Friday, July 28, 2017

Food Truck Thursdays -- Richeeze -- Fairplex, Gate 1

My Meal Cost: $16.40. Health score 92.0. Yelp 3.5 stars

Continuing my adventures while the Lovely Mrs. C is off with her family, I decided to take advantage of a fending for myself situation by partaking of the options at Food Truck Thursdays at the Fairplex, prior to going off to Old Stump Brewery to support the Pomona Valley Film Society's screening of The Outsiders, in their parking lot. It was to be a parking lot evening.

I'm not really a fan of these food truck roundups where you have 8 plus food trucks to choose from. It was easy when I was working in Downtown LA to come across an interesting food truck and sample something new or intriquing. But the idea of going from truck to truck trying to decide which one(s) to try is daunting to say the least.

On this particular Thursday there was quite a variety: Wasn't really in the mood for wings so passed by LA Wing Company; Me So Hungry looked interesting but not interesting enough to capture my dollars; Boba ni Taco could have been interesting but I had Mexican food for lunch; Deli Doctor promised New York style delicatessen dishes, but I just wasn't in the mood for pastrami and if I were I'd probably have gone to The Hat; Or should I opt for a unique quesadilla from the Cheddar Wheel truck, no; and B&W didn't seem to have their act together so I wasn't even sure what was on the menu which the owner said was "in the works;" the line for the really popular Cousin's Maine Lobster truck was a deterrent although it could have been an interesting choice. 

So what did I choose? I decided on Richeeze, a grilled cheese and mac & cheese truck. I was swayed by an interesting menu item, Jalapeno Popper grilled cheese. This was what I look for in a food truck, an item that I've never seen before with the promise of something special. I also ordered their mac'n'cheeze nuggets. I added to that a can of diet coke (this is a truck after all).

So what is the ambiance for food truck dining? Why shaded tables on blacktop, of course, with thin plastic table cloths to make it seem like they might be clean (?). At least there were a lot of tables so that you didn't have to hover until someone else decided to leave. And they did a fairly good job of providing shade.

There was even a DJ spinning tunes and giving diners an opportunity to win prizes by answering such question as "At this year's fair, coming in September, what kind of insect can you get deep fried?" Someone won a prize for knowing that it was crickets. Sigh . . .

Also in the parking lot was a separate "Fair" booth selling beer as well as a kettle corn booth and a cobbler booth.

So how was the meal? The sandwich was excellent with melted pepper jack cheese, slices of Jalapeno, and tomato on sourdough bread. The menu says that they are stuffed jalapenos, but what I had on mine were just slices of jalapeno, not at all large enough to be "stuffed," but it still worked. I did somewhat expect the jalapenos to have some of the breading of a "popper" which would have added a nice textural element, but again, it was delicious with the cheese overpowering any spice, so for me the pepper level was perfect.

The mac'n'cheeze nuggets, which are mac and cheese formed in a ball, coated and deep fried, then topped with some more shredded cheese were heavenly with the creamy mac & cheese in the center oozing from a crunchy/salty coating. Mac & cheese hand food, what could be better?

The food trucks will be there for the next couple of weeks through Aug. 17 and then will take time off during the Fair, Sept. 1-24 (Sept. 1 is Pomona Day). Couldn't find the information on whether they return in October or if they don't return until next Spring, but this might be a good time to give it a try if you're interested.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mix Bowl Cafe -- 1520 Indian Hill Blvd Pomona, CA 91767

My Meal Cost: $11.42 plus tip. Health Rating A. Yelp 3 stars

The lovely Mrs. C is off camping with her family so I have a week to fend for myself. As good a reason as any to indulge in some food that she is not crazy about. So my first choice is a place where First Daughter and I usually go when she's in town visiting. Mix Bowl is our go-to place for bonding without mom, although mom did join us on our last trip there and found several items on the menu that she not only felt she could eat, but that she actually liked, but still not a place she would embrace wholly.

Mix Bowl is in a former fast food place. This is also the place where Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen wrote in 2009 that he had tried all 144 items on the menu over the previous few years (don't we love food obsessions?). I'm sure he's been back. The current menu lists 113 numbered items (including the beverages) but I counted another 37 items which seem to be sub-items from the numbered items which are designated with a letter (A-D). This brings the total to 150.

The inside has been remodeled a few years ago and they've taken out the big fish tank in deference to additional tables. There are both tables and booths in this sit-down, full service restaurant. As you might guess the food is Thai, which includes a lot of spicy dishes designated in the menu with a chili. They also have an asterisk which indicates dishes which "most order," a nice guide for those who are unfamiliar with Thai cuisine.

Dining here with First Daughter we order "family style" and share three to four items one of which is usually an appetizer. Of this variety of dishes, some I've really liked and some a little less so, but everything has always been very fresh and well prepared. Because I was dining alone this time, I decided on the ever popular (even if now somewhat boring) Pad Thai. This is a noodle dish with tofu, veggies, and in this case bean sprouts, chicken and shrimp, in a fish sauce based sauce giving it a nice punch of umami (that earthy taste that has been added to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter). This is not one of the spicy selections but is one of those indicated as "most order."

Looking over the beverage menu I knew from experience that I wasn't a big fan of Thai Iced Tea (or coffee) which comes with cream and is highly sweetened (both also can be ordered with Boba). Not wanting to do "Lipton" iced tea, I decided to try the Ice Chrysanthemum Tea. Not a good decision as, while it didn't have cream, it was way over sweet and I'm sure that my blood sugar suffered tremendously.

