My Meal Cost: $133.65 for 4 plus trip. Health Rating A. Yelp 3 stars
|Photo from Yelp|
Pomona Valley Mining Company sits on top of a hill north of the 10 Freeway at Dudley. It has a large electronic billboard out front which is very visible from the freeway. After driving up a very steep road you come into the large parking lot. This particular weekday evening it was about half full of cars which means that they must be doing some pretty decent business.
The building itself is a theme type building of an old mining operations. Think something you might see at Knotts Berry Farm ghost town. It has lots of rustic mining paraphernalia and and an entrance that resembles the opening of a mine shaft, meaning you walk down some steep stairs to get to the dining room.
I've been coming here since the early 70s so none of this was new to me. This is a favorite banquet spot in town and I believe that the last couple of times I've been here have been in the banquet rooms (upstairs or parking lot level) where we didn't order off the menu. They also have a full bar which back in the 80s when the Lovely Mrs. C and I were dating was an occasional stop to listen to live bands and have an evening drink.
The dining room itself has floor to ceiling windows on the south side overlooking the south Pomona Valley across to Elephant Hill and toward the east to the downtown skyline. Oh, and you can watch the cars and trucks whisking briskly past on the freeway. It is a pleasant ambiance for a date night (or to dine with food bloggers -- really?).
The Lovely Mrs. C was also invited to join the group so it was Scoop, Johnny Diner, me, and Mrs. C. The waitress was very quick to come by and inquire about drink orders. For some reason the "guys" in the group all only ordered water (I must have been all wine'd out from those previous dinners), while The Lovely Mrs. C had lemonade (this was a really lively crowd).
Once we had given our orders, we were given a basket of cheese bread (very good) and directed to the full Salad Bar, a feature that is not found in too many places any more. They had a good selection of lettuces, seafood salad, fresh veggies, and toppings such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, bacon crumbles, and a good number of dressings as well, more than enough to satisfy your inner herbivore. They also had three soups as part of the salad bar, while Scoop, Mrs. C and I only had salad, Johnny Diner also added a small bowl of clam chowder.
The Lovely Mrs. C ordered her favorite rib-eye steak with steamed veggies. Scoop had the most expensive dish of the three of us ($34) with a filet mignon steak with mushrooms and butter and mashed potatoes. Johnny Diner (who if you read his blog you'd know is a Pescatarian, which means that he doesn't eat meat but does eat seafood) and I both ordered the Shrimp and Scallops Scampi, he had it with rice pilaf and I, being the spud lover that I am, had the mashed potatoes.
The Lovely Mrs. C liked her steak but found that it didn't rise to the level of the previous week's steak in Pasadena. She felt that, while it was the proper doneness (medium rare), it didn't appear to have been grilled at high enough heat so there wasn't the crustiness to the outside.
I didn't hear any complaints from Scoop who is fairly quiet so I'm not sure how he felt about his meal, although I'm sure we'll learn when he writes about it on his blog. However both Johnny Diner and I were puzzled by our Scampi. My experience with Scampi is that it's usually served in a butter sauce with lemon and garlic. This was served in a bechamel sauce (flour, butter, and milk or cream) which was underspiced. No lemon, no garlic. A lemon wedge accompanied this and helped a little, but the bechamel was very floury and detracted from the grilled, fairly large, shrimp and scallops. The scallops themselves were the large ones which I personally find to be less flavorful than the smaller scallops, these seemed to lack flavor but it may have been a result of swimming in the bechamel sauce. The potatoes were adequate.
All in all a very pleasant dinner, with good company and decent if not overly exciting food. I'm sure I'll be back. Although I don't think, from a food perspective, that we went wrong going to Pasadena for our special occasion dinners.
As we were leaving Pomona Valley Mining Company, we spotted a coyote running across the parking lot.We followed it part way down the steep hill from the parking lot before it disappeared in the brush. It certainly added that bit of ambiance that an old mining camp might have had, but wasn't quite the wild life we had found at the Pomona Valley Mining Company in years past.