Tag Archives: Mt.SAC

West Covina Thai Cuisine

17 Sep

West Covina Thai Cuisine

106 N Grand Ave
West Covina, CA 91791

Hours:
Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm / Fri & Sat 11am-9:30pm / Closed Sunday

**Minimum Purchase for Credit Card**

PorkPadThai

West Covina Thai is a cute little Thai placed tucked behind the 10 Freeway in the same shopping Center as the Denny’s that all Mt. SAC student’s know well. I only ordered my usual pork pad Thai, which was good, not great not bad, just good, so I can’t really say too much. The place however was adorable and even though my order was to go, the service was amazing. The food was done quick and while I waited the women working the register was super friendly and just chatty enough.

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Article Written on Pompeii’s Pizza Parlor

3 Jun

I have a background in journalism. While attending my junior college, I wrote for the paper and ended up working as their feature editor my last semester before transferring to CSUF. This last semester at Fullerton I decided to tread back into journalism, at least a little, by taking a features writing class. For my final I decided to write on Pompeii’s Pizza Parlor. Although I have already done a write up on this community gem, I decided to share my article with you. It offers, much more history on this place than my past posts.


It’s tucked away in a strip mall long forgotten by time. With uneven payment and cracked cement, time has not been kind to the establishments on the corner of Maple Grove and Valinda in West Covina, Calif. Squeezed into a tight corner you find the city’s hidden gem, Pompeii’s Pizza Parlor.

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Medium Pepperoni Pizza

Small in appearance from the outside, one step into Pompeii’s and it opens up before you. One nook of the restaurant, solely dedicated to take outs, offers a nice view of the always bustling kitchen. Through a small doorway, on your right, the restaurant expands into freshly painted room with classic and clean red and black booths. The walls are lined with murals, huge paintings of the ancient city of Pompeii.

Your ears will be filled with happy chatter and your nose will be overwhelmed with warm scents of cheesy pizza, garlic, and pasta sauces.

Pompeii’s opened their doors in 1960 by the Dimopoulos family.

“I remember having a lot of fun that night,” John Garside describes his first memory at Pompeii’s. “It was very dimly lit back then, so between the dim lighting and the amazing murals on the walls, for a kid who was probably 3 or 4, it almost felt like I was at Disney land.” Garside began going to Pompeii’s as a toddler in the mid 70’s.

Nikkitas Dimopoulos, or Mr. Dimopoulos as he is referred to today, began his career in pizza at Scardino’s, a literal hole in the wall, still open and popular today in the city of La Puente, just a few blocks away from where Pompeiis is located.

Scardino’s to this day is still a tiny operation, serving only take out, with room for no more than three people to stand inside their establishment while they wait for their pizza. Every night though, they still have a line out the door. This is where Mr. Dimopoulos learned to make pizzas and other Italian dishes people would demand.

Mr. Dimopoulos left Scardino’s and began his own establishment. Pompeii’s, modeled very similarly to Scardino’s, originally began as just a takeout restaurant, in the take out nook that still exists today. As the take out became successful Mr. Dimopoulos expanded the restaurant adding the dining area and a small banquet hall.

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Garlic Bread

When Mr. Dimopoulos died the restaurant transferred over to his son, who people today simply refer to as Johnny. Johnny continued his father’s legacy and the restaurant continued to grow in popularity, until mid-2012 when Johnny decided to sell his family’s restaurant.

“I felt like a part of me was gone. I know that sounds dramatic, but I have been going there my entire life,” Garside describes his reaction to Pompeii’s closing its doors.

The neighborhood did not take too well to that and in the span of five months the location went through two owners. Both failed. The customers wanted Pompeii’s.

Johnny first sold to The Pizza Company which has a fairly successful restaurant in Hacienda Heights, just a few towns over.

They couldn’t make it in Pompeii’s location so they sold to Dominic’s, another established pizza brand, which also failed to find acceptance in the neighborhood.

“Customer’s wanted Pompeii’s,” says Raquel Barbiere. Barbiere runs Pompeii’s social media pages as well as helps out on the weekends.

After running through two owners in less than half a year, the building stayed empty for a few months and that meant trouble for the neighborhood. Barbiere said Pompeii’s brought life to the neighborhood and the surrounding area, and with it gone and the space empty vandalism and theft in the strip mall began to rise.

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Garden Salad

The owner of the building needed something back in Pompeii’s spot and approached Johnny to re-open. Johnny simply couldn’t handle the demanding work of running a restaurant and turned down the offer, but extended the offer to now owner Mike Bango. Along with the offer to buy Pompeii’s came the rights to the name as well as all the family recipes that the neighborhood had grown to love.

“I was born and raised in the city of Valinda and when offered the chance to re-open Pompeii Pizza, I couldn’t resist,” Bango says on Pompeii’s website. “I love the restaurant as much as all my dedicated customers.”

