Gourmet Pizza Shoppe

 120 E State St
Redlands, CA

Pizza! Pizza? PIZZA!!

I love this place, I really do! This is the kind of place you either love or hate, there is no middle ground here. This is mostly because of the crust. It’s not a traditional doughy crust…it’s almost like a thin, pre-baked biscuit like crust, which if someone told me that going in, I would not be intrigued. However, it works. It holds up well to the mountains of toppings they put on and it doesn’t take over, instead it acts like a very good catalyst for all the toppings, sauce and spices… and let me tell you about those spices: AWESOME. They really season their pizzas well, I mean beyond the savory sauce, they actually season their ingredients and toppings with different herbs and spices… most notably they use combinations of garlic, oregano, basil and rosemary, even Cholula hot sauce to name a few.

The inside is also really cool, very laid back but not a traditional restaurant feel. The inside is made to look like you’re outside with murals etc… but it’s done in a very “neighborhood bar” kind of way.

So if you’re looking for a “traditional” pizza…say a thin New York or a deep dish Chicago, go elsewhere. But if you are willing to look past the “traditional” definition of pizza and see this as a new experience, give it a try. They have every thing under the sun on their menu, from mashed potatoes to peanut butter: they have it, on a pizza!

Word to the Vegetarians: they have one of the largest veggie menu/options I’ve seen at a Pizza joint in a while.

Oh and do yourself a favor and try a dessert pizza, they are just insanely good. Especially Sarah’s Surprise, which has vanilla cream cheese frosting, crushed graham crackers, melted butter, chocolate chips, brown sugar and jack cheese. EVERYONE in our group of five loved it!!!

Little Italy


This is a just a cheese pizza, but there is just something about the combination of cheeses and seasoning that make it one of the best cheese pizzas I’ve ever had.



So so so good! All of the veggies are fresh and well seasoned. Every ingredient is a star on this pizza and it comes fully loaded with a mountain of toppings.


Barbara's Victorian Tea House

 7491 Etiwanda Ave
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

the 'splendor of tea'

Barbara knows Tea. And she really knows how to transport a gal back in time. Her Victorian Tea House home is really beautiful and such a unique experience. I can see why they have so many bridal/baby showers here—what a relaxing and elegant way to spend an afternoon.

I’ve been to Tea here several times with friends and with my Tea Society and we were always well taken care of and the food, made right there in the house kitchen, was well prepared, seasoned and plentiful. I don’t think anyone in our group has managed to start, let alone finish, our desserts—we’re all so full by the time we get to them!

The best part is that they had no problem letting our group try all the different teas we wanted. That’s just good service and good business because most of us ended up buying a bit of our favorite loose leaf blends in the end. I bought the ‘Pecan Pancake’ --yes, it is as good as it sounds--add a little milk and sugar and who needs dessert??

Located on a somewhat busy street in a residential area of Rancho Cucamonga/Etiwanda, you may find trouble parking in the lot—it’s small so if there is a party booked, plan to park on the street just north of the house.

Also, reaching someone by phone can sometimes be a challenge, but persistence pays off, it’s really worth it and Barbara and her staff are the sweetest ladies you’ll ever meet. I am so lucky to have such a place just minutes away…awww the lure of a fresh baked scone…mmmm.

One more thing, Barbara’s is also a year round gift shop that specializes in Christmas decor, so if you’re the type that loves Christmas in July, do yourself a favor and visit her soon. I plan on having our Christmas party there because I could think of no other place that would do it quite like Barbara’s Tea House.

Queen Barbara's Tea

I love that she named this tea after herself! You’d do it too, don’t even lie. Anyway, in a word- Wonderful. Everything is made fresh. I know this seems like a strange way to introduce the quality of food, but for those of you that have been to Tea Houses you’ll know how important that is. I’ve been to places where they bought the scones from somewhere else and served desserts from Costco and charged twice the price. When you’re paying $25 for a meal that doesn’t include a cocktail, you at least expect fresh, and that’s what you’ll get here. I mean, I could buy Pepperidge Farm cookies and drop a tea bag in hot water at home, what you pay for is the WHOLE EXPERIENCE, and Barbara’s delivers. Everything is homemade—yum!

The Queen Barbara’s Tea includes: a gourmet quiche, assorted tea sandwiches, raspberry vinaigrette salad, chocolate dipped strawberry, homemade desserts, fresh fruit, warm scone, mock devonshire cream, preserves, lemon curd, freshly steeped tea and an Afternoon Tea Keepsake (which is usually a decorative tea spoon). You can also order The Lady Lucy’s Tea for $22 and get everything I listed minus the keepsake, which in this Tea Lovers opinion is a great value!


Back Abbey

 128 Oberlin Avenue
Claremont, CA

Go for the beer, stay for the food...

…or is it go for the food and stay for the beer? It’s just a win-win here, everything is just really good. It’s located in the newer part of the Claremont Village, behind the Laemmle theatre and it’s a bit small inside but there is outdoor seating which is quite nice when the weather is tolerable.

