Save me from Pomona Valley Mining Co. tonight
Having eaten here a handful of times... it's certainly more than enough for a lifetime.
The occasion: small b'day dinner (only 3 of us) -- and I believe I can sway the dining spot, if I can figure out an alternative location.
Closer east (centered around Azusa/Glendora) is a plus. Definitely no Mexican - and my Joey's BBQ idea got shot down already. Trekking to Pasadena was also vetoed (too far west).
I looked up reviews for the area and saw good things about Sycamore Inn -- but have a feeling that will get vetoed as being too far east.
Done the Golden Spur, done Coco Palms (yuck), done Pinnacle Peak... none of those are remotely appealing....
...I'm blanking out - is there anything else? What am I left with... Claremont?? Is that my remaining option? And, if so - where? I'm not familiar with that area at all. ...why do I have a feeling I'm going to the mining co......
Any ideas are appreciated!
Too bad Joey's got shot down. I don't know your ages or tastes, but one of my favorites in teh area is Buckboard BBQ on Foothill in Upland. This is pure Santa Maria-style BBQ (tri-tip, chicken, ribs), and the tri-tip is as good as I've ever had, including in Santa Maria! Very casual place, but great food. Hey, you could even go to Dr. Bob's for a great ice cream birthday dessert treat.
There's a place in Glendora called Chelsea, which you might like. It's not fantastic, but it's certainly one of the better options in the area. Fantastic (and highly addictive) garlic rolls, and decent pastas & meat courses. Sort of Cal-Italian, and some Asian influences.
1810 E. Route 66 (in the shopping plaza on the SW corner of Lone Hill & Route 66).
In La Verne, Cafe Allegro is a fine Italian. It's pretty small and can get loud, but the food is always well-executed.
Perhaps my favorite restaurant in thea area is Inka Trails, a Peruvian joint in Claremont (on Foothill, just east of Towne and across the street from Marie Callender's. Good saltados & ceviche, and inexpensive. They also have decent enough sangria, which is always fun, and a selection of Chilean and Argentinian wines.
I've also enjoyed good French bistro food at a place called Brasserie Astuce, but I think it went out of business. They were moving to Claremont, but not sure if they've opened yet. If they have, check it out.
There's decent enough Mediterranean fare in La Verne at the Grapevine restaurant (Foothill, between Damien & Wheeler).
If you're into it, there are two decent Teppan Yaki (like Benihana) places in La Verne, which can be fun for a b-day: Shogun, which also has a place in Pasadena, and Miyabi. Both are on Foothill, a block or so apart, between D and White.
Lastly, I've had better than average Thai food at a place in San Dimas called Lucky Elephant. It's in a shopping center where Bonita meets Arrow Hwy. I think they're used to serving people with timid palates, though, so if you like your food spicy, you really need to speak up.
re: Jack Flash
Thanks, Jack Flash -- these are great ideas. I've been to Lucky Elephant and really enjoyed it - by far the most decent food in that immediate area!
I'm going to push in favor of Chelsea... cross your fingers! The garlic rolls may be what sells the idea!!
edit: What's the atmosphere/ambiance like at Chelsea ... (checkered table cloth, casual, a little upscale, etc.?)
I can second Inka Trails, never had a bad meal there. We always over order and enjoy the leftovers for another 2 meals. (I wish they had a cheaper house wine, but the food prices are good and we always get good service there.)
I will hit one of these BBQ recs this weekend (hub is from Houston).
try the Restaurant at kellogg ranch
culinary school restaurant, pretty good. lots offun
On azusa, in west covina, green field churrascaria
In pomona, there's a french place that's decent -
welll i just checked - brasserie astuce is gone, moving to claremont and not there yet.
for future reference
Jerome - you just made my day! I had NO IDEA there was a culinary school restaurant in Pomona! I will definitely check it out... probably not tonight... but soon!
...I'm not too crazy about Green Fields - only one visit, but I found most of the meats to be overly salted and the salad bar to be lacking.
edit: FYI - from the website for the culinary school restaurant - their fall 07 days of operation for dinner are: Oct 5-Dec 1 (Dinner Th-Sat and very limited hours 6pm-8pm).
re: The Oracle
re: The Oracle
I'm a graduate of the hospitality program up there, and it is worth it. One tip: the later in the quarter you go, the more polished the class becomes. They work hard every week, but practice makes for a better experience. Celebrated my 10yr anniversary with my man there, and it was special.
REPORT: Thanks to Jack Flash's rec ..and remembering reading things about it on the board, I was able to sway to group to Chelsea. Upon driving into the parking lot (in a large shopping center) the neon lights in the window almost caused a deal breaker -- but I managed to sway to group to 'try something new".
Upon entering, I was encouraged. A lot of effort went into the space - dark wood bar, with mostly tables throughout and a few booths. We were seated along the benches on the far walls. In retrospect (primaily due to the very loud table next to us) I would have enjoyed the evening better if we were in a booth.
I had peaked at a menu I found on line and was very excited about their main dishes. Although, my to my disappointment, that menu was very outdated and I didn't care for the preparations of any of their main courses. They had an interesting sounding duck risotto that I ended up settling on... more on that later.
We waited a long time for anyone to come to the table for our drink orders, etc. And even more time for the server to come back -- at the very last minute he told us about the specials. There were several and I was disappointed because they were not described well at all. I think the place would be much better served if they would print out an insert with the daily specials, detailing the preparations, sauces, etc. After asking several questions (and, at this point, just wanting to place our already decided orders)... we proceeded.
The highlight of the meal for me was indeed the garlic bread. I could be content with a bottle of red wine and that bread! Nice, warm, pillowy rolls with lots of garlic pieces and butter... not tremendously overpowering garlic, yet definitely enough for the garlic lover.
The food: I was a bit disappointed with the duck risotto I selected. I should have known better - as it was listed under "Asian" - it was more of a stir-fry, with bamboo shoots, shrimp, pork and veggies. It had a ton of oil in it - and was more like eating a fried rice dish (I was expecting something more creamy).
Others got the ravioli soup, spring rolls, chicken and sausage lasagna, and pineapple fried rice. The fried rice looked very similar to my dish, only less oil used. The spring rolls were really thin, but tasty (as was the accompanying sauce), the soup was purported to be good, although, I did not try it. The lasagna had a lot of flavor to it.
The service was not bad, just wasn't very attentive. Many lulls throughout the meal, and we had to flag down someone for just about everything we needed. Perhaps our server was having a bad night.
All in all - I was VERY thankful to have this as an alternative dining option -- and will definitely give it another shot - now that I'm a little more familiar with their menu. I will DEFINITELY stay away from anything 'asian' themed, and stick with their pasta or specials. I don't know what the bill ended up being - but prices were reasonable - estimating: apps ($7-9), (pastas $9-12), asian dishes ($16), mains ($20-25)
Grapevines (on Foothill in La Verne) is delicious, authentic and has a great outdoor patio for dining in nice weather. They also have a full bar.
For something different, Villa Madrid in downtown Claremont has tapas, paella, and pitchers of sangria.
Sycamore Inn, not so much, and I agree regarding Joey's - too packed - "to go" is better.