Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pho Noodle & Grill--2266 S Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91766

My meal Cost: under $10 with tip. Health Rating A. 4.5 stars on Yelp

Since Pho Noodle & Grill was next on my list, I would normally go there next Monday. But noting that they are closed on Mondays, and since I had some time today, I decided to push it up. So do I wait and post it on Monday to keep an order to things, then skip next week? I decided that skipping a week this early on might not be a good idea so I present this "off-schedule" posting here.

First I have to confess that I have a problem with Pho restaurants. I've been to several different ones and there is an odor that permeates the space which I don't particularly like. It appears that because Pho is soup and steamy bowls of hot soup give off odors, there's something in Pho that just doesn't smell right to me. In looking at a Pho recipe, I think that it might be either the cilantro (which I have no problem with raw) or the fish sauce. Either way, it's kind of hard for me to get over.

However, this place didn't smell so bad on entering so I took a table and perused the menu. The menu not only includes Pho (pronounced Fuh), but also noodle dishes like chow mein, rice dishes like fried rice, and vermicelli dishes, egg noodle soups, rice noodle soups, vegetarian dishes like spring rolls and veggie chow mein, Banh Mi sandwiches, and appetizers such as spring rolls or egg roles as well as bean curd skin with shrimp paste.

The waiter, who was very pleasant and informative, suggested the #1 House Special Beef Combo Pho. That's outside my comfort zone as I was looking longingly at the fried rice.

He came out with a small plate of mung bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos, a large sprig of basil, and a lime wedge. Upon my asking, he explained that these were to be added to the soup as I might like. The Pho came in a large bowl (certainly large enough to feed 2) and was a soup with slices of fairly fatty beef, transparent rice noodles, scallions, and the aforementioned cilantro (cooked in). The odor was exactly that odor that I have a problem with, but the flavors were very good. After taking a taste of it unadulterated, I added a few of the basil leaves (torn up), the bean sprouts, jalapeno, and a squeeze of the lime wedge.

I have to admit that when I first looked at the accompaniments, I thought that the jalapeno was small pieces of green bell pepper. Upon gathering some up with a spoon full of soup and chewing down, I suddenly, realized my error. It really cleared out my sinuses, which was something they needed today.

The flavors were actually very good. The fattiness of the beef slices had a lot of good flavor. After trying to use a fork and Asian soup spoon to eat this, I realized that I'd have a lot better luck with chop sticks. They allow you to stir the soup and loosen the tangled mass of noodles.

I just had water with my meal, but they do have Thai Tea, Milk Tea, French style coffee (iced or hot), soft drinks, and an impressive list of Boba smoothies.

All in all, a very pleasant experience.

UP NEXT: Mi Jalisco

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tacos Mexico --2298 S Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91766

My meal Cost: under $8 with tip. Health Rating B. 3 stars on Yelp

Tacos Mexico is my week 2 location. Located just north of last week's location, Tacos Mexico is in a small strip mall at the corner of Garey and Olive. This center has three other food places, so I'll be there for at least the next three weeks. I've eaten at another location of this restaurant on Holt just across from the Village Academy complex. They also have locations in North Hollywood, Hacienda Heights, Victorville, Los Angeles, Reseda, and Rialto.

Carne Asade Sope, Cabeza and Carnitas tacos.

I, once again, decided to go outside my comfort zone and started by ordering a Lengua (beef tongue) taco but was informed that they were out of Lengua--so much for that attempt. So I settled on Cabeza (from my limited Spanglish I know that cabeza means head but the translation on their menu board said it was beef cheeks). Then I decided to try a sope. I had never tried one before as I originally got the word confused with sopa which, I believe is soup. My research showed me that a sope is a flat fried disk made of masa with a filling on top. Since I like tamales, and especially the masa, I was way overdue to try one so I got the carne asada version (beef steak).

They don't have diet drinks in their fountain, and since I am a mild diabetic, I ordered a can of diet coke to go along with my meal.

