subinthapa's Profile

Title Last Reply

A nice surprise in the IE

I've been meaning to give this restaurant the credit it deserves for some time now. The family has been eating here since they opened a few years ago, and what impresses me most is that the food has consistently improved. This is a European-inspired cafe in a nondescript strip mall just up the street from the Montclair Plaza that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. I wish more mall shoppers knew about it and were brave enough to make the quarter-mile trek up, if only for a coffee and delectable sweet from the counter, but it rarely has the crowd it deserves.

We sorely miss the excellent breakfast choices we had years ago on the West Side and in the Pasadena area, but this cafe is coming close to making up for that. Just recently I sampled the Molasses Glazed Pork Chop and Waffles when it was still a special, and it proved to be as good as many of the best breakfast plates I've had, from Dish in La Canada to Marston's in Pasadena to Julienne in San Marino. Now you can get it any day of the week, and you absolutely should. The caramelized waffles alone could make you weep for joy in the IE.

If you're in for lunch, you might be surprised at the quality of their pizzas. They might not rank in the pantheon of SoCal pizza legends, but they are the best personal-sized pizzas in the area. Another great lunch choice is the Chicken Cannberge Tasca for chicken salad lovers.

Their pastas are an excellent choice for dinner, but I usually go with a special. The owner is ever-present, and I suspect she is responsible for personally preparing the specials, because they always have some unexpected flair. If you don't mind noise with your meals, they have bands that perform regularly as well.

This restaurant really deserves credit for bringing a fresh, foodie-friendly menu to the culinary wasteland that is the Inland Empire.

-----
Dolce Cafe & Bakery
8821 Central Ave, Montclair, CA 91763

Feb 07, 2011
subinthapa in Los Angeles Area

finding lemon oil for baking??

Quick recommendation for using the lemon oil: Use 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 water with some basmati rice, add three drops lemon oil per two cups rice, and cook as usual. You'll thank me. I thanked our wedding caterer, who cooked this with Indian dishes for our wedding, and was smart enough not to tell us it was their first time catering with Indian food until afterward.

Apr 22, 2010
subinthapa in Los Angeles Area

Yuma Visit - Twice!

Thanks for the recommendations. It looks like I'll be back in the area at least a couple more times over the next few months, so I'll give the jamaica and pollo a try.

Apr 22, 2010
subinthapa in Southwest

finding lemon oil for baking??

I got a three-pack of citrus oils (the Boyajian brand) from Cost Plus World Market a few years ago. Lemon, Lime, and Orange. Try to share these if you can. They come in small bottles, but you don't need much at all, and they will go bad fast.

Apr 11, 2010
subinthapa in Los Angeles Area

Yuma Visit - Twice!

I happened to be in Yuma for work last week, and found an old recommendation for this restaurant here. I was so pleased, I went back the next day.

First impression: It's what you want a down-home Mexican restaurant to look like. It's in a converted home, with two small, cozy, well-worn dining rooms and an outdoor patio serving area. I could see the kitchen from my seat, and it's old and cramped back there. Don't come here for a modern dining experience.

If you like Horchata, get a big one. It's home-made, not too sweet, and perfectly balanced between rice and cinnamon. And the big one is BIG - probably 32 ounces. Chips and salsa are automatic, and both are homemade as well. The salsa is tomatoey, with a heat that builds. That's what the Horchata is for.

I had the Especial de Pepe the first day, which is a plate of marinated pork pieces in a roasted tomatillo sauce with rice, beans and tortillas. The sauce is earthy, complex and a perfect complement to the tender pork. The rice is simple and fairly fluffy, and the beans are refried but not runny. Both were well-seasoned, but not salty. By the time I finished the meal, I knew I ate too much, but none of the portions were huge.

Caldo was calling me the next day, and with about five to choose from every day, I figured they must treat their soups seriously. I was not disappointed. The quart-sized bowl of posole arrived steaming and velvety-red, with onions, cilantro, and lemon wedges on the side. Tortillas are also provided with all soups.

This posole was a bit different than I am used to, with less hominy and more big chunks of meaty, fatty pork (that's where the velvety texture came from), and hardly any other vegetables - just a few large sheets of onion and roasted peppers. I will take this kind of posole as the new standard, though - the pork absolutely melts in your mouth, contributing a sweetness to the bitter, earthy broth.

The only miss was the chile relleno I ordered on the side. While the pepper was nicely roasted, it was clearly not the sturdy Anaheim or Guajillo that is the staple of chiles rellenos. It looked like it had lost a fight with Mike Tyson, its cheese mingling with dismembered breading all over the plate. The flavor was good, until I got to the upper half, where the seeds (all the seeds, as well as the core) jumped in and turned everything bitter.

Despite the chile relleno, I would have paid $25 for less-pleasing meals at most Los Angeles-area sit-down Mexican restaurants, even the lower-end family-owned joints nowadays, but both meals barely broke $10, including drink and tax. As I told my server on the way out, I'd be fat if I lived in Yuma.

-----
Los Manjares De Pepe
2187 W 8th St, Yuma, AZ 85364

Apr 05, 2010
subinthapa in Southwest

Pancake dilemma?

I saved the instructions for seasoning my steel crepe pan. No promises this works with any kind of steel, but here they are:
"The first time the pan is used, brown some potato peelings with a little fat or oil, so as to "coat" the pan a little, and then throw the contents away into the waste bin. Your frying pan is now ready for use. Remember to pre-heat the pan well before cooking. In order to preserve its properties and to avoid rust, wash the pan in hot water, avoiding the use of liquid soaps or other detergents. Dry your pan immediately with absorbent paper. If necessary, oil the pan and keep it protected from humidity."

Reaching back to my days tending a flat grill in college, we only used water and a pumice block to clean the hot surface. Some oil on the whole thing in the morning as it heated up was all it needed to stay pretty stick-free the rest of the day.

Jun 03, 2007
subinthapa in Home Cooking

Pancake dilemma?

Haven't had the problem before, but I imagine a bit of melted butter added to the wet ingredients might be what keeps mine from sticking. I have used stainless steel pans without sticking before, but the nonstick electric griddle is pretty handy and just about foolproof.

Maybe the griddle surface needs some low-temp oil seasoning?

Jun 03, 2007
subinthapa in Home Cooking

MONROVIA ???

I second Garden Grill. They were supposed to have hookah by now, according to their advertisements the last time I was there.

Jun 02, 2007
subinthapa in Los Angeles Area

Boba in Monrovia????

I just tried Aloha Boba in the Huntington Plaza across from Le Roy's, and I really enjoyed it. Nice atmosphere, about 50 teas to choose from, even some sandwiches and ice cream. Free wireless too.

Jun 02, 2007
subinthapa in Los Angeles Area

Sweet Garlic in Monrovia?

Another business owner in Old Town said Sweet Garlic (and every other business) got hit hard when the City tore up Myrtle over the last couple months. I'm glad to hear they relocated to Pasadena - my wife loved their fried rice.

Jun 02, 2007
subinthapa in Los Angeles Area