Mendocino Farms (Fairfax) – Not Fried Chicken

by Franklin on November 3, 2015

Fried chicken is good. Everyone loves fried chicken! I mean, don’t quote me on this, but even vegetarians love fried chicken. People even put it between two slices of bread and call it good. Putting fried chicken in a sandwich is a good idea, but I would rather have my fried chicken sans bread. Mendocino Farms does a sandwich called the “Not So Fried” chicken sandwich. It has shaved roasted free range chicken, but it’s rolled in Mendo’s krispies. With herb aioli, mustard pickle slaw, tomatoes, and pickled red onions, the sandwich is quite delicious for not having fried chicken in it. All on a toasted ciabatta, the sandwich really has the qualities of a friend chicken sandwich without being fried chicken. What’s better than this sandwich? Fried chicken, obviously, but the sandwich will do if a sandwich is what you are looking for. Did you count how many times I wrote “fried chicken?” FRIED CHICKEN!

Check out the post here for the Mendocino Farms of Marina Del Rey. I got the Kurabota Pork Belly Banh Mi of course.

Mendocino Farms Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Hambone’s – That BBQ Got Me

by Franklin on February 24, 2015

Good southern barbecue is hard to come by. Either the sauce isn’t right, the meat is dry, or the sides just don’t cut it. Stumbling upon Hambone’s in Bellflower, I was onto something delicious here. The look was right and the smell was intoxicating. This is that soul food — this stuff sticks to your ribs and stays with you. The food was indeed memorable, and we all know this stuff stuck to my ribs among other parts of my body. Barbecue is a beautiful thing and Hambone’s does it right.

Ordering the rib tips and fries, I knew not having any greens or veggies were going to kill me. It didn’t matter as the rib tips were succulent — it had the right amount of tender meat and flavorful bark. The plate came with more than I thought, and the pieces were perfectly sized. The fries were dusted with seasoning salt which I liked. Call me unconventional (or a typical Asian), but a side of rice with these rib tips would have been quite nice. Just saying.

The tri tip sandwich to me was good, but not great. The meat was a bit on the dry side, but was aided with their spicy sauce. I saw everyone ask for some spicy sauce, and I naturally ordered some as well. That stuff was addicting — spicy with the right kind of kick and all the goodness of barbecue. That saved this somewhat bland sandwich. The mac and cheese though was on point. Cheesy and greasy as it should be, the noodles were perfectly coated in the cheese sauce.

My visit to Hambone’s was quite pleasant. The price for everything wasn’t too much. I was quite surprised at the price actually. At this calibur of barbecue and with these affordable prices, I will surely be back.

Hambones BBQ and Po'Boy Sandwhiches on Urbanspoon


Eggslut – Quick Lunch, Long Line

by Franklin on February 10, 2015

Call someone a slut, and you are asking for trouble. Take someone to Eggslut, and you are just the best friend ever. I remember having Jury Duty (the worst) and we were on our lunch break — I headed straight to the Grand Central Market. It is great to see Downtown flourish and the revival of the Grand Central Market a couple years back is a true testament to that. I knew I had to give Eggslut a try. I think the name itself is just intriguing enough. This is a long overdue post so don’t hate me if the details are a bit foggy.

I ordered the Fairfax with bacon. The soft scrambled eggs were so delicate and smooth and the addition of the chives made it extra special. The cheddar cheese melted nicely and mixed in with the caramelized onions and sriracha mayo. I am glad I added the bacon as it gave the sandwich extra saltiness and flavor. The warm Portuguese bun was the perfect bread to hold everything together.

The Slut is a dish of coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée. It is then poached in a glass jar and served with toasty crostini. Now they serve it with a baguette. The coddled egg mixed in with the potato puree was so buttery and delicious. Was I supposed to eat it on top of the bread? I didn’t see a use for it. The egg and potatoes in the glass jar were all that I needed — I just didn’t see a need for the bread. If the mixture was a bit more savory or salty, I would like to eat it with the bread. Just think of very buttery mashed potatoes with a nicely poached egg on top, topped with salt and chives. It is so simple and delicious.

