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Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes...

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Coffee Cup

 512 Nevada Hwy
Boulder City, NV
 

Good Home Cooking & Great Bloody Mary’s

We were headed from The Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas to Laughlin on a Sunday morning and decided to stop in Boulder City for lunch. I had seen some good reviews about The Coffee Cup and decided to give it a try. We got there just before noon and being a Sunday in May it was a bit crowded. We opted to wait at the bar. Lucky for us there were only 3 others at the bar as its pretty small (4 or 5 stools) w/ not much area other than that. Being that it was still Sunday morning, we ordered a couple of Bloody Mary’s. Come to find out they are quite popular at The Coffee Cup… they make their own mix and serve them w/ a slice of bacon. Don’t cringe… the bacon is cooked just right and really compliments the drink. We were called to a table before we had finished our drinks and took them with.

They are open from 6 AM until 2 PM daily and serve both breakfast and lunch. They are known for their Pork Chili Verde and you can order it by the cup, bowl or in an omelet… you won’t be disappointed.

Pork Chili Verde

Excellent!

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Four Kegs

 276 North Jones Blvd # B
Las Vegas, NV
 

Hole-in-the-wall sports bar w/ good food & friendly service

We were headed from Caesars to the Red Rock Resort and stopped in for lunch. I had read about their great Stromboli’s, but decided to try their Redneck burger instead. It was grilled to order and accompanied w/ country style fries. The combination of the Swiss cheese, mushrooms and jalapenos adds just the right amount spice and flavor to the ½ lb. burger. The draft beer was so cold that the ice that formed on the outside of the glass was there `till I finished it.

The Four Kegs is next to the freeway, in a tired strip-mall, next to a laundrymat. Though it’s not in the best of neighborhoods, it is a great place to stop for lunch.

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Off The Strip

 10670 Southern Highlands Parkway #102
Las Vegas, NV
 

Friendly staff, In my opinion, their food is overrated

We tried `Off the Strip’ based upon its high rating for Italian cuisine in the Las Vegas area. Even on a Saturday night, they cheerfully accepted our reservation for 2. I made mention that it was our anniversary. When we arrived there were just two tables available, both unset and right by the kitchen. Not exactly a `romantic’ location w/ all the kitchen crew noise and wait staff traffic (reservations???). The service was prompt though and very personable.

When they brought the bread, I asked for a small side of marinara. I usually do this because I enjoy a dip of marinara with my bread, but more so, on a first visit, it lets me evaluate the key ingredient for most of their offerings. We all have formed our own particular tastes when it comes to Italian, and mine was fine-tuned during my travels to Italy, in particular Southern Italy. For me their marinara was not bad, but a bit too salty w/ a only hint of tomato. Not the fresh tomato flavor I have grown to love, so I went for a penne with vodka sauce and my wife had the shrimp stuffed chicken.

We both ordered their Caesars salad w/ our entrée which are made to order. I know because the salad chef was just across the counter from us. We both found the Caesar salad too ‘hot’. It overpowered all other ingredients. I later asked if they used Cayenne and was told that it was due to the amount of garlic used. I suggested they try cutting back a bit on the garlic to give all of the complex flavors of a Caesar salad the opportunity to shine.

Dinner was good (not great), but we were both pleased w/ out entrees. After dinner we were surprised w/ a complimentary slice of their famous cheesecake. It is not under rated. It was delicious and the highlight of our Off the Strip dining experience.

Will we return?… Not sure…

A Tip… I don’t know what their corkage is, but if I were to return, I would bring my own favorite as their most marginal wines are in the $35 range w/ most anything decent @ $60+.

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China Panda Restaurant

 2164 Hwy 95
Bullhead City, AZ
 

Bad Food, Worse Service

We were in Laughlin during the `River Run’ and decided to have some Chinese. The casinos were all crowded so we thought we would go across the river to Bullhead and find something over there. I had read a couple of good reviews on the China Panda so off we went. We got there about 8:00 pm on a Monday night. Our first clue should have been the lack of patrons (2 couples and a trio), but we didn’t really know of anywhere else, here so we decided to try it anyway. The atmosphere is lacking, even for a Chinese place in the desert. Mostly barren walls and worn Formica topped tables. The menu seemed extensive though, and the prices were reasonable.

We ordered a #2 family dinner ($10.95 ea.). My selection was the beef & broccoli. I noticed that they also had a shrimp & broccoli as an entree for $2 more, so when the server finally arrived I asked if I could substitute it and pay the difference. I received a stern NO SUBSTITUTIONS!

