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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Upland Kabob

Upland Kabob
733 N Mountain Ave
Upland
909-985-5454

It's Friday during Lent, so that means no meat. I've gotten tired of eating fish on Friday. So I decided to get some falafel! Upland Kebob has been on my list of places to try but I haven't had a chance to go to the area. So, this was as good of a time as any.

Upland Kebob is a good sized restaurant, that is separated into three parts. The dining room, the buffet table, and the counter area. I wasn't sure if it was a sit down restaurant or a counter service restaurant. It's actually a sit down restaurant, where people can order at the counter for to go orders.



Falafel wrap, $5.95. The falafel wrap was filled with three pieces of falafel, hummus, garlic sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes in pita bread. First thing I noticed was the texture of the hummus, a bit more chunky than the hummus I'm used to. But, it was fresh and a nice mild flavor, not that overly tangy flavor I get from most hummus.

Falafel is a chick peas/garbanzo beans mixture that is fried. I liked this falafel because it was crunchy on the outside and had a nice flavorful taste.

All the combinations of flavors worked well with this falafel wrap.



Falafel salad, $8.95 with romaine lettuce, tahini sauce I really just wanted six pieces of falafel, not a damn salad, but whatever. Again the same crunchy outside and flavorful inside. But, one thing I noticed, they used bottle lemon juice!! Why not use fresh lemons??

Service is friendly but kinda of off. I walked in and they told me they do not serve falafel for dinner!! I have never heard of any Middle Eastern place not serving falafel. Then when I told him I wanted just falafel, I got the damn falafel salad. I don't want to pay for stupid lettuce and other stuff I don't want or need.

Overall, I did enjoy the falafel from Upland Kebob. I will go back for their lunch buffet, $11.95 for all you can eat chicken kebobs, beef and chicken shawarma, and many other items.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Papa Hassan's Grill

Papa Hassan's Grill
882 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim
714-533-7338

Papa Hassan's used to be in Orange, near Chapman University. But, a fire destroyed the original location. The owners thought about rebuilding, but the university would to only extend to the lease for a few years, thus making rebuilding a bad business idea.

So about a year goes by and Papa Hassan's Grill opens up in Anaheim in late 2011, right next door to the Sizzler that was reviewed by The New Diner in 2009.

I never went to Papa Hassan's in Orange, but people who have told me Papa Hassan's Grill is a more casual place; you order at the counter and they bring the food to you.

The location is a bit different too. Right across the street is a strip club. The parking lot is very dark. The area won't make any postcards, any time soon.

The restaurant is fairly small and the many fans have made the trek down from Orange. The place was packed the night I ate here. There is seating for about 25 people.

I ordered the chicken kebob plate that included salad, rice, and pita bread, $11.95.



The salad was pretty standard, with iceberg and romaine lettuce, cucumbers, a slice of tomato, and pita chips. The lettuce wasn't that fresh, but it was ok. Nothing exciting or memorable about this salad.



The chicken kebob came with onions and green peppers. Though some parts were too charred, the chicken was moist and tender. But, it lack a lot of flavor, it was too bland. They needed to add more seasoning to the chicken. The portion size was good and the rice was cooked perfectly. But, overall I would have to say I wasn't impressed with the chicken.

Service was friendly, but kind understaffed. The person who took my order is the owner, I believe. He was trying to get orders out and take my order and wasn't doing a good job. I was waiting at the counter for about 5 minutes while he got the orders out. He should hire a cashier, who's many responsibility is to take orders. When I placed my order, I wanted to dine in but all the tables were taken. He left and went to the back. I had no idea what was happening, until he brought a table and chair out. That's great he got a table for me, but at least tell me what you're doing so you don't leave me hanging. My food came quickly, though I had to go up and ask for silverware.

Maybe the food has changed since moving from Orange, but I don't see the hype for Papa Hassan's. I won't return.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Connolly's Kitchen-Closed

Connolly's Kitchen
1453 Foothill Blvd
La Verne
909-593-6322

Does Connolly's Kitchen look familiar? To long time The New Diner readers it should, this used to be Mr Fish & Chips, until a year ago when Connolly's Kitchen replaced it.

Billed as a genuine Irish food restaurant, I was looking forward to trying their fish and chips. Connolly's Kitchen has the same setup as Mr. Fish and Chips, order at the counter and about five or six tables to eat at.




I got the one piece of fish, $5.50. The fish used is fresh cod, not frozen and premade. So that's a good start. But, this was most disgusting, greasy piece of fish I have eaten!! When I took the first picture it looked greasy. Then when I broke the fish in half, the amount of oil that spilled onto the paper tray, could take a family who is using a car that runs on used cooking oil from La Verne to Las Vegas. I'm betting this piece was either cooked in oil that wasn't hot enough or recooked. Just terrible. Now the cod was a good sized portion and the batter had a nice light crunch. But everything was ruined because it was just a greasy mess.

And packaged tartar sauce??? You want to be authentic and have packaged tartar sauce??



Two large shrimp and chips, $6.00. The shrimp wasn't as greasy as the fish, but still too greasy. The shrimp was a good size but tasted frozen and not that much flavor. The chips weren't fries, but cut potatoes. But, didn't have any seasoning, had been sitting under heat lamps for too long and a few pieces were almost raw!!

