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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Trails Eatery

The Trails Eatery
7389 Jackson Dr
San Diego

Ever watch that show Restaurant Impossible?  It's where Robert Irvine-the man who lied about his resume but he still hosts a show on Food Network- has two days to turn over a struggling restaurant.  I guess the story is that The Trails Eatery opened as Megan's and did so well they had to expand into the building next door.  Well the expansion didn't go well and Megan's started to lose business.  They called Restaurant Impossible and along came The Liar, I mean Robert Irvine.  He changed the interior, the menu, and the name to The Trails Eatery.

Whatever he did it worked because the place was busy the morning we went.   The Trails Eatery is located in a standard suburban shopping center.  Plenty of parking and and other stores nearby.  They are opened for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, but only open for dinner a few nights a week.  I'm not sure the exact days, so call if you want to go to dinner.

Meat Lovers Omelette Ham, bacon & sausage with cheese; 9.29.  I usually don't get omelettes but today the meat lovers omelette looked too good to pass up.  The first bite I took the omelette was luke warm.  I want an omelette that is hot.  You can see the unmelted string of cheese in the picture, that should tell you that the omelette wasn't hot.  None of the meats inside the omelette were't hot either!  Of course the meats were all precooked but at least warm them up on the grill or make the eggs hot.

Service was good.  Our server was very nice and attentive.

I wasn't  impressed at all with the food at The Trails Eatery.  I mean Denny's makes a better omelette!!  Happy Trails,  The Trails Eatery because I'm not coming back!

Lil B's Urban Eatery-Closed

Lil B's Urban Eatery
2611 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

Lil B's Urban Eatery is owned by the former owner of Brian's American Eatery. The word is the two business partners had a falling out and closed Brian's. I don't get into any feuds and was happy to hear that Brian's will continue in some form.  The main differences I noticed was that Lil B's had a smaller menu, more update interior, higher prices and better parking.

Half chicken caesar salad, $8.99.  This was a pretty good salad of a chicken caesar salad.  The romaine lettuce was fresh and crunchy.  The chicken was served warm and had a few too many char marks.  It was basically flavorless and was missing salt.  The dressing wasn't as thick as other caesar but tasted just fine.  I liked the fact they didn't drown the salad with dressing.
Side of mac and cheese, $2.49.  This was a blend of three cheeses and very well cooked macaroni.  I hate it when the macaroni is mushy.  It was good, but quite frankly, a rip off at $2.49 for such a small portion.  Two to three spoonfuls and this was done.

Service was friendly but lacking.  We were seated and it took forever for our server to even come by.  At first I thought she was the only server, but there were at least two other servers working.  Not sure what was going on, but I was hungry and wanted to get my order in!  She also wasn't refilling drinks quickly.  The ice had already melted and still no refills.

I had high hopes for Lil B's Urban Eatery and I came away disappointed.  Going to Brian's was always something I looked forward to when visiting San Diego.  Now with Lil B's Urban Eatery opened it maybe a long while before I return. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mario's Italian Deli & Market

Mario's Italian Deli & Market
740 E Broadway

I reviewed Mario's Italian Deli & Market, over six years ago. While I did say I would not return, I changed my mind, because I wanted to try their Italian cold cut combo sandwich. It's weird, as recently as two years ago I had never had an Italian cold cut combo sandwich anywhere!! Then I got one at Capri Deli & Kitchen, and it's my usual sandwich at any Italian deli.
Mario's is both an Italian market and deli.  The deli counter is huge, it goes about the length of the store.  If you're ordering a sandwich make sure you take a number.  They have a good selection of soda including many imported sodas.  There are about 6-8 tables if you want to eat there.  A Glendale fixture since 1961, which was also the first year of the Los Angeles Angels. Real baseball fans know that the LA Angels played their first season at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. Unlike the drunk, idiot, loser Chicago Cubs fans, they also know that the first night game at Wrigley Field was in 1961, not 1988 when the Chicago Cubs continued their losing ways. Hey loser Cubs fans leave Bartman alone!! It wasn't his fault, it was your loser players who lost the game and series!! I love knowing the Cubs best chance of winning the World Series ended when the Houston Astros moved to the American League. If the, then Florida, now Miami Marlins had moved to the American League, the Back to the Future 2 prediction may have come true. Isn't it pathetic that the sorry loser Chicago Cubs fan base have to rely on a stupid movie for their World Series title hopes? There is no such thing as a curse!! It's about loser players, owners, managers, and especially fans!

