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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Paper's "Man About Town"

I’m indebted to good friend and brilliant chiropractor, Dr. Steve Heilman, for steering me to a new eatery that has simply amazed me.

The Hungry Bear Sub Shop is located just off of Centre City Parkway at El Norte Parkway, 302 D W. El Norte Parkway, about two doors down from Blockbuster.

I was hungry one day and Steve pointed me to this eatery and I ordered a hot pastrami sandwich. It stood about 3.5-4” high, was large enough to feed a squad of hungry Marines, and was priced at about $6.50. What a buy! What a tasty sandwich! I’ve eaten there three times already and intend on eating there a lot more often.

Not only is the food great but Mia, the co-owner, with her son, is a former flight attendant with Pan Am. A stunning beauty herself, she has hired only gals who are not only beautiful but smart and good looking. (Remember back when flight attendants were all gorgeous? With lovely smiles and well groomed? Not frumpy and grumpy like some flight attendants today?)

Check it out. Tell ‘em Dr. Steve sent you . . . and that lovely, dear, dear person, lyle davis.

While we’re on the subject of eateries, I don't know if you’re familiar with Five Guys Restaurants or not. They are in the LA area and have just expanded to San Diego County with one location in San Marcos. We decided to give them a try.

A quiet, romantic, intimate restaurant, it is not. It is raucous. Lines of people (though fast moving) enter the building, corridors built of 50 lbs sacks of Idaho potatoes (a clever marketing/merchandising gimmick) guide you to the ordering station, you then either stand around and wait or grab a table and wait for them to call your number. Meanwhile, you grab a couple trays of salted peanuts in the shell, to munch on while you await your number being called. It really doesn't take all that long before your order is ready and it's great people watching time.

It was a nice crowd, mostly young folks, but a few old codgers, like us. Loud music playing to the point it was difficult to hear what your table mate was saying. Finally, they called number 10 and I dutifully went to claim our feast. I had the regular hamburger, which comes with two patties . . . all the fixin's you want. Evelyn had the smaller cheeseburger, we shared a large order of French Fries (get the small french fries; the large is waaaaaay too big, even for two people). Malt vinegar at the table was super for the fries. That's the way the Brits eat their chips (fries) and it's the only way to properly enjoy fries. Catsup is passe'.

I had read all the raves about Five Guys Hamburgers and how they were just the finest thing money could buy for $5. Well, maybe. I thought it was a fine tasting hamburger . . . probably a shade above In N Out Burgers . . .but not by much. But I didn't think it deserved quite the raves I had read about. An excellent hamburger for $5. That's accurate. Any more than that is hyperbole.

The restaurant itself is . . . interesting. But probably not the type of restaurant I'd go rushing back to. You can order on line, go and pick up the burgers waiting for you; not even sure I'd do that. An interesting experience. Glad we went there . . . not sure I'll rush right back.

One place I do go often is the new Souplantation in Escondido. This month their featured soup was classic tomato. Last time there I had three bowls of classic tomato, two bowls of delicious chicken noodle (large chunks of white chicken meat, huge, thick noodles, tasty broth), one bowl of tomato rice soup, which was only okay, and one bowl of clam chowder. Their clam chowder, to me, is more like potato soup with, perhaps, a few clams tucked in somewhere. Today is the last day for March’s special on classic tomato soup . . . rich, thick, almost to the point of being crunchy. Not sure when tomato soup will be featured again . . . but I want more!

The salad bar is, of course, alway delicious; lots of extras, pizza slices, corn bread, blue berry muffins, ice cream, yogurt, dressings . . . and then, of course, you can always go back for more soup.

We met long time friend and fellow Kiwanian, Nick Ponce, and his wife Sharon, there; they were dining with daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Anthony Roner, and granddaughter, Katie and grandson, Kyle. Kyle is a budding gourmand, having prepared a gourmet treat, in his eyes at least, of mixing ice cream in his chicken noodle soup. Hey, stranger things have happened and they became delicacies!

We’ve been known to get around various restaurants throughout North County and we’ll be happy to point out the better ones. (The bad ones we don’t review; I don’t see my mission in life to trash another business. I do see as my mission in life to let people know where they’ll find good food, good service, and fair prices.

• • • • •

Sharp-eyed readers of The Paper will have noticed that a rather distinguished barrister has commenced advertising with us. None other than Thor Emblem . . . he of stentorian tone and handsome, well trimmed, beard. Well, Thor is a might fine fella, mighty talented. But we have our eyes on his bride, Tracy Emblem, also a brilliant attorney. Tracy has run for elective office a number of times but what sticks with me is the brilliant legal job she did, and pro bono, by the way (pro bono means free) and managed to prove a man innocent and got him out of jail. That is both a formidable and an admirable task.

It is such a huge task that we hope to interview her, go over the files, and follow the case from beginning to end and show you just what she did and how she did it. It should make for one of the more interesting cover stories. Not sure of the publication date yet . . . but it is coming soon!

• • • • •

Good friend, Randy Taylor, he who has owned and operated the outstanding Escondido Mattress Factory for 54 years, is due to have an even brighter outlook on life . . . and soon.

This week he had cataract surgery on his left eye at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in La Jolla. Next month he gets his right eye done. Great news for one of Escondido’s nicest guys. His right hand gal, Laurie Hippert, has been acting as chauffeur, office manager, sales manager, and Chief Cheerleader for Randy. If you know Randy, drop in and say hello and wish him well on his recovery; if you don’t know Randy, drop in and introduce yourself. You’ll be a richer person for knowing Randy and Laurie.

• • • • •

If you love Tri-Tip sandwiches as much as I do, you can have a regular feast tomorrow, April 1st, when the Salvation Army offers a meal consisting of a tri-tip beef sandwich, bag of chips, three bean salad, dessert from Nemo’s bakery, and a bottle of water, all for $10. You can stop by and get the fixin’s at the Salvation Army offices at 1301 Las Villas Way, Escondido. Or, if you’ve got a group of neighbors, or an office group, and can come up with an order of 10 or more, they’ll even deliver for you. Call 760.745.8016, extension 100. It’s a neat fund raiser for an outstanding organization that does a world of good for a whole lot of people. Any time disaster hits, the Salvation Army is right there. Their admin costs are tiny; most of the money goes directly to the people who need help.

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