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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Beola’s Southern Cuisine

Beola’s Southern Cuisine
1845 E Holt Blvd
Ontario, CA 91761

Beola’s Southern Cuisine opened about six weeks ago near Ontario Airport.  It's a large spacious space, and on the Sunday I went they have live entertainment-a woman, who had a wonderful voice, singing songs.  The volume was more background music, than having to SHOUT at your dining companion!

The owners of Beola’s Southern Cuisine used to be partners in the Maple House restaurant that replaced Sal's & Sons Pizza & Pasta.  Beola's is the name of owner's grandmother.

Eight medium shrimp with two sides-mac and cheese and red beans and rice, $16.  The shrimp were jumbo shrimp, not medium sized shrimp.  They were deep fried in cornmeal.  A good dish, maybe a bit pricey, but made up somewhat by the size of the shrimp.  Mac and cheese-a bit greasy but good flavor.  I didn't eat the red beans and rice because there was sausage in the dish.  Most red beans and rice do not come with sausage.

Service was great!  I walked in and while nobody was at the host stand, within a couple minutes I was greeted by one of the servers.  She took my order and I waited for my food. All food is cooked to order and takes time!  I sat in the lobby and every time somebody new came to the front, I was asked if I had already been helped!  There have been restaurants that I reviewed where I wasn't greeted, not even a Hi, when I was right in front of the host!  But at Beola's I was greeted EVERY TIME!!! A couple minor complaints- they should tell people that the red beans and rice contains meat, and when taking to go orders-that they do cook items as ordered so it takes time, up to 20 minutes if ordering fried chicken!

I really enjoyed my experience at Beola's and I will be back. 

Monday, August 29, 2016


922 Williamson

I reviewed Giovanni's on Williamson in Fullerton back in 2006. Now almost 10 years later I went back to review their pizza! Giovanni's on Harbor has long closed! Giovanni's has expanded into the next two spaces.  The bigger Giovanni's now include a much larger dining area. The old area is now the game room for the restaurant. 

Large, 15in, mushrooms and jalapenos, $13.07- $8.50 plus $1.80 per topping, for the Monday Special.  Regular price, $12.50 plus $2.10 per topping.

The crust was medium thickness and firm, holding the toppings very well.  The jalapenos were fresh and spicy.  There weren't that many mushrooms, but the little amount on the pizza was fresh.  This isn't the greatest pizza you'll ever have, but a good solid pizza from a local, family owned restaurant.  Now, the big question- would this pizza be worth the regular price, about $19.  I think yes, and I assume you would get a bit more toppings since the cost per topping is 30 cents more.

Despite only one person at the front, service was good.  When I walked in there was a sign that said Help Wanted.  I can see why.  The lady taking the order was the only person working the front.  She was responsible for taking orders and taking the food to the tables.  There was a party of about 15 people and they kept coming back to order drinks or food.  They really needed somebody else to help the lady.  They could also help themselves by placing the printer for credit cards right next to the register!  The way it is set up now, the customer gives the lady the credit card, she walks about a few feet to the printer then slides the credit card.  I could see two people in the kitchen working on the orders, but they need front of the house help!  Despite being very busy, the lady was very nice and helpful. 

I would go back to Giovanni's for their pizza. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sanamluang Cafe

Sanamluang Cafe
710 S Indian Hill Blvd
Claremont, CA 91711

I visited the very popular Sanamluang Cafe in Pomona back in 2009.  In December of 2014 they opened a second, bigger location about half a mile north on Indian Hill, into the snotty city of Claremont.  The Pomona location stayed open for awhile, then closed.

Now located in a building that once housed a Baker's Square, Sanamluang Cafe is now a huge location with modern decor.  Gone are the old, worn out peeling decor that highlighted the Pomona location.  It was very busy on a Friday night and the hostess told me it would be about a 20 minute wait for a table.  Not a problem because my friend had not arrived yet.  About ten minutes later my table is ready and I told the hostess my friend hadn't arrived yet.  She said no problem and allowed me to take the table for two.  While waiting for my friend there was a steady stream of people coming in.  But, all parties of two were seated quickly.  So, I didn't feel bad that I was taking a table while waiting for my friend.

