Monday, April 25, 2016

CHANGED OWNERSHIP, Now VIc's Tacos | Taqueria De Anda--1690 S Garey Ave Pomona, CA 91766

De Anda has gone out and been replaced by Vic's Tacos. See updated post HERE.

My Meal Cost: $5.57. Health Rating A. Yelp 3.5 stars

I became aware of De Anda Taqueria when I went to a Pomona Library event in 2014 to hear "Ask A Mexican" columnist from the OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano talk about his book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Because he was an OC guy, he had nothing but good things to say about what he has called "The Carls Jr of Mexican food." The small chain's only IE location is this Pomona venue, with its other locations being in Anaheim, Placentia, and three in Santa Ana.

And this one does remind one of Carl's Jr. with nice clean seating, a counter for ordering and paying, although they don't have serve-yourself beverages and I didn't see a salsa bar. Business for a Monday lunch was lively both inside and at the drive-thru.

I decided that I should compare the tacos with the others that I've written about in this space so I ordered two tacos, a Buche (beef head) and a Lengua (tongue), along with a side of beans and rice (both came side-by-side in a single Styrofoam cup). I did ask for some cheese for my side and took advantage of the self-serve radishes and onions (they also asked me if I'd like some grilled onions). In addition to tacos they have burritos, quesadillas, and a selection of agua frescas. Any item can be made from asada (steak), tripe, chicken, carnitas, or al pastor, in addition to the buche and lengua.

The tacos were traditional street tacos, meat and condiments on two small corn tortillas. No crunchy tacos here. The rice and beans were very flavorful although I would have liked a little salsa or at least a splash of Tapatio or other hot sauce, especially for the rice (but that's just me).

All-in-all a good taco experience that I wouldn't mind trying again some time.

UP NEXT: Hong Kong Express

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Samos -- 1701 S Garey Ave Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $8.90. Health Rating A. Yelp 3.5 stars

After expensive pizza and ho hum franchise chain burger I was looking forward to a locally owned/operated place with good honest food. When I started this blog several folks recommended Samos, especially for their pastrami and onion rings. I was also warned that this was the spot where a man was recently (now a couple of months ago) shot in the parking lot. The parking lot is probably the scariest part of this place, it's run down, dirty and a bit secluded.

I arrived just prior to noon and the place was completely empty. The workers appeared to be doing their opening cleanup. But then by 12:15 no one had shown up except me. Around that time two young boys (I'd guess middle school age--isn't Monday a school day? Hmmmm). Then just before I left a father and daughter came in. And then someone came through the drive-thru. They have a VERY loud speaker system--no wimpy headsets here--which blast through the small dining room. Well, at least there are no TVs on the wall to be interrupted.

I decided to go with the recommendations and ordered the pastrami special ($7.99), which usually includes a pastrami sandwich, fries and a 16 oz. drink (served from behind the counter, no self-serve). Because I was told that I HAD to have the onion rings, I asked that they be substituted for the fries and was informed that it would involve an extra charge (seems to have been about 50 cents). The meal was brought to my table and included a large pastrami sandwich on a soft roll and about 2.5 inches of meat, my drink (diet coke), the onion rings, and about 8 large battered and fried zucchini spears, along with some ketchup and a fairly large carton of a mayonnaise which I assume was for dipping. Since I like little yellow peppers on my pastrami, I asked for some and they were very nice in bringing me some.

Unfortunately, the food, while flavorful, was a bit disappointing. The zucchini, a delightful surprise, was quiet good. The onion rings were obviously hand cut and battered, not formed and frozen, but it seems as if the cooking oil may have been too hot. The rings came out dark brown, not particularly oily which would have indicated overcooking, and the flavor was just slightly off. In fairness I did eat all of them.

The pastrami was plentiful and flavorful, if a bit fatty. However, the meat had a decent bit of sinew in it. Taking a bite, a string came out which on inspection looked like a piece of rubberband which might have fallen into the meat container and ended up in my sandwich. However, a few bites latter I got another one and on further inspection realized that it was a vein or vessel (so natural meat, nothing to fear). In looking through the meat I noted that there was actually a lot of this material which was mostly cut into very small pieces that you wouldn't really notice. I don't recall ever having something like this at The Hat or Bravo Burger. Again, the sandwich was flavorful. 

