Dumpling 10053 in El Monte

If obvious and simple business names had contests, I’m certain Dumpling 10053 restaurant in El Monte would be in the top 10.

This Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant sits in a small corner off of Valley Boulevard. Address: 10053; food served: dumplings.


I stopped in to this little restaurant one chilly evening, looking to pick up a warm, comforting dinner. Good dumplings can be comforting. There was only a couple diners seated for a dinner out, but I wasn’t alone in ordering out, as a few other customers came in after me to pick up their phone orders.

I perused the menu and, thinking more with my growling stomach than with my eyes or wallet, I went for an order of green onion pancakes ($3.75), two orders of pan-fried pork dumplings ($5.95 each order), one order of beef steamed dumplings ($6.50) and a side of vegetable fried rice ($5.50).


Okay, so the vegetable fried rice wasn’t so much a side than a whole meal on its own. Though it looked tasty with vegetables and plenty of egg, it seemed to lack the “fried” in fried rice and needed a little salt.

The green onion pancakes were greasier than other places I’ve tried. Not bad but nothing spectacular either. The dumplings were big compared to other dumpling places I’ve been to, but that may have affected how they were cooked or their flavor.


The beef steamed dumplings had a big piece of juicy beef inside but the dough was bland. The pan-fried pork dumplings also had a good size portion of tasty pork inside and though the dough flavor is enhanced when they are pan-fried, it was just okay. 


I can’t say I won’t come back to Dumpling 10053, there prices were decent, good and quick service and good portions. But they’re will definitely be some Sriracha (rooster) sauce around.

Dumpling 10053 is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

They are located at 10053 Valley Blvd., Ste. 2 in El Monte. For to-go orders, call (626) 350-0188.

More free food – Jack in the Box

To promote their new grilled sandwiches, Jack in the Box will be giving them away next week.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, only, buy a large drink and get one free grilled sandwich of your choice. No coupon necessary. At participating locations only.

You can either go with the turkey, bacon and cheddar which includes roasted turkey, bacon and cheddar cheese with a sun-dried tomato sauce on grilled artisan bread; or the deli trio with genoa salami, sliced ham, roasted turkey, provolone cheese and pickle filets with creamy Italian dressing on grilled artisan bread.


Flatbreads at Jamba Juice

You knew I would try to snag a free flatbread from Jamba Juice. How could I resist free food?

Check out this article from business editor Kevin Smith explaining this special promotion.

At first, I thought of going an hour before this special promotion started, but actually got too busy in the office.

Once I had a break, it was just after 2 p.m. but thought I would still see if I had a chance to try these new low-calorie flatbreads.

I arrived at the Jamba Juice in West Covina by the mall at about 2:20 p.m. There was no long lines in sight like I remember seeing for the free chicken giveaway El Pollo Loco and Kentucky Fried Chicken had, but that was fine with me.

There wasn’t even one person in front of me when I entered the Jamba Juice in West Covina on Tuesday.

I was reminded once again of the free promotion and I said yes please! Apparently they were giving away one of the four varieties (Tomo Artichoko, Smokehouse Chicken, MediterranYum and Four Cheesy) at different times throughout the promotion. I got the Smokehouse Chicken variety.

I ordered a healthy smoothie as well – Pomegranate Pick-me-up – and happily took my little warm box of flatbread. Regular price for a flatbread is $3.75.

No matter where I read or searched for online, I could not figure out what type of food exactly Jamba Juice meant by ‘flatbread’, but it pretty much resembles a mini-size, thin-crust pizza with flatbread as the dough.


The smokehouse had roasted corn, peppers, black beans and chicken on top of a little melted cheese and what tasted like a slightly tangy barbecue sauce. The flavors of each ingredient went well together considering it was only 330 calories.

The flatbread was warm and toasty but a bit hard on the side while it was soft on the bottom.

The flatbread was more of a snack with it’s mini-pizza size, or if you wanted to make it a full meal, you could pick up a couple or add one of the salads also offered now at some Jamba Juice locations.

Next time I’ll try one of the salads, wraps or sandwiches while picking up some fresh juicy smoothie at Jamba Juice.