Eggslut has some lines when it is lunch time. My wait was only about 10 minutes. Sitting there at the bar, enjoying my sandwich and poached egg was memorable. The ingredients were so pure and simple — the preparation was the star. Alvin Cailan, creator of Eggslut now has a ramen shop called Ramen Champ in Chinatown. I can’t wait to try that in the near future.

Eggslut on Urbanspoon


Jerry’s Famous Deli – Breakfast for Dinner

by Franklin on January 21, 2015

I totally forgot I went to Jerry’s a while back. It was a long day of golfing at Westchester and we were famished. We got breakfast and fries amongst other things. The diner was somewhat empty but the decor and environment was quite inviting. I would say the food was very average and safe, but nothing to return for. I would say, Jerry’s did the trick for 3 hungry golfers.

The Cuban sandwich came with ham, turkey, and salami on Swiss. Pickles and mustard always makes a sandwich complete. The meat was nice and salty and the cole slaw went well with it. The onion rings were just average — probably frozen. All in all, it was still a good high stacked sandwich.

I ate the bacon, eggs, and sausage in less than a minute. Nothing special here — just good ol’ breakfast meats and eggs. The pancakes though, I took my time. I lathered on the butter and drizzled the syrup and went to town. The pancakes were good, but again, nothing special. An average pancake is still a good pancake. Yes, I love pancakes.

Fries are delicious with ranch, especially when you wanted hash browns with your breakfast for dinner and didn’t get any. Fried potatoes of any kind is welcome in my tummy. A load of fries for the table? Why not?

Jerry's Famous Deli on Urbanspoon


The Kroft – Poutine and Porchetta is Done

by Franklin on September 28, 2014

The Anaheim Packing district is a one stope destination for foodies. They have it all. Dare I call it a food court? Far from it, the space offers some amazing food and craft beers. The Kroft is one such establishment that offers amazing hand crafted sandwiches and poutine. I was pleasantly surprised by their delicious food. Orange County doesn’t really have amazing food, but The Packing District is changing all of that.

We started off with the original poutine. We opted out of the extravagant short rib poutine because we ordered the sandwich anyways. We wanted to get the original to get the pure essence of the poutine — to eat it as it was intended to, The fries were fresh and good on their own. The gravy though, was something else. It was perfectly salty and hearty. The cheese curds were melted perfectly from the hot gravy. The cilantro on top gave it a nice contrast and helped cut the fat of the fries and gravy. These were quite delicious and possibly the best poutine I had in a while.

The short rib sandwich was beefy and delicious. The meat was perfectly sauced and pulled away nicely. The addition of arugula was key to keep the grease in check. I did feel like it was missing something though. I added some hot sauce in between bites to keep it exciting.

The fried chicken sandwich was exactly how I imagined it to be. The chicken was fresh and meaty. The batter was light and crispy, and gave the sandwich the extra flavor it needed. The best part of this sandwich was the slaw on top. It gave a nice rounded flavor and gave it even more crunch. Fried chicken and cole slaw go so well together.

The best sandwich they have here, and one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a while was their porchetta sandwich. These fly off the shelves quickly so make sure they have it in stock. The pork was so pure and flavorful, and the onion jam gave it a nice flavor profile. My favorite was the bits and pieces of chopped up skin inside the sandwich. I remember seeing them cut up the pork for the sandwich, and the chef peeled off the skin. Scared that they were going to discard it, I was almost going to request to keep that part. Little did I know that they were planing on chopping up the skin to add on top of the sandwich. This made every bite have that little crisp of fatty skin. Crisis averted.

The Kroft is really a nice spot and a gem inside the Anaheim Packing District. Located on the bottom floor, it’s not on the top floor with the good lighting. The restaurant pumps out some amazing craft sandwiches and their poutine is a must order. The ingredients are simple and of the highest quality. Each sandwich is created carefully and with flavor being the main focus. I really can’t wait to go here again — Poutine and Porchetta sandwich for me.

The Kroft on Urbanspoon


Playa Provisions definitely has an identity crisis. The restaurant is separated into 4 different sections — Dockside, Grain, Small Batch, and King Beach. Dockside is a high end dining space for seafood. Grain is a back room whiskey bar. Small Bach is their ice cream shop. King Beach is their casual breakfast and lunch spot. Honestly, the concept is interesting and confusing. Top Chef runner-up Brooke Williams and husband run the show. The woodsy, artsy, and earthy tones of the decor was very attractive. Honestly though, I came here just for the ice cream.

