Restaurants, Recently Arrived or Coming Soon

In San Gabriel:  I don't know if it was a grand opening, there must have been free food or free drinks or something else going on, but there were about fifty people lined up outside of a Tapioca Express, at the corner of Las Tunas and Mission.

Also, finally, there was another sign on the front of the closed Spike's Teriyaki Bowl on San Gabriel, near Valley:  "Gourmet House--More than a Steakhouse."

And, finally, in Rosemead:  In the window of the Quizno's that closed (on San Gabriel at Garvey), there's a hand-lettered sign announcing the impending arrival of "North Shore Hawaiian Barbeque."  So no Hawaiian Ono Grill or L&L for Rosemead; we get a cheap knockoff.

More than a steakhouse?

Isn't the point of a steakhouse to eat a big steak, and as little of everything else as possible?

More than a steakhouse?

That should be the consumer's goal.  The proprietor's goal is for you to fill up on breadsticks, salad, and Coke.

Speaking of restaurants that will be leaving, I'm pretty sure the Norm's on Valley and Del Mar is closing up some time this summer.  Their ad in today's paper said they're 24/7 "until Summer 2008."  I seem to recall having read an article recently that said that something new was coming to that corner.

More than a steakhouse?

Oh man, where else are we supposed to go at 3 in the morning for American food out here? How can they be closing when they seem to do brisk business? It's a pretty good Norm's too.

More than a steakhouse?

That is a hopping Norm's.  I went there on a Saturday morning and the waiting area was packed.  Fortunately for me, a party of two could get seated much quicker.

Oddly enough, in high school, we never went to Norm's for our late-night food.  We used to go to Carrow's or Touhey's.

[And speaking of high school, it was nice to see Mr. Kanow at Rosemead City Hall last night, to accept recognition with the girl's volleyball team of San Gabriel High School.  Apparently, they've won their league something like 27 times since he's been coaching them.]

But Del Mar and Valley is part of San Gabriel's "Golden Mile," so I guess the land values are too high for even a packed discount restaurant to make a go.  They'll probably put in a two-level retail development.  Be nice if they save one level for the Norm's to move back in.

More than a steakhouse?

Carrows used to be better, and I think that location by the freeway has declined. Norms wasn't so great, as I remember, but lately, it's been good to me. It'll suck that they're being knocked down when they're doing well. Their 50's style architecture is cool. Their parking lot lights are funky.

It'll be a bummer to see the orange tile and wood beams give way to stucco archways and stone tile. But, that's progress, I guess.

The only other chain family restaurants that taste good to me are the IHOP in Lincoln Heights,* and the Denny's in Montebello, but only on mornings. It has to be the cooks there, because these specific restaurants stand out. The Norm's in Santa Monica is good, too. Great service there. The last notable is the Bob's Big Boy on Wilshire - their salsa covered latke things were good.

* This IHOP has the 50s style architecture too. It feels pretty cool, kind of like Canters, or the Denny's down by the jail.

Q sucks

Oh yeah, one other quip here. Good bye Quizno's. I've never liked them. Expensive and not very good. Their bread wasn't good, and the product was inconsistent. The bread should be more like Il Fornaio's bread.

Same for Togo's. They ruled in the Bay Area, but down here, their bread isn't as good. Or the sandwich makers aren't as good. Something is "off".

That leaves Subway. They used to suck, but, when the switched to these fancier breads, some of the outlets have really done a good job on their sandwiches. They'll never be Art's or Langer's, but, they are good for what they are.

The trick with Subway is that you can request them to put on specific things, and heat it up. So you can cook the tomatoes a little bit, or get them to make a tuna melt, or cook the onions and bell peppers. If only I could request a sourdough or rye bread with a hard crust, dill pickles like a real deli, and horseradish...

PS - I have to qualify this review - I am a meat-avoider. So these comments don't pertain to any meat-filled sandwiches. It is possible that the meat at Subway is not very good compared.