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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Intiraymi Restaurant-Closed

Intiraymi Restaurant
23545 Palomino Dr
Diamond Bar

So Diamond Bar gets a Peruvian restaurant and I finally get a chance to try it.  Located in a strip mall behind a gas station and an overpriced Chinese restaurant-that I won't go to, Intiraymi Restaurant has been in Diamond Bar for about a year.  It is a good sized restaurant with seating for about 20-25 people, though the decor is very basic.  

Pescado Frito-fried fish-sea bass with steamed rice and salad, $11.95.  The fish was lightly battered and well fried but very bland.  The fish itself was moist and flavorful.  I would guess they use fresh, not frozen fish, but I could be mistaken.  The rice was fine.  The salad was standard.

Service was good.  The man who took my order, who I believe is the owner, was nice, friendly and helpful.  I got the order quickly, considering they had to fry the fish.

I was disappointed with the fried fish.  Some of their other dishes look great and I may give them a try the next time I go to Intiraymi Restaurant.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ocie's Texas BBQ at The Crossing-Closed

Ocie's Texas BBQ at The Crossing
3245 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles

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

Nonno's Pizzeria

Nonno's Pizzeria
15870 Soquel Canyon Pkwy, Ste E,
Chino Hills

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. 

Greenblatt's Delicatessen & Fine Wine Shop

Greenblatt's Delicatessen & Fine Wine Shop
8017 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood

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.

Pastrami sandwich, $12.95.  The menu at Greenblatt's said their pastrami was rated best pastrami.  Now The New Diner readers know I'm not a fan of 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

Sal's Pizza

Sal's Pizza
6773 Carnelian St
Alta Loma

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 about 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. 

Medium Sal's Special pizza, $16.25, pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, green peppers, onions, mushrooms.  The crust was very good, nice and firm on the outside and chewy inside, and held up to the large amount of toppings on the pizza.  The sauce was mild and added to the pizza but did not overpower it.  The meat toppings were great, though I didn't taste much bacon-must have been bacon bits, but good quality.  The veggie toppings were fresh and plentiful! 

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

Polka Polish Restaurant
4112 Verdugo Rd
Los Angeles

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. 

Pierogi, $17.99, sauerkraut & stewed mushrooms and potatoes & cheese with carrots and corn.  The other times I've had pierogies were from the frozen section of the market.  So, I was really looking forward to getting real pierogies from Polka.  I was not disappointed!  Each pierogi was stuffed to the gills and huge. 

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.

Sauerkraut & stewed mushrooms- They say the Germans know how to make sauerkraut, well the Polish do a damn good job!  The sauerkraut was tangy, but not overpowering.  The mushrooms were cut into smaller pieces and well cooked.  I really liked both pierogi and would have a hard time choosing which one is my favorite.

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

Pacific Fish Grill
13865 City Center Dr
Chino Hills

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. 

 Crispy fish taco-fried pollock, cabbage, tomatoes, and crema.  From the flavorless grill fish taco, to the full of flavor crisphy fish taco.  The fish used is pollock and was perfectly fried, with a crispy outside that stood up to all the toppings, and a nice inside.

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
Chino Hills

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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tito's Market

Tito's Market
9814 Garvey Ave
El Monte

Tito's Market is a very popular Argentinian sandwich shop.  This place gets packed.  There is a small market, but most of the building is dedicated to food service.  You order at the counter, where the lines can be very long.  But, they move quickly.

Chicken Milanesa, $4.79,breaded chicken with mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.  I really liked this sandwich.  The chicken was full of flavor and tender.  The bread was lightly toasted and had a nice texture.  The veggies were fresh. 

Small Milanesa sandwich, $4.79.  As much as I liked the chicken milanesa, I didn't like the beef.  The beef was pretty bland and flavorless. 

Chicken empanada- $1.89.  A pretty good empanada.  There was a ton of well flavored chicken.  The outside was light and flakely.  But, one thing it didn't have much staying power.  I ordered two pieces and had one the next day.  The bag was soaked with oil from the empanada and was pretty soggy.  Best bet, eat it right away.

Beef empanada, $1.89. I didn't like the beef empanada as much.  They put olives in the mixture and the tangy, salty taste ruined it for me.  It just overwhelmed the beef. 

Service was good and the lines move quickly.  Don't be shy about asking if somebody is in line, because some people are standing there waiting for their food, but they look as though they are in line waiting to order.

I would go back for the chicken milanse sandwich and try some of their other sandwiches.  I think the prices for the sandwiches are a steal, and make this one of the best places to get a sandwich in the LA area.  I just won't get the milanese sandwich again.

Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant

Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant
5111 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles

So, Valentina Silva's blog, Eastside Food Bites, is a new found resource for restaurants I want to try, especially in areas like Highland Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park!  She reviewed three fish tacos restaurants; two of which I have already tried; Tacos Baja Ensenada and Ricky's Fish Taco, which is a stand, not a restaurant, but Via-Mar Seafood I haven't tried, yet. Valentina actually did another review of Via-Mar Seafood, for their other seafood items.

Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant is a small restaurant, with only outdoor seating.  It's on the very busy Figueroa St., and you maybe asked to buy candy or give spare change by some of the people walking along the street.

Every Monday is 2 for 1 shrimp tacos in a fried shell.  Tuesday, it's 2 for 1 shrimp tacos, regular price is $3.38.  Every Wednesday is 2 for 1 fried fish tacos, $2.25.  They have grilled taco, but I'm not interested in ordering that.