Even if you have to stare down someone for a seat, it’s worth the wait! The food is SO GOOD. All of the burgers are 6 oz dry aged, cooked to medium rare unless you state otherwise and served on a yummy brioche bun that adds a slightly sweet complement to the wonderful flavors you’ll experience from each of the different burgers. The Back Abbey Burger, with its “aged Gouda, mustard aioli, caramelized onion, Niman Ranch bacon, and micro greens” is a favorite of my friends and it appears to be the favorite of the pub goers here as well. And you have to order the Pommes Frites, which are twice fried potato fries and the best I’ve had. The half order is PLENTY for two people and the full order is a good size for parties of three or four. They come with three dipping sauces: horseradish chive sauce, roumelade and ketchup. The roumelade has a lovely, and little known, accent of chervil and it is the best of the three… the horseradish sauce is pretty mild but good and most people won’t waste these fries in the ketchup.

Their beer list is extensive, mostly Belgian, many of which are on tap. My fiance’s favorites have been the Triple Karmelite, Blanche de Bruxelles, and the Chimays. Not being a beer drinker much myself, I really liked the St. Louis Fremboise, it’s a raspberry beer and it really tastes like raspberry! It pours a pinkish/magenta (pretty!) and it’s on tap! I also love that all the beers come in their own brand name glasses, which are all different shapes and sizes and all have their unique brand logo (so you’ll never forget what you’re drinking!!). They also offer French, British, Dutch, German and Canadian selections.

It’s hard to get a table during peak hours, so get there early or plan to wait. The service can be slow, but it’s always friendly and the chef(s) are always inventive and creative— make sure to check out the “Seasonal Burger” and the “Daily Soup”, I’ve tried both and they’ve not disappointed.

Grilled Vegetable Burger

Grilled portabello mushroom, zucchini, red bell peppers and eggplant layered with feta cheese and herbed verde, served on a brioche bun….do I need to say more? I’d give up meat for this. I’ve had all of their burgers, because I do eat meat but I will take this burger over any of them any day, it’s that good.


Bright Star Vegan Thai

 9819 Foothill Blvd
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

"...tastes like chicken."

Great food at a great price! Finally a place close to home to have a vegan meal that actually tastes REALLY GOOD.

When it comes to Thai I like to test the water with the usuals- “chicken” Pad Thai and “chicken” red curry. We ordered one of each and really liked them both, although I must say I went back later in the week for the lunch serving of the Pad Thai (I ordered it spicy) because it was that good.

Although I’m not vegan or vegetarian, we try to eat this way about 80% of the time and finding a good local vegan or vegetarian place can be a chore. It’s a little tucked away but the service was very friendly and the food value (taste and portion) is excellent.

"Chicken" Pad Thai

What a great meal. The dinner portion comes with a side salad, brown rice (with peas and carrots), a spring roll, miso soup, and the Pad Thai—which was great. There were also kids in there eating “chicken” burgers and fries and some kids were eating pancakes…so it’s really a place for everyone and a nice change of pace from meals made with so much animal product.


Two a Tea

 185 N Vermont Ave
Glendora, CA

my cup overfloweth

This is one of my favorite Tea Houses. I’ve never been disappointed with my visits here and I’m so glad my group felt the same. We shared a variety of teas in our individual pots and were able to try several varieties, so good that some of us chose to buy some of the wonderful loose leaf blends at the end (I bought the Almond Cream and the Green Earl Grey Bravo, there are many to choose from)!

The food was great, the roasted corn soup was one of the best I’ve had and the fresh baked scones with lemon curd and cream were wonderful! Everything is made there fresh which is a big deal to me when it comes to the smaller Tea houses. The service was attentive and courteous; they made us feel very welcome the entire time. Definitely worth the price and a repeat visit! All attendees rated Two a Tea with five out of five stars!

I do hope they get their website up and running again soon as it is a nice way to acquaint other members of our group of the variety (and the occasional special events) this wonderful tea house offers!

The Royal High Tea

This is the full tea menu. This comes with your own pot of tea (my favorites were the Almond Cream and Earl Grey) that you can change for other flavors as you finish (nice!!!). A fresh baked scone which was wonderful and since the chef changes her menu all the time you get something different each time— this last time I got a praline scone that was wonderful with their cream and lemon curd.

The soup was a roasted corn soup that was one of the best I’ve ever had and I think that’s because the chef actually went to culinary school and likes to experiment with great success. The next course was a garden salad of mixed greens in a wonderful dressing, followed by a small but delicious raspberry sorbet to “cleanse the palate”.

The assorted tea sandwiches and savories included a mini quiche, cucumber dill on white, ham and swiss pinwheel, waldorf chicken salad on a croissant, turkey with cranberry fig marmalade on squaw and egg salad with tarragon and red onion on white.

The finale was a choice of dessert made fresh that day—which ranged from fruit cobblers to cake. All were delicious!

It really makes paying for the ‘tea experience’ when you have good service and a trained chef/owner—we’ll definitely be back!!

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