EATS & TREATS

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Posted October 6, 2011 in Feature Story

BEST BAKERY

Some Crust

Some Crust opened its doors in 1916. So, it may know what it’s doing here. Ten years ago the Feemster family bought the bakery and continued Some Crusts’ focus on making everything from scratch, especially its sublimely gorgeous cookies. It’s a nice spot for lunch too, with seven types of bread to choose from, as well as hot Panini sandwiches, savory croissants and a slew of dessert options. No wonder it’s the best bakery for 2011. (B.G.)

Some Crust Bakery, 119 Yale Ave., Claremont, (909) 621-9772; www.somecrust.com.

BEST BARBEQUE

Joey’s Barbeque

Anyone can slap some store-bought sauce on some ribs and call themselves a barbeque joint; it takes dedication and craft to be in the barbeque business for 25 years like Luria and Ray Moors. Joey’s is the place for barbeque in our parts, with one reason being the five-meat combo plate, a delicious artery-plugger that comes with two sides—try the yam sweet fries. At Joey’s there’s no such thing as an omnivore’s dilemma. (B.G.)

Joey’s BBQ, 117 W. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 865-0699; www.joeysbbq.com

BEST BREAKFAST

Flo’s No. 2 

Flo’s is the ’70s done over-easy—think gravy over granola and you’ll get the idea. This is the type of breakfast joint where the toast is mega-buttered, the plates are stacked and the service is country-sweet. It’s cheap, busy on the weekends and serving up piping hot Joe. Locals rave about the soft biscuits and the country-fried steak. Flo’s is homey and filling and skipping lunch after breakfast is always an option. (B.G.)

Flo’s No. 2, 5650 Riverside Dr., Chino, (909) 628-0818. 

BEST BUFFETT

Fresh Grill Buffet, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino

Buffets can be an indicator of a casino’s overall culinary capabilities; think of the buffet as the yard sale for the food buyer. Fantasy Springs has a damn fine yard sale. It’s got culinary delights from Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Asia and the rest of the Americas; its even got one of those cool, chocolate-fountain thingies at the dessert bar. And at $12.99, the lunch buffet is a real bargain. The buffet is a tribute to the rest of the cooking that goes on at Fantasy Springs. (B.G.)

Fresh Grill Buffet, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Dr., Indio, (760) 342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com

BEST BURGER

The Back Abbey

Forget best burger—the Back Abbey in Claremont could have won in several categories. This is a legitimately great gastro-pub that serves up burgers for people who appreciate quality cooking, not just a great burger. They also serve up fries cooked in duck fat, a genuine ploughman’s lunch—you’ll feel like you’re in Liverpool—and 28 beers on tap. What more do you need? (B.G.)

The Back Abbey, 128 N. Oberlin Ave., Claremont, (909) 625-2642; www.thebackabbey.com

BEST BURRITO

El Merendero

Does size matters when it comes to burritos? El Merendero hopes the answer to that is, “yes.” The burritos here aren’t just big but they’re loud as well. And by loud we mean spicy, loaded with meat and featuring the restaurant’s famous green chile. The place is also connected to a bakery, so if you got any room stop by for some pan dulce as well. Its nachos aren’t half terrible either. (B.G.)

El Merendero, 242 S. Garey Ave., Pomona, (909) 620-1411.

BEST CHINESE

Joy-, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino

Apparently, it’s Fantasy Spring’s (And chef Freddy Rieger’s) year. Joy is Rieger’s take on Asian cuisine. Joy has all of the old-school Chinese favorites along with Korean, Vietnamese and Thai food, and amazingly the place manages to pull off such an eclectic list of cuisines. It’s got scads of vegetarian options on the menu and again, it’s connected to one of the more interesting and entertaining casinos in the area. (B.G.)

Joy, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino, 84-245 Indio Springs Pkwy., Indio, (760) 342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com

BEST COFFEEHOUSE

Back To The Grind

The local coffeehouse is a dying breed—Back To The Grind is both a reminder of why this is a shame, and a beacon that homegrown java purveyors can take hope in. This place does more than serve up quality café, but also supports the arts, features bands, hosts different groups in the area and has a pretty sweet website that people can interact with. It’s also a nice spot to grab a drink and do nothing for a bit. During the 90’s hip coffee spots were everywhere; today we’ve got Back To The Grind. (B.G.)

Back To The Grind, 3575 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 784-0800; www.back2thegrind.com

BEST DELI

NY Delight

There were many contenders for this throne, but Weekly voters realize a great deli when they nosh in one. NY Delight offers up an array of mouth-stretching sandwiches, sure, but it’s also now serving up beer and wine, highlighting music upstairs and continuing to offer up the same fresh innovative choices the place always has. Lead chef and owner Smyth Johnson continues to offer up a New York deli far away from Broadway and the Bronx. (B.G.)

