Past Stories

The Thai That Binds

A good, cheap Thai restaurant is an elusive thing to find because when Thai is bad, it’s unpalatable. To be honest, the first time I had Thai food was gastro-intestinal disaster—the food itself was flavorless and lu...


Zip Ain’t That Hip

Zip. Zip. Zip. It’s the word of the day (meaning “home” in Korean) at Zip Fusion Sushi in slightly hideous but rather handy Corona Mall; in fact it’s plastered across the loudly magenta wall I’m fa...


Homestyle Chinese Chow at Diamond Palace

Diamond Bar, a middle-class suburb of tidy tract homes enjoys the benefits of straddling LA, Orange and Riverside counties, has become a bastion of all things Asian. Sure, you might have to get lost figuring out the geography o...



Windy City Meets Brew City in Riverside

Romano’s Chicago Pizzeria and Italian restaurant in Riverside is actually two restaurants in one. On one side you have an Italian restaurant with moderately priced dishes ranging from acceptable to the delicious, an ideal...


Faux Better or Faux Worse

Spaggi’s in Upland aspires to be a fine dining restaurant, but unfortunately falls well short. Though it has an outward appearance of a luxury eatery, at the end of the meal it becomes evident that the fine-dining experie...


All You Can Eat Without the Heat

I love Indian food almost as much as I love sushi, enticed as I am by the cornucopia of smells, textures, vibrant colors and visual aesthetic. How better to satisfy my omnivorous cravings than by indulging in the occasional Ind...



Unchained Specialty

Quick, what’s one of the main differences between the increasing number of chain restaurants in the Inland Empire and the one-of-a-kind joints with local tradition and personality? Well, there’s the food quality&mda...


The True Italian

Fine dining in California is usually disappointing because, contrary to popular belief, high prices aren’t all it takes to qualify as upper crust. Thankfully, Claremont’s Tutti Mangia Italian Grill has all the attri...


Good Evening Vietnam!

The tables are nondescript, and frankly, a bit shabby looking. A few faded posters of girls drinking exotic sodas hang limply on the walls, while Vietnamese folk/trance music hums in the background. The menu behind the counter ...



Harry’s Pacific Grill

The open-air Victoria Gardens Mall in Rancho Cucamonga is quickly shaping up to be a Mecca of cosmopolitan and sophisticated dining. Joining the ranks of elegant eateries is Harry’s Pacific Grill, located just on the outs...


A Spot of Tea

Central Avenue doesn’t exactly have that cup-of-tea-in-the-afternoon feel—however, venturing behind a lush garden, the Streeter Tea House is a bit like walking through the looking glass. Driving up to the sunny yell...


An Oasis in the Desert

Flames singed my brows. There wasn’t a teppan grill or any onion volcanoes in sight—just lovely ladies and glib men with pints in hands, overlooking a manmade lake in Corona. Yes, beautiful lush Corona. There was no...



YOUR LLAMA!

Quick quiz: Tell us everything you know about Peru. You’re thinking South America, right? The Andes. Maybe you’re seeing National Geographic images of Machu Picchu, or Lima, or that lake with the funny name, the nam...


DEBAUCHERY FOR BREAKFAST!

Living in Long Beach at the ass end of the ‘90s seems almost an illusion now. My beautiful old one-room apartment—in a building the landlord claimed John Kennedy rendezvoused with hookers at—had a sliver of an...


PAPER BAGGING IT

Why does everyone in Redlands feel the need to tell me they live there because they could never live in the cultural wastelands of Riverside or San Bernardino? (It’s the same way people say “I live in San Bernardino...



AMERICAN IDOLATRY

Today, anybody can be an Idol. Look at some of the TV people who scored just by proving attitude counts as much as vocal prowess—like William Hung, who transformed Ricky Martin’s hip-swirling rendition of “She...


FILLIN’ UP AT THE PUMP

Who knew that the corner gas station could be the kitschiest hangout within earshot of downtown Riverside?  No, not the gasser where GW’s fat cat buds drop the petrol price just long enough for you to vote Republican com...


NO CHEAP SHOTS

What makes an expensive restaurant worth the price? Is it just the food, or do the inedible frills like décor, staff and ambiance need to be superior in order to make it worth doling out the cheddar? Some places offer&he...



FULL OF BULL

It gets harder and harder to find a decent place to enjoy a good steak anymore. So many restaurants are too brightly lit, illuminating walls swarming with mismatched clutter. And what’s with all the new wait staffs being ...


BIG FISH, LITTLE FISHERMAN

Maybe you don’t equate the Inland Empire with seafood, even if we do have questionable tilapia fresh from the Salton Sea. But we landlocked folk still love the fish and chips, or maybe even one step better—shrimp an...


WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

I’m always wary of restaurants that claim to offer the best of too many worlds: the donut store that sells egg rolls; the Italian restaurant that has a Mexican menu. Usually, everything in such places is mediocre, bland, ...



KITSCH-O-RIFIC!

First, the bad news.  With the holy month of Ramadan just around the corner, the proprietors of Aladdin Jr. have decided to stop serving alcohol.  Indefinitely.  I realize that this is an entirely appropriate decision, and I...


MOMMY! BABY WANTS TO EAT MEXICAN!

Far from the maddening crowd, and pretty damn far from the nearest Del Taco, Casa Maya lies in the heart of Mentone. Mentone sort of sets the mood for the restaurant—quirky, funky and a little offbeat, a town David Lynch&...


MOMMY! BABY WANTS TO EAT MEXICAN!

Far from the maddening crowd, and pretty damn far from the nearest Del Taco, Casa Maya lies in the heart of Mentone. Mentone sort of sets the mood for the restaurant—quirky, funky and a little offbeat, a town David Lynch&...



CORONARY TERRORISM

Irish cuisine is an oxymoron. Irish whiskey, yes. Wild, redheaded Irish girls, sure. Irish sectarian strife, of course. The various squabbling tribes of the entire British Isles aren’t famous for their contributions to th...


HISTORICAL APPETITE

There are two things that come to mind when thinking about Fontana: bad drivers and Mexican restaurants. Both abound in this city, and if you’re not careful, can leave you with bodily harm and wasted money. But while you ...


FOODIE GODHEAD!

Simple Simon’s in downtown Riverside is no hidden gem, and definitely not a “surprise” restaurant. Pop in during your average weekday lunch rush, and not only won’t you feel like you’ve made an ama...



Pub Craic!

British and Irish pub faire is oft reviled for its meat-n-potatoes blandness and unoriginality, but this is an auld world notion that, perpetuated by American gullibility, borders on slander. While it’s true that certain ...