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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hard Times Pizza-Moved

Hard Times Pizza
2664 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles

Silver Lake has some very good pizza places; see my reviews of other pizza places in Silver Lake-Tomato Pie Pizza Joint, Nicky D's Wood-Fired Pizza, and Garage Pizza. I've passed by Hard Times Pizza tons of times, in fact I ate at the Cafe Ravo that used to be next door.  So I was in the area and decided to finally stop in for a slice of pizza.

Hard Times Pizza is located in a small strip mall next to the now closed Cafe Ravo.  Parking can be tough to find with it's small parking lot.  It's a small place with a few tables inside.   One wall is filled with Polaroid pictures of customers.  Why?  Who knows.
Regular thin crust cheese slice, $2, and Sicilian cheese slice, $2 .  Normally I hate ordering slices because you don't know how long the slices have been sitting around.  Anyways the regular thin crust was a bit too well done when they reheated it.  You can see the char marks.  But, the sauce was pretty good, it's heavy on the oregano, but I like it.  The was a good amount of cheese on the slice.  Now the crust wasn't good.  They say thin crust but it's really a regular crust.

The Sicilian cheese slice had the same charred marks.  But, the crust was pretty soft and had a nice texture.  Of course it had the same sauce.  This maybe worth getting freshly made.

Service was below average.  The kid never greeted me.  I wish restaurants who properly train their employees on customer service.  Greet the customers is basic customer service.  "Hi, how can I help you?"  Simple and easy.  I mean a 70 year old is greeting customers are Wal Mart, a punk kid can't do the same at a restaurant?  He wasn't helpful or friendly.  I mean who owns this damn place and/or trains their employees?

I know I have tough standards for customer service but I don't apologize for them.  It's terrible that so many restaurants don't train their employees well and/or just don't care.

While the Sicilian slice had potential, the bad service will keep me from coming back.  I can go to Tomato Pie or Nicky D's and get better pizza and much better service.  Why would I come back to Hard Times?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Union Pizza Company

Union Pizza Company
1570 Rosecrans Ave
Manhattan Beach

I'm always on the hunt for a good deep dish Chicago style pizza. My last experience at Selma's Chicago Pizzeria, left me wondering why I don't just stick with Hollywood Pies or Masa of Echo Park. Sadly, the quality and service of an old favorite, Tony’s Little Italy Pizza has gone downhill and I won't return. I found Union Pizza Company while looking for another restaurant in Manhattan Beach. I'm always skeptical of pizza places that try to do both thin crust and deep dish pizza. I'm guessing that's how they came up with the name Union Pizza Company. Located in a shopping center right next to Bristol Farms, Union Pizza Company has a small indoor dining room, but right outside is a huge covered outdoor eating space. A great thing about Union Pizza is free corkage!!

I ordered a large chicken sausage and mushroom deep dish pizza, $23.98.   The first thing I noticed about the pizza was the golden crust!!  If it tastes half as good as it looked, I know I'm going to like this place!  Well, the crust was light, buttery and a wonder texture!  This coming from somebody who won't eat the crust on deep dish pizza-so I can save room for the good stuff.  But, I ate every single crust!!

The sauce was good, nice fresh ingredients and seasoning.  The mushrooms were canned, but plentiful.  I'm not a fan of canned mushrooms and prefer fresh mushrooms.

Now, there were limited amounts of the chicken sausage, I would guess maybe 3 or 4 pieces per slice.  The sausage was good quality sausage that would be great on a hot dog bun.  I just would have liked to see more sausage in the pizza.

Service was overall good until the end.  The young lady greeted me when I walked in.  She was attentive and helpful.  She even told me the pizza takes 25 minutes to bake.  Some deep dish places do not tell you that!  When I asked her to turn the TV to the football game, she was more than willing to do so.  She was nice when she delivered the pizza to my table, though she could have brought more than one napkin.  But when I asked for a box she coped an attitude!!  I mean does she think I'm going to eat a whole damn deep dish pizza by myself in one sitting?  Is she being cheap and nickel and diming customers?  I mean come on just bring me a box and stop the attitude.  Not sure what brought that on.  I didn't say anything to her.  I was nice to her- thanking her for turning the channel and for delivering the pizza.  I didn't say anything about the one napkin, I just got up and got some napkins from the counter.

Anyways, overall I was impressed with the deep dish pizza at Union Pizza Company and I would go back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Texas Pit Bar B Que

Texas Pit Bar B Que 
24601 Raymond Way
Ste 2

Lake Forest 

As readers of The New Diner know I am not a fan of pretentious Orange County and especially the BBQ.  I have had some bad BBQ in Orange County.  So I wasn't that excited about trying Texas Pit Bar B Que when I first heard about them.

Texas Pit Bar B Que has been open for over seven years and I'm surprised I didn't hear about them until a couple months ago.  I tried another BBQ restaurant in Lake Forest, Texas Rib & BBQ but was underwhelmed. When I first heard of Texas Pit Bar B Que, I actually thought they were talking about Texas Rib & BBQ.

Anyways, Texas Pit Bar B Que is located in one of the countless strip mall you see all over suburbs.  There are a couple other restaurants in the area, so the parking lot is packed during the weekday lunch time.