NY Delight, 310 S. Thomas St., Pomona, (909) 868-6518; www.nydelight.com

BEST DESSERT

Suite 106 Cupcakery

Whatever you happen to think of the culinary phenomenon that is the cupcake craze, said craze has reached its zenith at Suite 106. Christiana Grammer opened the Cupcakery in 2007, right about the time cupcakes broke big. People loved the variety and clever approach she brought to her entire menu and the place took off. Try the pumpkin pie version—a seriously tasty dessert. (B.G.)

Suite 106 Cupcakery, 12434 N. Main St., Rancho Cucamonga, (888) 977-6458; www.suite106cupcakery.com

BEST FARMERS MARKET

Claremont

Rain or shine, local merchants have converged at the heart of Claremont Village for a lively day of bartering and conversation every Sunday morning since 1996. The Claremont Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the social and artistic lives of city residents, sponsors the weekly event which features a great selection of unique handicrafts and locally-grown, organic fresh fruits and vegetables. (N.P.)

Claremont Farmers Market, Indian Hill Boulevard and 2nd Street, Claremont; market.claremontforum.org. Sundays, 8AM-1PM.

BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT

Gerard’s Eve Bistro

Legend has it that a former chef once proposed to his wife in this small, cozy restaurant that has the feel and ambience of a country farmhouse nestled in picturesque company of neighboring strip malls. While filet mignon and flambé slips through the kitchen as quickly as the bar dispenses raspberry beer, make no mistake that Gerard’s elegant stylings and doting service bring home the French flair for flashy artifice. (N.P.)

Gerard’s Eve Bistro, 9814 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, (951) 687-4882; facebook.com/gerardsevebistro

BEST FROZEN YOGURT

Berries Frozen Yogurt

Berries Frozen Yogurt is fast becoming a bona fide treasure for all those looking for an upscale, gourmet-caliber and healthy delight. Customers that walk through the doors are visually greeted with a unique and delightful art gallery display that whimsically portrays its menu, and serves as further testament to Berries’ philosophy: to infuse innovative flavor concepts, based on the quality and freshness of its ingredients, into the world of frozen yogurt. And it has succeeded in accomplishing just that–and so much more–by creating wholly unique specialty flavors that have elevated it into a category all its own. Berries Frozen Yogurt offers premium non-fat frozen yogurt that consists of original (plain tart), berries (non-dairy sorbet), creamy vanilla and decadent, rich chocolate flavors, waiting to be customized to your liking with a delectable, mouth-watering assortment of more than 90-plus toppings. You get to choose your toppings, which are generously arranged on top or chopped and blended into layers of taste bud-teasing extravagance. In addition to the four flavors, Berries has created more than 30 specialty flavors (and counting). It’s not hard to see why one of its customers dubbed the business “the best frozen yogurt in the Western Hemisphere.” Go see for yourself, grab one of Berries’ distinctive red spoons and dip into some of that creamy treasure–like its #1 top-seller, Nutella Bella. It’ll make a believer out of you. After sampling many of the flavors, we left convinced that the future of frozen yogurt is located at the corner of Baseline and Day Creek. (M. T.)

7305 Day Creek Blvd., Ste. 102, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 463-2924; facebook.com/berriesyogurt

BEST GREASY SPOON

Red Hill

Red Hill Coffee Shop might register as a tiny blip on Route 66 map, really, looking more like a convenient rest stop en route to one destination or other. Oh, but what a stop. The eight-table dining room makes a huge statement thanks to the heaping portions of the restaurant’s home-cooked, cheaply-priced breakfasts, which are hearty enough to induce a heart attack. (N.P.)

Red Hill Coffee Shop, 8111 Foothill Blvd., Suite C, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 985-3816.

BEST HOT DOG

The Hot Dog Shoppe

Hot dogs have a nasty reputation with most people over the age of 11 these days, but these people haven’t eaten at the Hot Dog Shoppe in Corona lately. The Shoppe will help you remember why you loved hot dogs in the first place. These are gourmet productions, and the even include a veggie option as well as specialty sausages. Plus, they serve beer. Beer and spicy sausages go together, people. (B.G.)

The Hot Dog Shoppe, 510 Hidden Valley Pkwy., Corona, (951) 898-8702; www.thehotdogshoppe-corona.com

BEST ICE CREAM
Lique, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino

Time for the sweet stuff. Lique is located at the Fantasy Springs Resort and supplies all the luxury and quality one would expect from such an establishment. Its tasty, cold treats can come as either a pre-made sundae or a special concoction of your own. Either way, it’s sure to be delicious! Our recommendation: Yummi Gummi with strawberry and black cherry vanilla ice cream, gummy bears, marshmallow topping and whipped cream. (J.M.)

