Past Stories

The Happy Hookah

 As a cultural anthropologist, I strongly believe in the concept of cultural relativism—the idea that no culture is “better” than any other culture. While it’s true you can’t compare the &ldqu...


Funky Monkey Madness!

 Fusion cuisine—the mishmashing of any number of culinary styles into one highfalutin whole, and meditated on by a lot of wannabes—can be revitalizing or dangerous for one’s health (you can almost hear th...


Not Your Average Kung Pao

 Growing up in a Chinese restaurant, having the run and pick of anything in the kitchen, having a grandmother cook whatever fragrant-smelling Chinese entrée I wanted for lunch in elementary school, surviving on food...



An American Pie for the Masses

Got a gaggle of booze-guzzling loudmouths around you who want to celebrate the glories of televised springtime sports over beer, pizza and more beer? Well, maybe not right this second, but you will. And when they start churning...


Swayze-Free Zone

When I first pulled in to the Lookout Roadhouse for lunch, I felt a bit uneasy. I was with the kids, but is a roadhouse really a proper place to bring the young-uns? Would Patrick Swayze be around—and would he…


Feast of Fats

Before I praise all concepts and concerns Peppi’s-related, let me say just one thing: Peppi’s should be torn down. It’s an anachronism, and an eyesore to boot. The sooner they throw up a Jack-in-the-Crack or a...



Beyond Checkered Tablecloths and Marinara

Back in the days before Giada De Laurentiis stole my husband away from me (and not because of her smooth curves, ample bosom and winning smile—although that never hurt), my first Italian food memories went like this: pizz...


The Karma Special

Going out for Indian food in the IE can be a frustrating experience. There aren’t as many great Indian places as there should be in an area this large, however godforsaken parts of it may be. (Just kidding, Muscoy!) Anoth...


Haute Desert Blight

I’m a simple girl with simple tastes. Give me a back-alley taqueria, and I’ll be content to stuff my face in anonymity. But sit me down in a sophisticated setting, and watch me squirm like a mouse on acid. I’l...



Sandwich D’Or

D’Elia’s Grinders is a transcendent sandwich experience in a Riverside region pockmarked with several hidden dining pleasures, despite the ‘hood’s relative poverty. From the eclectic Mexican joint Templo...


Lessons My Korean Waitress Taught Me

The next time you’re in an Asian restaurant (the dine-in kind, where real live Asians not dressed in chef’s whites are sitting around the table, chopsticks in hand, shoveling rice from rice bowls into their mouths),...


Dive Bar Nirvana

There are a few simple guidelines all great dive bars must have in common, things that makes them truly exceptional establishments. I went to the Tartan of Redlands recently to investigate if it was the classic dive bar it appe...



Gluttonous Maximus

Despite the aromatic wafts of horse manure aerating the otherwise smoggy Norco skies, that wasn’t enough to keep a line of ravenous diners from snaking out into the parking lot of the Cowgirl Café. Luckily for me, ...


Bring Your Own Wheelbarrow

The search for truly authentic Asian cuisine in the desert can seem daunting, but Aiyara provides an oasis of deliciousness in the sands of Temecula. Located just outside the periphery of the Promenade, Aiyara opened last year ...


Basquing in Nostalgia

I dreamed about feasts taken in the warm, fuzzy confines of Old World France, in old stone farmhouses off the main road, amidst rolling hills and grazing sheep. Anthony Bourdain, my punk-loving, ass-kicking, testosterone-driven...



The Posh Palate

When it comes to burger joints, divey Mexican cantinas, Thai, moderately-priced Italian, Indian, bistros, delis, and donut shops that sell egg rolls, lottery tickets and smokes, the Inland Empire can more than hold its own agai...


Beatnik Cafe

My God, beatniks? What even constitutes a beatnik these days? I surely didn’t see any when I walked through the doors of the Beatnik Café (more on that later). I don’t believe that beatniks can have an iPod o...


CHEAP EATS

Maybe the Inland Empire isn’t known as the glitzy college town à la Westwood or Berkeley, but a starving student here eats infinitely better than at any other bear-tootin’ college town. Why else would carpetb...



The Bistro Pancake

Three Square Bistro’s "serving 3 meals" claim to fame may not exactly ring true (except on the busier Fridays and Saturdays when it does stay open all day), but this strip mall anomaly makes its ritzier OC and L...


eatsSweetBobs_

The Shibbittywibbitty

The “I can’t believe such a great restaurant sits hunkered down in a strip mall restaurant” review is rapidly becoming a cliché in Southern California food writing. Let me add a tenor to the chorus. Sweet B.O...


eatsCasablanca_

A Hookah to Remember

Among the myriad spots in the IE in which to smoke or at least marvel at a hookah–Hookah Lounge, Sphinx Hookah, Hookah Haven, LaVerne’s Grapevine Restaurant, Pomona’s Coco Palm–at only a few of them can ...



eatsThreeForks_

Afternoon Delight

While the Claremont Village has never been short on eateries—and has a few notable dinner spots—finding a lunch spot that has a mixture of fancy and laid-back hasn’t always been easy. In the new addition to the Village, a...


eatsOK-Tofu_

Spicy Goodness

Many people react to tofu in ways normally reserved for organ meats, fishy fish, and Arbys. But tofu, when done well, serves as a canvas for the rest of the ingredients in a dish, like a Michelangelo or an El…


King of the Golden Fowl

I blame my current obsession with Southern comfort foods on John T. Edge, and I mean every word of it. Ever since I picked up his Fried Chicken—An American Story, I’ve lived, breathed, dreamed about every meaty nook...