Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Unreal OC Promo

Ema went on a rant during our latest podcast (#51), and it was classic enough to isolate and send out to the world. Enjoy.

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Barefoot in the Garage 8

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Barefoot in the Garage # 6

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The Small Cafe - Long Beach California

Decided to go somewhere besides Mel's last night, and that kind of rash decision making paid off. The Small Cafe in the heart of Naples Island in Long Beach proved somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the food at The Small Cafe is very flavorful. However the wait for the food, the overall atmosphere (very bright lights at eye level over each table), and the odd tasting grilled cheese sandwich left us wondering if we should give this diner a second chance.

The 20 minute wait for our food could be explained by the fact that there's only one cook in the tiny kitchen. Granted, he's a great short-order cook, but when there's only two other tables occupied in the restaurant and we had to wait that long, it makes us wonder how long of a wait there would be if the place was packed.

I had the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich which was one of the best I've ever tasted. It came with my choice of side dishes, and I chose a small salad. My wife had the vegetarian sandwich which consisted of a variety of grilled vegetables topped with a slice of mozzarella. This was also quite good. My oldest son had the tripple-decker club sandwich which was delicious. The sandwich had a couple of nice touches not usually found on clubs - thick bacon and good quality turkey. Those two ingredients may have bumped the price up by a buck or two, but certainly also made for a more memorable meal.

My daughter's grilled cheese was just plain off. I don't know if they used Velveta cheese instead of American, or if they ran out of both and used a dollup of Frito Lay nacho cheese, but it just tasted wrong. Not spoiled, mind you, just not right. The waitress happily offered another meal, but my daughter chose the blueberry muffin instead.

The muffin was so good that we decided to get four of them to go to have for breakfast this morning.

So yes, The Small Cafe does go the extra mile in selecting quality ingredients and even making something as mundane as a blueberry muffin memorable. This cafe serves up tasty food, and if you don't mind the possibility of having to wait a little while, this cafe may be worth putting on your regular lunch list.

Barefoot in the Garage # 5

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Mel's Drive-In Seal Beach - Take Two

I'm not usually one to add salt to my food, but this morning I made an exception when faced with Mel's version of a vegetable omelet. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the wizardry of such established egg and potato masters as The Porch, Chuck's, and The Potholder - all in Long Beach, or Cafe Del Sol, here in Los Alamitos. Maybe Mel's just needs time to become 'seasoned' in their food preparation. Is it fair for me to expect greatness from such a new kitchen? I just figured that since it's part of a chain, the chef's would be with the program out of the gate.

With my omelet, I had my choice of Mel's Special Grilled potatoes or regular hash browns. I suppose I started worrying about this meal when I asked the waitress which one she recommended and she said the hash browns. They had even less taste than the omelet which had only one taste that rose above all others - burnt. It wasn't scorched, just singed enough to become the dominant taste of the entire dish.

My daughter's French Toast was fine, but unremarkable. My dad had two eggs, scrambled and an English Muffin - nothing there to complain about.

Trust me when I say that I really want to like this diner. I live close by and have been looking forward to its opening for nearly a year. That being said, we will continue to visit Mel's to try out different menu items, and I'll continue to have faith that one day soon I'll experience a meal there which will leave me smiling with the comforting realization that our neighborhood diner has finally arrived.

I look forward to writing that review.

Barefoot in the Garage # 2

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