Lique, Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino, 84-245 Indio Springs Pkwy., Indio, (800) 827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com

BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

Haandi Indian Cuisine

Haandi’s winning awards is nothing new—after all the restuarant won this one last year too. Maybe that’s due to its helpful staff, daily lunch buffet, or spice meter that runs from mild to Indian spicy, which is well . . . hot. More likely Haandi continues to win accolades due to its innovative, fresh, Northern Indian cooking, all at reasonable prices—yeah, that’s why. (B.G.)

Haandi Indian Cuisine, 7890 Haven Ave., Ste. 15-16, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 581-1951; www.haandiindiancuisine.com

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

Cannataro’s 

Cannataro’s reminds me of an old school, East Coast, ’70s-style restaurant that has been updated just enough to be relaxed and homey, but is in no way stale. The food mirrors a casual yet classy vibe; the pizzas rock as do the calzones, and the entrees are hearty and delicious. And unlike other snootier Italian joints, garlic bread and house salads come with every entrée. (B.G.)

Cannataro’s, 12345 Mountain Ave., #K, Chino, (909) 590-7960; www.cannataros.com

BEST JAPANESE

Sayaka

Colton doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to Japanese, but Sayaka Restaurant rises to the top for atmosphere and service. All-you-can eat sushi receives a Mexican twist from its preparers, but the real thrills begin with the chefs at the grill, whose hammy fire and oil antics provide simple amusement for wide-eyed customers. (N.P.)

Sayaka Japanese Restaurant, 1060 S. Mt. Vernon Ave., Colton, (909) 824-6958; www.sayakajapaneserestaurant.com

BEST LATE-NIGHT EATS

Corky’s

Indulge in your desire for momma’s cooking at Corky’s, serving up meals with quality that you wish your local Denny’s would have. After all the place is open 24/7 which means that every deliciously hearty meal you can think of is at your finger tips from the most delectable fresh omelets to the greatest selection of sandwiches and burgers. Pure heaven for the late-night muncher. (A.B.)

Corky’s Kitchen & Bakery, 6403 Haven Ave., Ste 106, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 994-8655; and 2019 N. Riverside Ave., Ste. 11, Rialto, (909) 820-4400; www.corkyskitchenandbakery.com

BEST MEDITERRANEAN 

Saca’s 

If you’re itching for some good Mediterranean food then look no further because Saca’s has got it all. From the delicately cut flame-skewered platters to the healthiest Shawerma sandwich and even to the authentic baklava, Saca’s is ready to serve both the delighted vegetarian as well as the meat lover craving a whole roasted rotisserie chicken. Pita bread? Yes, please! (A.B.)

Saca’s Mediterranean Cuisine, 248 W. 2nd St., Claremont, (909) 624-3340; www.gotosacas.com

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

Tio’s Mexican Restaurant

It’s basically impossible to stand out as a Mexican restaurant in the Inland Empire, where taco stands are as ubiquitous as injuries in your typical NFL game, and rice and bean slop shops litter the mini-malls. Tio’s does rise above the pack though. It’s a local, packed at times, with generous portions and unpretentious, great salsa, very IE-style Mexican restaurant, and this year it happens to be the best tambien. (B.G.)

Tio’s Mexican Restaurant, 7305 Day Creek Blvd., Suite 105, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 922-5128; order.tiosmexicanfood.com

BEST PHO/VIETNAMESE

Pho Vi

Pho Vi serves reasonably-priced Vietnamese comfort foods in the hip and trendy downtown Pomona Arts District. The lunch crowds tend to favor the sandwiches, especially the charbroiled pork banh mi. An order of rare steak pho will do unimaginable wonders for clearing clogged sinuses, while Pho Vi raises its caramel macchiato raises to transcendent heights. (N.P.)

Pho Vi, 281 S. Thomas St., Pomona, (909) 865-6888.

BEST PIZZA

Monaco’s Pizza

First you should know that Mr. Monaco is actually from Italy. Who can make pizza better than an authentic Italian? Certainly not that poseur pizza place down the street. Now you need no longer search for that perfect pizza with thick-breaded crust that’s moist and delicious surrounding generous amounts of whichever toppings you chose, all cooked to perfection. It’s been right here in Rancho the whole time! (A.B.)

Monaco’s Pizza, 7325 Day Creek Blvd., #101, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 463-7301; www.monacospizza.com

BEST RESTAURANT

Sycamore Inn

This 1920s landmark, with its high-backed red, leather chairs, warm glowing fireplaces and beamed ceilings, served as the stomping grounds for the rich and famous before staking its reputation on prime cuts and seafood. Even more impressive however, are the 40 vintages available for lucky diners to sample and the chef’s special chocolate soufflé, a feat that takes a half hour to whip up and serve tableside with whipped cream and powdered sugar. (N.P.)

