Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So Cal - Southern California locations

Comment here on all the hot spots to eat that are located in Southern California. Geographically, we'll call this everything from San Luis Obispo SOUTH to the Mexican Boarder.

Remember - if it is not on our list already ---- CONVINCE US TO add it !


  1. Hodad's Burgers - Ocean Beach
    ***** 5 Stars - worth every bit of the DDD Hype. Burgers were great, service was even better. There is always a line out front, but it is worth it. What you do is go with a smallish group, take turns standing in line while the others go shopping up and down the street. Are a ton of Great little antique and other shops to kill some time while your doin the dance in line ! Worth the Drive !!!

  2. BC Cafe / Kick Back Jacks Restaurant - Rancho Cucamonga & Claremont, CA.
    ***** 5 Star All The way - can't call this a best kept secret as on Sat / Sunday the wait here can be 45 mins to an hour. But absolutely worth it. Portions are Ginormous and great tasting. Your problem will be deciding what to eat. Open for Breakfast & Lunch only. Most people won't finish the breakfasts, so take someone you like and share. If you don't share, chances are real good you'll have some leftover for at least one more meal. Worth the drive, worth the wait when you get there.

  3. Flappy Jacks - Glendora
    ***** 5 Star All The Way - another open only for Breakfast / Lunch but phenomenal food. Large portions will fill up just about anyone, also can share with a buddy. Breakfasts are killer, sandwiches are great and the burgers are worth every last calorie.

  4. The Oinkster - Eagle Rock
    ***** 5 Star - DDD and Guy hit it on the HEAD sort of. Food is fantastic my favorite was the Pastrami and the Hamburgers are great as well. Was NOT too thrilled with the Pulled Pork. Just didn't do it for me and I love my BBQ. Their BBQ Sauce is VERY good as is the slaw they put on the sandwiches. Place is TINY and is an old hamburger joint. Go when the weather is nice and you can utilize the outdoor patio seating.

  5. Mambo's Cafe - Glendale
    *** 3 Star
    Not really worth the DDD HYPE at all. Went there right after the show had aired on DDD. Saturday night and the place was jamming. I was soooo pumped and ready for some GREAT cuban food. A few months ago had been in Puerto Sague in South Beach so I wanted more cuban that I had there. Me and my girl waited 1 1/2 hours for a table and then ended up having to jump to the counter just to eat. Place is TINY old gas station. The owners / workers were really nice, but they were so in over their heads they didn't know which way was UP. After the wait, we over ordered to try all our favorites. Ordered the Papa Rellena's (potatoe balls) and they were good as an appetizer. Ordered 2 dinners to split. Chicken dish was good. My favorite, Mojo Pork was the biggest dissapointment of my life. It down right sucked. Now Mojo is garlicky, but this was rediculous, couldn't taste the other flavors over it. These folks are authentic cubano's, but this was just an utter dissapointment. Maybe I am screwed for life since my South Beach experience, but this isn't gonna satisfy my desire for cuban here in Los Angeles. If your in the neighborhood and their is NO LINE, give it a shot, the food is good. But DON'T go out of your way or plan a special trip here, not worth it.

  6. El Tepeyac Cafe - Los Angeles
    ***** 5 Star All The Way
    Chowdown 101 and worth every bit of it. Think was also on Man vs Food. This place is fantastic Mexican food in the heart of East LA. Tiny place, so expect a wait on the weekends, but definitely worth it. Sometimes I have even been outside in line and the owner starts pouring shots of Tequila to help everyone get over the wait. Hollenbeck Burrito to die for. Love this place, worth the Drive.

  7. Mutt Lynch - Newport Beach
    **** 4 Star with a bullet
    OK, it is a BAR, but it is on the BEACH in Newport, it is jammin most days of the week even during the winter (something you folks outside of california may not appreciate - on the beach, winter... come on now you can smile - look outside at the freakin snow ---- smile).

    Food is Good. Aboslutely worth the trip just to experience this cool place on the beach.

  8. Fogo De Chao - Beverly Hills (Also Scottsdale, Az, Miami, FL, Washington DC, Chicago, etc. etc.

    Supposedly the Gold Standard of Brazilian BBQ, oh and by the way, you'll need to bring a little GOLD with you as it is very pricey. BH Location is $56 pp without cocktail or tip, other locations appear to be more in $46 pp range.

    Many Friends have recommended, so we'll throw it out there. May have to drop a few duckets to see if it is the rage.

  9. Casa Bianca - Eagle Rock, CA

    Mikey V swears by this place, get's pretty good reviews with some dissenters. Very common for a Pizza / Pasta joint as most people either love or hate. Reviews are very good for Pizza, Baked Pasta dishes and Antipasto salad.

  10. Philippe's - The Original - Los Angeles, CA

    Have lived in LA my entire life (a long enough time to not want to admit it) and have had Philippe's on my tongue and never been. So finally decided to just do it and cross it off my bucket list of eating places.

