Meeting the meat at Mill Creek Cattle Co.

John has told you his tale of Mill Creek Cattle Co., and I shall now share with you my own experiences with this legendary place of flavor, and, most certainly, meat.

My apologies to my vegetarian and vegan friends in advance, I’m going to wax carnivore for a moment.

As the name implies, Mill Creek Cattle Co. is true to form in both food and decor. Stuffed deer heads on the wall are a testament to the fact that MEAT is served here, not quivering blocks of pale tofu and the like. You want meat? You’re gonna get meat. The rustic cowboy and indian art on the wall says so, too. This is BBQ. This is WESTERN.
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First bites: Mill Creek Cattle Co.

Let me start by saying I’m not a huge BBQ person. I don’t eat a lot of red meat in general.

However, I will likely be returning to the Mill Creek Cattle Co. in Redlands.

After a suggestion from a reader, reading about it in the Redlands Daily Facts, and hearing the owners talk about it on Allan Borgen’s radio show, Bren and I were just too curious not to give Mill Creek a try.

So on a recent Monday, we went.

It’s a pleasant enough place — a brand-new building — with lots of western-style decor.

We stepped up to the register and ordered. I opted for the “Real Deal” turkey sandwich with sweet potato fries and a soda. Bren ordered the Triple Threat Treat BBQ platter.

We sat down and almost immediately, our food was brought to the table.
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Round up of West Valley restaurant closings

From the Daily Bulletin‘s blogs (mostly David Allen‘s), we hear of more restaurant closings over in the West Valley:

  • First up is someplace that’s been closed for a while…Old Baldy Brewing Company in downtown Upland. I used to frequent the Old Baldy Brewery when I lived in Claremont. In fact, I think I still have an empty growler from there in a box somewhere at home…perhaps it’ll be a collector’s item someday. Click here to read David’s post.
  • Also on the list are three Victoria Gardens eateries: Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Sisley Italian Kitchen and Wapango. Of the three, I’d only been to Sisley, and only a couple of times, but it was really good. I’ll miss it. Wapango had only been open since July, according to David. During his visit this summer, he ranked it in the top half-dozen of Vicky G’s restaurants. Read his post here.
  • Lastly, from Wendy Leung’s RC Now, we learn that another Rancho restaurant, Bobby Baja’s, shut down mid-December. I never made it to Bobby Baja’s, but I’ve been to the Souplantation in that same center (Vineyard Avenue & Foothill Boulevard) more times than I can remember. It just seems like the food there is somehow better than the one here in San Bernardino. Strange, isn’t it? Read Wendy’s post here.

Things are not looking good over in the West Valley. Let’s hope that things will turn around in 2009 and that we’ll at least see more restaurant openings than closings.

In the meantime, please support your favorite restaurants. You don’t want them to suffer the same fate as the ones mentioned above.

Thinking of going to Dairy Queen in Redlands? Better think again…

That’s because they’re closed due to construction until January 26, according to this article in the Redlands Daily Facts.

If you can’t wait ’til then to get your Blizzard fix, there’s another DQ just a short trip up the 210 on Base Line in Highland.

And there’s certainly no shortage of frozen treat shops in Redlands itself, with at least five frozen yogurt places (Golden Spoon, TCBY, Ohana, Nubi and Hogi Yogi), the old standbys (Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery) and even frozen custard (Theron’s).

Of course, there’s no Handel’s, but it just goes to show you — even in Redlands, you can’t have everything.

Handel’s Ice Cream is a Dine 909 favorite

After a nice Sunday afternoon late lunch at P.F. Chang’s in Victoria Gardens and driving down to Ontario Mills to see if Virgin Megastore was still in business (they were, but only selling store fixtures and such), we decided to go to Handel’s Ice Cream in Upland.

For the uninitiated, Handel’s Ice Cream is an Ohio-based chain with other locations in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia and…Upland. The Upland store(373 S. Mountain Ave., at Seventh Street)was opened under a franchise agreement by an Ohio native who grew up enjoying Handel’s ice cream and wanted to own his own Handel’s. He ended up in Southern California and made his dream come true. Thank you!
Accolades: The National Geographic publication “The 10 Best of Everything: The Ultimate Guide for Travelers,” named Handel’s one of the 10 best ice creams in the world.Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has included Handel’s in his list of top 10 U.S. ice cream stores.