 Shrimp pad thai-$7.95.  The shrimp was slightly overcooked, tough and chewy.  There were about 8 small sized shrimp in the dish.  But the flavors all mixed well together.  I enjoyed this dish, but it would have been better if the shrimp wasn't overcooked.

Shrimp fried rice- $7.95.  Slightly bigger shrimp, but these were well cooked.   People ask what is the difference between Chinese fried rice and Thai fried rice.  I think Chinese fried rice has more soy sauce, thus a more salty taste.  While Thai fried rice has a slight sweet taste.

Service was very good, from the hostess to the servers.

Sometimes when restaurants move something suffers and it's not the same experience.  But, gladly Sanamluang hasn't changed and is still very good. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Parlor Frozen Yogurt & Creperie

The Parlor Frozen Yogurt & Creperie
1453 W Arrow Hwy
San Dimas, CA 91773

The Parlor Frozen Yogurt & Creperie is located a few doors down from Mike's Pizza.  It's been opened for almost three years.  A fairly large size store with a few tables inside and two tables outside.  You order at the counter and you can watch them make your crepe.

It's a combination Cold Stone and Yogurtland, expect you don't serve yourself.  They offer about 6-8 flavors of frozen yogurt.  You can choose to have your yogurt in a cup, waffle cone or cup, or on a freshly made crepe.

It was empty when I walked on a Wednesday night in summer and only a group of three people came in while I was finishing my cone.  But had a good amount of people when I went to Mike's Pizza. 

Build your own crepe, $9.95. Choice of frozen yogurt-Pistachio, two toppings- Twix bar and almonds, and choice to flavor drizzle-carmel! 

Since this is a creperie,  I decided to get build my own crepe.  I watched as the owner put the crepe batter on the hot pan, and in a couple minutes he was forming the crepe cone.  I then picked the flavor of frozen yogurt, two toppings and flavor drizzle.  They will mix the frozen yogurt and the toppings together, just like Cold Stone.  The flavors all worked well together and if they didn't it was my fault! He used an entire regular sized package of the Twix bar- one and a half pieces mixed into the frozen yogurt and half a piece to garnish the cone! 

I liked this crepe cone, but this is an once in awhile indulgence.  It's too pricey for anything else or unless I win the next big lotto!  Or I could come back for just the frozen yogurt. 

Service is good.  The husband and wife team who are the owners are very nice.  Many Cold Stone locations closed because of the high prices.  Maybe a "mom n pop" type store free from the restraints of a franchise, can stay in business much longer.  I hope The Parlor can stay in business for a long time. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Love Letter Pizza & Chicken

Pizza & Chicken Love Letter
18333B Colima Road
Rowland Heights

When I first reviewed Love Letter Pizza & Chicken back in 2010, I only tried their fried chicken.  Yes, I also called them Pizza & Chicken Love Letter. I wanted to see if Rowland Heights had any good non chain pizza places.  The only non chain pizza place I knew of in Rowland Heights was, MaMa & PaPa New York Pizza, but that closed a long time ago.  A quick search led to Love Letter or an Italian restaurant where pizza is on the menu, not exactly what I am looking for.  So Love Letter I went!

Medium bulgogi and bacon pizza-onions, red and green peppers, mushrooms, corn, $13.07. 

Love Letter does not have a pizza without any meat toppings.  Nor do they have a create your own pizza.  But, you can order one of their specialty pizzas without meat.  So that's what I did.  They put the toppings on the sauce, then put a layer of cheese.  Interesting and different.  The sauce is very mild.  I didn't find any red peppers on the pizza, but lots of green peppers.  The toppings were fine but sparse.  But, the crust tasted like Pizza Hut, which isn't a compliment.  Pizza was OK, but considering the smallish size and high price, it wasn't a good value.

Service was pretty good.  Nice and friendly and the pizza was done quickly.  I do wish they would include a veggie pizza on their menu.

