Thursday, June 23, 2011

Theo's Greek Cafe

Restaurant:  Theo's Greek Cafe
Location:  9197 Central Ave, Ste J, Montclair, CA 91763
Like/Don't Like:  Two words:  Greek Salad

I'm just going to give you the heads up right now.  You need to order the greek salad.  It is just iceberg lettuce, a couple tomatoes, a few slivers of bell peppers, cucumbers, loads of feta, and one kalamata olive.  But the dressing is made with one part olive oil and two parts magic.  It's sweet and tangy and I was tempted to slurp up what was left in the bottom of the plate.

Okay, now that I've done that service, on to the rest of the food.  Which was all great.  We split a lamb gyro and a chicken souvlaki.  Both were delicious.  The rice they came with was the only mediocre thing we had.  It was super colorful but it didn't have much flavor.  We also got some fries covered in feta, which is genius. 

The service was great - maybe because we were the only ones in there.  The new owner, Johnny, took care of us, told us about the history of the place and all of his plans.  There's a lot of American food on the menu and he's planning on making it more Greek, which I think it wise.  I'd like to try their sandwiches the next time because they sound pretty good.  As long as there is room after my salad.

A Northern Light

Book:  A Northern Light
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
Like/Don't Like:  Yeah, it was pretty good

I wish I didn't have such a pet peeve for stories that go back and forth between past and present.  I find that unless it's done exceptionally well it disrupts the flow for me.  But I know that that is just me.  So I'm giving this a good recommendation because it really was well written.  I just have issues.

Mattie is a 16 year old girl living in upstate New York in the early 1900s.  Her mother has just died and she is left to deal with all that entails:  a grieving father, 3 younger sisters to care for and a farm and household to run, all while trying to decide between her dream of being taken care of and having stability and her dream of going off to school.  Plus, she has the added misfortune of being involved in the mysterious death of a guest of the hotel she is working for.  The story goes back and forth between the night the day the guest died and the months leading up to it.  I had a hard time seeing the connection between the girl who died and Mattie other than they were both poor and young.  I mean, I got it, I just thought it was a little bit of a stretch.

But all of that can be overlooked because the voice was so strong.  You believe Mattie completely.  She is a great heroine.  Strong but flawed.  Compassionate but capable of a little selfishness.  A teenage girl all the way.  It was easy to follow along with her and it left me wanting to know more about her life at the end.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Below Zero

Restaurant:  Below Zero
Place:  583 E. Foothill Blvd, Upland, CA
Like/Don't Like:  Do penguins like snow?

Long ago, when Katie, Liz, Heather & I were pursuing our dreams of becoming nun chuck masters we would pass by this place when it was just a dream of its own.  There was a sign on top that said, "Shaved Ice" and one below it that said, "Coming Soon!"  We would pass by every Monday night and wish that it were open because, well, that dojo was a hot and smelly place, and we could have used a little icy refreshment.

Well, two years later, it's finally open, and I've been a few times now and I'm hooked.  My love of slushy beverages is well documented, so it's a given that I would love this place.  Shaved ice is a fave.  But here's the awesome twist:  you can get your shaved ice on top of ice cream.  Magic!!!  They have a list of combo suggestions or you can make your own.  And they don't skimp.  And on Tuesdays you get a dollar off.  I predict my punch card will be full by the end of the month.