The interior has a counter for ordering with a lot of hand-drawn signage about specials, along with the ubiquitous menu board. They also have a wide array of burgers, Mexican dishes, and drinks other than the usual fountain sodas. The dining area has booths which can seat 4 and is nice and clean. No TVs or other distractions.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Burger King -- 1908 South Garey Ave Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $6.20. Health Rating A. Yelp 2 stars

This Burger King is across the street from Garey High School. Because of that I was concerned about showing up at lunch time, but either Garey is a closed campus, or the students don't like this place. Based on its 2 yelp star rating it could be either. The place is fairly clean with a video arcade at the west end of the building.

The workers seemed OK but I thought I ordered a medium combo, appeared to have gotten a medium drink but then I only got small fries and my ticket said small fries and drink. I think they could use some more training.

It's been some time since I stopped at a BK and I wanted to try something other than a whopper, so I opted for the Xtra Long Philly Cheese Burger combo. It's described on the BK site as "features two flame-grilled beef patties, American cheese, fried onions, and a "creamy cheesy sauce" on a toasted hoagie-style bun." Not sure how that makes it "Philly" but OK, not unlike the "animal style" from In-N-Out, without the flavor. I guess grilled onions and a "hoagy style" bun are Philly things, but I kind of thought it might have some peppers as well. Oh well.

Having read the yelp reviews, I had to agree that the food that I got was not hot. The cheese was soft but not melting. Not sure how they can accomplish that when I'm one of only three people there at lunchtime.

The soft drink options were the normal so as a diabetic my only option was diet coke. They had Dr. Pepper, but not the diet version. Can I start a class action lawsuit to get places like this to give me options and use ADA as a reason? Only kidding. The fries were OK but nothing to write home about. Glad I didn't get any larger size.

UP NEXT: Samo's

Monday, April 4, 2016

Papa Johns Pizza -- 101 E Foothill Blvd Ste 35 Pomona, CA 91767

My Meal Cost: $22.01. Health Rating A. Yelp 1.5 stars

I approached this week's offering with a lot of trepidation. In preparing for this entry, I had looked it up on Yelp to get its rating and was horrified to see an overall rating (from 32 reviews--the most so far) of 1-1/2 stars. 21 of them were 1 star (how many would be 0 stars if that was offered?).

I was at least happy to see that they had a narrow counter with 3 seats so I could at least "dine in," if that's what you want to call it. They are also thus far the most expensive meal I've had thus far only slightly less than when both the Lovely Mrs. C and I both ate at Cardenas last week.

In order to be able to compare "apples with apples" I ordered a small (10") mushroom and sausage pizza with extra cheese and 8 mild chipotle chicken wings and a 20 oz. bottled diet Pepsi. I ordered blue cheese sauce for dipping my wings and also asked for chili flakes and Parmesan packets, all of which I got, along with a peppercini.

Despite the negative Yelp reviews, the server at the counter was friendly and helpful. She said that my order would be ready in about 15 minutes and about 15 minutes later she delivered my lunch to me at the counter. Also surprisingly, the pizza was decent, it wasn't doughy, there was good sausage and they included "garlic dipping sauce" which tasted more like butter than garlicky. I even think the Lovely Mrs. C would have been able to handle it. It made a nice dip for the crusts, making them more of a bread and butter type thing than just "dry pizza crust."

The wings were good. The chipotle glaze on the wings were a little sweet/smokey with only a touch of heat (probably still too much for the Lovely Mrs. C, but mild by my taste). AND they had an even number of wingettes and drumettes (4 and 4). I would rate this above Pizza Hut not not quite as good as Pirate Pizza (I'm only comparing those in this blog--VERY far from the best pizzas I've ever had).

One more chain restaurant next week and then I get a break for about 5 or so weeks before I get down to another chain pizza place. Looking forward to the coming weeks.

UP NEXT: Burger King