Monday, December 31, 2012
3328 Pasadena Ave
Mom's Tamales has been featured in the Food Network show; Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Now I can't stand that loudmouth jerk host of the show. Him yelling at the camera and playing a clown, just drives me up the wall. Most of the time the food looks great on the show, but honestly some of the other restaurants in LA that have been featured on show have been underwhelming. This is a list of the restaurants I've reviewed that have been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; some of the restaurants I went to long before there was a bleached blonde loudmouth jerk, yelling at people on The Food Network.
Restaurants I liked: Don Chow Tacos, Brats Brothers, Polka, and Fab Hot Dogs.
Restaurants that I was underwhelmed: Jaybee's BBQ, Baby Blues Bar-B-Q, Chili John's, Mac's Fish and Chip Shop, and Oinkster.
Well add Mom's Tamales into another underwhelming restaurant featured on the show. Located in the Lincoln Heights area of LA, Mom's is really the covered patio of a house. It is surrounded by other houses and easy to miss when driving by. There is a good sized seating area, but I got my tamales to go. All tamales are $1.84.
fresh spinach, stir fried together with tomato, onions and spices topped with monterey jack cheese. The first thing I noticed after cutting into the tamales was the terrible masa to filling ratio. There was way too much masa compared to the filling. While the masa was soft and moist, there was just too much of it.
The filling was very good. Lots of flavors going on with the spinach, tomatoes, and cheese. This was by far the most flavorful and best tasting tamale that I ordered.
Service is overall was good until I got my order. I was greeted by a nice older man when I walked in, who promptly got a server to take my take out order. The young lady who took my order was nice and friendly. But another young lady who brought my order lacked people skills and should not work in customer service. She didn't take my order, so she doesn't know who I am. But, she handed me a bag and said very rudely, $5.52. When she got my change, all she said was "Here you go." No thank you for coming? No, "Come back soon?"
The tamales here are pricey and not worth the prices because it's about 80% masa and 20% filling. There is no reason for me to come back here again. Another underwhelming restaurant on Triple D.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
1803 N Main St
After reading the LA Weekly Story about 6 Tasty Cold Cut Subs under $5, I went to Vince's Market and Lanza Brothers Market. Lanza Brothers Market is located in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles, which used to have a large Italian population back when Lanza opened in 1926.
Vince's is about two blocks east of Maddalena Restaurant at San Antonio Winery. It's really a market that serves sandwiches at a great price. There are some tables outside, otherwise this would be a great place to grab a sandwich before seeing the $200 million a year Dodgers lose next season. Of course, assuming the rude jerk security force at The Dump, Dodger Stadium, allow people to bring food into The Dump stadium.
Service is good. The lady who made my sandwich was nice and friendly. She quickly made the sandwich correctly. The cashier was also nice and friendly.
If I am around the Lincoln Heights area I am coming back to Lanza! What a great sandwich at a great pice!! The sandwich is just as good, if not better than the sandwich at Eastside Market Italian Deli, and it's about $2 less!
3250 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
After reading the LA Weekly Story about 6 Tasty Cold Cut Subs for $5 I had to give two of them a try. So I went to Lanza Brothers Market and Vince's Market. Vince's Market is located in Atwater Village and is the definition of a neighborhood market.
Much like Lanza, Vince's opened when the ethnic makeup of the neighborhood was mostly Italians. There are no tables at Vince's, so everything is take out.
The roll is soft and chewy. The lettuce was fresh. The meats were good quality meats that are cut into thick slices. I loved the richness of the head cheese. The mortadella is great.
For a dollar less, you can get the Italian combo which doesn't have the head cheese. But, spend the extra dollar, the head cheese is well worth it. One thing that isn't worth it is the 40 cents charge for tomatoes. I love tomatoes on my sandwiches, but 40 cents for about 2-3 slices of tomatoes just isn't worth it.
The ham and cheese sandwich was the reason LA Weekly put Vince's Market on their list. And it's a steal. Thick slices of ham, a good chewy Italian roll, fresh lettuce and mayo. this is one of the best bargains in LA.
