So the Best of… special sections came out this Sunday for The Sun, the Daily Bulletin and the Redlands Daily Facts.
I have mixed feelings about the winners. I agree with some of the chosen “bests,” but not with others. Some just left me scratching my head.
Lets’s start with the ones I thought people got correct:
Asian cuisine, Daily Bulletin: I like P.F. Chang’s. Sure, it’s Americanized, but it’s also consistently good. My sister-in-law got the entire family hooked on P.F. Chang’s, and I remember driving all the way out to Fashion Island in Newport Beach just to eat there. And wait hours to do so. Now we can just head to Riverside or Victoria Gardens. The wait is also much less.
Brunch / Romantic restaurant, The Sun / Daily Facts: The Castaway has the best view of all the restaurants in San Bernardino…and probably the whole east valley. The good thing is that the view isn’t the only good thing about the Castaway. The food quality is also quite good — you get what you pay for, and having Sunday brunch there is like taking a little vacation.
Buffet, The Sun / Daily Facts: Kudos for going out on a limb here. Choosing an Asian buffet like Open Kitchen in Highland over the usual suspects (Hometown Buffet, Souplantation, Sizzler) shows some spirit. And Open Kitchen’s food is indeed better than 90% of those Asian buffets out there. My favorites are the spicy chicken, made with jalapeno, the salmon sushi and the jin deui (sesame seed ball pastry).
Italian cuisine, The Sun / Daily Facts: I recently revisited Isabella’s Ristorante Italiano in Redlands. Unsurprisingly, the food was just as delicious as I remember it. Of course, the last time I went to Isabella’s, they still had a restaurant in San Bernardino. It’s good to know some things stay the same.
Here’s where we differ:
Buffet, Daily Bulletin: While I think The Sun and Daily Facts readers were spot on with their buffet choice, I think the readers of the Daily Bulletin were way off. Are there no other buffet restaurants in the west valley than Hometown Buffet? Have all the Sizzlers closed? (Oh, wait a minute, I believe they might have!) Have they never been to the Rancho Cucamonga Souplantation? Apparently not, or maybe they’re just fond of bland food.
Mexican cuisine, The Sun / Daily Facts: I’ve never understood the appeal of San Bernardino’s landmark Mexico Cafe. The few times I’ve been there over the years, I’ve been seriously underwhelmed. And yet, year after year, it tops our “Best of” list. Of course, a friend went there recently and said his meal wasn’t too bad. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the Mexico Cafe.
Sandwich shop, Daily Bulletin / The Sun / Daily Facts: I think the lowest common denominator for sandwich places is Subway, which is probably why they were chosen as the top sandwich shop for all three papers. I know there are better sandwich shops out there. Let’s start with Matano’s Little Italy in Yucaipa, which surely must be the best-kept secret out there, despite my loudly singing its praises.
Yogurt / Ice Cream, Daily Bulletin: Golden Spoon over 21 Choices? Over Pinkberry? Over Burt & Rocky’s? Over Dine 909 favorite Handel’s? You’ve got to be kidding me!
The big winners:
Queen of all Redlands Martha Green came out on top in several categories. For The Sun and Daily Facts, Dough’Lectibles won for both bakery and desserts, while The Eating Room was chosen best restaurant to take out-of-town guests.
In-N-Out won for best burger in both surveys. We’ll see if that changes next year with competition from Five Guys Burgers and Fries and The Habit.
Now for the head-scratchers:
Can someone please tell me where Armada, The Sun / Daily Facts Asian cuisine winner is? I’ve tried Google, Yelp, Bing…all to no avail. The closest match I can find is Armada Towing in San Bernardino, but you won’t be getting egg foo young from them.
Pronto Pizza over Dine 909 favorite the Gourmet Pizza Shoppe? Seriously? I have to admit that I haven’t yet tried Pronto, but how good can it be for $5? Perhaps that’s the sole reason it topped The Sun / Daily Facts survey.
Just one more thing: Who is the joker who voted for Olive Garden for best Indian cuisine (The Sun / Daily Facts)?
Follow the jump to see the full list of restaurant winners and
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