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Culinary wishes for 2009 and more

Instead of the usual review from Allan Borgen, this week we get his culinary wishes for the new year.

You can read them in their entirety here.

I’d like to add my two cents worth by including my own five New Year’s Restaurant Resolutions:

5) Please be original.

It amused me how quickly everyone — from Wendy’s to
Jamba Juice — seemed to start serving breakfast after
Starbucks started offering breakfast sandwiches. It was like a tidal
wave of morning food. Be a trendsetter, not a trend follower.

4) Please educate your employees.

Good employees, if they don’t know the answer to a particular question,
will tell you so and try to get an answer for you. They know the rules
of the restaurant. They don’t ask if you want to be seated and then
tell you that they can’t seat you since your entire party isn’t present.

3) Please be flexible.

Allow groups to split the check. Allow substitutions. Offer vegetarian options. Diners will thank you for it, trust me.

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Happy 11th anniversary, Gourmet Pizza Shoppe!

According the Redlands Daily Facts, the Gourmet Pizza Shoppe is having an anniversary special this Saturday, January 10.

From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., all 7-inch pizzas are $5 each. Wow!

Also, this month, any two 12-inch pizzas are $20.09. Double wow!

The specials are available at both their Redlands restaurant at 120 E. State St. and their Yucaipa restaurant at 13661 Calimesa Blvd.

Read the original blurb here.

If you’ve never been to the Gourmet Pizza Shoppe, you are truly missing out. Their unique (and I do mean unique…check out their menu on their Web site) pizzas are delicious and the folks that run it are very friendly. It’s definitely a Dine 909 favorite, and probably the best pizza I’ve had in the Inland Empire.

Really, where else are you gonna find mashed potatoes and gravy and fried chicken on a pizza?

R.I.P. Buffalo Ranch

Pulling out of the San Bernardino 99 Only store I glanced across E Street and noticed something missing.

The old Buffalo Ranch restaurant has been razed.

OK, so it had been empty for years, but still…it was kind of reassuring that it was there, with the hope that one day it might turn into a new restaurant.

For those who are too young (or too old) to remember, Buffalo Ranch was an offshoot of Sizzler where the employees would sing and do line dances between the tables every half hour or so. In fact, that building had originally been a Sizzler.

I recall eating there only once.

I don’t remember Buffalo Ranch lasting very long.

Do you remember the Buffalo Ranch restaurant? Did you eat there when it was open? Did you work there? Feel free to comment below.

Get ’em while you can!

Spotted tonight at the San Bernardino 99 Only store…Mother’s Circus Animal cookies!

Since, as of early October last year, Mother’s Cookies are no longer being made, this is a rare find, and probably your last chance to score some of these speckled pink and white treats.
I bought two bags.
Of course, I don’t want to put any ideas into anyone’s head, but I hear they’re selling for slightly more than 99 cents on ebay.
Oh, wait, on second thought…forget you read this while I head on back to get a few more bags!

Old Spaghetti Factory celebrates 40 years with outrageous deals

Old Spaghetti Factory is a Dine 909 favorite and I’m probably going to take them up on the offer, so I’m a little hesitant to share this tidbit from The Bizz:

The Old Spaghetti Factory is rolling back prices on classic pasta dishes to celebrate its 40th anniversary nationwide.

Tuesday at dinner, a complete meal – including a salad, entree and
dessert – will cost about $3. The Old Spaghetti Factory’s kids’ meals
will cost about $2.

Guests will have their choice of six dinners. The special
anniversary menu features spaghetti with tomato, meat, mushroom or clam
sauce, and the signature spaghetti with mizithra cheese or the
Manager’s Favorite, all for about $2.35 to $3.45 per person.

But wait, there’s more…

From the OSF Web site comes more bargains throughout the month: 40% off select dinners on Mondays and Tuesdays January 12th to the 27th.

Spaghetti with browned butter and Mizithra cheese for only $5.99? You’ll see me there!

Only one question remains…which IE location will be less mobbed? Riverside or Rancho Cucamonga?