The best play ever by any Chicago Cubs player; Rick Monday, who at the time was playing for the Chicago Cubs. He save the American Flag from being burned by two pinko gutless losers.:

Italian cold cut combo; $8.65, mortadella, salami, cappocollo, and ham.  Mario's still cuts the bread into three pieces.  The Italian roll is a bit too hard and chewy for my taste.  The triple cut is weird and unnecessary.  But, the meats are good quality meats.  The salami was had a very nice flavor.  The cappocollo was also very good.

Service was better than last time.  It still takes a bit long to make the sandwich, but overall the people were friendly and helpful.

The bread is just too tough and chewy for me to come back for a sandwich at Mario's.  But, the quality of the meat is very good.  I would come back and get a few pounds of each and make a sandwiches with better bread!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

JN's Original BBQ Pit House

JN's Original BBQ Pit House
1180 N White Ave
Pomona, CA 91768

David Allen emailed me about trying a new BBQ restaurant in the Pomona area!  While we were figuring out a time to go, a friend invited me to lunch and we decided to give NJ's BBQ a try.  Originally JN's Original BBQ Pit House opened under the name Fairplex BBQ, but it seems as though the Fairplex- the people in charge of the fairgrounds, got upset that another business was using their name.  Whatever, I'm not here to moderate a business dispute, I just want to try some BBQ.

My understanding is the pitmaster of NJ's also owned Clark's BBQ, in Chino which is now closed.
I forgot to ask when I ate there. Anyways JN's Original BBQ Pit House is located in a renovated house and has about six tables and a few seats at the counter. Their parking lot is next door at an old gas station.

Pork rib dinner, $10.86 with mac and cheese and hush puppies.

These ribs had a lot of meat, but this was very greasy.  There was a decent bark, a nice smoke ring, but they could have stayed in the smoker for a few more minutes.  There was too much fat and gristle that made these ribs unappetizing.

Now, I'm not big on presentation, but the ribs came top side down, on foil, on a plate.  I think the foil was a waste, just put the ribs top side up, on the plate.

The mac and cheese was pretty average.  But the hugh puppies were great!  Very nice and crispy on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside.

Service was good.  The young man who took our order was nice and friendly.

I wouldn't go back to NJ's BBQ for the pork ribs.  But, I would go back for the hush puppies and I'd like to try their beef ribs and brisket.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smokin Jonnys BBQ

Smokin Jonnys Bbq
14813 S Western Ave

I was excited to learn a new BBQ restaurant opened up in Gardena.  I did a quick search and I found that Smokin Jonnys BBQ is not far from two BBQ restaurants that I reviewed before; The Rib Nest and Prayer Assembly Church BBQ, which may not be open. The actual church of Prayer Assembly Church is up for sale and the phone number listed is disconnected. But, I have heard conflicting stories about whether or not the BBQ is open.

Update Dec. 1, 2012:  I went to Prayer Assembly Church BBQ, and they are in fact closed. I talked to somebody who was in the parking lot and he told me the city, after all these years closed them down because they did not have a permit to run the BBQ.

So I head down to Gardena and give Smokin Jonnys BBQ a try. It's on Western, just south of Rosecrans, in a strip mall with a Mexican bakery. It's a small sized restaurant with about six tables and huge flat screen TV. They opened in January and seem to have good following.

The mild bbq sauce is pretty good, a tomato based sauce with good flavor and spices.  The hot has some vinegar and chili that gives it the spice.

Full rack of spare ribs, $21.95.  These ribs were terrible.  There was no bark or smoke ring to speak of.  No smoke flavor, and just a mushy, full of gristle and fat ribs.  I wasn't happy to waste my money on just a bad rack of ribs.  They advertise as a true BBQ restaurant that smokes their meats with hickory but these ribs tasted as though they were grilled!
Beef rib sampler, with cole slaw and potato salad, $9.95.

I haven't had beef ribs in a long time and decided to give them a try. I liked the sampler price, especially with two 6 oz. sides. The beef rib was damn good. A good smoke flavor, tender pieces of meat and a good amount of meat on the bone. I was impressed. I should have orderd a full rack of beef ribs instead of the pork ribs.

Service was good. This is a counter service restaurant; you order at the counter and they bring the food to your table. The young lady who helped me was nice and friendly. She was hard working and attentive. When the family who was eating at another table left, she quickly cleared their table. The tables were all stocked with napkins and BBQ sauce.

Overall, my visit to Smokin Jonnys BBQ was good. But, I wouldn't order the pork ribs again. But, the beef ribs are worth a trip back. Maybe I'll go get pork ribs from The Rib Nest and the beef ribs from Smokin Jonnys BBQ!