More reasons to love Jamba Juice

As if I need another reason to love Jamba Juice and their tasty fruit creations. I have yet to try their most recent food offerings but this will sure help.

Here’s the latest from the smoothie company:

“As a part of its Fall ‘Feel Good Campaign’, Jamba Juice announced today that it will be filling customers up for free.”

Starting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, the first 150 customers can get a chance to try Jamba Juice’s new California Flatbreads for FREE, at participating Jamba Juice locations.

The recently launched lunch offerings “make the perfect guilt-free afternoon snack, made with high quality, better-for-you ingredients and all under 330 calories.”

“A perfect combination of delicious ingredients on top of a crispy crust, and an excellent source of protein, the new Flatbreads are available in 4 yummy flavors including: Tomo Artichoko Flatbread, Smokehouse Chicken Flatbread, MediterranYum Flatbread and Four Cheesy Flatbread.”

Dining on a budget: L.A. County Fair food

By Amanda Newfield

We all know that there is no way to dine on a budget at the L.A. County Fair, but the experience and variety are worth paying for.

Deciding what to eat can take all day. And with the usual cotton candy, corn dogs and funnel cakes, the fair offers an overwhelming amount of choices. It’s the perfect place to ditch the diet and pig out.

Fish ‘n’ chips booths are scattered throughout the fairgrounds and the smell of the freshly fried seafood and veggies is alluring.  

On my recent visit, I went for the fish, fries and zucchini plate for $10.50.

The batter was light and not at all overwhelming, while the veggies were fresh and tasty. What surprised me was the large portion I was served. I was able to share the meal and still feel that sense of satisfaction. Those 10 bucks went a long way. 

Another place that offers the fried selections the Fair is famous for is Chicken Charlie’s Broasted Chicken.

Also, try the “Totally Fried Veggies,” featuring zucchini curls, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and onion strings, for $7.75. The appetizing chicken kabob is $9.75. If you want fries with it, the cost is $12.75.



But those are just the usual menu items.

Last year, Charlie Boghosian, known as “Chicken Charlie,” debuted his Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich.

His creation this year is the “Meat Lover’s Ice Cream,” featuring soft serve ice cream with chocolate-covered bacon bits.


Also new additions this year are the deep-fried frog legs and the deep-fried peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches. 

Which dessert to try at the Fair is also a difficult decision to make, especially since Colossal Gelato, a gelato ice cream in a 16-inch waffle cone, is new to the Fair this year.

I decided on the $3.75 Fried Twinkie with strawberry syrup drizzled on top from Chicken Charlie.



This selection was definitely one for those who have a strong sweet tooth. I enjoyed the crispy texture on the outside with the warm, creamy filling on the inside.

No one can miss Juicy’s BBQ, which offers whole turkey legs, giant western sausage, burgers and chicken.

The Fair also has fun, reasonably priced meals for kids, and some come with a toy in a Fair collector’s box.

For those looking for an elegant air-conditioned dining venue, the Top of The Park restaurant located atop the horse racing grandstand offers a more upscale dining experience.

Enjoy your meal with a view of the Fair; indoor or outdoor seating is available. Top of The Park is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To view the menu or make a reservation call (909) 865-4120.

Any food selection made at the Fair will be a good one. But don’t get distracted or overwhelmed, and try as many different foods as possible.

For more information about food at the Fair, visit the Web site at www.lacountyfair.com/2009/attractionscompetitions/fairfood.

Dining on a budget: Pitas To Go in Irwindale

By Amanda Newfield

Fresh, healthy Mediterranean food is hard to find, but Pitas To Go in Irwindale offers light choices that do not steer away from their Greek authenticity.

As we walked into this fast-food restaurant, the smell of fresh ingredients filled my nostrils and intrigued my appetite.

The menu was simple – offering pita wraps, pita pockets and Mediterranean salads. The prices were reasonable even for a poor college student like myself. Small salads start at $2.99, a falafel wrap is $3.99 and a side of hummus is $2.99. 


But for those with more blessed bank accounts, there is the $7.99 beef shawerma with thin slices of beef marinated and seasoned with a special blend of spices and tahini sauce.

I was on a mission to see just how healthy I could be while still experiencing that Mediterranean taste, so I ordered the $5.59 falafel salad.