Service at the deli counter and cashier are both very good.
I prefer the Italian combo sandwich at Lanza but wouldn't have any problem coming back to Vince's.
Friday, December 28, 2012
2340 D St
For a relatively small city, La Verne has many pizza options; Mama Petrillo's, Pizza Barn, Sals Pizza and Bagelry, Red Devil Pizza, and Pizza N Stuff, are pizza places I've tried in La Verne. Most of them are located on Foothill Blvd. If you go further south, towards the University of La Verne, you will find Warehouse Pizza.
I have known about Warehouse Pizza for a long time and always meant to give them a try but just haven't made it. Located basically across the street from House of Wings and T Phillips, Warehouse Pizza is very popular, the place was packed the day I went, even though ULV is on Christmas break. It's a big place that was an old warehouse in it's former life. There is also a good sized patio for people to enjoy.
Small mushroom and sausage pizza, $10.
The crust is a regular crust with a good chewy texture and firmness. The cheese and toppings are piled on the pizza, which is always good. I believe the mushrooms are canned, but the sausage is pretty good-nice flavor and seasoning. But, what I didn't like about this pizza is the small amount of sauce on the pizza. What small amount of sauce on the pizza had a mild flavor.
Service is good. The guy who took my order was nice, though he forgot to tell me how long the wait for the pizza would be. I got my pizza after a reasonable wait.
One thing I saw and it really bothers me is that the guy who took my order seems to be the owner, had his buddies sitting at the counter and they would walk to the fountain soda dispenser and get their own refills!! The dispenser isn't in a public area like some other restaurants, but it's in an area where servers are getting food etc. I'm sure that is against health department code. I didn't see anybody who was sitting at the tables getting their own soda refills.
Despite the owner's friends sitting at the counter the owner did greet and gave quick service to everybody who walked in. One other thing, it's cash only. They do not take debit or credit cards.
Overall the pizza was good, but not as good as some of the others I've had in La Verne. Warehouse won't be my first choice for pizza in La Verne but I wouldn't mind going back.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
813-A W Foothill Blvd
I still can't believe the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.! I can't believe anybody would want to harm so many innocent children! How can America allow a mentally ill person access to guns? I can't believe 26 angels didn't get a chance to celebrate Christmas.
I know most kids love hot dogs, so to honor those 26 Angels, I decided to give Johnson's Hot Dogs a try. Johnson's has been open for a little over a year. Located across the street from Upland High School, in your typical suburban strip mall, they have indoor seating for about 20 people and about four tables outside.
The $1.50 hot dog or Polish sausage at Costco has really hurt the chances of hot dogs restaurants of succeeding. When hot dogs at restaurants are over $3, just for the hot dog, most people in the suburbs aren't going to pay that, when they can basically get two hot dogs and two sodas from Costco for that price. The suburbs do not have enough foodies, who are willing to pay more for a hot dog, to keep a hot dog restaurant in business. Of course there are many exceptions to this theory. Windy C's Chicago Hot Dogs, being the biggest surprise, where somehow terrible customer service keeps that place in business.
Service is good. The owner is a nice man who wants the best for customers.
I don't know how well Johnson's is doing but I hope they stay around for a long time. The restaurant had only two people when I walked in and two people came in just as I left. Again, the suburban mentality that the $1.50 hot dog at Costco is better than the $4 hot dog at a restaurant.
While there are somethings Johnson's needs to improve upon, like keeping hot dogs fresh in the steamer, I would give them another try. The hot dogs they use are very good quality and worth the price.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
1519 N Lake Ave
China Express is an Americanize Chinese restaurant in Pasadena, that is owned by Vietnamese people. The sign says fast food, but don't think of steam tables and Panda Express. All food is cooked to order and comes out hot and steaming!!
Located on the very busy Lake Ave, China Express has two tables inside and two more outside, but this is mainly a take out location. Next door is Louisiana Fried Chicken, where I had a terrible experience of undercooked chicken.