The ice cream was a treat. The chocolate malted crunch was full of bits and was quite nice. I usually don’t like chocolate malted crunch, and I don’t quite know why I ordered this flavor. The bits of malted balls were nice and the chocolate was rich and flavorful. My favorite was the milk and coffee ice cream. It had a nice subtle coffee flavor and was so clean tasting. This mixed in with the chocolate malted crunch was a perfect match. All of this with their addicting house made waffle cone, and I was a happy little kid with an ice cream cone.

In second thought, the concept here at Playa Provisions is kind of interesting. I wish they did a better job in integrating everything together. The new restaurant in Playa del Rey is turning heads though. I originally thought it was a casual sandwich shop that also had delicious ice cream. I was in shock when I walked in and there were all these different compartments. Back-room whiskey bar? Who would have thought? I will definitely be back for that. Maybe even a sandwich and seafood fare is in order also. For #icecreamtuesdays though this will definitely do.

Playa Provisions on Urbanspoon


Gourmet grilled cheese? Is that a real thing or something hipsters made up? Just give me some white bread and Kraft American cheese, grill that with some butter and I’m happy. Heywood takes the grilled cheese to a new level indeed. I’m just not quite convinced yet. Yeah, I suppose you can use artisanal cheeses and really hearty bread, but is that necessarily better? Even then, where do you draw the line of grilled cheese, and a straight up sandwich? Add bacon to a grilled cheese, and is that still a grilled cheese? Maybe. But then add some other ingredients and avocado. You can’t tell me that’s a grilled cheese, can you? I suppose Heywood does a good job balancing grilled cheese and the sandwich.

The Heywood was a natural fit. I wanted something that accentuated the cheese. Made with aged cheddar, caramelized onions, confit spread on whole grain bread, the sandwich was cheesy as can be. The bread was a bit blocky and brickish, but did a good job in holding everything together. The whole grain bits inside gave it a nice mouth feel. Dipping it in the piping hot tomato soup did nothing but just re-melt the cheese. The tomato soup was nothing but just hot tomato puree. It didn’t really taste like anything.

I definitely loved the decor inside. Filled with little trinkets and wood finishings, the inside was well suited for the Silver Lake crowd (read: hipsters). The menu is full of interesting grilled cheese variations, but unfortunately, I am a traditionalist. All I need is some good toasted white bread and a slice or two of American cheese. I guess I can vary a little with some different cheeses, but that is it. Heywood tries to heighten the grilled cheese so much and succeeds in some ways. There is a fine line between a grilled cheese and a cheesy sandwich and I suppose Heywood walks that line quite nicely.

Heywood: A Grilled Cheese Shop on Urbanspoon


Ina ve been hearing such good things about Cafe Dulce, and seeing all the yummy looking photos, I had to give it a visit. During my dreaded two day jury duty visit, my 1.5 hour lunches made it a time to urban hike the crap out of downtown. Mindlessly walking, I ended up in Little Tokyo. It was either Spitz (the safe choice, and the choice I should have made), or elsewhere. Of course my curiosity led me to Cafe Dulce.

I ordered the Spicy Korean Cheesesteak. I don’t know why I ordered it. It. Just sounded good and though it would be. The marinated beef, homemade slaw, kimchi, provolone cheese, and their secret hot sauce between a stale roll was my lunch. The beef was thin, tasteless, and there wasn’t much of it. The house made slaw was not crunchy or tasty, and the kimchi somehow worked against the sandwich. I was definitely regretting not going to Spitz as I took each bite.

To cheer myself up, and to try their baked goods, I ordered a bacon donut hole. Honestly, this wasn’t that bad. It was soft, sweet, salty, and gave satisfied my craving of something at least somewhat tasty. I guess I was a better off not ordering lunch here but just getting some donuts and baked goods. Lesson learned.

Café Dulcé on Urbanspoon


Oh yeah! I totally forgot I went to Whiz. What did I think of it? All Hype. The small corner shop is barely a restaurant, but a restaurant nonetheless. With a park picnic benches outside, customers are probably just taking things to-go. Honestly, Whiz was just “alright.” I took my friends here excited to just try their cheesesteaks. Most of us (all of us) were pretty much on the same boat about Whiz. “Just whatever.”

