Update on proposed Rialto In-N-Out Burger

Courtesy of Michael J. Sorba, we’ve got an update on the negotiations to bring In-N-Out Burger to Rialto.

The city is interested in bringing the classic Southern California fast-food restaurant to the site of a former fire station on the east side of Riverside Avenue, just south of the 210 Freeway.

New information from the update? They’re looking to bring Corona-based Miguels Jr. to fill one of the other spots at that location. A third, sit-down restaurant has not been named.

Click here to read Michael’s story, and head to the comments below to put in your guesses as to that third, unnamed sit-down restaurant.

Eat a cow or a chicken, help a dog or a cat

Helping Out Pets Everyday will be hosting a fundraiser from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday, February 7, at the Outback Steakhouse, 530 N. Mountain Ave., Upland.

Here’s how it works: Tickets are $20, which includes your choice of soup or salad and either a 7-ounce Sirloin and a side; an 8-ounce chicken breast and a side; or the Walhalla pasta with vegetables.

To purchase tickets, call HOPE at 800-811-4285 and leave a message. A volunteer will call you back. You can also email Margaret at macc219@aol.com.

Tickets will also be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the next two Saturdays (January 29, February 5) at the Colonies Crossroads PetSmart, 1935 N. Campus Ave., Upland.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be sold the day of the event.

A full $10 of the ticket will go to to HOPE to help provide medical services and boarding
for rescued dogs and cats and to support their free (for Upland residents) spay/neuter program.

Click here for more information.

The Girl Scout cookies are here!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the supermarket, here come the Girl Scout cookies.

There goes your New Year’s resolution.

If you remember from last year, there are two official bakers of Girl Scout cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

The Girl
Scouts of San Gorgonio Council
(which covers most of the Inland
Empire) gets their cookies from ABC Bakers. Their cookie sales begin Saturday (January 29) and run through March 14.

This year’s offerings from ABC Bakers are:

  • Thin Mints
  • Peanut Butter Patties
  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Caramel deLites
  • Shortbread
  • Lemonades
  • Thanks-a-Lots
  • Shout-Outs

The Shout-Outs are new this year, replacing last year’s Daisy-Go-Rounds. Shout-Outs are described as a “Belgian-style caramelized cookie with fun cheer-themed messages.”

Mmm, caramelized cookies.

For more information, call 800-400-4475 or visit The Girl
Scouts of San Gorgonio Council’s website
and click on the Cookies Now image.
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Food truck extravaganzas tonight and Saturday

OK, I’ve said before that there are some food experiences that just can’t be found in the Inland Empire.

Those oh-so-trendy food trucks are pretty common in Orange and Los Angeles counties, but here in the Inland Empire, they’re pretty much non-existent.

My theory is that they don’t want to spring for additional permits to operate in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

So, if the trucks won’t come to you, I guess you gotta go to the trucks.

This week brings us not one, but two food truck gatherings just beyond the western edge of the Inland Empire.

The first is the Food Truck FASTival tonight (January 27) at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

From the OC, we have Chomp Chomp Nation, Louks Greek Gourmet To Go, Auto Creamery, Barcelona On the Go, Tropical Shave Ice, Bacon Mania and the Greasy Wiener.

Representing L.A. County are Ahn-Joo, Kabob N Roll Mediterranean, Komodo, Fresh Fries LA, White Rabbit, Vizzi, Ludo Bites, Sugar Babies and Cuban Caf Mobile.

The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. at the speedway, 500 Speedway Drive, just west of the 605 Freeway.

The best part? Parking and admission are free!

We like free.

For more information, click here.
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Magic Wok is the place to be on Tuesdays

I’m not sure how long this deal has been going, or how much longer it’s going to be offered, but on Tuesdays, Magic Wok is offering a single-entre bowl for only $2.

That’s right…$2!

I discovered the deal when we went to Redlands’ Citrus Plaza to check out the new Cafe Rio.

As crowded as the new restaurant was, the older one next door was equally so.

I guess to compete in this economy, you’ve got to be willing to slash and burn your prices.

For one day, anyway.

The regular price for the bowl is $4.64, so on Tuesdays you save 57 percent.

Yesterday I went to check it out for myself.
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Free Firecracker Chicken Breast! Free Firecracker Chicken Breast! Free Firecracker Chicken Breast!

Panda Express will be celebrating the return of its Firecracker Chicken Breast by offering a coupon for a free single-sized portion of Firecracker Chicken
Breast to its Facebook fans on Thursday, February 3.

February 3, not coincidentally, is the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration.

The entre consists of strips of marinated chicken breast, red, green and
yellow bell peppers, sliced onions and red chili peppers cooked with Panda’s original “firecracker”
sauce.

The limited-time menu item is available now and will only be available until March 1.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Get ready for Ecstasy

Congregation Emanu El is hosting its 13th Annual Food and Wine Ecstasy beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, February 5, at the Congregation’s interim synagogue, 1473 Ford St., Redlands.

The evening features hors d’uvre and wine tasting as well as samplings of port wine and fine chocolate.

Redlands food goddess Martha Green will conduct the evening’s live auction along with Sun/Daily Bulletin food critic David Cohen. They will also hold a silent auction.

Tickets $35 per person prior to the event or $40 per person at the door.

To purchase tickets and for more information contact Congregation Emanu El at 909-307-0400.

Funds raised during the event will benefit the full service Jewish programming the synagogue offers.

First bites: Pepe’s Mexican & Seafood Restaurant

Mexican food places are a dime a dozen here in the Inland Empire.

Some are better than others, obviously.

Based on what I had the other day, I’m willing to think Pepe’s Mexican & Seafood Restaurant in Banning is one of the better ones.

All I had was a combination plate — a chicken tamale and a cheese enchilada ($8.99) — but the tamale was one of the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

It was moist, not too firm and loaded with flavor…in a word, delicious!

The enchilada wasn’t quite as spectacular, but still good.

Both the rice and beans were fresh and tasted homemade.

My dining partner had the flautas dinner ($9.99). I thought the flautas could’ve sat in the fryer a little longer, but weren’t bad otherwise.

I’m looking forward to returning and exploring their menu further.

The restaurant itself was recently renovated and is very modern, comfortable and inviting. It’s a stark contrast to the more dated exterior. They added a full bar during the renovation.

Pepe’s Mexican & Seafood Restaurant is at 2579 W. Ramsey St., Banning. You’ll find pictures of the renovated interior and a link to their full menu on their Tumblr blog.

First bites: Tempe House Spicy Food

Last week, I stepped out of my food comfort zone, something I haven’t done in a long while.

Back in November, food critic David Cohen had written a review of the Tempe House Spicy Food Indonesian restaurant. I’d been wanting to try it since then.

I finally went last week.

The San Bernardino restaurant is similar to your typical Chinese take-out place, with the food displayed in a steam table.

There’s no real menu to speak of. You just step up to the counter and order.

And no, it has nothing to do with the city in Arizona. Tempe is the Indonesian spelling for tempeh, a fermented soybean-based protein cake, somewhat akin to tofu. Don’t worry, it tastes much better than my description makes it sound.

It’s a little daunting your first time there, but the employees are more than happy to let you sample what looks interesting to you.

A three-item combo is $8.
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First bites: Euro Grill

I’ve been wanting to try Euro Grill in Redlands for a while now.

Monday I finally got the chance.

They specialize in pizzas, pasta and Mediterranean dishes: falafel, gyros, kabobs, shawarma and the like.

Befitting the name of the restaurant, their pizzas are named for European cities and their pastas are mostly named for European countries.

For my first visit, I decided to try try the “Spain” pasta.

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