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Weekend in Claremont - Ideas?

Bada Bing Feb 18, 2011 03:00 PM

I'll be at a conference at Pitzer College for a few days, mostly busy and without a car, but we'll go out for dinner each night and once or twice for lunches, too. Previous threads are mostly a year or more old, so I'll ask again for recommendations for good places, mostly for groups of 6-8, preferably something ethnic.

Older threads mention Inka Trails (Peruvian) and Viva Madrid (tapas). With enough reason, we could cab it to someplace in the area. Thanks in advance!

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Inka Trails
1077 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

Viva Madrid
225 Yale Ave Ste B, Claremont, CA 91711

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  1. A5 KOBE RE: Bada Bing Feb 18, 2011 03:56 PM

    Inka Trails is okay, been there once and have not been back. Same goes for Viva Madrid although I know many people who personally that love that place.

    I would recommend:

    Tutti Mangia for Italian food.
    Back Abbey for burgers, fries and beer.
    Sanamluang for Thai food.
    Saca's Mediterranean for gyros (lunch?)

    Walking to Tutti Mangia and Saca's is no problem and Back Abbey is about a couple blocks further so definitely manageable. You will probably need a cab (which is pretty rare in Claremont) to get to Sanamluang.

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    The Back Abbey
    128 Oberlin Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

    Tutti Mangia
    102 Harvard Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

    1. a
      attran99 RE: Bada Bing Feb 18, 2011 10:50 PM

      Tutti Mangia and Aruffo's for Italian...I'm fond of the king crab ravioli and the $8 wine flights at Aruffo's.
      The Back Abbey is just awesome to chill and enjoy a burger, fries fried in duck fat, and a beer.
      Saca's is pretty good.
      Kazama for sushi...the chef makes a great omakase.
      For drinks in a very chill setting, visit the bar/lounge at Hotel Casa 425. Inventive and delish cocktails in the lit up courtyard with fire pits and couches.
      And I'm a Viva Madrid fan...service is great, and they run out of jamon serrano on busy nights.
      All of those locations are within walking distance.
      Darvish Persian Restaurant is a great place for kebobs and saffron rice. You'll might need to cab it here.

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      Viva Madrid
      225 Yale Ave Ste B, Claremont, CA 91711

      Darvish Restaurant
      946 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

      Hotel Casa 425
      425 West First Street, Claremont, CA

      The Back Abbey
      128 Oberlin Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

      Kazama Sushi
      101 N Indian Hill Blvd Ste C1-104A, Claremont, CA 91711

      Tutti Mangia
      102 Harvard Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

      Aruffo's Italian Cuisine
      126 Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

      1. Bada Bing RE: Bada Bing Feb 24, 2011 05:32 AM

        Thanks for these ideas! I'll start planning and hope for good times and good eats...

        1. l
          laliz RE: Bada Bing Feb 24, 2011 07:17 AM

          Walter's in the village is excellent and has Afghan food along with their regualr menu. I love their Afghan fries and thier corn polenta with black beans. Also thier crab tacos and their fresh mozzarella sandwich w/tomatoes. They have a beautiful patio, great for breakfast.

          I've been to parties, ladies luncheons etc. here over the years and never disappointed.

          1. Mattapoisett in LA RE: Bada Bing Feb 24, 2011 09:56 AM

            I will recommend for provisions on your trip the Cheese cave on Yale ave and the Claremont Farmers Market on Sundays from 8-1 on Indian Hill and 2nd Street

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            Cheese Cave
            325 N Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91767

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
              a
              attran99 RE: Mattapoisett in LA Feb 24, 2011 11:28 PM

              Thanks for the tip. I didn't know that such a place existed in this area. I look forward to making a trip here.

              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                a
                attran99 RE: Mattapoisett in LA Feb 25, 2011 04:19 PM

                Thanks for the Cheese Cave tip. I went today, and found a couple of cheeses to try at home. I was super impressed with what they have on stock...some cheeses I'd never even heard of before. The service was excellent...I was able to try a bunch of different cheeses, and they were helpful in narrowing down choices for me. They seem really knowledgeable. The store also sells balsamic vinegar and olive oils that you get to pour into these wonderful glass containers yourself. I tried the balsamic, and it was terrific...fruity, sweet, and syrupy. I did not try the olive oils. They also make sandwiches on baguettes for $6. There's also an array of pates/rillettes, beers, snacks, and condiments...I particularly liked their Edmond Fallot mustards and the Urbana truffle butters...priced much higher than Epicure Imports in North Hollywood, but convenient to get if I'm in a pinch.