Check out the pictures below. We got a regular cheesesteak, jalapeño cheesesteak, along with cheese fries.

Honestly, this spot is overrated. The meat wasn’t all that great, the cheese sauce needed work, and the bread was definitely not Amoroso rolls. The spot is small, and a bit of a hip spot. The food though needs a lot of work. Better than most cheesesteaks, but definitely not the “it” spot. Next stop, Boo’s!


Bäco Mercat – Josef Centeno’s First Baby

by Franklin on June 11, 2014

I am starting to love Downtown. Not only are there tall skyscrapers and interesting architecture, there is a rich history and a huge redevelopment going on. Not even 10 years ago did you have this many people living in Downtown Los Angeles. With the people came newer and better shops and of course, restaurants. This is an exciting time for restaurants in downtown. Some of my favorite restaurants are on downtown, one of which is Baco Mercat. Chef and owner, Josef Centeno has an impressive resume. He worked at Daniel in New York. He was also the executive chef a Meson G and Opus in Los Angeles. After building on his concept, he opened Baco Mercator in 2011. With his successes, he opened Bar AMA in 2012 then Orsa & Wilson in 2013. Needless to say, Chef Joseph Centeno is on a roll. First, let’s take a look into his first baby, Baco Mercat.

We started things off with a root beer & chocolate bäco pop and Grear’s lemonade. The root beer was quite interesting. It tasted. Dry much like root beer, but had a very distinct chocolate after taste. Imagine drinking root beer with a tootsie roll in your mouth. That’s pretty much what it tasted like. It was uniquely refreshing and delicate. The Grear’s lemonade was nice as well. The added carbonation with the lemonade gave the drink a nice fresh taste–perfect pair with the fatty pork belly sandwiches.

We order the original. This had pork, beef carnitas, and salvitxada sauce. All wrapped in their famous baco (flat bread), the sandwich at first bite is amazing. The soft chew of the baco and the crispy fried pro belly counter each other nicely. The added meat of the carnitas gives this sandwich the extra depth. For me though, the salvitxada sauce put this over the top. The romesco style red pepper sauce gave the sandwich a nice zing and zest. If you were to only get one back sandwich, this is the one to get.

As an avid beef tongue connoisseur, I had to get the beef tongue schnitzel. The beef tongue in this back was quite nice. It’s as tender and soft as beef tongue should be. The beef flavor was extenuated by the harissa, smoked aioli, and pickles. The mixture of flavors from the beef tongue and aioli with harissa was such a good combo.

Sitting at the bar, enjoying my drink and baco sandwich, I realized how great downtown is. West LA, Beverly Hills, and Mid-City aren’t the only places in LA that have exciting restaurants anymore. Downtown is the future, if not, the present. Josef Centeno has been on a roll with his string of restaurants. What the future hold for him and LA is quite exciting.

Bäco Mercat on Urbanspoon


Cole’s – French Dip with Pickles

by Franklin on May 10, 2014

There is an on going feud going on whether the French dip sandwich was born at Philippe’s or Cole’s. I can’t tell you where it started from — I wasn’t there, nor was I even born during that time. Legend says that someone ordered a beef sandwich, and the cook dropped the bread in the au jus. Ina hurry, the customer just took the sandwich as is, and thus, the French dips was born. I can’t tell you if that is true or not. What I can tell you is this. I prefer Philippe’s, hands down. If not for the tastier beef, for their hot mustard.

The French dip was tasty, but the beef was a bit bland and dry — definitely not as “wet” as Philippe’s. Albeit, your an dip your sandwich into the au jus, I personally rather just pickup and eat a wet me say sandwich. The pickles were pretty tasty and helped the sandwich immensely. All in all, it was a solid French Dip.

French Dip vs. French Dip, Philippe’s definitely takes it. As for other items, like the mac and cheese and garlic fries, Cole’s may have an edge. Let’s not forget about Cole’s awesome Bloody Mary’s and bar drinks. With that said, the two restaurants are completely different. You go to Philippe’s for the French dip and epic hot mustard. You go to Cole’s for everything else.