Rowland Heights is not a place to get good pizza!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mike’s Pizza

Mike’s Pizza
1441 W Arrow Hwy
San Dimas, CA 91773

I noticed that I have never been to a non chain pizza place in San Dimas.  A quick search led to Mike's Pizza and that San Dimas is not a pizza eating city!

Located in a small shopping center and near a laundrymat,  Mike's Pizza is actually takes two spaces in the center.  One space is the entire kitchen area.  The other is a combination dining and storage area.  They really need to clean up the dining area, which has about 8-10 tables.  They have pizza boxes, soda bottles, and other stuff that needs to be put somewhere else.

Large mushrooms and jalapeno, $16.  I took a menu home and realized that the menu price is $15.40 with tax that is well over $16.  So, I'm not sure how she got $16.  Anyways this pizza was pretty good.  A good solid medium crust with parts of the pizza piled high with cheese, but they missed some the other outer edges.  The sauce was mild, there is plenty of it, but it doesn't over power the pizza.  The toppings were pretty plentiful and fresh.

Service was pretty good.  It's a family run place.  They told me the pizza would take 25 minutes, which is longer than other pizza places say, but I go the pizza in about 20 minutes.  Unlike other pizza places that say 15 minutes but take 25 minutes for your pizza to be ready!  But, I came to the shopping center to got the grocery store about a week ago and they list their closing time for a Saturday night at 9pm.  They were closed and out the door at 8:30pm.  Of course, I don't know if that was a one time thing.  But, that's not good business.

Mike's is a good pizza place, better than the chains, but I'm not rushing back to San Dimas to try their pizza.  Honestly, if you're near San Dimas, just go a little further east to LaVerne, where there is a ton of good choices for pizza!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Meat Cellar

The Meat Cellar
665 E. Foothill Blvd Unit C
Claremont, CA 91711

David Allen reviewed The Meat Cellar a few weeks ago, and I put  them on my list of restaurants to try!  After going though a very hot weekend, I decided to head out to The Meat Cellar and give them a try. 

Located just north of Pitzer College and their McConnell Bistro Dining Hall, The Meat Cellar is a combination butcher shop, wine store, and restaurant.  There are good quality meats in the display cases and some wines on the wall to your right as you enter the restaurant.  They have about 15 or so tables set up all over the restaurant and there are even tables outside.  Meat Cellar is next to a Starbucks and there is a huge outdoor seating area.

You order at the counter and they bring your food to you.  Since I don't eat meat-beef, pork, poultry anymore, I knew my options maybe limited.  In worst case, I would order the fries!  But, they had two fish option, halibut and salmon.  But, they were out of salmon-guess they didn't get their shipment of salmon.  So that made my decision much easier.

 Halibut fillet with mixed green salad- $18.  The top picture is what was delivered to my table.  My first thought was I paid $18 for this?  But, the guy- who I think is the owner, said "I know the halibut is kind of small, so we have another piece already on the grill."  If they added about half the size of halibut I would have been happy.

Because the first piece was very thin, it was overcooked. It would have been better on a sandwich or as a taco.

About ten minutes later I got the second piece and it was huge!  I was more than happy and satisfied with the quantity.  Now the big question was quality!  The second piece was well cooked, moist throughout and something I really enjoyed!

The mixed green salad was fresh and had a light vinaigrette dressing.

 Fries- $5. Twice fried kennebec potatoes.

We waited a long time for the fries.  The table next to us, who came in after us, got their poutine-fries with gravy and topped with short ribs before we got our fries!  But, the fries came out lukewarm and there were too many small pieces!  They were well seasoned and tasted good, but would have been better served hot, right out of the fryer!

Service was good.  I liked how they noticed the small size of the halibut and on their own, more than made up for it with a huge second piece.  If you're a meat eater the tomahawk rib eye, even at $37/lb is the way to go for presentation.  Or you can get the ribeye for about $24/lb, you just wouldn't get that huge piece of rib bone.

I would go back to Meat Cellar, to try their salmon, and would take my meat eating friends here anytime.  But, I would ask them to make sure the fries are right out of the fryer.