    Did not disappoint. The place is GREAT and worth the drive and a little bit of a line. First off, there is going to be a line weaving in between the tables. DO NOT let it bother you. The folks at the counter work through it quicker than you can actually figure out what you are going to eat.... although, there really shouldn't be any question.

    By the way, prices are GREAT, 3 of us ate a sandwich each, with sides and drinks ----- $27 ..... wow.

    OK, the skinny on the food:

    Beef Dip ----- starts here and really ends here. Sandwich was fantastic, meat was as tasty as I have ever had. Au jus was perfect complement as the bread was dipped. There is enough meat on this to handle a reasonable appetite. I did notice a few people sitting around that had more meat (probably did a double meat option or something). Great sandwich, worth the drive into downtown. Would absolutely positively get again.

    Pork Dip ---- OK, this was good, but no where near the Beef Dip. So, if you go there for the Beef Dip, stick with it.... that one is the best.

    Mustard Sauce --- I did try a little. I like Mustard, but this one is really more horseradish sauce with a little mustard worked in. For me did not add to the sandwich... just stick with the juice it is dipped in. You need nothing further.

    Macaroni Salad -- was OK, but nothing special. I love mac salad and this one didn't thrill me. There was a little too much "tangy" to it, probably a little vinegar or what not. Could use a little more plain ol mayo. Not bad, but not to die for.

    Potato Salad -- same thing, it was good, not great. Although, if I didn't know better, I would swear this was a combination of Cole Slaw and Potato Salad. Unless when they scooped mine, they used the same scooper, but it had the hint of cabbage and carrot and a similar tangy taste.

    Chili --- you can have it straight or with beans.... from the looks of it, the with beans means they add some beans to the bottom of the cup and throw the straight chili on top -- did not look like a separate batch, didn't find the beans until last few bites. Anyway, the chili is good, like the other sides, not great. Probably my favorite of the 3 sides we tried.

    Pies --- we didn't have any, but based on the fact that they were all around us and everyone seemed to have a smile and very little left on their plates, I assume the pies are tasty. They looked good.

    Summary --- absolute must stop in your life to see where the Beef Dip sandwich originated. Worth the effort. Don't mess around, stick with the Beef Dip and enjoy it as it was meant to be. Great sandwich.

  11. North End Cafe - Manhatten Beach, CA
    Unaired location for Diners Drive In's & Dives as of 3/26/10.

    Went last night BEFORE it is featured on DDD, owner says airdate is 4/26. Cool little (and do I mean LITTLE place just off the beach. Known for their Breakfast / Lunch. Went there for Dinner, but had a "lunch" item. Had one of their Burger Specials that is similar to the Patty Melt. Meat was VERY TASTY, overall a very good burger. FRIES ARE AWESOME. Prices are a little on the high side, but you're eating a burger in trendy location. Dinner prices seem really high, but that is not what their known for.

    Overall - I wouldn't make a special trip just to eat here, but if your in the neighborhood definitely worth a visit.... BEWARE, this place only sits 16 people. When the show AIRS it will be CRAZY here for a number of weeks and I'm not sure they'll be able to handle the volume, although I hear it does get busy their on the weekends for Breakfast & Lunch....

  12. Hitching Post II - Buelton, CA
    **** 4 Star --- mainly cuz of pricey, steaks are 5 Star though.

    GREAT STEAKS, worth a lot of the HYPE. However, it is pricey and there is almost always a wait. IF you make a reservation (which you should on the weekends) make sure and be there a few minutes early, they will delete you if you are not there at your time. Usually though, they'll work to get you in quickly if you show.

  13. Paula's Pancake House - Solvang, CA
    ***** 5 Star

    BEST Breakfast joint in Solvang and great by all other standards. You go for the Danish Pancakes and DO NOT WAIVER.... get 'em. They are FANTASTIC. Also, make sure and get some of that Home Made Whip Cream ----- OMG to die for. There is usually a wait but it is worth it... Don't look around at the other restaurants and think you'll just go there and eat as there is no wait, ITS' FOR A REASON, IT IS THAT GOOD !!!

  14. Cold Spring Tavern - Santa Barbara, CA
    ***** 5 Star

    GREAT ATMOSPHERE, Fantastic Food, worth the 20 minute drive off 101.

    Only sampled the Lunch Menu - plan to go back for more. Chili is VERY good, Tavern Burger is a first rate burger and the Tri Tip Sandwhich was outstanding. Service was very good. Hear the Sunday's with the BBQ going on the side for Tri Tip and the "Lively Clientele" is off the hook. Beautiful drive around there, worth the stop.

  15. Schooner or Later - Long Beach
    **** 4 Star

    Really good place to eat. Went here as I saw a rerun of Guy Fieri's show and love to hit the places he does. I'm confused why people "ding" a restaurant for having to wait? Anyone living in a major city knows if the food is good, people are going to be there and you have to wait. The only places I have never had to wait at are where the food sucks.... so you ding a place a star for that, silly.

