Past Stories

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 ...


Drunk On Cocktails!

Adjacent to the People’s Art Gallery and across from the Mission Tobacco Lounge and Lake Alice sits La Cascada, a minor gem of a Mexican seafood restaurant in the heart of downtown Riverside, where it’s possible to ...


The Mexican Sublime

Tio’s Tacos is funky, kitschy, cool. Tio’s Tacos is Dali meets Diego Rivera with a side trip to take mushrooms with Anton Gaudi. Tio’s Tacos is ceramic watermelons and mariachi figurines, a chapel composed of ...



Feasting in the Happiest Food Place on Earth

If Disneyland had a Tijuana Land, El Merendero would fit the bill. Everything from its blindingly bright exterior tiles to its cheery rainbowed interiors radiates happy, happy thoughts, and instead of serving up thrills and chi...


25,000 Miles of Spaghetti a Year

 There are more types of pasta sauce at the supermarket than chilis, salad dressings or marinades—at least at my local grocer. Americans love pasta, you see, especially spaghetti. In fact, according to a study in Nor...


Oktoberfest!

 What’s got beer, the chicken dance, lederhosen, polka, more polka, sauerkraut, bratwurst, cleavage, bouncers and a petting zoo? It’s Oktoberfest, baby—Big Bear’s annual celebration of all things Ge...



The Colossal Stromboli

Consider if you will the fate of the lowly stromboli—completely overshadowed on the one hand by its older brother the pizza, on the other often mistaken for its cousin the calzone. Perhaps it all started when Disney decid...


GO STUFF YOURSELF!

 My second husband hated curry spices and anything that looked like curry spices, so we never ate Indian food. For this—and so many other reasons—my second husband was an idiot. Fortunately, my third husband is...


CLASS THAT WON’T GET YOUR HEAD CUT OFF

Saying that Gerard’s is the best French restaurant in Riverside—which is what the “Best Of” lists always say—isn’t really saying much. For one thing, “Best Of” lists are usually m...



CHEESESTEAK SMACKDOWN!

 All right, I’m just going to put this out there: I’ve never been to Philadelphia. Not once. I’ve never, um, wanted to go there. I’m sure it’s nice—there’s that cracked bell, guys ...


SATISFYING THE SAMURAI WITHIN

 The barely foot-long monster, colorful green and silver-brown skin glistening under the soft light, beckons me with its black, scaly face and green sprout antennas. My chopsticks predatorily attack its segmented body. Aft...


COWBOY JUNKIE

 I was in Fontario, near the Inland Empire’s biggest inland port and in the gray myriad of warehouses, when out of the night came something that looked like a cross between Vegas and Chuck E. Cheese. Cowboy Burgers &...



FUNKY SPUNKY

 On a freezing, blustery day—and lately, they’ve all been freezing and blustery—I headed over to Redlands to check out Tony’s Spunky Steer, a classic family steakhouse, familiar to anyone who’...


Death by Panang!

 When I was an unhappy Army wife in Naples, Italy, we lived in a small, privately owned apartment building with a landlord who never missed a chance to feel me up—which is a completely different, albeit fun, story. O...


Chips Over Salsa

 “You could go across the street. There’s some good places to eat over there.” This is how I found my new favorite Mexican restaurant, Las Brasas, on an excursion to a different eating place which turned ...



Starch Specialists

 I’m at an English pub, the Royal Falconer in Riverside, at 6:30 on a Thursday night, and the place is filling up quickly. But not with people eating—they’re here to drink. If you go to the Falconer for j...