Word of Warning: They do not take credit cards. They do take ATM cards but if you do opt for that you'll have to pay at the counter so they can capture your PIN number. Only a minor inconvenience but one you should be aware of. You can add your tip with an ATM if you so desire.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mr. D's Diner -- 401 E Foothill Blvd Pomona, CA 91767

My Meal Cost: $38.19 for three with coupon plus tip. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars

We have a friend who we try to get together with periodically for dinner, I'll call him Thor. This time we decided to go to Mr. D's Diner on Foothill. Mr. D's has two locations, on Foothill in La Verne, which used to be a Denny's Diner, and this one in Pomona which used to be a Carrows.

Everything here is  classic diner from the food to the decor. The north dining room has a large mural with a Route 66 theme that includes classic cars and Elvis, James Dean, and Bogie sitting around a camp fire. Just about anything you'd want to see in a diner.

The extensive menu offers all of the things you'd expect in a diner; breakfast which includes standards: omelets, scrambles, breakfast burritos, crepes, waffles, and a selection of eggs bendict dishes (have had breakfast here and it's substantial and filling), lunch sandwiches and half pound burgers, love the beefeater sandwich (sliced roast beef and swiss cheese on grilled sourdough with au jus) which comes with fries and soup or salad.

Seated at a formica topped table, we each ordered our meals. Thor got the ground sirloin steak dinner which included veggies, mashed potatoes and gravy, a toasted roll and lots of sauteed onions and mushrooms. The lovely Mrs. C opted for a chicken salad. I ordered a meatloaf dinner off the senior's menu (yup, I'm THAT old :-). In addition to the senior menu, they also have daily specials (the meatloaf is the Sunday special for $9.99--the same as on the senior menu). Mine came with mashed potatoes and brown gravy with mushrooms (also smothering the meatloaf) as well as steamed veggies and a toasted roll. The dinners also came with soup or salad, I opted for the salad while Thor got the corn chowder.

Lovely Mrs. C. didn't order a beverage this time but went with water, Thor and I both had a refreshing iced tea on this warm summer day.

Each of us declared the meal to be good and filling. Thor had a discount coupon so our total bill came to a little less than if we hadn't used the coupon (I think it was $5 off).

The service was friendly and efficient. This is a place that we've gone to a number of times and one that we expect to go back to many more times as well.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pomona Fish Market -- 295 South Park Ave Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $19.79 for two. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars

I was at the Cheers event at Fairplex a week ago and several people asked me how this blog was going. I mentioned that I had last reported on Chino's Riverside Grill but then realized that I haven't been here in a while and need to get back to POMONA! Especially since we took a few days and went up to the central coast area and visited wineries and had also some great meals at restaurants and really needed to get back to writing about home.

So I coaxed the Lovely Mrs. C to accompany me for a "blog lunch." We discussed several places that I have been wanting to visit or re-visit and write about and finally landed on Pomona Fish Market as a destination.

Pomona Fish Market is located in the downtown area on Park between Second and Third Streets. It's an unassuming building but with a great iconic neon sign making it almost impossible to miss.

One of the things that I love about Pomona is our diversity and for a Friday lunch at Pomona Fish Market it was fully on display. African-American, Hispanic, and Asian customers (as well as our pasty white faces) were in and out in a constant stream during our visit. The place is a fresh fish market where you can purchase fish from the deli case or order cooked fish at the counter.

There are a few tables in the cramp space as well as a couple of picnic benches just outside. We decided on this particular day that it was too sunny, with not enough shade, outside so we chose a table inside.

We opted for the lunch special which included 4 pieces of fish, with a choice of Cod, Red Snapper, Tilapia, Swai, Buffalo, Cat Fish, or Sand Dabs (Dabs are only 3 and $2 extra on this special). It also includes 3 fried shrimp, 3 hush puppies, a generous serving of French Fries and a canned or bottled beverage. They also have salads or you can get individual servings of shrimp or other seafood items including oysters.

The fish is coated in corn meal and deep fried to a light golden brown, making the crust crunchy but the fish inside is moist and tender. Mrs. C had the Cod and I opted for the Red Snapper. Both were excellent. The shrimp were fairly small shrimp (although they do offer jumbo prawns separately) but a nice addition to the fish. The hush puppies were fried corn meal with little bits of Jalapeno, onion and probably something else that I missed. The little golf-ball sized balls were a little more done than the fish batter but were still crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside with a nice corn and pepper flavor (very mild although I ended up with two of Mrs. C's). Fries were OK. The plate also came with a spicy vinegary hot sauce and a thin, runny, tartar sauce. I would have liked more of a shrimp cocktail sauce for the shrimp, but the tartar sauce, while not the usual texture, was actually quite good.

Again, while we we ate there was a steady stream of customers both to dine-in and for takeout. A great addition to places to pick up something for those days we don't want to cook. Very different from Mr. Fish on Garey reviewed as part of my Eating Garey Avenue. Not really better or worse, but decidedly different.

Day Day's BBQ and Wafflehouse -- 994 E Holt Blvd Pomona, CA 91767

My Meal Cost: $18.55 plus trip. Health Rating A. Yelp 4.5 stars It's been a while, but with the Lovely Mrs. C on her annual fam...