The Great Green Hope

By James Abraham

Posted April 15, 2010 in Eats

The signpost up ahead reads “Brockton Arcade.” To the uninitiated, this might be an invitation to shove quarters (or tokens) down a greasy, dark slot. To the in-the-know, the arcade here refers to its old-school definition of an arched passageway with shops on either side; in this case, it’s a specific reference to the stretch of Brockton Avenue between Magnolia and Arlington in Riverside and the various businesses in residence here. Such businesses run the gamut from quaint establishments from yesteryear (stamp and coin shops), to the dime-a-dozen (hair and nail salons) to the seemingly obsolete (a typewriter repair shop? Really? Really? Wow. How’s business?).

But the arcade also houses a number of tucked-away, hidden eateries with established fanbases. There’s a Thai restaurant there that my wife and I tried (I think it was called Angel Thai) that wasn’t bad . . . but then it wasn’t great. Pietro’s, an Italian joint, is also here, right next to a martial-arts training center.

This is also where Little Green Onions is located. Full disclosure: I had actually eaten at this place before a year or two ago and, to be honest with you, it didn’t end up on my radar as an amazing dining experience. Not horrible, mind you, just OK. But I decided to put my skepticism aside and give this place another shot. Everyone deserves a second chance. Why should Little Green Onions get treated any differently? Plus, there’s got to be merits to this place since it seems to be the go-to place for breakfast on weekends

In the interest of justice, my wife and I rolled up to this place for a weekend morning breakfast—which is the yardstick by which all eggs-and-bacon establishments should be measured by, no? My wife had the “2 eggs, 2 French Toast, 2 Bacon and 2 Sausage” special and the dish had nothing but praises heaped on it. The French toast was the proverbial golden-brown, with a nice crust and thoroughly tasty, eggy batter. The butter glistened off the toast’s surface, the melted liquid pooling in little rivulets and puddles. Marvelous. This was the high point and deservedly so.

But then came my dish.

Very quickly I realized that what had disappointed me before . . . was making a sequel on my plate, right in front of my eyes. I had the “Scrambled Eggs (Mexican Style),” a dish that combined green chile, onions and potatoes with scrambled eggs. Big mistake. You see, I’m an egg man (big time) but these here seemed kinda dry, kinda overcooked, kinda eh. The kind of eggs you eat when you arrive too late to the breakfast table. Yeah, mediocre. The rice and beans that were served as sides to the dish were also, well, ordinary, and un-noteworthy. Such a shame.

On the flip side, the service at Little Green Onions is top-notch. Coffee cups were readily re-filled. Nothing but smiles from the hostess and staff. We didn’t have to wait long for food. Everyone was friendly and you can definitely tell this was a place with a lot of regulars. I mean, come on, it rocks red-vinyl seating and cozy booths and who doesn’t enjoy the guilty pleasure of a Mel’s Diner type of experience? This place has charm to spare.

But as far as providing those mind-blowing, belly-satisfying, return-customer type of feelings, Little Green Onions didn’t quite make it. I like to eat stuff that’s more than just OK. I need terrific. Amazing. Drop-everything-and-eat-here type stuff.

And you don’t mess up my eggs. That’s just plain wrong.

Little Green Onions, 6723 Brockton Ave., Riverside, (951) 328-1273. Sat-Mon 7AM-3PM; Tues-Wed 7AM-8PM; Thurs-Fri 7AM-9PM. M, V. 


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