One pleasant surprise was finding the Sobe Diet Cranberry Grapefruit option as a fountain drink. Not only was my meal healthy and tasty but so was my beverage.

I ordered my food to-go and it was ready faster than I could fill up my drink. The food tasted as good as it smelled. 

The salad was full of fresh tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, sliced radishes, crunchy lettuce and tasty falafel.

This was my first encounter with falafel and it was a good one. The bite-size pieces were each packed with flavor and still not overwhelming.

Overall, my meal was satisfying and not too filling. The nutritious food gave me enough energy to work and didn’t cause the usual lunch food coma.

I give Pitas To Go two thumbs up. I will definitely go back again.

Pitas To Go is at 15652 Arrow Hwy. in Irwindale. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and closed Sundays.

For more information, visit the website at www.pitastogo.com or call (626) 962-4111.

Dining on a budget: Quiznos Torpedo’s in Irwindale

By Eric Terrazas

In these tough economic times, I am always hunting for good food deals.

One offer that caught my eye was Quiznos’ Toasty Torpedoes, which cost only $4. On a recent Tuesday, I decided to spend my lunch hour at the Quiznos in Irwindale. 

The Torpedo is a foot long and is served on thin ciabatta bread. Five different Torpedo sandwiches are offered: Italian, pesto turkey, big kahuna tuna, turkey club, and beef, bacon and cheddar.

I decided to try the beef, bacon and cheddar, which featured roast beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, chopped lettuce and tomato, mustard and mayonnaise.

When I took my first Torpedo taste, I felt a satisfying feeling from my taste buds. 

I thought the beef, bacon and cheddar version of the Torpedo had a nice mixture of tasty ingredients. The ciabatta bread also enhanced the meal.

Satisfied with my Torpedo experience, I decided to head back to Quiznos the next day. This time, I selected the turkey club Torpedo.

The turkey club consisted of turkey, bacon, mozzarella, chopped lettuce and tomato, mayonnaise and red wine vinaigrette dressing. The red wine vinaigrette dressing gave the sandwich a nice, tangy taste.


The Toasty Torpedoes I haven’t yet sampled also sound scrumptious.

Since I’m a longtime fan of tuna sandwiches, I’m probably going to next try the big kahuna tuna, which consists of tuna salad, cheddar cheese, banana peppers, chopped lettuce and tomato, and red wine vinaigrette dressing. I will probably order it without the peppers.

For those with lighter budgets, Quiznos also sells Toasty Bullets, which cost $3.

The five selections available for the Torpedo are also offered for the Bullet, which is a smaller version of the Torpedo.

Quiznos has several locations in the San Gabriel Valley, including: 15660 Arrow Highway in Irwindale, (626) 851-3611; 465 N. Azusa Ave. in West Covina, (626) 732-9836; 14510 Baldwin Park Towne Center in Baldwin Park, (626) 480-0464; 1407 N. Azusa Ave. in Covina, (626) 633-1800.

The battle’s over but the lunch wars are not

So here’s my final installment in the $5 lunch wars.

For the last battle I thought I would put the tuna sandwiches head to head.

I started with Quiznos Big Kahuna Tuna Torpedo for just $4. I had a coupon for a torpedo meal for $5 so I scored with a bag of chips and soda for just a buck more.

The Big Kahuna Tuna has tuna salad, cheddar cheese, sliced banana peppers, lettuce and chopped tomatoes in a foot-long warm and toasty ciabatta bread.



The tuna salad alone was tasty. I don’t know if there was something other than mayonnaise in there but there was some type of seasoning that really brought out the tuna.

The peppers were a perfect addition as well. I sometimes add pepperoncini’s or jalapenos to make things spicy but didn’t want to ruin the sandwich really so I left them out.

At Subway, I had to get a six-inch tuna sandwich, on wheat bread, because the foot-long was more than my $5 budget.

I thought I would take a cue from Quiznos and keep it simple by just adding a few items on top of the tuna.

What I do like about Subway lately is the toppings menu has expanded. I can now get sliced cucumbers and spinach instead of plain iceburg lettuce. And I can add red wine vinaigrette instead of only having mustard and mayonnaise to choose from. 