But, after eating a few pieces of broccoli I found a piece of chicken and a chicken bone in this dish, as you can see in the picture below!! I couldn't believe it. I walked up to the window and told them to make me a new dish.
Service needs to improve. I was standing right in front of the lady and wasn't acknowledged until about 5 minutes later. I realize you are busy but a simple I'll be right with you, when you see me, would be fine. When I took the broccoli back, the ladies weren't helpful at all. The cooks were much more helpful.
I did enjoy the food at China Express, but the bone in the broccoli and mushrooms with oyster sauce will prevent me from going back there again.
1515 N Lake Ave
Next door to China Express is Louisiana Fried Chicken. I have been to a few other Louisiana Fried Chicken locations; Garey Ave. in Pomona. Holt Blvd. in Pomona, Long Beach, which are now all closed, and Pomona.
Louisiana Fried Chicken isn't a chain, their business model is to sell the name and recipe to businesses who agree to follow the recipe and buy product only from Louisiana Fried Chicken's vendors. Interesting business model, that must be working because there are a lot of Louisiana Fried Chicken locations.
Breast piece, $1.90. I cut into the breast piece and could see dark red juices running down and I was grossed out. I didn't eat any of this chicken. I went back to the store and asked for my money back. This is disgusting and dangerous to diners. Service was below average. I wasn't greeted when I walked up the counter. I don't say hi when I walk into restaurants. They need to greet me, it's simple customer service. They were fine when I returned the chicken. I won't come back to this Louisiana Fried Chicken ever!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Rance's Chicago Pizza
1420 Baker St
Rance's Chicago Pizza is across Harbor Blvd. from Moscow Deli and Empanada's Place. I heard about Rance's and wanted to see how they compared to Tony’s Little Italy Pizza, which still has a very good deep dish or stuffed Chicago pizza, but the service there now sucks.
Rance's is located in the very busy Target shopping center towards the southwest part of the center. Rance's has a row of tables and booths, along with bar area. They have been open for about three months and the word has gotten out there in the Costa Mesa area, if you want Chicago pizza go to Rance's.
Medium stuffed House Special, $23.69, sausage, green peppers, onions and mushrooms. The crust on this pizza was great! Maybe the best crust of any deep dish pizza I've had in LA. Very light, flakey, and buttery. It was almost like eating a biscuit or apple turnover. Though this was not cornmeal crust, like some people from Chicago prefer.
The sauce was on the sweet side. But lots of good quality tomatoes, I'm guessing they are canned, but don't know for sure.
The cheese is thick and piled on and they use a good quality cheese.
The veggie toppings were cut too small and just blended into the cheese an sauce. They should cut them bigger.
Another thing that should be bigger is the amount of sausage on the pizza. I'm guessing the pizza is 12in., well the sausage-which is a flat piece of sausage only covered about about 8in. of the pizza! When I cut a slice of pizza from the center it was filled with sausage, but towards the crust, there was only green peppers, mushrooms, and onions. But, the sausage had a mild flavor. They use a good quality sausage.
Despite the small amount of sausage, this was a very good pizza, better than Tony's but maybe not as good as Hollywood Pies or Masa. The flavors all work well together.
Service was nice and friendly. But, they need to either hire a host/hostess or find a better way to let first time customers know if they are a side down restaurant or counter service when they first walk in. When I walked in, I went straight to the counter and ordered my pizza. I didn't realize if you wanted to dine in, you could have sit down and ordered. The other compliant I have is that they need to inform customers how long stuffed or deep dish pizza takes to bake. Since I've been to a ton of Chicago pizza places I know the time and was expecting to wait 45 minutes. But, if people haven't been to a Chicago pizza place, they may not know and then complain.
Even with the smaller amount of sausage on the pizza, I would gladly go back to Rance's for their stuffed pizza. They also have a good selection of beer on tap!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
920 N Lake Ave
In 2006 I went to The Fishery in Pasadena and noticed Pietro's a couple doors down. I had planned on going to Pietro's much sooner, but just didn't make it back. Recently a drive to Historic Christmas Tree Lane, reminded me that I need to try Pietro's sandwiches or pizza.