Shrimp taco, $3.38, deep fried shrimp with cabbage, tomatoes, crema and sauce.  Since I went on Tues., I got the 2 for 1 deal.  These shrimp tacos were huge!!  The batter is very light and crispy.  But, the shrimp was tough and chewy.  Leads me to believe the shrimp was either frozen or it wasn't very fresh.  There is too much cabbage for my tastes, but the tomatoes were fresh.  The sauce was kinda of just there, didn't add much flavor.

Fish taco, $2.47.  Deep fried basa fish with cabbage, tomatoes, crema and sauce.  The batter for the fish was the same as the shrimp.  But, the fish was much fresher and tastier.  This is a big portion of fish.  Again too much cabbage and the same bland sauce.   There is the perfect amount of crema.

The first time I went was for the Tuesday special, then went back on Thursday.  Both times the service was friendly and quick.

I liked the fish taco better than the shrimp tacos here.  But,  I wouldn't rush back here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

1739 Public House

1739 Public House
1739 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles

A couple doors south of Rocco's Italian Market and Deli, and on the same street as House of Pies Restaurant & Bakery, Fred's 62, and Palermo Ristorante Italiano, is 1739 Public House, a gastropub/sports bar.

A huge, three level bar, with a large number of beers on tap, 1739 Public House, is the place for the hipsters of Los Feliz to watch their favorite sports teams.

Grilled chicken wrap;  $8, avocado, yellow squash, tomatoes, in a flour tortilla. Served with a mixed green salad. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


1734 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles

After going to Monte 52, based on the review in the Eastsider LA, I read more reviews on Valentina Silva's blog, Eastside Food Bites and found her review of Meea's, a hot dog place in Eagle Rock.  It's across the street from the Blue Hen, a Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant, that I reviewed in 2006, and is still open.

So I went to Meea's, after having the hot dog at Schreiner's Fine Sausage, and being underwhelmed.  If you blink you'll miss Meea's when driving on Colorado Blvd.  Look for the Taco Bell and next door is Meea's.  A small area with only outdoor patio seating, Meea's has been open for about a year.

If you're looking for authentic hot dogs from other cities like Chicago or New York.  No Vienna beef  or Sabrett's hot dogs on the menu.  Meea's has their own all beef hot dog and that hot dog is in every hot dog on the menu.  They do have a veggie and turkey hot dog too.

Hot dog with yellow mustard and raw onions, $3.22. The hot dog was grilled, had good flavor, spices and juicy.  It was very good.  But, the bun overwhelmed the hot dog.  While the bun was nice and soft, with good texture,  it was just too big for the hot dog. 

Service was good.  The guy who too my order, who I believe is the owner, was nice and friendly.

If you're looking for an authentic Chicago hot dog, this isn't the place.  But, if you're looking for a good quality hot dog, you should give Meea's a try.  

Schreiner's Fine Sausages

Schreiner's Fine Sausages
3417 Ocean View Blvd

Schreiner's Fine Sausages is a long time Glendale institution.  They have a big deli case full of deli meats, hot dogs, sausages, and meats.  The other half the building is their dining area, where you can order sandwiches.  

Hot dog, $2.80, with mustard.  A hot dog on a French roll?  Come on.  The hot dog could have been very good, but it was served lukewarm, and the skin was tough and chewy.  If they had steamed the hot dog properly, this could have been a very good hot dog.  The hot dogs sell for about $6.29 a pound in the deli case.  The roll was too tough and just overwhelmed the hot dog.  They need to use a regular hot dog bun!

Corned beef sandwich on roll with mustard, $4.05.   I'm not expecting New York deli corned beef like I get from Canter's Deli, but this corned beef was like any corned beef you get from Boar's Head or a supermarket deli case.  When you order the sandwich they ask if you want the sandwich hot or cold.  I asked for hot, and I'm betting the meat was put in the microwave and heated for about 30 seconds. 

Service was good.  For some reason Schreiner's was packed when I went, but they moved the line quickly and your food is served quickly. 

I was disappointed in Schreiner's because I heard very good things about it.  The hot dog could have been good, if they cooked it properly.  But, the corned beef sandwich was no better than a supermarket sandwich.  I would go back and buy some hot dogs from the deli, so I can cook them myself.  But, I wouldn't go back for their sandwiches.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant

Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant
3103 W Magnolia Blvd

A few blocks west of Handy Market BBQ, is Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant.  I've must have passed this place a million times but never noticed it, because the front part of the building is blocked by a huge overgrown tree.

Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant a huge place with the front of the building an Italian grocery store and the back part the restaurant and deli.  The deli is cafeteria style where the food is on steam or cold tables and you order what you want.

When ordering a sandwich to for dine in, the prices are higher because they include two salads. 

 Small meatball sandwich, $4.75.  WOW, these meats may have been the biggest I've ever had.  The meatballs were huge, moist, and full of flavor!  The meat sauce was kinda of bland, lacking the bold flavors I expect.  The bread did become mushy and fell apart from the sauce.  Interesting that the bread for the sandwiches come with seasame, but the bread for large sandwiches do not.  Overall I did like the meatball sandwich a lot.  I may try their spaghetti and meatballs if I go back.

Large Monte Carlo Combination sandwich, $5.75, mortadela, cotto salami and dry salami, provolone cheese, mayo, mustard, and tomatoes and onions in olive oil.

One thing I won't try again is their Monte Carlo Combination sandwich.  The meats were cheap low quality meats.  I mean you're an Italian deli, at least use a good brand of meats.  The mortadela tasted like baloney and the salami wasn't that much better.  The tomato and onion mixture was fresh, but I'm not buying an Italian cold cut sandwich for the veggies.

Service was good.  The lady was friendly and helpful.

I may go back to Monte Carlo and try the spaghetti and meatballs, because the meatball were awesome!!  But, the bland meat sauce prevents me from rushing back.