Saturday, December 7, 2013
3245 Casitas Ave
The Crossing is actually an industrial park split into artist studios, the Atwater Village Performing Arts Center, and the dining options.
I really don't know how to describe dining options at The Crossing; a neighborhood meeting spot with a few dining options? Two separate restaurants? Anyways, The Crossing has Ocie's Texas BBQ, a pizza restaurant, and a coffee place. There are plenty of tables inside and outside.
Spare ribs plate, $12, with double mac and cheese. Texas BBQ means mesquite wood is used to smoke the meats. The smokers are right next to the patio, so they do smoke their meats. But, they haven't perfected their meat. The ribs were tough, chewy and needed to be in the smoker for another two hours, at least one more hour. The rub is heavy on the paprika with slight hints of cumin. I wasn't impressed.
The mac and cheese needed more cheese sauce, though the macaroni was well cooked.
Service left a lot to be desired. While the server was friendly, she didn't come around often. We lacked for refills and somebody at the table had to ask three times for coffee before finally getting it.
I wouldn't come back to Ocie's Texas BBQ again. Poor food and service.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
15870 Soquel Canyon Pkwy, Ste E,
So, I'm craving pizza tonight and I remember a friend mentioning that Nonno's Pizzeria in Chino Hills has been on her list of places to try. So, a quick search to get directions and I'm off to most southern part of Chino Hills.
I arrive to an nearly empty parking with and Nonno's is another take out only pizza place, like Sal's Pizza. Funny, I passed by Nonno's other location in Upland on my way to Sal's and placed it on my list of places to look into.
Silician pizza, with sausage and I asked for four sliced to be just cheese. I liked the crust, with it's nice velvety inside texture and the firm outside. The cheese was plentiful and the sauce was well balanced, though some my think it is on the bland side. But, the sausage was bland and lacked flavor. It was just unseasoned meat. But, I really didn't like the amount of sausage on the pizza. They also had a one sausage piece to slice ratio and that sucked. It made this pizza a very bad value. I mean I might as well go to Little Ceasar's and get their $8 pan pizza. From a local pizzeria I'm expecting a lot more.
Service was ok. I placed a phone order because I didn't want to wait around for the pizza. The guy was friendly on the phone, but clueless when I asked for the four slices to be just cheese. I mean it can't be that tough to leave four slices without any toppings! I mean it won't cost anymore time or actually saves them money. What would be the difference if I asked for half cheese and half sausage? Four more slices would not have sausage! So what's the big deal about having only four slices just cheese?
Overall the pizza was pretty good, not great, but the high price tag and the small amount of toppings on the pizza makes it a very bad value. I won't be back to Nonno's.
8017 Sunset Blvd
A few blocks east of Carney's is Greenblatt's Deli. I had planned to eat at Carney's but there was a long line at Carney's. When I passed Greenblatt's on the way to Carney's, I realized it has been on my list of places to try. So I came here.
Greenblatt's is a two story restaurant. The ground floor has a small number of tables, the deli counter, and a huge retail store. The upper floor has seating for about 40 people. It was pretty busy when we arrived, all the tables were taken on the ground floor. So, the bus boy said there was seating up stairs. Notice, there was no host or hostess greeting people. Anyways, we were seated at the last empty table upstairs.
Langers, what people says is the holy grail for pastrami; it's good pastrami but nothing great, certainly not the holy grail! Personally, my holy grail for pastrami is Katz's in New York City!
So, I had to order the pastrami. Sliced thin, the pastrami was flavorful and tasty, but a bit dry. There was a good amount of pastrami on the sandwich, well worth the $12.95 price tag. What made up for it was the great rye bread! The crust was tough but chewy and the bread was just fantastic! I got a side of fresh fruit and everything was good, expect for the very sour orange slice.
Service is below average. While the server was nice, he wasn't around that often. It took a long time to even place our order, get refills, he forgot to bring the extra napkins we asked for. To cut him some slack, I think it's how the restaurant assigns servers. It seems our server had a couple tables upstairs but had all the tables downstairs. I also didn't like the no host policy. If the busboy didn't happen to walk by, I may still be standing there waiting for a table!
I wouldn't go back to Greenblatt's. The pastrami sandwich was fine, but nothing great and service left a lot to be desired.
Monday, November 18, 2013
6773 Carnelian St
I have reviewed other pizza places with the name Sal's somewhere in the business name; Two Sal's in Montebello-which is now closed, and Sal's Pizza and Bagelry in La Verne. Now, you're reading another pizza place with Sal's in it's name; Sal's Pizza. I found out about Sal's Pizza from a comment by Mr. T, no not that Mr. T of A-Team fame, to David Allen's review of Red Devil Pizza in La Verne. You can read my review of Red Devil Pizza. On a side note, Who knew that La Verne had so many pizza places? Some very good- Pizza Barn, some pretty good- Red Devil, and some very overrated- Warehouse Pizza and Sal's Pizza and Bagelry. Anyways, I invited David Allen, who had never been to Sal's Pizza in Alta Loma, and we had a nice chat about the dining scene in the Pomona Valley. David has posted his review of Sal's Pizza.
Sal's Pizza is a small take out and delivery place. There is no place to sit down and eat at Sal's. So, David and I, went to the Del Taco in the same shopping center, ordered a soda and feasted on Sal's pizza! The menu states Sal's has been serving Rancho Cucamunga and Upland since 1979, and I understand they moved to this location in Alta Loma about ten years ago.