Sycamore Inn, 8318 Foothill Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 982-1104; www.thesycamoreinn.com

BEST ROMANTIC RESTAURANT

Mario’s Place

From its vantage point across the street from the Mission Inn, Mario’s Place has more going for it than as the place to see and be seen. Chef Leone Palagi creates savory, bite-sized morsels that toy with the senses before settling in with its multilayered flavor explosion, all accomplished in stylish digs heavy on the mahogany and aglow in Art Deco lighting. (N.P.)

Mario’s Place, 3646 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7755; www.mariosplace.com

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Market Broiler

The home grown seafood specialists has won over diners across the Southland with freshly prepared, full-bodied chowders (the Manhattan is a stand-out) and an extensive selection of mesquite charcoal broiled fish. In addition, Market Broiler maintains the services of a sushi chef for its small menu of rolled and box sushi, while sandwiches, salads and non-fish entrees help sate the appetites of seafood-averse eaters. (N.P.)

Market Broiler, 3525 Merrill Ave., Riverside, (951) 276-9007; 4557 E. Mills Cir., Ontario, (909) 581-0866; www.marketbroiler.com

BEST STEAKHOUSE

Steer n Stein

What began as a necessary enterprise for an unemployed chef in Huntington Beach has emerged into a mini-chain dotting points north and south of the IE landscape. Steer ’N Stein earned its no-fuss reputation serving an established cache of meat and potato dishes and service is almost too good to be true. Nary has a soul left this restaurant without the ceremonial unbuckling of the belt. (N.P.)

Steer ’N Stein, 8348 Archibald Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 987-4447; 14950 Perris Blvd., Moreno Valley, (951) 243-8799; 12224 Mariposa Rd., Victorville, (760) 241-0775; www.steernstein.com

BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH

Walter’s

Brunch is awesome. What’s even better than awesome is Walter’s, which has the best selection of food to complete the experience of your brunch dine. Even better, Walter’s houses multiple different areas to eat from the outside patio or sidewalk seating to the indoor bistro, cottage and, yes, even a bar. Pick your atmosphere and then pick your brunch indulgence. (A.B.)

Walter’s Restaurant, 310 N. Yale Ave., Claremont, (909) 624-2779; waltersrestaurant.biz

BEST SUSHI

Sakura Ichi

The melt-in-your-mouth quality of the fish and artful presentation place Sakura Ichi a step above other sushi joints. A la carte and all-you-can-eat options allow diners plenty of flexibility to mix and match courses to their choosing. Sushi boats, while expensive, rarely skimp on its main entrees. An early evening Happy Hour discounts AYCE sushi by $3. One caveat to AYCE: order what you can physically eat since the restaurant will charge for uneaten portions. (N.P.)

Sakura Ichi Japanese Restaurant & Bar, 101 W. Mission Blvd., Suite 101, Pomona, (909) 865-2059; www.sakuraichi.com

BEST TACOS

Tacos Jalisco

SoCal is the best place to find good authentic Mexican tacos but among so many restaurants, how do you find the best one? The public has spoken: tasty tacos filled with beef carne asada and flooded with sweet green sauce from Tacos Jalisco. They also serve a variety of dishes including burritos, tortas and quesadillas, but the tacos remain a staple point of this tasty joint. (A.B.)

Tacos Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, 595 W. Mission Blvd., Pomona (909) 829-8014; tacosjaliscopomona.com

BEST TAPAS/SMALL PLATES

Viva Madrid

It isn’t always about the main dishes that make a meal (although Viva Madrid sure does have great a selection when it comes to Mexican gourmet), but the tapas menu specifically has about 40 to choose from (no, that’s not a typo). With so many variations it would be ludicrous to even try and summarize the likes of that varied menu. (A.B.)

Viva Madrid, 225 Yale Ave., Claremont, (909) 624-5500; www.vivamadrid.com.

BEST THAI RESTAURANT 

Bann Thai

Cheap. Simple. Authentic. These are what come to my mind when I think of Bann Thai. Not much too look at from the outside (nor the inside for that matter), Bann Thai is all about the simple yet stylish Thai cooking that goes on in its kitchen. Sam Arch immigrated to the States 35 years ago and quickly missed Thai cuisine. He eventually started a restaurant. Riverside is lucky that he did. (B.G.)

Bann Thai, 6461 Brockton Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-3381; www.bannthairiverside.com

BEST VEGETARIAN/VEGAN RESTAURANT

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe

Many meat lovers shy away from the sound of the word “vegetarian,” but it’s high time to leave your bias aside for one meal and give this place a try. It’s not all tofu and lettuce. There are many dishes that simply use meat substitutes to please even the most steadfast meat lover. Among a desert of dull and similar restaurants, find this oasis and quench your thirst for new. (A.B.)

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe, 11550 Pierce St., Riverside, (951) 688-5423.


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