WHERE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY SHOPS : At Least a Few Ideas Appear to Bear Repeating

Sometimes people complain that the retail and food offerings in their neighborhood mall are all starting to look alike.

Sometimes they’re right.


* In the Glendale Galleria, there are two nearly identical Chinese eateries--Panda Express I on the second floor and Panda Express II on the first floor. Panda I serves stir-fry dishes in a restaurant-like setting, while Panda II is in the mall’s food court.


* Not to be outdone, Montebello Town Center seems to have cloned its Italian restaurants. There is a Cafe Sbarro and a Sbarro’s Italian Eatery.

* If you get a hangnail at the Montclair Plaza, manicures are available at J C Penney, Merle Norman Cosmetics, LA Nails, Le Monacos, Los Bravos, and Sunshine Beauty.

* Santa Anita Fashion Park has at least three places where you can buy a chocolate ice cream cone: Baskin-Robbins, Bob’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, and Haagen-Dazs. Unless, of course, you want chocolate yogurt. For that, try Yogurt Palace.

* For footgear, the Puente Hills Mall has Kinney Shoes, Payless Shoe Source, Thom McAn , Leeds. Children’s shoes? Buster Brown Shoes and Stride Rite Shoes. Plus 13 other shoe stores and shoe departments in all four department stores.

That is not to say there is no variety in the world of malls. After all, for lunch at Puente Hills you can choose between no fewer than three major fast food chains--Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s, and Taco Bell.