Service was good. The guy, I think he is the owner, who took the order was nice and friendly. The pizza came out quickly and hot. They included a coupon with the pizza, $2 off on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, and $3 off on Wednesday. Nice touch, because I'll use it again.
I enjoyed the pizza from Sal's Pizza and would go back more frequently, if I lived close by. I had a very enjoyable dinner with David Allen, but sadly the BBQ place at Vineyard and Football, which he thought was ran by the owners of the now closed Red Hill BBQ, is closed!
Polka Polish Restaurant
4112 Verdugo Rd
I love Polka Polish Restaurant but I recently heard Polka has undergone an ownership change. What happened was the nice couple that owned Polka moved back to Poland and a family member took over. So, Polka is still in the same family, though you won't see that couple who was on the Food Network show with that loudmouth jerk yelling at everybody.
I've had two entrees at Polka; klopsy and cutlet schabowy, but never the pierogies, so I went back to try the pierogies. The dark cluttered decor has changed. They painted the walls and declutter so it looks bigger, and it brighter.
The menu items are basically the same, but the actual menus are new. You still get soup and salad with each entree. The salads have gotten a little smaller, but I didn't go to Polka for the salad.
Potatoes & cheese-The potatoes were cooked perfectly, almost like mashed potatoes but a bit firmer. The cheese was mixed in well with the potatoes and made for a great blend of flavors. The dough was cooked perfectly and the caramelized onions just added another flavor to this great dish.
Service is friendly, but below average. The new owners are friendly, but they are overwhelmed. There were only two people serving and the entire restaurant was full. Drink refills only came when asked. The couple at the table next to us was seated after us, but got their soup before us. But, that's ok, because we got our entrees before them! They really need to staff the dinner rush with three servers, or at least a busboy.
Despite the below average service, the food at Polka is great. I would go back anytime, and I may even order some pierogies to go the next time I'm there!
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Pacific Fish Grill
13865 City Center Dr
Next door to Bruxie, is Pacific Fish Grill. So, after being underwhelmed by the waffle sandwich at Bruxie, we went to Pacific Fish Grill for their shrimp tacos.
Pacific Fish Grill is a lot like another casual seafood restaurant in Chino; Papachino's. It's is a small chain with other locations in Downey and West Covina. The Chino Hills location is a fairly big restaurant where you order at the counter.
Crispy shrimp taco, $3.79, cabbage, tangy sauce, and tomatoes on a corn tortilla. The first thing I noticed was the thickness of the corn tortilla. I liked it because some tortillas just fall apart after the first bite. The shrimp was fried perfectly and was fresh tasting. It may have been frozen shrimp, but at least it wasn't sitting in a freezer forever. The cabbage and pico de galo were fresh and there was the right amount of crema, which they call a zesty sauce. I think they add chili powder and cumin to the crema. I liked this shrimp taco and I think it is worth the price. On Tuesdays, the fish tacos are 99 cents and the shrimp tacos are $2, which would be a steal!
Service was pretty good. The lady taking our order was nice, even going to the back room to get more take out menus, after I asked if they had any take out menus. But, we waited a little too long for the tacos to come out. There was a group of eight and a couple to go orders but otherwise it wasn't that crowded; not sure why we waited so long for our food.
I would go back to Pacific Fish Grill and will be going back on a Tuesday very soon, to try their fish tacos.
Update Nov. 12, 2013
Well, I went back for Taco Tuesdays. The specials on Tuesday include; crispy fish tacos are 99 cents, and $2 for crispy shrimp, grilled fish, salmon, and grilled chicken tacos.
Grill fish taco, with white roughy fish, chili verde, grilled onions, and cabbage. White roughy is a name for basa fish. There is a lot of controversy over the name, because consumers often confuse or assume white roughy is like orange roughy. White roughy isn't in the same family as the more expensive orange roughy.
Anyways, this white roughy lacked seasoning, was very bland and flavorless. There was a good amount of fish in the taco, the only saving thing. I didn't like the grilled onions and the chili verde was very good. But, the fact that the white roughy was so bland, made this taco unappealing.
Service was good. I went there just as the lunch rush started, but I know I got my order much faster than the first time I went.
I like Pacific Fish Grill and will be back soon. The Taco Tuesdays deals are a steal, but prepare to wait in line to order and for a table. But, the crispy fish and shrimp tacos are well worth it!
13865 City Center Dr
The first Bruxie opened in Orange, near Chapman College, and soon long lines of students and foodies waited for the waffle sandwiches. Now, I've been to Roscoe's in both Hollywood and Pasadena-the chicken and waffles restaurant, but waffles aren't something I order for breakfast that often. So, having a waffle sandwich is a strange idea for me and will take getting used to.
Bruxie has expanded, opening locations in Brea and Chino Hills. So, I go to the Chino Hills location to finally give these waffle sandwiches a try. Bruxie is an open air restaurant with lots of seating. You order at the counter and your food is brought to your table.
Albacore tuna sandwich, $8.95, cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce and tomatoes. I know Bruxie is known for their fried chicken sandwich, but I felt like having a tuna melt. The waffle was light, had a nice golden texture outside and soft inside.
But, the tuna wasn't anything special, a slight upgrade from Subway, so that's not saying much. Yes, the veggies were fresh, but a couple pieces of uncut romaine lettuce? Come on, chop it it.
Service was good. There wasn't a long line, but the line moved quickly and we got out food quickly.
Sorry, I don't get the hype of Bruxie. I prefer having a french roll or wheat bread instead of a waffle. Interesting concept, but it's not for me. I won't be going back.
After being underwhelmed at Bruxie, we went next door to Pacific Fish Grill, for a shrimp taco.