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Dining Out: It's worth making a Sunland-Tujunga side trip

February 03, 2014|By Lisa Dupuy
  • Owners Reno and Deborah Goodale at Back Door Bakery and Cafe, 8658 Foothill Blvd., Sunland, on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.
Owners Reno and Deborah Goodale at Back Door Bakery and… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Even the residents of Sunland-Tujunga would agree the community is not exactly a foodie mecca. Still there are some good reasons to head over to this historical, artsy section of our valley. Sure, there are plenty of smoke shops, body shops and wrought iron fences but who knows? It could become the next Eagle Rock. Then you can say you knew "S-T" back in the day.

The Back Door Bakery & Cafe (8658 Foothill Blvd.) used to be in Silver Lake but a few years ago they brought their unique brand of daily-made treats to Sunland. The Apple Ugly muffin, for instance, looks like some kind of alien horse apple but the crispy bits of fruit and pastry taste fabulous with one of their huge ceramic cups of rich, hot coffee. They whip up beautiful omelets here with your choice of creative fillings (50 cents each) and the breakfast quesadilla ($8.50) is full of gorgeous veggies, cheese and eggs. Besides the good music, the community hangout feel and the friendly counter service, the best part of the Back Door Bakery is the daily line-up of samples from the made-from-scratch, no-fake-anything bakery. Tiny bites of sea salt brownie, hazelnut cake or strawberry-stuffed croissant anyone?

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Now that Al's Italian American Deli has sadly closed in Montrose, consider Corsica's Italian Delicatessen (8111 Foothill Blvd.), a Sunland mainstay for 40 years. As soon as you walk in the door, aromas of pepperoncini, French bread and mortadella hit your nostrils. Shelves of imported pastas and sauces crowd the cozy space as do frozen cases containing big tins of homemade lasagna, stuffed shells and manicotti to take and bake. Sidle up to the counter and order an enormous sub of your own design or better yet, trust the workers'/regulars' eponymous creations like Johnny's, Gina's or Angelo's Special. For the Italian meat lover who finds bread an annoyance, they offer the unique breadless sandwich, a huge rolled carpet of cold cuts, cheeses and fixings, sliced for eating. You've got to love a place that gives you a cup of simple oil and vinegar for their delicious big salads. A little pricey ($10.49 for a Mary's Special) but a lot of tasty.

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