First bites: Innabi Mediterranean Grill and New York Deli

Note to self: When eating at a New York-style deli for the first time, don’t start with falafel.

OK, maybe I shouldn’t have ordered falafel. But I was craving it, and I knew that Innabi’s in Redlands was one of the closest places to get my fix.

In fact, they have several variations: as an appetizer, served over hummus; or as a sandwich, wrapped in pita bread (my choice, $3.75), served panini-style, or as a wrap.

Why, oh why, didn’t I order the turkey panini instead?

It’s not that the felafel wasn’t good…it’s just that I should probably have started with something a little more deli-like.

My lunch partner, Richard, made the smarter choice: the pastrami combo ($6.99), which came with a generous amount of lean pastrami on sourdough bread (they were out of the usual rye), steak fries and a soda.

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Review roundup

It’s late…so let’s cut to the chase.

This week Elaine Lehman stakes out Burger Bar by the Old Schoolhouse in Claremont and finds it “a bit of a splurge, but definitely worth the extra dollar or so.” I do believe that’s code for “expensive.”

I’m not that huge of a burger fan, so it probably will be under my radar. Besides, if I’m in the mood for an expensive burger made just the way I want it, I’ll just drive out to Fuddruckers in Ontario.

If you’re more interested in the Burger Bar than I appear to be, you can read her review here.

More promising, if Allan Borgen’s 5-star review is any indication, is Taste of Asia in La Verne.

Taste of Asia specializes in foods from Thailand, Vietnam, China and Laos. Laos? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Laotian food before.

La Verne is a bit of a drive, but I generally trust Allan’s reviews. If I’m in the area, I might stop in for a taste.

You can read Allan’s review here.

Just because it’s Friday doesn’t mean you have to read this

Got a handful of things to clear out this week , so let’s get started!

First up, as per usual on Friday, is new reviews…

Elaine Lehman stays in her neck of the woods this week with a trip to Via Venetto Cafe, No. 105, in Rancho Cucamonga.

I know exactly where Via Venetto Cafe, No. 105, is, since Elaine and I both bank at the same credit union, and I’ve been to that ATM near Via Venetto Cafe, No. 105, at 6th Street and Haven Avenue many, many times

It just never occurred to me to stop and eat.

Perhaps next time I will, especially since, according to Elaine, it’s both “easy on the wallet and (has) lots of choices for lunch.”

Her full review can be found here.

Next up is Allan Borgen’s review of the long-established Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant in Redlands, which surprisingly, has a drive-through.

It’s also another place I’ve been by many, many times and never bothered to stop. After reading Allan’s review, I know I want to stop in next time.

Their prices seem like an incredible bargain (nothing over $6.95!), and Allan raves about the lasagna and the Friday special, linguine with Alfredo sauce.

You’ll find his review here.

But that’s not all. There’s more after the jump…

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Finally, Friday

Ladies and gentlemen…in this corner we have Pepito’s, a longtime Riverside establishment with a not-so-storied past.

And in this corner, we have Kool Kactus Cafe, offering a fresh take on your standard Mexican fare.

Who will win? We’ll leave that decision up to you.

I’m referring, of course, to this week’s reviews…first up is Elaine Lehman’s lunch review of Kool Kactus in Loma Linda. I’ve been to Kool Kactus, but not for a very long time. I seem to recall that it was a bit pricey for what you got, but that their focus was on freshness and being perhaps a little healthier than your typical Mexican standard.

Just glancing over their menu here, it appears that very little has changed over at the cafe. They’re a dollar or two above what you might find elsewhere, and they have a number of items (Squash burrito? Sounds intriguing!) that are approved by the San Bernardino County Department of Health as being healthier for you.

Elaine seemed to enjoy her chicken quesadilla special, commenting favorably on the accompanying beans. You can read her entire review here.
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It’s Friday…you know what that means

Regular readers of Dine 909 know what Fridays bring, besides paychecks, of course.

That’s right…new reviews!

This week Elaine Lehman drives all the way out to San Bernardino to have lunch at Vicky’s on Waterman Avenue at Mill Street.

I’ve eaten at Vicky’s many times, but not lately. I sometimes wonder as I drive by if they’re still in business. Now I realize why I wondered that.

They close at 3 p.m. on weekends.

I never knew that. I had suspected that they kept odd hours, but now it’s confirmed.

Elaine seemed to easily make it there when they were open and enjoyed her burger special.

You can read her critique (and check out their business hours) here.

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Friday’s food fun

Here we are, another Friday, which means new reviews!

First up we have Elaine Lehman’s review of the Ontario lunch joint Tummy Busters, which is definitely not to be confused with Tummy Stuffer.

She got the daily special for $5.49, which on the day she went, was fried chicken, which she enjoyed.

Their menu sounds relatively diverse, with burgers, sandwiches, a salad bar and teriyaki dishes.

They’re open weekdays during breakfast and lunch hours.

Click here to read her whole review.

Next up is Allan Borgen’s review of Del Mar’s Baja Mexican restaurant at the northeast corner of Cherry Avenue and Base Line in Fontana.
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Review Friday, with a bonus

Usually on Friday, we get a lunch review from Elaine Lehman and a dinner review from either Allan Borgen or David Cohen.

Well, today we got lucky.
You see, not only do we get a lunch review from Elaine Lehman, but we get a review from Allan Borgen and a breakfast review from David Cohen!
Oh, happy day.
Starting off with Elaine’s lunch review of Grinder Haven in Ontario, a place which has been in business since 1958.
Wow.
And I still haven’t been there.

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‘Lainey heads to San Bernardino for lunch

Wow, that Elaine Lehman sure gets around.

I mean, she works for the Daily Bulletin in Ontario, but she eats here and there and everywhere.

Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana…Yucaipa.

And San Bernardino.

This isn’t her first visit to our fair city, and I’m sure it isn’t her last.

This particular trip was to an old standby, The Little Dragon on Highland Avenue.

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Glad because it’s Friday…

…and Friday always brings new reviews.

Well, that, and the obvious.

This week, we’ve got David Cohen’s review of AK Lotus Garden on Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino.

Don’t know where the “AK” came from, but Lotus Garden is a longtime mainstay on Hospitality Lane. I haven’t been for years, but from what I remember, it was pretty good.

Cohen agrees…he gave it four stars.

However, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d consider $25-35 per person “relatively economical.” For that price, and a sampling of 10 dishes, I’m sure you’re going to be carrying home lots of those cardboard take-home cartons though.

My last visit to Lotus Garden was with a vegetarian friend, and he ordered all faux meat dishes for us. They were very delicious and if nobody told you they weren’t meat, you probably wouldn’t guess.

Read David’s review here.

Out in Fontana, Elaine Lehman reviews Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, on Sierra Lakes Parkway (just down from the brand-spankin’-new Mimi’s Cafe…more on that later).
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The reason I go out to eat is so that I don’t have to cook my own food

Friday’s Sun/Daily Bulletin restaurant review is of Kin Noki Fusion Pot Restaurant in Chino.

Critic Allan Borgen informs us that in this Japanese-, Chinese- and Korean-influenced restaurant, you choose your broth, then your meat (or veggies) and you get the privilege of cooking the meat (or veggies) in the broth.

Great.

Just what I need, a restaurant where I have to cook my meal too!

Actually, I have done this. A friend once paid for us to go to the Melting Pot in Rancho Cucamonga. It was not a great experience on several counts.
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