Cole's on Urbanspoon


Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Vegas. Saving up for a wedding and paying off student loans isn’t something one should take lightly. As for me, my trips to Vegas have been somewhat not as frequent. Fortunately, I have my blog to remind me of the wonderful places I ate at. One my latest trip out, I visited the Encore and fell in love with the property. Before, I assumed it was exactly these me as the Wynn, but it was quieter and definitely more my style. For a nice brunch, I found Society Cafe. The menu and price was that of a cafe (affordable), but the inside decor was impressive and elegant.

We started off with Pretzel bread sticks with mustard butter. These were perfect as starters. The pretzel had a tough skin and a soft inside. The mustard butter was and is an amazing invention. Fatty butter mixed with the acidic mustard was a perfect condiment for the pretzels. The salty, soft, and mustardy treat was a nice start.

We came here for the ultimate steak and eggs sliders. Though we came at the cusp of breakfast ending and lunch starting, the chef graciously prepared this for us. The bacon cheddar muffin hosted filet mignon, scrambled eggs, and creamed spinach. This really was a treat. I was thinking the steak would be too tough for the delicate ingredients inside, causing everything to spill out. The eggs and spinach was such a nice combination, but the filet minion was soft as can be. It was a very elegant, yet comforting kind of breakfast sandwich.

The Mac N Cheese Bites were quite an indulgence. The Mac and cheese bite by themselves were quite perfect themselves — cheesy and crispy. The truffle dipping sauce just created an explosion of flavors and even more creaminess. This was addicting and probably the mot memorable thing at Society Cafe.

We ended things with the frosted flake french toast. Topped with caramelized bananas and whipped cream, this cinnamon heavy, buttery French toast was such a perfect ending. The little nuggets of frosted flakes created such a crunch. It soaked up all that butter and syrup — a perfect combination of sweet, crunchy, custardy goodness.

I liked Encore’s Society Cafe. The ambiance was nice a chic — it’s definitely an upscale breakfast/brunch dining experience. From the appetizer pretzel bread sticks to the comfort food made classy cuisine, this place has my vote. It doesn’t hurt that it’s at one of my favorite properties on the trip as well. Brunch didn’t get any better on the strip.

Cole's on Urbanspoon

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When you mention Mendocino Farms, all I think about are sandwiches. Known for their fresh and farm to table ingredients, their sandwiches are some of the best in the business. You can bet that every ingredient in their sandwiches is organic and cultivated locally. This extra care and fresh ingredients do make a difference in the taste and quality of the food. Mendocino Farms is a nice and fresh lunch or dinner idea for something tasty and somewhat quick and affordable. Marina del Rey, lucky you for having a Mendocino Farms.

I go here for one thing and one thing only. It is their Kurabota Pork Belly Banh Mi. It is under their “Foodie Favorites” menu, and I can see why. Growing up in the SGV, I had some awesome Vietnamese sandwiches. Theirs was something new and fresh that was a good twist on the classic sandwich, but didn’t stray too far away from the original. The star of this sandwich is that beautiful kurobota pork belly. It is braised and caramelized — this created a nice sweet note. The fat and the meat were so tender — it just oozed off. The house made picked daikon and carrots helped in the crunch department. It also helped counterbalance the fatty pork belly. The cilantro, cucumbers, and jalapeno gave it a nice background flavor, giving this sandwich some depth. All between a panini pressed chiabata, and lathered on with chili aioli, the sandwich was spot on. The balance in flavors and textures really worked. This could be one of the best sandwiches in Los Angeles.

Mendocino Farms knows what they are doing. The fresh ingredients and quality meats really make a difference. Waiting for my sandwich, I was able to try some of their market items as well. Everything was fresh and delicious. That sandwich though, I can eat that all day. Why do I think every sandwich needs cheese? How can a sandwich with no cheese and no cured meats be delicious? Is it the pork belly? Before I just ramble on and start asking random questions (too late), I will just say this. The price is just right at Mendocino Farms, and you get much more than what you pay for. I know I paid just as much for a sandwich that was half as bad. There are many locations around Los Angeles. You can find them in Downtown, West Hollywood, West LA, and their new location in Sherman Oaks. I for sure will expect more shops to pop up elsewhere soon.