The food arrived in a reasonable amount of time w/ the soup first. I thought it OK (after adding soy sauce) but my wife thought it too bland. Then came the finger food that accompany the `family style’ dinner. In a word… GREASY!

On to the entrees… When they finally arrived, one bite and I knew I would not be able to finish mine. It was TERRIBLE! Without mentioning what I thought of my dish, I asked my wife what she thought about hers… she immediately replied “AWFUL”! We tried to `doctor’ them up w/ some of the sauces they brought w/ the finger food, but you can’t make bad food good, especially when it’s not only bad, but salty bad as well.

Our server finally came by and noticed that we weren’t eating and asked if we would like what’s left (which was most everything) packaged `to go’. We replied “certainly not” and told her about the bland food w/ over-the-top saltiness, she replied “desert people like a lot of salt”.

If the China Panda is one of the top restaurants in Bullhead City, I feel sorry for the residents…

Beef & Broccoli

Bland, yet salty

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The Dambar Steakhouse

 1960 E Andy Devine Ave
Kingman, AZ
 

Dam Good Food

When I’m in or near Kingman, I make it a point to stop by the DamBar. It can look a bit intimidating at times (especially during the ‘River Run’ bike week at Laughlin), but don’t worry, most everyone I’ve seen and met here aren’t the Hells Angel type rowdy biker; they’re friendly and not looking to cause anyone any trouble.

The menu is varied w/ lots of dam-good choices at dam-reasonable prices. Lots of Dam Finger Food, too. Try one of my favorites, the DamBurger or the Dam Red Ribeye (Marinated in their Red beer). I usually eat in the bar, but if you’re looking for a bit more comfort and quiet, try the restaurant.

Red Ribeye

Tender rib-eye marinated in their Red beer

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Cortina Italian Market

 2175 W Orange Ave
Anaheim, CA
 

THE BEST Italian authentic Italian style Deli in Orange Coun

The meats are all top quality (Boars Head, etc.). The bread is made fresh daily. Every kind of specialty Italian deli meat & cheese you can imagine along with all those other hard to find Italian items necessary for a true Italian meal.

The Pizzeria offers top quality pizzas and made to order subs. My favorite is the `Cortina’s Special’ with dry salami, cotto salami, capicolla, mortadella, provolone cheese with their own vinaigrette on a freshly made French roll. I live quite a few miles away, so I usually have one there and order one to-go for lunch the next day. The pizzas are like nothing you will find this side of Italy. The crust is fresh and not too thick, but not too thin. The toppings are all fresh, high quality meats and veggies with generous amounts of cheeses right from the market’s deli case. Take some home; it’s just as good the next day!

Large - Cortina's Special Sub Sandwich at Cortina Italian Market

Cortina's Special Sub Sandwich

Fresh and tasty. Just the right amount of Cortina’s special vinaigrette on a fresh French Rool!

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Gilbert's Seafood Grill

 30 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA
 

Clam Chowder at it's Finest!

We were doing the tourist thing on the wharf and I was tasting the clam chowder offerings that most all of the restaurants hawk up and down the wharf. I thought Gilbert’s (the restaurant, not the market) was the best of the group, so we we went in.

We weren’t looking for food, but it happened to be happy hour so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of drinks. The calamari appetizer was only $2 extra w/ drinks during happy hour so we added it on (the chowder was not a happy hour offering.

The bartender poured a couple of `healthy’ drinks and brought us the calamari right away. As we were enjoying our calamari the bartender overheard my remark to the person seated next to me on the results of my clam chowder taste test. Within a minute or so he brought me a bowl ‘on the house’!

We didn’t actually stay for dinner, but I can attest to the friendliness of the bar staff, the great clam chowder and the fried calamari appetizer.

Clam Chowder

Well prepared, not too thick or too thin. Great clam flavor with an abundance of fresh chopped clams. Just the right amount of potatoes and celery, chopped small enough to allow the clams to be the focal point of the dish. No overpowering herb or other flavor additives. No scorched milk or burnt taste whatsoever. Clam Chowder at its finest!

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Fishwife at Asilomar Beach

 1996 Sunset Dr
Pacific Grove, CA
 

The Jewel by the Sea is Loosing its Luster

I have been going to this restaurant for over 15 years. Though I do not live in the Pacific Grove area, I love it and stop by as often as I can. Fifteen years ago this place was a real `find’ A low key place frequented by the locals and those few tourists (like myself) who had heard about it via word of mouth. I enjoyed their fresh seafood served like you might find in the Caribbean Southern Italy or Greece.

