A trio of reviews…and eating slow and raw

Features Editor John Weeks waxes slow and raw this week, and we’ve got all three of our food reviewers out there chowin’ down.

In his column earlier this week, he pondered the Slow Food movement and the impact it might have on the Inland Empire’s domination in the growth of the fast food industry.

In today’s paper, he discusses raw food recipes, and gives you some tips on how to “go raw.”

Click here to read his Slow Food column. His raw food article can be found here.

Elsewhere in today’s paper, we’ve got restaurant reviews from Elaine Lehman, Allan Borgen and David Cohen.

Elaine visited the tantalizing Pomona Baking Co. Funny thing, though. I thought P-town was on the East Coast. Hmmm. You can read her review here.

Allan Borgen goes Italian at Fratello’s Pizza & Pasta in Upland. Sounds like he found lots to amore at Fratello’s. His review can be found here.

And finally, David Cohen found Italian food of a different kind at Palermo Pizza in Banning — the kind with a Middle Eastern twist. Click here to read his review.

Quick…hop in the time machine!

Were you one of the first 100 customers in line at the new Calimesa Denny’s this morning?

If you were, you got a Grand Slam a year for free.

The rest of us will just have to pay like everyone else.

Unless you’re some sort of time-traveling wizard who can travel back to 7 a.m. December 7 to get a free year’s worth of Grand Slams.

Of course, if you are some sort of time-traveling wizard, you’ve probably got better things to do than travel back in time to get free Denny’s Grand Slams.

Or perhaps not.

The rest of us non-time-travelers can now visit the new Denny’s at 1184 Calimesa Blvd. (at Myrtlewood Drive).

Tamale Festival cookin’ up this weekend

I love tamales.

And yet, I’ve never been to Indio’s International Tamale Festival.

The free festival, which began in 1992, celebrates all things tamale. There’s a tamale eating contest, a “best tamale” competition, entertainment on four stages, a holiday parade, carnival rides and games, and best of all…thousands of delicious tamales in every flavor imaginable!

They’ve even set a couple of Guinness World Records at the festival. In 1999, the world’s largest tamale — over a foot in diameter and 40 feet in length — was constructed. In 2000, they set the record for the world’s largest tamale festival, with 120,000 in attendance.

The 2006 Guinness book declared the event to be “the world’s largest cooking and culinary festival.”

The Food Network has included the event in its list of top 10 “All-American Food Festivals.”

This year, I’ve finally decided to take the drive out to the desert to take part in the festivities.

If you would like to also join in the fun, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow (December 5) and Sunday (December 6). It all takes place in downtown Indio, between Highway 111 and Indio Boulevard, along Miles Avenue, Towne Street, Smurr Street and Requa Avenue.

Free parking (with a free shuttle to the festival) is available at the Larson Justice Center on the corner of Highway 111 and Oasis Street.

Hope to see you there!

Visit the festival’s Web site for more information.

Psst…wanna buy a discount gift certificate?

We’re pretty good at shameless self-promotion here at Dine 909, but this is a little bit of a twist.

Our company (the Los Angeles Newspaper Group) has come up with a new promotion that you can take advantage of: SoCal Gift Cards.

We’ve teamed up with local restaurants (and entertainment venues) to offer gift certificates at a discount.

All the gift certificates are at least 25% off. One (for Bombay Restaurant in Ontario) is 40% off.

Other participating restaurants include Legends Burgers (Rancho Cucamonga/Upland), Salsitas Mexican Grill (Rancho Cucamonga),  Antonino’s Italian Restaurant (Rancho Cucamonga), Kool Kactus Caf (Loma Linda), Cuban Caf (Riverside), Monark Asian Bistro (Riverside), Mill Creek Cattle Co. (Mentone/Redlands) and Dine 909 favorite the Gourmet Pizza Shoppe (Redlands/Yucaipa).

And, as they say, many more.

Just head on over to SoCal Gift Cards to see all the deals.

I think my Christmas shopping just got a little more done.