Dim sum virgin no more

Dear Diary: Today’s the day I lost my dim sum virginity.

A co-worker (Hi, Karen!) had invited me several times out to join her at Empress Pavilion in L.A.’s Chinatown, but it never came to fruition.
Until today.
Despite having worked until 1 a.m., I dragged myself out of bed and was on the way to the Sierra Madre Gold Line station in Pasadena at 8:15 a.m.
I arrived in about an hour, parked the car, climbed up the stairs and crossed over the freeway, caught the rail line to Chinatown and met her and her husband and two of their grandchildren at the restaurant shortly after 10 a.m.

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How do you say “orange” in Japanese?

Why, it’s Mikan, of course!

How do I know this?

Am I fluent in Japanese?


I read David Cohen’s review of the restaurant of that name at the corner of Pearl and Eureka streets (at the end of the eastbound Orange Street offramp of I-10…how appropriate).

He seemed to like it well enough, except for the loud, tipsy folks who came down from the upstairs bar to dine.

I have yet to dine at Mikan, but in general, I find most of the Inland Empire Japanese restaurants a little samey.

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Return of the killer cookie dough

OK, so now the state Department of Public Health has expanded its warning about potentially-Salmonella-tainted peanut butter cookie dough to include another source — Dough-To-Go, Inc., of Santa Clara.

Dough-to-Go, Inc., distributed frozen peanut butter cookies and dough in 30 California counties under the Dough-To-Go and Jane Dough labels.

They were mostly sold as fundraisers for schools and AYSO groups.

Here in the Inland Empire, you might have purchased the dough from:

  • McKinley Elementary School in Redlands
  • AYSO San Bernardino, Beaumont or Hemet
  • Bell Mountain Middle School (and band members) in Menifee
  • Growing Place Preschool in Riverside
  • Diamond Valley Middle School, Hemet or Tahquitz high school cheer squads, or Little Lake, Valley Vista or Whittier elementary schools, all in Hemet

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First bites: Z Pizza a welcome addition to Redlands’ pizza scene

Nestled between Cold Stone Creamery and Verizon Wireless in Redlands’ Citrus Plaza, Z Pizza opened last week in the spot formerly occupied by Blimpie.

Nothing against Blimpie, but I think we got a better deal with Z Pizza.

Z Pizza’s shtick is that they offer a healthier pizza, with organic wheat dough and tomato sauce.

I’ll have to admit, I’m not generally a thin-crust pizza kind of guy, but I liked what I tried at Z Pizza.

The occasion for visiting Z Pizza was to get free pizza and to see (and hear) Allan Borgen’s Let’s Dine Out Show live broadcast.
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Don Marcos rises from The Whole Enchilada’s ashes

Many of us mourned the closure of The Whole Enchilada on Foothill Boulevard in Rancho Cucamonga this past summer.

It turns out we didn’t have to wait that long for a replacement to appear.

Don Marcos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina opened earlier this week.

This will be the third Mexican restaurant in that location. Remember Socorro’s? I do.
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Loma Linda fresh & easy delayed…again

First it was November, then it was January, now it’s anybody’s guess.

According to this story on The Sun‘s Web site, the opening of the Loma Linda fresh & easy has been pushed back to who knows when, due to the shriveling economy.

The building at the corner of Mountain View Avenue and Redlands Boulevard is complete and ready to be stocked (it appeared that way when I drove by last year), but there’s no telling when it will open.

Spokesman Brendan Wonnacott indicated that they generally don’t announce new store openings until about a month prior, which means the Loma Linda store won’t open until late February at the earliest.

Also in opening-date limbo are stores in Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario and the two stores in Rialto, not to mention planned openings in Mira Loma, Pedley, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Calimesa, Beaumont, Corona, Menifee and Lake Elsinore.

Stay tuned to Dine 909 for more updates.

Killer cookie dough update

Good news — sort of — for those of us worried about the potentially-Salmonella-tainted-peanut butter cookie dough.

The number of schools which received and sold the potentially dangerous dough is down from 13 to three, but the lone San Bernardino County school is among them.

The three schools:

  • Barstow Intermediate School, Barstow
  • Fremont Elementary, Alhambra
  • 93rd Street Elementary, Los Angeles

So, if you happened to have purchased some Sweet Success Frozen Peanut Butter Cookie Dough recently from someone who goes to school at Barstow Intermediate School, you are asked to dispose of it.

Read the updated press release here.

Free pizza! Free pizza! Free pizza!

This week’s restaurant review for The Sun and the Daily Bulletin is Allan Borgen’s review of Joe Chicago’s Italian Kitchen in Upland.

He practically raves about it and rates it 4 stars out of 5. You can read his review here.

But what does that have to do with free pizza?

You see, Allan is doing a live broadcast of his radio show from 3 to 6 p.m. this Saturday, the 24th, from Z Pizza at Citrus Plaza in Redlands.

And yes, you can get a free slice of pizza if you stop by during the broadcast.

So there.

I haven’t had a chance to try Z Pizza yet, so the chances are highly likely that I’ll swing by.

There are other Z Pizzas in the Inland Empire in Upland and Chino Hills, and if you count the low desert, Palm Desert and La Quinta — but they’re not giving out free pizza, are they?

Missing Pei Wei? Try Iron Chef Cafe!

In case you, like me, are sad about the closure of Pei Wei last year, there’s a new place for you to try.

Iron Chef Cafe in Ontario.

The Daily Bulletin‘s Elaine Lehman went to lunch there recently and offers her comments here.

Looking over the menu, it seems a lot like Pei Wei’s pan-Asian mix, although probably a little heavier on the Japanese side than Pei Wei.

Here’s a couple of little gifts for readers of Dine 909: First, a coupon for 50% off your second item. Download it here. Of course, it expires at the end of January, so if you want to check out Iron Chef Cafe, you better do it soon.
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Reading Dine 909 may save your life

It’s a rare day when we here at Dine 909 become potential lifesavers, but the nationwide peanut butter Salmonella outbreak has touched down here in the Inland Empire.

The state Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to handle or consume frozen Peanut Butter
Cookie Dough distributed by Sweet Success Fundraising Inc, of Ontario, because of potential contamination with Salmonella.

Department also recommends that any dough that has been thawed or baked
should also be discarded.

The potentially-contaminated dough was distributed to several Southern California schools between December 8, 2008 to January
8, 2009 as part of school fundraising activity, including Barstow Intermediate School in Barstow.

The dough was packaged in a
white plastic 3-pound tub labeled “Sweet Success Peanut Butter Cookie
Dough.”  The tubs contain no lot codes or use by dates. The dough was not part of the school meal

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