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                Cheese Cave
                325 N Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91767

              2. c
                coconutz RE: Bada Bing Feb 25, 2011 02:16 PM

                Not sure if I have anything original to add. I do like Viva Madrid, but it is small and can get very crowded--go early or late perhaps. I don't think they take reservations.

                Walters is solid, large menu, a couple of Afgan things with terrific green cilantro sauce on the side, but I think of it for brunch or luch of big salads. My Aunt eats breakfast once a week at The Village Grille.

                The Back Abby is a fun pub for beer drinking and a Belgian Fries with dipping sauces. I've aslo have the salumi platter. I haven't had the pricy burgers, but they sure look good. It can get crowded too. The little patio has heaters and they will give you lap blankets too.

                In the same area is Le Pan Quotidian, interesting sandwiches and salads, very nice menu, but I haven't tried it.

                The outdoor lounge at Casa 425 is very elegant and nice and I've heard music there too. I've been to see music at Hip Kitty, which is a fondue place. I've only had the cheese platter, though. The Press is good for drinks and live music. They have food but I only tried so so appetizers. Bottles of wine are 1/2 off on Wed.

                Have some frozen yogurt at Kiwiberry if you don't have one of those or pinkberry near you.

                I really love Sanamluang, on Indian Hill below the freeway at San Bernardino. It is high quality, low priced, and the pad thai noodles are so silky. I also like the fish cake appetizer. The duck noodle soup, the general's soup, salads, especially the spicy beef salad (really hot but they will tone it down for you.)

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                Viva Madrid
                225 Yale Ave Ste B, Claremont, CA 91711

                1 Reply
                1. re: coconutz
                  c
                  coffeebrownies RE: coconutz Feb 25, 2011 03:02 PM

                  Ate at Inka Trails last Saturday night. We got there at 5:50 pm--the retaurant was almost completely empty, but it took forever (maybe 10-15 minutes?) for them to seat us. As a strategic move, we ordered when they took our drink orders. Still, it was 45 minutes from the time we walked into an almost empty restaurant until we got our food. We got one bread basket for 6 people which was never refilled. So, if time is even a little bit of concern, don't even bother. The food after that was fine, but certainly not worth the angst. It was also felt a little expensive given the ambience and the service. And one other detail--it was almost impossible to get out of the parking lot--so make sure you have a designated driver who can manage the turn into the really narrow driveway beside the building.

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                  Inka Trails
                  1077 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

                2. r
                  Robert Thornton RE: Bada Bing Feb 25, 2011 07:37 PM

                  Inka Trails would be a bit of a walk and I'm personally not a huge fan.

                  Viva Madrid is a lot of fun, not open for lunch, and dinner can be busy. No reservations, so you either have to show up early or wait.

                  I also love the Back Abbey, but again, it can be busy and can be noisy. Would probably be hard to get a table for 8.

                  I like Aruffo's best for Italian. Tutti Mangia is good, too, but I don't think the food is quite as good and I've had problems with the service.

                  If you want to walk a bit for food sushi, I like Hayato best, but it's probably 1-1.5 miles on Foothill, so probably not a good choice. Kazama is a bit closer in the village and while I don't like it quite as much, probably a better option.

                  I eat lunch at Saca's a lot, love the falafel sandwich.

                  A previous poster mention Sanamluang, which is good Thai, but definitely not walking distance. There is a Thai place in the village west area, forget the name, but it's not bad along not inspired and a bit overpriced.

                  If you want to go for drinks/snacks, the lounge at Casa 425 in the village is fun.

                  I absolutely love the Cheese Cave, good sandwiches, but not a sit down place. If you wanted sandwiches to grab and eat elsewhere, it would be good. But definitely a place to stop if you want to taste some chese.

                  For lunch I also like Le Pain Quotidien (I like the salads and tartines), you can find the menu online.

                  -----
                  Inka Trails
                  1077 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

                  The Back Abbey
                  128 Oberlin Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

                  Tutti Mangia
                  102 Harvard Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

                  Viva Madrid
                  225 Yale Ave Ste B, Claremont, CA 91711

                  Cheese Cave
                  325 N Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91767

                  1. p
                    pslpsl RE: Bada Bing Feb 27, 2011 10:36 AM

                    Suggestions below are good Claremont is mostly ok-to -good.

                    La parolaccia does a good thin crust pizza, and thier low-priced argentinian wine (malbec?) is a steal ($22 for a bottle of wine I think, not bad for a claremont area restaurant)......I really like the pesto they bring out with their baked bread for the table.