Service was good. But, when I walked in two ladies were sitting at a table and talking. But, I didn't know if they were customers or the owners until one of them said HI. Not a good impression to give customers.

I would not go back to Connolly's Kitchen again. A terrible example of fish and chips. Give me the frozen, pre-made fish and chips from Mr. Fish and Chips, anytime.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mac's Fish and Chip Shop

Mac's Fish and Chip Shop
503 State St
Santa Barbara
805-897-1160

I watch that Food Network show; Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. I love the type of restaurants that are profiled on the show. I hate the loud, obnoxious host, so most of the time I'm watching the show the sound is on mute.

I saw the episode about Mac's Fish and Chip Shop and decided to give it a try on a recent trip to Santa Barbara.

Mac's Fish and Chip Shop was started by an ex Brit, who wanted to bring authentic fish and chips to America.




I got the regular sized fish, $8.00. I don't need or want the extra calories the fries bring. The fish is cod, which is the best choice for fish and chips. The batter is a beer batter, which was crispy and light. The cod was well cooked and flavorful. But, the weird part was the excess amount of water that came from the fish after I cut it open. I have never seen that before and I eat a good amount of fried fish.



It was a surprisingly cold day, so I figured a cup of clam chowder, $3.50, would hit the spot. It did. This was a nice rich hearty chowder, with finely cut pieces of potatoes and clams. I enjoyed the clam chowder and wish I had ordered a bowl instead of the a cup.

Service is good. The people working are nice and friendly.

This is the first restaurant profiled on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, that I've been to. Well, that's with a huge ***. I've gone to two restaurants, Jay Bees BBQ, and Fab's Hot Dogs. before they were on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.

The fish at Mac's Fish and Chip Shop is nothing special and not worth the trip up to Santa Barbara. Even if I lived in Santa Barbara I wouldn't go back.

Friday, March 9, 2012

9th Street Pizza

9th Street Pizza
231 E 9th St
Los Angeles
213-627-7798

I'm always on the look out for new and good pizza places. I've found there are plenty of new pizza places opening up in and around Los Angeles. But, I've found very few good places. 9th Street Pizza was a promising lead and I finally made it down there.

An interesting location, as I didn't see many office buildings nearby, so I'm wondering where they get their business. But, they do deliver, so I'm guessing many of the office buildings and new condos near LA Live are keeping 9th Street Pizza plenty of business.



9th Street Pizza is a thin crust pizza place and I got their two slices; mushrooms and basil, tomato and garlic with a soda combo for $7.07.

Now, I'll admit that I got there a bit late and the slices looked as though they had been sitting around a long time. But, I didn't want to order a whole pizza. But, the crust was very good. Nice and crispy with good texture and held up the toppings well. But, the sauce was just too bland. It's almost as though there wasn't any sauce!!

The mushroom was pretty good. With lots of canned mushrooms on top. But, the garlic, basil, and tomato should have packed some huge flavor but was just too bland. If the slice didn't say garlic, I would have never knew there was garlic on the pizza. Just way too bland.

Service was good. The two guys working were good and helpful.

I would not go back to 9th Street Pizza again. The pizza is just too bland and not worth the trip to downtown LA.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-8279

After I reached my storage limit on The New Diner, I decided to start The New Diner 2. Any fellow bloggers please change your link to direct readers to The New Diner 2.

It figures, the first review of The New Diner 2 had to be on a westside restaurant. Yes, the hate for the pretentious jerk people of the westside will continue from The New Diner to The New Diner 2.

Bay Cities has been on my list of places to try. But, with high gas prices, thanks worthless Obama, and just my general contempt for the westside, I haven't made any real effort to go.

But, a beautiful Sunday in March and I'm in Santa Monica and finally make it to Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery.



I got the famous Godmother,large size with mortadella, cappacola, genoa salami, ham, prosciutto, provolone, $8.35. WOW, wow, this was an awesome sandwich. The meats, they use Boar's Head meats, was such good quality and freshness. There were layers and layers of good quality meats. But, I think what makes this such a great sandwich is the freshly baked Italian rolls. That toasted crust, just adds so much to the sandwich. A great great sandwich.

Service is good. But, expect a long wait!! First, make sure you take a number. Then be patient. I must have waited 30 minutes in line before my number was called. A lady was telling me the amount of people there would be considered a slow period. WOW, but I'm not surprised.

What I was surprised was their pricing for condiments. A large costs $8.15. A large with the works-mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, dressing, is $8.80. But, if you wanted a "custom" made sandwich with condiments you choose, it's 10 cents per condiment, with mayo and mustard free. So my lettuce and tomatoes added 20 cents to bill. Come on, are delis and sandwich shops going to nickel and dime people that much?? Ok, I saved money not buying the works, but to add a dime here and there, stupid.

Overall, I enjoyed my sandwich and experience at Bay Cities. While I don't like their nickel and dime condiment pricing policy, the sandwich is great, and I'll be back. Though it maybe awhile, since I my level of tolerance for pretentious, jerk people has been reached!!