Mendocino Farms on Urbanspoon


Johnnies Pastrami is a Culver City landmark. The 50s styled restaurant is small. It has a diner feel with the central bar area — everything is just smaller in scale. Their pastrami sandwiches though, are quite large. I will undoubtedly compare this to The Hat. If you want to stop reading, I will tell you right now. I like the pastrami at The Hat better. Call it biased if you wish, but I call it how it is–you can read the comparison below.

The pastrami sandwich at Johnnies was packed full of meat. The sandwich was just pastrami in between a sliced roll. Granted, you can get it with coleslaw and cheese, but I wanted the pure pastrami sandwich to shine (for the sake of the comparison). Bread for bread, both Johnnies and The Hat was a tie. As for the pastrami, Johnnies was a bit on the dryer side and had less flavor. The Hat’s was more juicy and saltier (in a good way). Both was probably achieved with a dunk in their special au jus. Sorry to say, The Hat’s pastrami was better than Johnnie’s.

But wait… There is something that Johnnie’s kills it in, and that is their pickles. These pickles were tart, salty, and crisp. It went so perfectly with the pastrami sandwich. I finished the whole bowl of complimentary pickles that was offered. These were probably some of my favorite pickles I have ever eaten. I did dream of eating these pickles with a Hat pastrami sandwich from the SGV. In hind sight, I should have bought a jar of them. Interestingly, the pickles were better than their pastrami.

I guess in comparison, it should be Hat’s pastrami a sandwich vs. johnnie’s pastrami with the pickles. If that is the case, it would be a much tougher comparison. Honestly, the Tito’s Tacos neighbor is a hot sport for late night diners in Culver City. I understand you can’t drive all the way to the SGV to get the best “thin” pastrami in LA. I guess you can stay in Culver City for pastrami, but it would only be 2nd best. And all of you “how about Oinkster pastrami?” folks, you can just keep those kinds of irrelevant questions to yourself. :)

Johnnie's Pastrami on Urbanspoon


Carnegie Deli (Mirage) – Let’s do the Woody Allen

June 14, 2013

Founded in 1937, Carnegie Deli is a New York landmark. Fortunately, I don’t have to travel to the east coast to enjoy one other their sandwiches. Lucky for me, there is one located right in Las Vegas at the Mirage Resort. Melding with the casino floor, and not being very big, there was a small [...]

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The Hat (Alhambra) – OG Pastrami

April 24, 2013

To me, The Hat is that place that I remember most. As I mentioned in my blog about The Hat in Monterey Park, it is one of the first food items I remember as a child. Stuff like that is powerful. I’m not talking about remembering my first happy meal or cheeseburger from Mc Donald’s. [...]

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Langer’s Delicatessen – No. 19

April 1, 2013

It all started in 1947, with just 12 seats. It survived through the recession and survived the rough neighborhood of Westlake on the corner of 7th and Alvorado. With the subway station and Mac Arthur Park just adjacent to it, the restaurant get all kinds of customers. Today, this restaurant is a Los Angeles destitantion [...]

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Nate’s Korner – Breakfast Sandwich for a Burrito Lover

February 15, 2013

Nate’s Korner is small, hidden, and though closer to Irvine than anything, it is in Santa Ana. It’s in the middle of nowhere, and that is what I like about it. It all started with Qwik Korner, a nice little convenience store. They then ventured out next door and made Nate’s Korner. Popular for their [...]

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The Penthouse at The Huntley – Lunch on Top and an Elevator Ride Down

February 12, 2013

Having lunch at The Penthouse at The Huntley was a no-brainer. Inside and out, the property is exquisite and fancy. Chic, modern, and clean, the food was almost out shined by the beauty of this property. Typically, I would not choose such a fancy, and such a far place. Fortunately, the Dine LA menu was [...]

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Alicia’s – Sometimes all you Need in Life is a Pink Cloud

December 17, 2012

You pull up into Alicia’s parking lot and you immediately as yourself, “there’s a restaurant here”? I know it seems like the last place for a restaurant. Among some random businesses and factories sits a quaint restaurant serving up some great breakfast items and sandwiches. Alicia’s is a down to earth restaurant cafe. More along [...]

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