    Ambiance - great location on the marina with a wonderful view. If you get the chance sit outside, you will wait a long time for it on a weekend, but have a mimosa or a schooner and chill. Don't go here if you have no patience and are not willing to wait on a weekend or wake your butt up and get there at 6:30am... If you do sit inside enjoy the old school diner feel, cuz that is all it is. Those cooks do crank it out, unbelievable. We went on a Sunday morning (Sunday of the LB Grand Prix). I felt out of place without a tattoo outside as the crowd was young and a little noisy during the wait. But then again, they ALL had at least one drink in hand. So it was more of a hip crowd, but still in control so it was cool. There were a bunch of family groups of 15 or so as well having brunch. Good crowd mix and was fun to people watch.

    Service - was very good, I think a total of 4 different waitresses either refilled our drinks or asked if we needed everything. This is good in my book as everyone is pitching in and making sure the dining experience is good, don't have to count on not having one person who is having a bad day.

    Food – as we always do, we ordered a few different things to get a feel for the menu. Signature Breakfast item is “The Mess”. It was very tasty and very good size. ½ order is plenty for most. Is basically a “skillet / scramble” type meal with a whole bunch of stuff chopped up. I say chopped because even the potatoes were tiny size pieces. It was very good and I would definitely order again. Also had the French Dip and it was a very tasty sandwich. Plenty of meat, the roll was soft and good with the sandwich having a good flavor. Ordered the Onion Rings with it which were very good if you like the smaller crispy variety (which I do). GF ordered the Crab Blend Benedict (recommended by wait staff as they feel it is more moist). It was good, Benedict sauce was ok, nothing out of this world, but nothing terrible. She said she would order again.
    Overall, would definitely go back. We drove over 30 miles to get there and would do it again. Definitely know what you are getting with this joint. A good meal but it is a “trendy” and popular spot so there will be a wait on the weekend. But so is every other good place to eat with a great view in a very nice location. So enjoy the atmosphere and spend some time with people you like.

  16. Roscoe's Famous Deli - 14700 Pipeline Ave
    Chino Hills, CA 91709 (909) 597-3304

    ***** 5 Star

    This place is AWESOME. Went there with gf and friends who had all been there before, I was the virgin and anticipating the trip all day long. As usual, me and my gf ordered way too much as this was my maiden voyage and we wanted to taste different things. Sandwiches for the most part unless you are a beast (which is not a bad thing) can be shared. Needless you won't leave hungry.

    Items we tried :
    Big Mikey - great sandwich, your typical Turkey, ham & Roast Beef prepared the normal way. This was a great deli sandwich but they do load on way too much meat (did I just say that) to enjoy without wrenching your jaw.... my suggestion, peal off a little of each one, take home for tomorrow.... anyway a great "cold deli" sandwich. I am not a big fan of swiss cheese & cheddar cold, so I opted for the Pepper Jack and it was great.

    Italian Beef - mixed here. The sandwich was like all the rest loaded with beefy goodness and was extremely tasty. If you have never had a true "Italian Beef" made famous I believe in Chicago, you need to understand the "Vienna Giardinera" which you might gloss over when looking at the sandwich condiments and make up. This either makes or breaks the sandwich for you so be ready. This is a normal condiment on a true Italian beef sandwich and is a mixture of garden vege's brined and marinated in olive oil. Why do I mention, if you are not too keen on "salty" flavors, this will add considerable saltiness to the sandwich you might not expect. If you are cool with this, you'll truly love this sandwich. If your not a "salty" lover, then either ask for this on the side, or just have it removed. You are now getting basically a beef dip sandwich. Either way, the sandwich is very tasty, so know this before you order unless you are very well schooled in what a true italian Beef sandwich is..... liked this !!!

    Now the Favorite ---- Rod's Stairmaster Special ---- friggin off the hook. What sucked was I didn't order this one, someone else at the table did and all I got was one small bite.... warm beef brisket, cheddar cheese on grilled parmesan bread. Flippin awesome. This sandwich didn't quite feel as big as the rest, but looked like it would definitely feed any hunger level, might not be quite enough for 2 people to share though. Personal preference here, it comes with Ranch dressing, I'm not a huge Ranch person, I'm thinking an Ancho Chipotle dressing on this (hey owners you hear me, e-mail me I know the best flippin one on the market that I usually carry a little sample in my pocket of - that would be phenomenal) if you do add that option, damn I at least want a free sandwich. So if your like me, no Ranch please and replace with many different options. The smokiness of the brisket that is melt in your mouth tender is fantabulous. Next time I return (very soon trust me) this will be the sandwich of choice.

    Sides --- OK, there really is only one ---- ONION RINGS, believe they are the beer batterd variety and they were incredible. If your not a ring person (what the hell) j/k, the curly seasoned fries were very tasty, macaroni salad was pretty good as well.

    Anyway this place was GREAT.... and I didn't even begin to mention the libations.... I think there were 20 something beers on tap, ordered the grande Blue Moon, aaaaawe. Enough said, this place is awesome, worth the drive all day long.