Monday, June 27, 2016

Subs Cafe -- 101 W Mission Blvd Ste 107 Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $20.01 (for 2). Health Rating A. Yelp 3.5 stars

This week we stopped at Subs Cafe. This originally opened as a Quizno's but is now an independent "mom & pop" operation. The interior has a number of tables with faux wicker seats, which unfortunately, sag in the middle so your legs are being somewhat cut off by the frame of the chair and you're sitting a little lower than you might expect as you start to sit down. Not the most comfortable, but serviceable. They also have a few metal tables and chairs outside in the area between them and Starbucks.

We visited between 11:45 am and 12:30 pm. The place was fairly busy with a good lunch crowd, about half dining in and half taking their orders To-Go. The two-person crew was a bit slow, but given the number of sandwiches they were cranking out, did an adequate job of it.

It still has all the Quizno's fixtures (conveyor belt "toaster") and layout (which I find difficult as you're ordering on one side of the toaster and then moving past it to the other side to pay making it sometimes difficult to follow what you're doing, unlike Subway where the toasting machines are behind so you can keep an eye on things. It appears that this location was bought out by an Asian owner so they've added Boba drinks to their menu. The Boba drinks looked interesting and we wish we had seen them before we ordered, but missed them because they're not on the regular menu but are on a sign near the cash register. One that looked very interesting was honeydew green tea boba. At the back area (where I would prefer they had the toaster) they've added lotto scratchers and a lotto machine.

After perusing the menu, the Lovely Mrs. C decided on a small chicken, bacon, and cheese sandwich (with lettuce and tomato), Fritos, and a coke. I decided to try the Pastrami, bacon, and cheese, with Miss Vicki's Jalapeno potato chips and a large diet coke. They only allow one refill and since I tend to drink a lot of soda, I opted for the large size. 

Mrs. C, unfortunately for this place, still had the memory of a chicken sandwich that she had at Industriel in downtown LA in her mind and any chicken sandwich would suffer in comparison. This one certainly did. She reported that the amount of chicken and bacon was very generous, but that it was a bit dry (she said if she were to go back she would ask for mayo, or extra cheese).

My pastrami was also a decent amount but not as generous as Samos, Bravo Burger, or the Hat. The quality of the pastrami was better than Samos but not quite as good as either Bravo Burger or the Hat (and I won't even try to compare to Langers in LA). I had them put on mustard and pickles (the classic). When I first bit into my sandwich I couldn't taste the cheese. I started to deconstruct it and found that there was no cheese. I took it back and, asked if they could see any cheese on my Pastrami, Bacon and Cheese? They remade the sandwich and delivered it to our table with cheese. Having said that, the cheese is put on the bread and melts into it, barely looking like a smear on the bread. I think if I ever go back I'll pay a dollar for extra cheese. Similar to Mrs. C's complaint, my pastrami was a bit on the dry side. I like more of a dipped pastrami (which is pretty much what I got at Samos). I suspect that the toasting oven dries out the meat. The amount of mustard was a slight swipe across the top of the bread so it didn't help to moisten the sandwich either.

A reasonable alternative to either Quizno's or Subway if you're in the downtown Pomona area.

UP NEXT: Flame Broiler

Monday, June 20, 2016

Starbucks -- 101 W Mission Blvd Ste 106 Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $11.90. Health Rating A. Yelp 3.5 stars

Here's where this concept blog gets a little weird. What is a restaurant? What is a restaurant on Garey Ave.? Well, I've self-defined these as restaurants where the building has at least one face on Garey and serves food. I guess Starbucks qualifies, even though the address is Mission Blvd. Both of its doors face onto Garey Avenue and I think most Pomonans consider it on Garey, so here we are. As a result I'll also be including Subs Cafe, which likewise has an entry on Garey, and Flame Broiler, which while it doesn't actually have an entry on Garey (the entry faces the parking lot on the other side of the building, not facing ANY street) the building itself sits facing Garey. And I'll be going to O'Donovan's as well because while the address is on Third St., the larger side of the restaurant faces onto Garey. Enough of that.

So I decided to have lunch at Starbucks on one of the hottest days on record. When I arrived around 11:45, the outside temp was around 104 and by the time I left around 12:30 it was hovering around 107. Starbucks doesn't have a kitchen, so the lunch items (as with the breakfast items) are prepackaged. You can choose from a selection of wraps, sandwiches, and fruit cups from a refrigerated case.

I chose the Southwest Style Steak Wrap, which is "slices of fajita steak tossed in a chimichurri sauce with fire roasted corn, peppers, lettuce, jicama, and a black bean hummus spread in sweet potato tortilla, paired with a creamy chipotle sauce and blue corn chips." Quoted from the label.

I admit I've been to Starbucks a time or two (like often), but I usually don't order anything but a Venti Latte with 4 shots, whole milk, and 2 Splenda. This is my "go to" drink when visiting in the morning or at a drive-thru (like the one in the neighborhood). However, because of the searing heat, and because this was for the blog, I ordered what the lovely Mrs. C calls a "houkalukamooka" drink. The one I chose was a smores frappachino. Basically a fancy milk shake with some espresso in it.

