Monday, March 21, 2016

Comida China / Tm Chinese Food -- 2001 S Garey Ave Pomona, CA 91766

My meal Cost: $8.36. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars (only 2 reviews).

I'm calling this place Comida China mostly because the logo is hard to make out and Comida China is what I could actually read as a name on the sign. Yelp has it listed as Tm Chinese Food and I guess that could be its real name. I'll leave it up to you as to what to call it.

This Chinese fast food site is located just inside the wide open southern facing doors of the Rio Rancho Mall. I believe that this "mall" used to be referred to as a swap meet and then a discount mall. Inside the mall are booths selling cell phones, school supplies, 14 carat gold jewelry, and other items usually found at a swap meet (including the one at Indian Hill and Holt), so you can also call this place what you'd like. There are three 4-top tables between the doors and the steam tray counter for dining in.

When I walked up to the counter with the ubiquitous steam trays, the very friendly young woman behind the counter presented me with a toothpick stabbed sample of their Black Pepper Chicken. This seems to be a specialty for them. They have the usual combo plates, as well as soups and some other simple Chinese items. I'm used to the Panda Express and other Chinese fast food places having the combos with rice and/or chow mien, and then one or two entrees. This menu starts with a combo with 6 entrees, then 4, then 2 and 1. I ordered the combo with 2 entrees and had both the fried rice and chow mien and a large Diet Coke.

First the rice: pretty much flavorless. I'm not a person who likes just plain steamed rice because I find it to be tasteless and bland, and I expect fried rice to have some flavor. Honestly, this version was completely flavorless, despite visible pieces of veggies and chicken. Now the chow mien, had even less flavor, plus was chewy. Even the addition of some soy sauce didn't help it much. Plus the noodles were almost as thick as the chopsticks.

My two entrees were broccoli beef and the Black Pepper Chicken. I chose the broccoli beef because, while I love prime rib, tri-tip roasts, and a nice juicy pork chop, I also like to get some vegetables in at every meal. Most of these types of places have a veggie dish (often called something like vegetable chop suey), but this was the closest they appeared to have. The broccoli beef was good with a good amount of broccoli and beef. It was tasty, not overly spiced, but a good take on this classic dish.

The best part of the meal was definitely the Black Pepper Chicken. It also had some celery and other vegetables in a nice broth that was peppery and spicy. One of the other "veggies" in this dish was large slices of jalapeno. I'm guessing that this was to play to the tastes of their predominant clientele (this place is also next to Cardenas Market). And they seemed to be correct as a Hispanic couple at the next table raved about that dish.

For those who are concerned about such things, while the restaurant did have an A from the health department, I had a small cockroach crawling around on the floor under the tables (no on the tables, probably just in search of spilled food). This may have been an anomaly, but don't say I didn't warn you. This may be an issue with the double doors being held wide open to the parking lot. Most restaurants have closed doors and even those air blowers to keep out flies and other critters.

All-in-all not a horrible experience but after 2 Chinese fast food places in 2 weeks, I'll be ready for a change.

UP NEXT: Cardenas Market Food Service

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