Full rack of St. Louis spare ribs, $17.99.  When I walked out of my car the wonderful smell of BBQ filled the air.  So, Texas Pit Bar B Que had some promise.  But, the ribs were too tender and mushy.  They should have been taken off the smoker 30 minutes earlier.  The meat had a nice bark and BBQ flavor.  But, just way to mushy.  This falling off the bone BS for BBQ is for stupid people who don't know anything about BBQ.  The actual bones shouldn't be so soft that somebody can bite into them, which I did.  But, this had potential and could have been a good example of BBQ.  

Service was OK.  I was greeted when I walked in.  Too bad she wasn't the one helping me.  The other young lady who took my order, was just going through the motions, not listening to me.  I just wanted a rack of ribs ala carte, not the dinner.  She wasn't helpful or friendly at all. 

Frankly I was surprised at how close Texas Pit Bar B Que came to making good BBQ.  They missed but was close and didn't try to pass off BBQ as something cooked in an oven.  I wouldn't rush back and even if I was in the area, I may have second thoughts about going, but I would give them a second chance. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Selma's Chicago Pizzeria

Selma's Chicago Pizzeria
30461 Avenida De Las Flores
Rancho Santa Margarita

I've often wonder if any Chicago pizza places have actually been to Chicago?  Just because a pizza is cooked in a pan doesn't mean it's Chicago deep dish pizza.   I've tried many places that claim to be Chicago pizza but they aren't anywhere close to Chicago deep dish pizza.

Selma's Chicago Pizzeria is located in the heart of white Republican Orange Curtain, filled with families with 2 kids, a SUV and the white picket fence.  God I hate the Orange Curtain!!

I got the medium deep dish with sausage and mushrooms, $17.13.  The two things I noticed about this pizza was the exccessive amount of dough and the lack of sauce!!  The was a minimum amount of sauce and it was pretty bland and average.  But, the thing that got me was the amount of dough, just way too much dough.   See that slice?  It was 60% dough and 40% toppings.  It should be the other way around.  There needs to be a lot less dough and more toppings.  The toppings were fine, fresh mushrooms and good sausage.  A better description of this pizza would be pan pizza like they serve at Paoli's Pizzeria.

Service was good.  Nice friendly people working there.  I was greeted when I walked in.  Placing my order was fast and easy.  I got my pizza within the stated time frame; 20-25 minutes.

Selma's gets an A for effort but sadly this isn't deep dish Chicago pizza.

Red Lion Tavern

Red Lion Tavern  
2366 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles

I've been to the Red Lion Tavern twice, both times just for a beer.  So, I finally went to Red Lion Tavern and ordered food.  Red Lion Tavern has been around forever.  I heard the current owner is Russian, but the menu is still the same.

Red Lion Schnitzel pork cutlet breaded and fried golden brown, served with mashed potatoes and red cabbage, $14.75.

The breading was very soggy and greasy and lacked seasoning.  The pork was dry and lacked flavor.  While this was a good sized portion, it wasn't worth the price because it wasn't good. 

The mashed potatoes were good, nice flavor, nicely seasoned and creamy.  I didn't touch the red cabbage.

Service was among the WORST I have ever experienced.  The old hag server was rude, not friendly, and should not work in customer service.  I tried to give her a break because she was the only server working the downstairs bar area, but she was so rude.  She has a heavy accent and hard to understand at times.  So when I asked her what a dish was at another table, I had to repeat it again.  She copped an attitude and was a bitch.  Things only got worse after.  She copped an attitude when I asked for more water.  I mean, come on if she hates her job that much, get another job or go back to German. 

I will never go back to the Red Lion Tavern again.  Combine bad food with bad service and you lost a customer. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill

Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill 
2445 E Imperial Hwy

A friend raved about Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill and I wanted to see what this place was all about.  It's located in a very busy Wal-Mart shopping center in Brea and they do a great business for lunch; the place was packed when I went there.  You place your order at the counter and they bring your food to your table.  The menu leans toward Greek cuisine. 
Their wraps are all the same price, no matter what protein you get.  I got Chicken breast wrap, $9.54.  whole wheat flat bread, lettuce, marinated tomatoes, feta, rice, pickled red onions, tzatziki sauce and a choice of one side, I got hummus.  Honestly, the wrap was very average and very overpriced.  The ingredients were fresh, but there was a very small amount of chicken.  The chicken was fine but nothing special and certainly not worth the price.  I could go to many other places and get the same wrap for $3 less.

Service is pretty good.  The young lady who took my order was nice and friendly.  While waiting for my food I asked one of the runners what the menu item was, that he was taking to a table.  It looked very good; it was a build your own entree with .  He was nice and helpful too.

I know some people, like my friend, love Olive Pit, but then again some people have no taste, but what can you expect she is an Angels' fans!!  Sorry, I won't return to eat at Olive Pit again, unless my friend is buying since I won the wager.  I said the Angels won't win the AL West Division in 2012 and of course I was right!!  But, knowing my friend she'll take me for the $1 menu at a fast food restaurant.