Bango has 20 years of work experience at Pompeii’s under his belt. Beginning when he was only 16, Bango began as a dishwasher and worked his way up. He even had the opportunity to work under Mr. Dimopoulos himself. Mr. Dimopoulos taught him how to prepare the amazing pizza and pastas Pompeii’s is known for.

When Johnny took over he taught Bango the business side of things. Bango learned how to balance a quality product with the financial side of things.

Today Bango is combining everything he learned from the Dimopoulos family and working to keep that which is Pompeii’s alive.

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Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Running Pompeii’s is truly a family effort. New to the restaurant business, Bango has pulled help from all corners of his family. Barbiere’s sister runs the cash register, while nephews and cousins work the kitchen and the floor. Bango also does a lot of work himself.

For the young people working at Pompeii’s, family or not, the establishment looks out for them. With hours accommodating to high school and college students, all young employees are encouraged to attend school.

Since the re-opening the overall response from the public has been good. Barbiere says that re-opening Pompeii’s was like bringing something classic back, and because of that, they have gotten a lot of support from people and the overall community.

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Cheesecake

She says that Pompeii’s is a piece of many of their customers’ childhoods and people who have moved out of the area will re-route their trips and detour when they come through Southern California to simply stop at Pompeii’s.

When Pompeii’s first opened in the ‘60s a lot of its traffic and customer base came from the surrounding high schools, Workman and La Puente High School. Many of those alumni still frequent Pompeii’s.

Kelly Orr is one of those alumni who began going to Pomepeii’s in the ‘60s. He says his first impression of the restaurant was how good the pizza was.

Kelly’s wife, Sylvia Orr, didn’t begin going to Pompeii’s until the late ‘70s, but said she was initially attracted to the strange interior, the murals that are still on the walls today.

Both Kelly and Sylvia Orr were hesitant when Pompeii’s reopened, they said they were nervous that it would not be the same as before. They were pleasantly surprised that it had not changed a bit.

“Although we both really don’t eat much pizza anymore, it is still our go to place when family and friends come over,” Kelly said.

1425 Valinda Ave
West Covina, CA 91744
(626) 917-1597
Pompeii’s official website – http://www.pompeiipizzaparlor.com/

More Ruby’s Kitchen

4 Mar

Recently I had the chance to try some new things at Ruby’s Kitchen and they still continue to impress.

I ordered one of their slush drinks and we tried their fries, spring rolls, and a pork sandwich. All were pretty impressive and a definite recommendation.

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My Mystery Drink

I can’t say for sure what drink I ultimately ended up with as I originally ordered one of their smoothies, but they were out of one ingredient so they offered me one of their slush drinks and then when they delivered it the waiter wasn’t sure what the cook had made me. Either way it was delicious, cold and refreshing.

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French Fries

Their fries, although they may have been frozen were hot, crunchy, and had just the right amount of salt. A perfect price makes them the perfect snack.

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Spring Rolls

I am not a fan of spring rolls so I do not have much to say in terms of these. They were well made and all the ingredients were fresh. One thing positive I can say is I was very surprised by their size.

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Pork Sandwich

Their pork sandwich was yummy, just a little too much cilantro for my taste, but that is a problem easily fixed. For under $5 it is an awesome lunch for the students of Mt.SAC right across the street. As a former student there I know the students are always in search of good cheap food.

RIP to my Favorite Thai Place

2 Mar

Sadly I must report that Krazy Noodle Thai BBQ is no more and I am now left with a major pad Thai void that must be filled. A new Thai place has taken it’s place, but Baby Elephant Thai just won’t do.

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Location:

20795 E Amar Rd

Walnut, CA 91789

Hours: 7 Days a Week 11am – 10pm

I wanted desperately to like this place and not only because it was replacing my absolute favorite pad Thai stop. The owner was super friendly and attentive when I went in, offering my free Thai ice tea while I waited for my to go order. I only tried their pork pad Thai thus far, but it was no good in my opinion, nowhere near what I was used to getting at Krazy Noodle. The noodles were dry and sticky and I could not get over the overwhelming ketchup like taste. I may be back to try their other dishes, but as of now I’m back to searching fro decent local pad Thai.

Ruby’s Kitchen

26 Dec

Location:

1263 N Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789

Hours:

Mon-Sat 11 am – 7 pm

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Ribeye Pho

When I was in high school there was a Taco Bell right down the street from the campus. I walked past it everyday on my way home, and usually would grab a bean burrito for the walk. Sometime during my sophomore year, my Taco Bell was turned into a Pho place. Since than I have to admit I have somewhat held a grudge against the many Pho places that have popped up in my neighborhood since than. Also I am not much a “soup” person so once I learned what i actually was I still was not super eager to give it a try.