That was then. Over the years the crowds have grown (along with the prices) and the service has diminished. This last time I vowed to seek out another `locals’ find as the Fishwife is no longer the ‘diamond-in-the-ruff’ that it once was.

Sure the food is still good (not great), but the crowd factor along with the impersonal service is enough for me to move on and find something `special’ like the Fishwife once was.

Grilled Calamari Provencal

Well prepared and presented. One of my Fishwife favorites!

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Zubies Chicken Coop

 414 Old Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA
 

Good Food and Great Drinks!

Back in my college days (70’s), I lived in Costa Mesa, California. Being single and on a tight budget, I looked for places where the food was good, there was lots of it and the price was right. Cold beer, good drinks, a pool table and the availability of single gals from time to time were always a plus. Well, a place that filled all of the aforementioned was a local dive called Zubies Pizza. Zubie must’a bought it from a pizza place, cause there was a pizza oven, but pizza was nowhere on the menu that I knew of and I never saw a one served. What made Zubies Pizza popular was his Prime Rib. There was a weekly prime rib night where you had to call in first thing in the morning for a `reservation’ time. Reservations were issued kind of like ticket masters issues tickets to a sellout concert, on a first come basis. You got a time slot, you showed up at that time, gave your name, bought a ticket ($2.85 in the 70’s) and got in line. Once you got through the line, seating was unassigned and `family style’ on picnic tables with sawdust on the floor. Well that place fell to the coastal development craze, but before it did he opened up a couple other low key, local favorites. Zubies Dry Dock in Huntington Beach and Zubies Chicken Coop on the other side of Costa Mesa at the Newport Beach city boundary.

Before it was Zubies Chicken Coop, this was a fancy French restaurant with a fancy French name just off Pacific Coast Highway at the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa city boundaries. It was an upscale restaurant with valet parking, velvet wallpaper, beveled French windows, and plush carpet. I don’t know why or how Zubie came to acquire it, but when he did, he got rid of the menu and the valet parking, but didn’t do much remodeling other than a couple inches of sawdust on the carpet and then he opened the doors. Not much has been done since, either; some new tables as those fancy French ones wore out and an occasional replenishment of the sawdust on the floor (If you scrape your foot through it you can still make out the design in the old carpet).

Known to the locals as a place with good food and drinks, the menu is diverse with home-style, freshly cooked food served in large portions. The only thing I’ve been disappointed in was the rotisserie chicken (maybe that’s some kind of tribute to his pizza-less pizza place). It’s no surprise to see dressed down multi-millionaire yacht owners sitting at the bar for breakfast telling jokes with the local mechanics. Zubie (Captain John Zubieta) is gone now, he died a few years back and the place continued on under the direction of his wife. She has since sold it (she still runs Zubies Dry Dock in Huntington Beach), but the place lives on without change, weekly prime rib night and all!

Pork Chops & Eggs

I had the center-cut boneless pork chops cooked to order and served with eggs, any style, home-style potatoes, biscuits and country gravy. Even though I didn’t (couldn’t) finish it all, it was great!

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La Siesta Mexican Food

 920 N El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA
 

Authentic Mexican Style Food with Great Salsa!

A local’s favorite, families and surfers alike. A bit on the weathered side, but the food is authentic Mexican style and the salsa is a winner too. They have won the San Clemente Salsa Challenge quite a few times. The service is friendly (many of them are from the same family) and will often sit down and chat if you have the time.
The Mexican food is priced very reasonable. Beer by the bottle or glass only (no pitchers), wine and tequila margaritas.

Try a Family Carnitas plate (feeds 4+) or a Baja style fish taco (don’t forget the chips & salsa).

I’d rate it higher if they would bring back the pitchers of beer.

I come here all the time, but the last time I was here it was Enchilada Monday, so that’s what I had. I ordered one carnitas and one carne asada. I have traveled throughout Mexico for over 30 years and I find their enchilada sauce is made in the authentic Mexican style that I prefer. Family owned and operated since 1985 by Gustavo, Alberto and Enrique Hernandez. Give it a try. Dress is beach casual (shorts, t-shirt and Rainbows. Be sure and say “Hola!” to Thomas (a waiter/busman) and be nice to the other help as most are members of his immediate family.

Enchilada Plate

I ordered shredded carnitas enchilada and carne asada enchilada smothered in their authentic enchilada red sauce w/ rice & beans. One of my favorites and always GREAT! I’d rate this higher if they would serve it with a pitcher of beer.

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