The meals of 2012

Looking back at my Restaurant of the Week posts from 2012, I see I wrote about 43 eateries, starting with Farrell’s in Rancho Cucamonga and ending with Cafe X20 in La Verne. (Vacations, holidays and occasional breaks took up the other nine weeks.)

Among the notable places: Le Bistro in Upland, Lucky Elephant in Ontario, Ra Pour in Rancho Cucamonga, Tijuana’s Tacos in Pomona, Escabeche Grill in Chino, One Plus One Dumpling House in Chino Hills and Union on Yale in Claremont. Perhaps the two most unusual: Jollibee in Chino and Dragon Loco in Ontario. Use this blog’s search function to find the writeups or the handy category listings of restaurants by city.

Generally I write about places I like, or that at least strike me as okay. As I’m not a restaurant critic and don’t consider these pieces reviews, I’m fairly lenient, not wanting to bad-mouth a place based on a single visit. The Internet is cruel enough. That said, I do try to be gently honest and will tell you if I don’t like something or if the restaurant isn’t worth the drive. I also mention the very rare occasions when I’m not buying my own meal.

I’ll be back at it next week. In the meantime, what local restaurants did you try in 2012 and like (or loathe)? Any general comments about my Restaurants of the Week are welcome, as are recommendations of places to try.

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  • SAWZ

    We stay pretty close to home and have really, “fattened” up this past year with all the coupon offers that have arrived in the mail and on the internet. Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus had a sheet of coupons to appeal to many tastes, but we always chose the $39 feast for two: The appetizers and desserts of choice are to share; each diner gets a choice of entry and side dishes from the list on the coupon. They serve great steaks–being a Weight Watcher, I must stretch the steak out for three days. We also used coupons from Red Lobster, but the fact that they have started cutting down on their portions was not lost on me. I usually requested a half order of Tilapia which provided me with a take-home portion. The last time there was no take-home, because my half-order was more like half-of-a-half.

  • SAWZ

    There is a little restaurant in Montclair that gives good value for the dollar–Paradise Restaurant (not to be confused with Paradise Buffet). You can get a meal complete with soup, salad, and dessert, for less than $10. The restaurant has been completely refurbished and is a very pleasant place to enjoy a quiet meal without loud music playing.

  • SAWZ

    My spouse loves Mexican food. Sometimes on Friday nights I get take-out for him–the two-for-one dinners come to a total of $11 before tip, so he is set for a couple days. The servers in that Restaurant, Casa Jimenez in Ontario, have become special to me.

  • DebB

    I’ve tried several of your recommendations this year, and enjoyed them: Escabeche Grill, Fattoush, Crepes de Paris, Guasalmex, to name just a few. Two of my favorites: Union on Yale and X2O, where I celebrated my birthday last weekend. My mom got to practice her Armenian with the owner (Alex), we had good food, and the servers were very friendly. I always look forward to your “non-reviews”.

    • davidallen909

      You have good taste, Deb. And I liked your last sentence!

  • I enjoyed Dragon Loco when I visited it. I have not yet been to London Burger (although I’m somewhat behind; I haven’t even made it to King Taco yet).

  • Marlene

    I tried “the not on your list” King’s Fish House at Victoria Gardens. Absolutely delicious! If you want great, fresh seafood….this is the place in the I.E. It is not the Sizzler of seafood…insert Red Lobster. It is quality. Now to work on your list for the New Year! Love you David! 😉

    • Andy Sze

      Kings Fish house is pretty good. We’ve been there a couple of times as well and concur. The sides are done well and they open late. We also visited Market Broiler in Ontario Mills and it doesn’t compare. Everything is a couple bucks cheaper and it shows.

      • davidallen909

        It’s been a long time since I’ve been to King’s, but I’ve enjoyed my meals there. I relaxed my philosophy on not writing about chains sometime after my last meal there.

  • Andy Sze

    I think the most memorable food this year is the Ramen from Yukino-ya in Rowland Heights and the fresh baked goods from 85 ºC (Irvine, Rowland Heights, West Covina) which are warm from the oven as you buy them. They are warm and on a busy day, the kitchen cannot keep up and the they bake continuously until 8 or 9 pm at night. The crowd finally subsides at around 10 pm. David, if you have not tried 85 C, you should go check it out. The Westco store opened only only on Dec 19th. We’ve gone 4X already. The Rose Cheese bun, Mochi Egg Tart, Espresso Cake, Taro bun, and Mountain blend sea salt ice tea are among their best.

    Though neither is extravagent, they were are both well made. Yukino-ya is not the best ramen I’ve had, but certainly it was memorable and we’ve gone back many times. We are impressed by the artisan ship used to make the ramen. The best ramen I’ve had by is Monta Ramen in Vegas, small concise menu but everything is perfected. I still look forward to visiting this place once a year.

    The worst meal was this place called Stone Age cafe in Rowland Heights. We waited 40 mins for our lamb chops onto to see that the cook had cut mines up to test for doneness and not to mention that they had douse everything with vinegrette.

    I stayed much more in the 909 for 2012 and I think my gastronomic adventures reflect that. Nothing really outstanding. However, I did go overseas and had some very memorable meals.

    • davidallen909

      Andy, I haven’t been to, and hadn’t heard of, either 85 degrees or Yukino-ya, so thanks for the recommendations. I have a Chinese American friend who’s new to the area and so those might be early destinations.