Long Beach Lunch: E.J. Malloy's

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Sarah Bennett

The corner of Redondo Ave. and Broadway is a familiar intersection for Long Beach lunches. First, we were here for cheap Mexican grub out of a makeshift Baja shack attached to the Reno Room and, later, we came for the delicious sandwiches made by the sweet Chinese family next to Baddeleys.

But it's been the NFL finals and no food-bearing bar within a half mile gets as crowded as E.J. Malloys, a storefront of an Irish-themed watering hole that would make claustrophobics wince if it were not for it's back patio that opens to blue sky between dense Belmont Heights development.

For several Sundays in a row, E.J. Malloys and its 16 flat screen televisions hve beckoned be out of bed before noon, meaning lunch at the wood-paneled pub included a cheap pint of Racer 5 and a mountain of the non-Irish-but-still-infamous gorgonzola fries--to start.

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Sarah Bennett
The melty, silky goodness of gorgonzola fries

There are only a few times when its acceptable to inhale a mound of criss-cut fries suffocated in a creamy house-invented cheese sauce on your own and apparently, while yelling at a football game is one of them. The melted gorgonzola mixture is warm and silky, like a good alfredo sauce, and its soothing salty flavor belies the bite anticipated from such blue-veined cheeses.

The resulting carb coverage is so comforting, if I was to be reborn, I might request to have my placenta replaced with the stuff.

That's why instead of ordering any number of E.J. Malloy's XL salads, hand-formed burgers or famous $10-per-pound buffalo wings as a main course (as I do when I end up at the Bixby Knolls location), I doubled down on my gorgonzola goo with the Cajun carne asada sandwich.

As the Philly cheesesteak's bizarro West Coast cousin, the Cajun carne asada sandwich is an anomaly of cultural oxymorons on a hoagie roll. Carne asada might be from Mexico and Cajun food is from the Bayou, but combine all the cayenne-and-paprika-spiced steak slices with a melty Italian cheese and it somehow works.

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Sarah Bennett
Cajun carne asada sammy

Just lose the lettuce and tomato that comes thrown on top--they're afterthoughts anyway and any semblence of non-artery-clogging goodness (leafy green vegetables? Yech!) ruins the concept.

For a smaller sampling of the gorgonzola goodness, skip the app altogether and order the smothered fries as a side with a burger or sandwich--E.J.'s also makes a mean Reuben, French Dip and spicy sausage sandwich, the latter of which is called the "E.J.'s Special," a sly nod to Joe Jost's Polish sausage-on-bread original.

As a regular outpost for tony Heights neighbors and CSULB frat boys alike, ambience can be as spotty as the service, even when hundreds of football fans aren't crowding the tables screaming for touchdowns.

But on warm winter weekends when the bottomless mimosas flow until at least 1 p.m. and the gorgonzola comes with all the carbs you can fathom, E.J. Malloys is the perfect excuse to return to the intersection of Broadway and Redondo for a lazy Sunday Long Beach lunch.

E.J. Malloys, 3411 East Broadway and 4306 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, (562) 433-3769 and (562) 424-5000, ejmalloyspub.com

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