The wrap was actually quite good. The flavors complemented each other and it was quite filling, especially on a hot day when you don't want something heavy. The houkalukamooka really hit the spot (although I'm going to have to be sure to do some exercise to counteract the effects I'm sure it will have on my blood sugar). While I was skeptical, it really hit the spot. While I don't think of packaged food as real restaurant food, if you're in a hurry and just need something quick, this might be a good option.

This location has good outdoor seating as well as a decent amount of indoor seating with readily accessible power outlets and free wifi for those who wish to "set up office" here with computers and tablets very much in evidence. Since, when I eat alone, I like to read an eBook (today was a Lord Peter Whimsey mystery novel), the wifi access was a welcome addition. As seen in the photo above, the decoration is fun and the space is very bright and airy. On this particular Monday at lunch time there was a good mix of students and others working on laptops, and a lot of take out business. With the heat, all the inside seats were taken, with no one venturing to the outside tables, but on other occasions I've observed the exact opposite.

UP NEXT: Subs Cafe

Monday, June 13, 2016

La Fuente -- 987 S Garey Ave Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $27.50 +tip (for 2). Health Rating B. Yelp 4.5 stars

Wow, two weeks in a row where I got to eat at an actual sit-down, waitress service restaurant with metal flatware and real dishes. After all those weeks of fast food it was a nice change.

This week is La Fuente Mexican & Seafood restaurant. Having looked at it on yelp I was prepared for a good experience since last week at Mexico Lindo was so good and this one had 4.5 stars as compared with Lindo's 4 stars. Then on arrival I noticed the dreaded B rating in the window. Hmmm. But I've had some really good meals in B rated places and wasn't to be deterred.

I had noted that on yelp some reviewers commented that it was a good place to come after a concert at the Fox as it's open 24 hours.

Due to her recent retirement (although she also would have been on summer break during this period anyway) I was able to bring the Lovely Mrs. C along with me. While she is a self-described "gringa," I was fairly confident that she would find something that she would be comfortable with and I was correct.

Upon entering you notice that the interior is dark and seems a bit dated. This place could certainly use some brightening up. It has that "old style" Mexican restaurant feel inside with a large fountain near the center of the room which is being used as a planter, under some dated ceiling lighting and with murals on the northern wall. A TV (which I had my back to, but which Mrs. C had a good view of) showed old black and white Spanish language films. Mrs. C gave me blow by blow descriptions of the typical '30s romance plotline of a singer who is down on his luck, who falls for a waitress who becomes ill and their ensuring romance, with a lot of singing. All without the aid of understanding any of the dialogue.

The service was not real attentive. However, it was friendly and the waitress when she was at the table was helpful. The menu was extensive and had breakfast dishes, traditional Mexican dishes, seafood, and a number of steaks and more "dinner" type items, including a selection of appetizers. In addition, they offer beer and mixed drinks (Margaritas), sodas, and aqua frescas.

Since we were there for lunch, Mrs. C opted for a Coke and I opted for Iced Tea. The beverages were brought to the table quickly along with a basked of chips and a small molcajete of salsa. The salsa was fresh and had a bit of heat, but not so much as to deter Mrs. C, so I take that as a sign.

Having arrived at about 12:30, there was only one other diner in the place, but while we perused our menus a party of 3 young women arrived, who appeared to be regulars as there was some lively banter with the waitress (all in Spanish) and they seemed to be having fun.

For our lunch, Mrs. C ordered pollo (chicken) enchiladas. In order to be able to compare with Mexico Lindo, I ordered the fajitas mixto. Mrs. C reports that her enchiladas were quite good although a little spicy for her palate. Mine arrived on two separate dishes. On one was beans, rice, and a small undressed salad of lettuce and chopped tomato. The second was a sizzling skillet with the fajitas (corn tortillas came a little later--after I took the photo below).

The rice was some of the best Mexican restaurant rice that I've had. It had an almost creamy texture and flavor which did not require the addition of anything. It also had peas, carrots, corn, and lima beans mixed in (something like fast food Chinese fried rice). The beans were also some of the best. Like most refried beans at places like this, it came with a little cheese on the top, but also had some (I believe) chorizo mixed in which gave it a little different texture and flavor. EXCELLENT.

As for the fajitas. They also were a little different than my meal last week. About the same portion size, it included, in addition to the shrimp, carne asada beef, and chicken, sweet green and red peppers, onion, fried tomato, and broccoli. I didn't find the shrimp here to be as flavorful as at Mexcio Lindo and it was a little tough, but the beef and chicken were very well cooked and spiced. I did miss the crema which would have added to the flavor as I filled a tortilla with the various incredients. 

All-in-all a very good dining experience and I can imagine that it would be an exception place to have a late-night, early-morning meal when all the other restaurants in town have rolled up the sidewalks. I expect we'll be back although probably not at 2:00 am.