The tacos, $1.29 each--Wednesdays only $.75) were both made with 2 small corn tortillas and had a green sauce and lettuce and onions. The cabeza was small chucks of beef cheek meat, very moist but with, what I considered a mild flavor. The carnitas (described as fried pork) was pulled rather than chunks and was a little dry. Adding some of the marinated veggies from the salsa bar (carrot, onion, jalapenos) gave it a little added moisture and made it a much better taco.

The sope was very good. It was topped with chucks of beef (a little over-cooked for my taste, but very tasty), lettuce, onion, and topped with crema. The masa base was fried and crispy/hard on the bottom and top, but soft in the middle. A very good first experience, I think I'll have sopes again fairly soon.

The dining room is sparse with a number of fast-food joint tables with attached seats. There is a television above a cooler that was playing a telenovela while I was there. I got there about 12:30 and spent about 20 minutes eating. During that entire period, not one other person came in. I didn't even see anyone go through the drive-thru. Hopefully this is not indicative of their normal business but a slow Monday lunch. I know I've seen cars in the drive-thru when I've gone by in the evenings.

NEXT UP: Pho Noodle & Grill.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In-N-Out -- 2505 S. Garey Ave.

Health Rating A. 4 stars on Yelp

First stop on this culinary(?) tour of Garey Avenue is In-N-Out Burger at 2505 S. Garey Ave. at the 60 Freeway.

While this site is a little further afield for me than the one on Indian Hill, it offers long drive-thru lanes so you don't feel like you're taking your life into your hands by sitting in the busy south-bound traffic lanes of Indian Hill. A little more modern, this one was opened in Aug 1984 and I believe the one on Indian Hill was 1974, it's still a drive-thru only with a few outdoor tables in a concrete area just between the dual drive-thru lanes.

Since I wanted to take photos and didn't want to eat in the car, I parked myself at one of the outdoor tables with a view of the restaurant, the 60 and 71 freeways, as well as the traffic on Garey.

Because this blog is about going outside my comfort zone, I decided to try a couple of things I hadn't tried before from the "secret menu." My usual burger is a double-double with onion. That is with a nice thick slice of raw onion. This time I decided to try the grilled onions on my burger. While the chopped onions were beautifully caramelized and sweet, I personally prefer the crunch and bite of the raw onion. Then for my fries I went with the "animal" style fries. The fries were loaded with the same caramelized onions and a big dollop of "secret sauce." My first bite seemed a little too sweet, but as I ate them the flavor seemed to mellow out a bit and the result was good if messy (thankfully they do supply a plastic fork).

NEXT UP: Tacos Mexico

Eating Garey Avenue

This blog will be my personal experiences eating lunches along Garey Avenue in Pomona.

I regularly travel Garey and have always noted the wide variety of eating establishments along the street (Fast food, Mexican, Papusas, Pizza, Asian, sandwiches, etc.). Many of them I have dined in before, but many I have never visited. Since I have some time I decided that I'm going to visit at least one spot along Garey each week and write about it. The plan is to start at the very south end of Garey and travel north, hitting each place in order. I will start with In-n-Out near the 60 Freeway and end with Happy Wok at Foothill.

All restaurants will have a Garey Avenue address. So I won't be visiting places "on the corner of." This means that I'll miss, one of my favorites, O'Donovan's in the Mayfair Hotel because the address is on Third Street. Likewise the Starbucks, Flame Broiler, and Sub place in Mission Promenade center have Mission Street addresses (although I may reconsider if I ever get that far north).

UPDATE: OK, so since I originally wrote this, I've changed my mind and am eating at the places "on the corner of." That will make my ending spot the Jack-in-the Box at Foothill (or possibly Casteneda's on the opposite corner).

I'm aware that there are at least a couple of fast food places that have multiple locations on Garey, i.e. Jack in the Box has at least 2. In those cases I'll still include the individual locations and hopefully talk about service, ambiance, etc.

So join me on this interesting adventure in eating (I won't go so far as to say dining).