"Toy’s Kitchen," the best damn Cantonese-style Chinese take-out in Santa Ana, Ca…hell, best Chinese in all of Southern California. Nothing…and I mean nothing comes close. Nobody could touch their chow mein and their chicken broccoli was to die. I think the old gentleman (James Toy) who used to run the place had some health problems. One day, it was just gone…no word, nothing. The phone number is some Hispanic law firm or something…
"Donald (eldest son), if you’re reading this, what happened?"
I miss the “Big Yellow Houses” around the Southland as well. Fun, homestyle-type dining.
Oh yeah, Szechwan Palace in Evanston, IL.
I disovered this gem while in high school and ate there literally once or twice a week for over a decade. Jim the owner singlehandedly taught me almost everything I know about Chinese cuisine. This was where I learned about the two menu system, learned the joys of bitter melon, bean paste, how to steam whole fish, real chow fun, and countless other culinary wonders sadly lacking at home(think pork chops with rice-A-roni and you’ve pretty much got the pinnacle of my parents’ home cooking)
I would go in on a week day evening, sit down in the corner and let Jim choose what to feed me. Many times I would eat in the back with the prep cooks - a bowl of rice and some simple veggies with a little dried preserved shrimp mmmm…
Two years ago there was a pretty good sized snowstorm and their roof collapsed. They tried for almost six months but couldn’t afford to fix it up and the city swooped in and turned it into a senior center:(
I still haven’t found a place that does tofu with black mushrooms nearly as well ::sigh::
I totallly commiserate poopah It’s a hole in my culinary world
This isn’t exactly a rare restaurant, but I was really put out when the Bob’s Big Boy in Sunland-Tujunga, CA (off of the 210 freeway) was turned into “Coco’s”. Oh, Coco’s is OK, I guess. But it ain’t Bob’s. Oh, I know there’s a Bob’s in Burbank, (and other places in S. Calif.) but it ain’t the same, I tell ya, it ain’t!
An old family friend, 80-something Billy (since passed on) would eat there every week, sometimes almost every day. Bob’s had the best salads. My sister and I would often come with him, he knew all the waitresses, he tipped them well, and they all LOVED him. It was such a friendly, family atmosphere. And then Coco’s bought them out, and a lot of the waitresses left, and it wasn’t the same. Coco’s has a more “yuppie” (well, kinda) feel to it. Not the same.
A jewish restraunt/hang out/institution in Orlando. They had the best breakfast breads (sweet rolls & such) and an ice cream desert that could feed ten people. I think they lost their lease or something, they’d been there almost fifty years, IIRC.
Townsend’s Plantation in Orlando, FL.
Great food, always had excellent service.
Gary’s Duck Inn (also Orlando, FL)
See review above.
I will sort of second Ronnie’s (Orlando, FL)
Good food (correct about the breakfast breads), but I certainly do NOT miss the waitstaff. [“Service with a snarl.”]
Roommate [sub](for want of a printable name that the mods will not implode over)[/sub] was quite upset to find out that The Kapok Tree in Tampa/Ybor City (one of the two), FL had closed down. Loved that place.
Baba’s Mediterranean Café on 53rd Street in Davenport, IA. It was a after-school, pre-movie staple for my friends and me. Now, to get a decent stuffed grape leaf, hummus, or shwarma we have to go to either Iowa City or Chicago. Of course, we’d been craving Mediterranean food for a while before we all headed off to college. Now it’s the 2,000,000th Italian place in the Quad-Cities. Damn Mel Foster.
The Nut Tree in Vacaville, California. My grandparents lived in Sacramento when I was young, and when I went to visit we’d always eat there one night. I don’t remember the food, but I’ll never forget the place.
Justina’s and Bayshore Fish Market, both in Long Beach CA. Justina’s was kind of a nouveau Continental/California cuisine kinda place, that was big enough for only about 10 tables for two and a couple larger ones. It was very cozy and intimate (read “romantic”) and had desserts to die for.
Bayshore Fish Market was just a couple miles away, and was both a fish market and restaurant. The fish was incredibly fresh, and the dining area was a funky covered patio where you threw peanut shells on the floor. There wasn’t much of a menu, really…just a list of all the fish they had in the case. They’d cook it any way you wanted (broiled, pan fried, sauteed w/ butter, deep fried, etc), pile on some veggies and some pilaf or a potato, and you were set.
Anyone here remember Dinah’s Shack in Palo Alto, CA? One of the only true smörgasboards on the West coast. All you could eat, seven types of herring, peel and eat shrimp, decent fried chicken and live harp music off in the corner each evening. The 1989 earthquake shut it down for good.
In Berkeley there was De Alba’s Mexican Delicatessen next door to Velo Sport bicycles. Real shredded meat tacos were 50¢, bean tostadas were 35¢, the food was so authentic and flavorful. One summer in the late 1970’s old man De Alba went down to visit family in Mexico and never came back. Thank goodness Mario’s La Fiesta is still there on Telegraph avenue.
It’s almost tragic that good cooking has migrated into the realm of a fine art these days. Cooking well is not some arcane secret, merely a craft that demands dedication. To so many restauranteurs, cutting corners seems to be more important than maintaining quality.
MikeG, why don’t you mosey over to my recipe thread and post some of those Chinese recipes that your pal taught you. I’m especially looking for an excellent black bean sauce.
your thread, it’s so… big!
[sub]it scares me[/sub]
Seriously though, my time in culinary school was well spent except for the whole “writing things down” part;)
I’ll think about it and write down a black bean sauce recipe.
I remember that place well. I used to live in Vacaville (until 1981) and I have many fond memories of that place. It was only recently that I found out they had shut it down. I almost cried. Does anybody know what is there now? Or did they just tear down the whole place?
Strange you should ask, I was just out that way about a month ago. The main building and the sign are still there (I think there was a banner saying it was closed), but I couldn’t see too much else just passing on the freeway.
Part of the reason I remember it so well is that there used to be absolutely nothing else around it. Actually, there might have been a gas station, but I didn’t pay much attention to gas stations when I was 8. Next to the freeway there was just this restaurant (and the gift shop, and the toy store, and the airport) and that was it. Now there’s a big outlet mall, and some other chain restaurants. Even if The Nut Tree was still open, it wouldn’t be quite the same.
I’m glad this thread’s here, because I can finally post an ode to the no-name Indian restaurant that used to be in Ames, IA. Some friends and I discovered it by accident on a college roadtrip, and thereafter it became a fixture on any journeys through Iowa…one long weekend, we even did a special trip up (~5 hours one way) for the sole purpose of eating there.
It was set up sort of cafeteria-style; one would walk up to the counter and order a plate ladled with your choices from the dozen or so steaming trays of kormas and curries. It was both the best and the most dirt-cheap Indian food I’ve had in this country, served by a kindly man who said, “thank you for enjoying my food” in his accented voice and sincerely meant it.
But every time we went, we usually had the place to ourselves, and it seems that was the problem. One trip, we swung through Ames only to discover the place closed and boarded up.
It seems Indian food is just too ‘ethnic’ to make a profit serving it in small-town Iowa…