There Are Hipsters in the San Gabriel Valley

I don’t want anyone to be alarmed, but there are hipsters in the San Gabriel Valley.

They’re hard to escape these days — bearded, tattooed young guys wearing Vans and cool t-shirts emblazoned with logos for Nashville honkytonks, their hair either coiled up in a man bun or shaved off entirely, accompanied by beautiful tattooed braless young women of often indeterminate Hispaneuroasian ethnicity.

Jaydyn, Willa and their dim sum

San Gabriel Valley is as unhip as it gets. Why, then, are the hipsters there? I partially blame it on Jonathan Gold, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Angeleno food critic. Jonathan Gold was unhip, too — a portly, balding guy with suspenders and a squeaky voice. But he wrote with the music and flourish of a poet as he gleefully took the road less travelled to L.A.’s grittier corners in pursuit of a great meal. He was, as it turns out, was a muse for L.A.’s hip and intelligentsia, who could boast amongst one another of the most recent Jonathan Gold treasure they’d frequented. More

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Priscilla & the Thousand Year Eggs

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Our friend Jon has a new girlfriend. Actually, she’s not all that “new” — they’ve been dating about a year now. But it took six months for him to introduce her to us. Before that, the only evidence of her existence was dumplings. And by that measure, things weren’t looking good.

“Do you want some dumplings?” Jon said one day at the kids’ school. “Priscilla dropped them by my house.” He led me down to his truck and opened the back. It felt illicit, like it was high school and we were going to drink a beer or smoke some pot. He pulled out some big bready bao and a couple cold pork dumplings whose steamed wrappers were crumbling off. More

Enter the Dragon

On Chinese New Year, I always wish that we had a Chinatown in our town. I don’t mean in Los Angeles, where there are several large and thriving Chinese communities — all an hour or more drive away. I mean in our little beachy, mountainy community of Topanga Canyon. The entire of our one-stoplight village is itself no bigger than the most modest 3rd-tier middle-American city’s Chinatown. But it would be cool to have a tea-and-dumpling house, a market and a crappy chotchke shop. I know a couple people in the canyon of Chinese descent, so I guess that’ll have to do.

Chinese immigrants in the New World

I like ethnic celebrations, and if I lived in New York or San Francisco on this Chinese New Year, I would hop a subway or cable car, go unwrap some sticky rice and watch a parade. More