I've finally gotten to the point in this journey where I have to make a decision about just what is a "Garey Avenue" restaurant. Originally I thought it would be only restaurants that had a Garey Avenue address. However, as I move north on Garey, the next group of restaurants that appear to face Garey have an address on Mission Boulevard. The Mission Promenade center has a single Mission Boulevard address so the Starbucks, Subs Cafe, and Flame Broiler, which face onto Garey are included in that. Also, while Starbucks and Subs Cafe have entrances that face onto Garey, Flame Broiler, while it appears to face Garey, only has an entry from the parking area accessible from Garey or 4th streets. What's a body to do.

I've decided that I'll go to each one and include them here. I've also been perplexed about what to do about O'Donovans in the Mayfair hotel. Its entry is clearly on 3rd Street, but most of its dining room wraps to Garey, so I've decided that I will include it also. Now I don't have to worry until I get to Foothill where I may be faced with some of the same issues. But that will probably be in early 2017.

UP NEXT: Starbucks

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mexico Lindo -- 1060 S Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91766


First, I wish to apologize for missing last week. Monday, when I usually would have lunch at the next sport, I was involved in the setup and presentation of the Historical Society of Pomona Valley's Memorial Day Program at Garfield Park. As if that weren't enough, this past Saturday we had a retirement party for the Lovely Mrs. C which required a lot of work and a full schedule for the week. So again, my apologies, and I'm back on track, although the delay here (and a trip to the east coast I'll be making in July) will probably carry this effort into 2017

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Another thing that has happened in the past week also requires a response here. As part of the Measure Y campaign for billboards in the city, the Hews Media Group, publishers of the Los Cerritos News, have been sending Pomona voters a "Pomona Community News" newspaper which is mostly advertising. In the third of these, my last blog post on Taqueria Santa Cruz was printed without permission and without attribution. A clear case of plagiarism and theft of intellectual property. While I'm not sure how good my argument would be that it's "intellectual," it is a product of my personal experiences and this blatant theft should be noted. Special thanks to friend and neighbor Megan Gearhart who, though a post on NextDoor, informed me of the inclusion of my blog post in their advertorial. Hews Media Group should be ashamed of themselves. These blog posts also appear on the Pomona Proud news web site with my full permission and with full attribution that it is me who created them.

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My Meal Cost: $20.55 +tip. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars

What a wonderful experience it was to visit Mexico Lindo. After weeks of fast food, pizza, not great Pupusas, and only moderately good Mexican food, a restaurant that made me feel good on entering and served up a delicious meal at a reasonable price (not cheap, but reasonable for what I got).

I arrived at about 12:15 and the very small parking lot was full so I parked a few houses down on  the side street. The restaurant had a good lunch crowd and stayed busy the whole time I was there. As I entered two tables of Pomona's Finest were just leaving. All a good sign. A waiter or busboy came to me immediately after I was seated to get my drink order. I got ice tea and it was delivered quickly, along with salsa and chips, and as soon as it arrived my waitress showed up to take my order. The salsa was interesting in that along with acid from tomatoes, spice from jalapenos, it also had a cooling element provided by cucumber. Went really well with the chips.

The atmosphere was pleasant with Spanish language music in the background and a television showing Futbol (soccer) with the sound turned down. The music wasn't so loud that it would discourage conversation, but was a pleasant background.

Noting that this was not only a Mexican restaurant but a seafood restaurant, I decided I would go outside my comfort zone and look at the seafood options. They have ceviches, cocktails, and several different seafood platters, as well as the usual Mexican burritos, tacos, etc. I was contemplating the shrimp, scallops and squid platter when the waitress came to take my order. But the waitress seemed friendly so I asked her to recommend something. She started to steer me toward the lunch specials, but I emphasized that I wanted something SHE thought was really good. She suggested to Tres Fajitas, which was steak, chicken, and shrimp with the requisite onions and green peppers and included soup of salad, rice, and beans along with guacamole and sour cream.

I opted for the albondigas soup which was a meatball soup with chunks of vegetables and a well seasoned meatball. The small cup was just the right amount, with the chips and salsa, to whet my appetite for what was to come.

The fajitas came sizzling in a pan and the odor immediately set the mouth to watering. The rice was about as good a Mexican rice as I've had and the beans were also excellent. I actually at half of each before I even thought to add a little of the salsa and a slight squeeze of lime to add some additional flavor.

The fajitas also came with my choice of tortilla. I chose corn so I could make tacos from the fajitas. Each taco I built had a few shrimp, a couple of slices of steak, and some chucks of chicken (along with the peppers and onion), which I then topped with the sour cream and guacamole. The first bit was wonderful with the crisp flavor of the grilled shrimp being accented by the soft texture of the pieces of chicken and the woodsy flavor of the steak. The sour cream and guacamole added that bit of extra and created the "runs down your arm" juiciness that means good eating.

After chips, soup, rice, and beans, there was a bit too much fajita for me so I ended up not finishing my plate. I asked the waitress if the next time I came in, if I bring the lovely Mrs. C, if I could split the fajitas and still get the sides. She was very friendly and assured me that they could accommodate that request, so I anticipate that we will probably stop by for dinner sometime soon, and probably also try the margaritas.

Mexico Lindo is the same people who have Tropical Mexico out on East End St., where we've enjoyed meals in the past. I think I actually liked Mexico Lindo better as it was a little cozier and the food was a little better.

UP NEXT: La Fuente Family Restaurant