Pietro's is a fairly big sized restaurant with a few tables. The kitchen and counter where you order you food, is huge. My understanding is that Pietro's used to be owned by the Romo's, an Italian market next door, but they are now owned be two different people. Parking can be a bit tight as there is a very busy laundry mat a few doors down.
Mario's Italian Deli & Market.
The meats were fine, nothing great or outstanding about them. But there was only a thin layer of each of the meats and the quality of the meats didn't justify the fairly high price of the sandwich.
Service was below average. I walked to the counter to order and the guy working there was too busy doing whatever, to greet me. I must have waited five minutes before he came to the counter and asked if I needed help. He was nice and made the sandwich quickly. But, he isn't blind. All he had to do was greet me and say he would help me soon. But, no greeting no acknowledgement of my waiting is very bad service and doesn't make a good impression for the restaurant.
I wouldn't go back to Pietro's again. The sandwich was on the pricey side and I don't think the meats were that great to justify the high prices. Plus the service needs improvement.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
805 West Manchester Blvd.
I really just wanted to go to Randy's Donuts to see an example of Novelty Architecture. I didn't realize that when I went to Donut Hole, that was also an example of Novelty Architecture. Maybe the most famous example of Novelty Architecture, is stored in some warehouse right now; Tail o'the Pup.
Anyways the only problem with going to Randy's at night is that the huge donut on the roof didn't show well on my pictures.
Service was nice. The lady who helped me was very nice, much nicer than most donut shops.
Randy's Donuts isn't a destination donut shop, like Donut Man. It is a place I would go back to, if I'm the area. They are open 24hrs and when I went, which is clearly at night, they had plenty of donuts ready to eat.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
2827 Hyperion Ave
Mixto Comida Latina is owned by the same owners of Tomato Pie Pizza Joint. Mixto is known for their healthy Mexican food options. I've heard so many good things about Mixto but I haven't had a chance to try them. So I was finally in the area and stopped in.
Mixto used to be Burrito King and has a covered dining area that seats about 16 people. You order at the window and somebody will call your name when your order is ready.
I liked this grilled fish taco. The red snapper was cooked perfectly and the toppings were fresh. I liked the light refreshing green tomatillo salsa, which is a pleasant replacement for the white sauce that normally comes on a fish taco. The only thing I didn't like about this fish taco, was the tortilla wasn't that fresh. There were part of the tortilla that was very tough and hard.
Vegetarian burrito, $6.50; whole wheat tortilla, rice, black beans, pasilla chile, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and squash flower.
I really liked this vegetarian burrito. The onions weren't carmelized and some of the beans weren't completely cook. But otherwise everything in here was great and filling. I loved the pasilla chile, which I thought were bell peppers but had more flavor and a different texture than bell peppers. The rice was perfectly seasoned and wheat tortilla was fresh.
Service is good. Nice friendly people.
I would go back to Mixto anytime. I really want to try the carne asada which is grass fed, the next time I go.
21130 E Golden Springs
Ranch House Cafe and Grill is owned by the same company that owns Carrows and Coco's. They are a steakhouse that follows the Sizzler way of ordering at the counter. All entrees and burgers include unlimited trips to the salad bar.
The salad bar is your standard salad bar; iceberg or romaine lettuce, spinach, and lots of other fresh veggies. They also have a pasta, potato and macaroni salad. The items are all fresh and they are restocked quickly.
The most interesting part of Ranch House is that the servers are NOT allowed to accept tips! It says so on your receipt. They are paid differently than a regular server, but I can't believe that makes up for the lost tips. But, who knows?
The onion straws were clearly sitting under heat lamps, because they had lost their crispiness. The mashed potatoes could have been good if they were hot, you can see the unmelted cheese on top.
Service, when ordering was fine. The guy was nice and friendly. The steaks were brought out quickly by a friendly server.
I wanted to try out Ranch House and I came away fairly impressed. Their sides need to improve but their steaks are worth the price. I would come back again.