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Thai Tea and Passion Fruit Tea

I may not be a soup person, but my boyfriend is. Recently some of his co-workers took him out for Pho and instantly he was hooked. He told me I had to try it and desperatly began looking for one to take me too. He decided on Ruby’s Kitchen, a fusion place that recently opened across from Mt.SAC and a place he had seen recruiters at the Marines next door eating from quite a bit.

Since Ruby’s classifys themselves as fusion place I was not as intimidated and upon seeing chili fries on their menu I felt better (Beyond their regular menu they have a ever changing special menu.). My boyfriend ordered their ribeye pho, I got their teriyaki pineapple chicken bowl, and we ordered their chicken wings and jalepano poppers for an appetizer.

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Jalapeno Poppers

The poppers left me with mixed feelings. I hate cream cheese stuffed poppers, which these were, but the jalepanos were fresh and had a juciy snap to them which lessned my dissatisfaction with the cream cheese. The chicken wings were decent. I am not a fan of chicken wings, but the chicken alone was flavorful, and they were nice, hot, and crispy. My boyfriend really enjoyed the wing sauce.

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Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

I was forced to try the Pho, which I will admit was not that bad. It had very nice flavor and if I liked soup I may have enjoyed it. It looked really good and I wanted to eat it, but soup has never really been my thing and I really have to be in the mood for it.

My chicken bowl was really good. Rather than slathering my meat in teriyaki sauce like most palces do, Ruby’s cooks pineapple in teriyaki and than tops the chicken with that. You still get that awesome teriyaki flavor, but not so over powering and the pineapple is refeshing. My boyfriend does not even like teriyaki chicken and he liked my bowl.

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Chicken Wings

To drink we ordered their thai tea and passion fruit tea. I am not a fan of thai tea, but the passion fruit was delicious. It was refereshing and has peices of fruit in it, very good.

The only downfall to Ruby’s is their service. The servers and lazy and unattentive. Out waitor spilt water across our table and did not even care to wipe it up. The manager (or owner I am assuming) though made up for them. He was very polite and kind. He boxed up our meals for us and cleaned up the mess of his workers. He was very personable.

Krazy Noodle Thai BBQ

12 Nov

Location:

20795-3 E Amar Rd
Walnut, CA 91789

Hours:

7 days a week – 11:30 am – 9 pm

**For quick service order to go**

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Pork Pad Thai

Krazy Noodle Thai BBQ is another gem tucked away across the street from Mt. SAC. I discovered this place thanks to my boyfriend my last year at SAC and have yet to find a Thai place I enjoy as much. Prices are good, especially for a college student, I order their pork pad thai for lunch, about $7 and it will last until dinner! Besides good prices the food is always fresh and very yummy.

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Orange Chicken

I have not tried a lot from there and that is due in large part to how in love I am with their pork pad thai. I crave it so often it is hard for me to go there and order anything different. The noodles are always hot, tender and flavorful. I am in love with the combination of soft sticky noodles and the crunch of fresh veggies (cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts). Topped off with a tiny bit of peanuts. The dish is amazing. It comes in pork, chicken, and beef.

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Chicken Rad Nah

One dish I have tried from there is their orange chicken. It was ok, just not something I prefer, I have to admit I am very used to the commercialized orange chicken you find at many “Chinese” restaurants and that is probably why. The chicken was hot and crunchy, but very sticky. It had a strong ginger taste and was over powered by the taste of orange rind. I probably would not get it again.

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Rad Nah Stirred

Recently my boyfriend encouraged me to try a new dish with him, their rad nah. Reading the description it comes as soft or crispy noodles, we went soft, and it is served with broccoli in a gravy. You also get your choice of meat, we had chicken, and it comes with other veggies like cabbage and carrots, I believe. Although it is described as a gravy it is very soup like and although visually was not super appealing I really enjoyed it. The veggies were cooked nicely and the gravy had a slight sweetness to it. I would actually consider getting it again.

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Egg Rolls

We are big egg roll fans so that is one thing we always get from there. Krazy Noodles are thin and crispy, not a lot of flavor, but a nice companion to a dish. The dipping sauce that comes with them is really good too, a good combination of sweet and spicy. Their egg rolls seem to be stuffed with carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts.

Although I do highly recommend Krazy Thai, I recommend that you get their food to go. They usually prepare your food fairly quickly and you can easily be in and out in 10 minutes. Eating there though is not a great experience. Oddly opposite of their to go service can be slow and they are very inattentive. I sat for over 15 minutes waiting to get my water refilled and we were the only people in the restaurant.

Chicken Bowl for the Young One

10 Jun

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I have already reviewed Sake Sushi, but this past week my niece asked me to take her for sushi. Fearful she would not like it we ordered their chicken bowl just to be safe. The chicken was pretty good, cooked well, not fatty, and not tough. The teriyaki sauce was nice, and my niece loved the rice. Their idea of veggies though is quite sad. Hot lettuce? No thank you.