

I heard a customer order the salmon over salad, so that is what I tried on another day. Depending on how hungry or carb conscious you are, their salmon over a salad is an equally delicious alternative.

Be sure you get a slice of their freshly made (daily) su beoreg. This is a cheesy crispy slice of indulgence that will make you crave another one of the soft interior with a crackling top as soon as you finish your last piece.

Now that I live 37 miles away, I will be making the trip with an ice pack and an insulated sac for a tray or two of their frozen Monte, a few salmon sandwiches, and some slices of the su beoreg so that I will never be more than a few minutes from great Armenian food #addicted 🙂

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I miss my former butcher shop Lindy & Grundy, but I’ve found Garni Meat Market, a small family run place in Pasadena that not only sells meat, but will cook it for you for no extra charge! Whole Foods finally started doing this, but Garni has been including this service for years!

This small family owned and run shop carries quality raw meat and poultry, marinated meats, and sides galore.

This home made recipe of a creamy spinach spread was just one of many delicious options available alongside hummus and olive dips.

If you want to create your own custom recipe, they have walls and shelves stocked with spices, olives, oils, syrups, flavored waters, rice, beans, and pastas. Everything in the shop is spotlessly clean, well organized, and high quality.

It was much too hot to cook, so I asked them to do it for me:) I loved their spicy chicken wings (hot enough for me, so maybe too hot for people who don’t like flames in their mouth) and succulent pork chops. The beef was tender, but next time I will make that myself since my idea of rare really only translates well in Europe. The bread underneath soaked up all the natural juices and even though I said I only wanted enough for two meals, this was enough food to last me for FOUR, and all for under $25, including a pound of the spinach dip!

If you are even close to this neighborhood, stop by with some ice packs and a cooler to take home some of their meat, or just have them cook for you and enjoy a picnic or party at home without any effort!

Pictures speak volumes, and I get many ideas about where to go eat from my Instagram feed. The first time I went in, two other people also came in for the first time because of the pictures we had seen on Instagram:) I follow Eat Bearded on Instagram and Armen is one of the chefs/co-owners of Mini Kabob.

Ovakim and Alvard welcomed me as if I had entered their home when I came into the eight seat restaurant; the place is so small that the couple dining at the table closest to the door opened it for me from their seats!

They serve high quality food, done with heart and skill that can only come from people who love what they do, and they treat everyone as a new friend or old one, depending on whether it’s your first visit or thousandth time. I’ve now become a regular, introducing friends to the place, so now I feel like this is my home away from home:)

The first time I went in, I asked Ovakim what he recommended, and he said “Get the chicken breast” so I did and it was the most mouthwatering moist version I have ever eaten. The rice, onions, and grilled tomato and jalapeno were perfect compliments to the chicken and basmati rice. All this for under $15 and nearly enough for two meals!

When I saw the steak and salad, I knew I wanted that combo on another night, and it did not disappoint, with tender meat and a refreshing green crunch all for under $20.

The Lule minced chicken mixed with a bit of pork and spices is a slighter smaller meal especially paired with salad instead of rice, but big on flavor.

Or you can opt for half rice, half salad.

If you can’t decide, you can order a combo plate with chicken thigh, chicken lule, and pork, also with salad instead of rice if you prefer. I found the pork a bit dry, but still tasty.

The lamb chops are a big plate, and I ordered half salad, half rice to get a completely “balanced” meal, but it was so big I would only order this to go next time; this is the most expensive item on the menu coming in at slightly over $20.

Perhaps my favorite part of any meal here is the delightfully light garlic sauce that is served with every meal. I would eat this everyday if I lived closer to Mini Kabob 🙂 They make it fresh daily, along with their hummus.

 The lavash bread comes from a nearby bakery, and it is the only thing they do not make in house.

I’m part of the extended family now 🙂

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