I must say I was impressed with the taste. I think mostly because of my combination of ingredients but I must also admit, the couple Subway’s I’ve been to since this little project of mine started have been cleaner and fresher than I last remembered, and the reason I stopped going to Subway.

So I think in total, Quizno’s tasty torpedoes and bullets have won the battle for my taste buds and my wallet but Subway was not as far behind as I expected.

But I’m pretty sure the lunch wars are not over yet.

Check out Staff Writer Eric Terraza’s own take on Quizno’s in Thursday’s Highlander edition at www.sgvtribune.com/highlanders.


Quizno’s Bullets to go!

At only $3 a pop, I tried a few of the five varieties available of Quizno’s Bullets, which are the same offerings for the $4 foot-long Torpedoes.

I’m not big on turkey but I thought I would give the Pesto Turkey Bullet a try first.

The sandwich with thin-sliced turkey, red wine vinaigrette, mozzarella cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, topped with basil pesto and toasted in a ciabatta bread was all snuggled in its own paper sleeve for on-the-go munching.

Perfect for when I eat at my desk while checking emails, messages, etc….


The warm and toasty 8 inches of sandwich was just enough to save room for chips and a drink or if you’re feeling really ravenous, another sandwich.

Even though this is the first one I tried, I must say it is my favorite and all because of the pesto.

The fresh ingredients were great but the pesto really brought it all together. I usually like to add some peperoncinis or some of their Batch 81 sauce, which has a nice kick to it, to my sandwiches but the pesto sauce was so flavorful it didn’t need anything else and I didn’t want to ruin it.

The second variety I tried was the Italian with pepperoni, spicy capicola, ham, mozzarella cheese and red wine vinaigrette, and chopped lettuce and tomatoes.

I liked the spicy capicola and ham, but the vinaigrette didn’t impress as much as the pesto did so this seemed like a basic Italian sub.


The next sandwich I tried was the Beef, Bacon and Cheddar with thin sliced roast beef, crispy pieces of bacon, mayonnaise and cheddar.

I liked that there wasn’t much mayo in this sandwich because I hate when I have to wipe off excess mayo that’s oozing out the side of a sandwich or burger. If anything I would prefer no mayo.

The roast beef and cheddar was nice but it was the crispy bacon, not greasy either, that made this one my next favorite.

There is still a Turkey Club and Big Kahuna Tuna that I will try next, but so far these little bullet-sized sandwiches are worth their $3 price tag.

For a few bucks more you can make it a combo with chips and a drink. 


The $5 lunch wars

With the economic recession not looking to drastically improve any time soon, many people are keeping their wallets tight and looking to get more bang for their buck.

Many restaurants and fast-food chains are taking note and lowering their prices or offering more value-menu-style items to their customers.

Just like the grilled chicken wars, there is now the $5 lunch war. This war has three competitors though with Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Quizno’s competing for lunch time supremacy.

Subway took the first blow with its $5 footlongs (no, please don’t sing the song).


Eight of their sandwich varieties in foot-long size for a simple low price – tuna, BLT, Meatball Marinara, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, Spicy Italian, Black Forest Ham, Cold Cut Combo and Veggie Delite.

Then Quizno’s hit back with Torpedoes at $4. The foot-long sandwiches come in five varieties – Italian, Big Kahuna Tuna, Pesto Turkey, Turkey Club and Beef, Bacon and Cheddar.

Most recently, KFC has introduced its $5 Fill-Up Box working to outdo the sandwich mavens by offering a complete meal. The box comes with two pieces of its new grilled chicken, one side and biscuit and a drink.

And now Quizno’s has added a junior version of their Torpedoe sandwiches with Bullets – at just eight inches of toasty sandwich.

To be honest I haven’t had a Subway sandwich in over a year. Not since I found Bionicos in Baldwin Park with their freshly made, toasted sandwiches, complete with all the fixins at less than $5 have I craved anything at Subway.

And as soon as I tried for Quizno’s for the first time about five years ago, I prefer it over Subway, when I could afford it.

So now with its new value sandwiches I can definitely forego the brown bag lunch at least once a week and eat out.

Over this week going into next week, I will give these $5 lunches a try. I will even give Subway another try.