                    If ethnic means 'not italian' then claremont is not where you want to go. See my previous thread for car-able amazing places within 20 mins of claremont.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705854

                    PS: Viva madrid is good, but always rammed in the evenings. prepare to wait....

                    1. Bada Bing RE: Bada Bing Apr 3, 2011 06:32 AM

                      Turns out that I'm actually stuck in Claremont a few more days due to Southwest Airlines grounding a bunch of its planes. Right now, the earliest booking out is over 2 days off!

                      So at least I can now try the farmer's market Sunday morning (today), when I was supposed to be leaving. Anyway, without a car, it doesn't seem that I have more options than the village, which is a 20 minute walk from my hotel on Foothill Blvd near Indian Hill. But Trader Joe's is next door.

                      Anyone think Sunamluang is worth cabbing out to pick up take-out?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Bada Bing
                        p
                        pslpsl RE: Bada Bing Apr 3, 2011 06:52 AM

                        If you want nearby walking distance from the doubletree, you could try
                        Ali Baba (felafel joint) or Mongolian Barbecue (exactly what it sounds like) - all on foothill on your block, none excellent but all reasonable.

                        Maybe see if the bike shop here will rent you a bike? http://coatescyclery.com/
                        Maybe splurge and rent a car?

                        Sanamluang has fallen off in recent months IMHO,I would not advise getting a cab.

                        1. re: pslpsl
                          Bada Bing RE: pslpsl Apr 3, 2011 08:12 AM

                          Thanks for the interesting suggestions! The bike is a pretty cool idea! And Chow reports were making me wonder about Sumanluang lately.

                        2. re: Bada Bing
                          Mattapoisett in LA RE: Bada Bing Apr 3, 2011 10:39 AM

                          You can also take Metrolink in to Downtown LA and that will widen your options tremendously. Here is a link to the schedules for today's Trains http://www.metrolinktrains.com/schedu...

                          Enjoy!

                          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                            Bada Bing RE: Mattapoisett in LA Apr 3, 2011 12:41 PM

                            What an interesting idea. That would take me to central downtown, no? I could manage a lunchtime trip tomorrow, especially if it seems worthwhile to hit the downtown area near the station. Good Mexican or Asian downtown, I suppose?

                            I am totally unfamiliar with LA public transit, and in fact had sort of forgotten that it might exist. It might take more time than I have even to figure out where to start. I'll search some Chow boards about downtown, but will welcome any tips here, of course.

                            1. re: Bada Bing
                              Mattapoisett in LA RE: Bada Bing Apr 3, 2011 01:08 PM

                              It will take you to Union Station which is public transit convenient to most of LA. Get on the Red/Purple line Subway a stop or three to downtown and out to either Koreatown or out to North Hollywood or take the Gold line to either East LA or Pasadena. And remember your Metrolink Ticket works as a pass on the Metro rail and most bus lines

                              Enjoy!

                        3. Bada Bing RE: Bada Bing Apr 5, 2011 03:23 PM

                          I thought I should offer a report on the modest number of places I found time to visit in this stay.

                          I went to Back Abbey and tried their signature burger and fries with a Paulaner draft. (The burger has aged gouda, Niman Ranch bacon, caramelized onions and an aoili-type sauce. Everything was delicious, although they did cook the burger beyond medium rare (which is what they suggested and what I asked for). It wasn't ruined, however, and I enjoyed it still. Given the opportunity, I'd go again and try another burger style. I was initially concerned about the aged gouda, because Iknow tht gouda that's aged sometimes acquires a butterscotchy flavor that I really dislike. But I like to try the signature items at such places, and the cheese and all the rest was great. The fries were excellent--very crisp without being overdone, and not at all greasy.

                          I bought some bread and rolls at Le Pain Quotidien and then went to the Cheese Cave in order to have some picnic-style provisions at the hotel. They had Beaufort Alpage, one of my very favorite cheeses, and it was delicious and (at $15 per pound) quite affordable. At Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, MI, that's a $23+ cheese. I also took away some Tallegio and sampled lots of other cheeses. Also had one of their sandwiches to eat there. Got some mustard and some tapenade to take away. Everything here is great, and the staff is cheery and smart.

                          I regret not having time for more, nor a car for further venturing, but I really benefited from the tips, everyone! Thanks!

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                          The Back Abbey
                          128 Oberlin Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

                          Cheese Cave
                          325 N Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91767

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