or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Your Favorite Dive

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
We all probably have one - a restaurant or cafe that may not be at all top notch, one that you'd not take your mom to when she comes for a visit, but that we go to because it's got a comfortable, unpretentious atmosphere, or maybe because it's convenient and offers cheap eats, or there's one or two dishes you gotta have every now and then.

Perhaps you can take a moment to describe the food and the layout, and tell us why you like it.

For me there's a little Chinese noodle joint not far from my house - Little Hong Kong - just down the street from one of the markets I frequent. Not much decor, but great prices for a hearty lunch. Some lunch dishes can be had for under $5.00, and include soup and rice. The service is fast and friendly, the food is fresh, and some dishes are really quite good. It's been written up in several "fine dining" magazines and articles. A really first rate dive, although probably a couple of notches above a true dive. There are other such well-regarded Chinese dives in the area, and I've tried most of them, but have found this one to be a very comfortable place to eat, and it has an ample parking lot and good on street parking as well.

San Francisco Magazine - Little Hong Kong

Shel
post #2 of 27
In Kendallville, IN, there is an ice cream/sandwich shop called "Sandy's Sweet Shop". It's a really cute place with a decor reminiscent of a 50s style soda shop. They have the best Reuben sandwich I've ever had. Every few months, I take what I call "Mom's Day Out" when things start really stressing me. I go to Main St., browse in all the antique shops, bookstores, etc. and make a stop at Sandy's for a sandwich.
post #3 of 27
El Tepeyac Café in the Boyle Heights area (East L.A.) is a true dive with the most amazing rancho-style Mexican food outside of Mexico. It's a legendary LA institution that's been in the same little shack of a building since the 1950s. The owner, Manuel, is a tiny little old man who's a real sweetheart -- he's everybody's tio or abuelito. If you're nice to him, and he knows you're somewhat of a regular, he'll share some complimentary beer or tequila from his stash under the counter (it's always free because he has no liquor license).

El Tepeyac is famous for its Hollenbeck Burrito (chile verde), and fat, crunchy shredded beef taquitos with amazing guacamole.

It's really an experience not to be missed. If you're uncomfortable being in the barrio at night, go for lunch. Be prepared to wait in a long, but relatively fast-moving line if you want one of the 10 or 11 indoor tables. Otherwise, use the take out window (a much quicker line).

812 North Evergreen Ave., Los Angeles, CA
(213) 268-1960
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.
-M.F.K. Fisher
Reply
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.
-M.F.K. Fisher
Reply
post #4 of 27
I live in a pretty small town, so I was surprised to read that a local place was featured in the book "Road Food" since I had never heard of the place. The write up said that the local place - Bon Ton - has some of the best fried chicken in the south.

My husband and I mapped it and set out to find it one day. We drove right past it while looking for it, and saw a mailman so we stopped to ask him where it was. Then we looked up and saw that we were in their parking lot. Ha! It turned out to be about two miles from our house, which makes it all the more funny that we didn't know about it.

As it turns out, Bon Ton - in Henderson, KY - is a tiny cafe with maybe 10 tables (which were all full). The article called it a convenience store, but the one standing cooler with soft drinks hardly qualified it as that. The kitchen was on the other side of an old cash register on a low counter. There was a lady cooking back there who looked like she could be anyone's granny. We ordered a whole chicken to go, and she came out to make sure we knew that it would take a little bit because everything was fried to order. She also offered us a cold drink while we waited, which was sweet. When the chicken was done she wrapped it up in a brown paper wrapper and handed us napkins in case we couldn't make it home without sampling.

I have to admit, it was some pretty fantastic chicken.
post #5 of 27
Jake's Corned Beef here in Milwaukee. The place probably hasn't been upgraded in 50 years but they serve, without a doubt, the best corned beef and pastrami in the midwest. Oh-my-gosh, it's sooo good, the place is always crowded! They only have a few booths and tables and most of their business is probably carry-out. Just writing about it makes my mouth water and brings a smile to my face. :)
post #6 of 27
Chuck 'n' Freds Beyond dive. Run by two fishermen to support their fishing habit. They've since retired and it is no more. The most awesome mushroom cheeseburger and good pot roast, french dip and more.

JoJo's Too This was technically the second installation of JoJos, but JoJos went out of business shortly after JoJos Too opened. Popular with truckers, everything was good and LARGE. They too have succumbed to the no-smoking laws as did Chuck 'n' Freds. I don't smoke and don't really like to be around smoke but smokers sure do know how to eat.

Las Cazuelas authentic mexican food at low prices and dive atmosphere as well as mismatched accoutrements and table settings, a bit dirty Excellent rellenos, tongue tacos, entomatada. I could keep going. They are still in business and doing well.

George's Greek Cafe I've posted about here
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
post #7 of 27

there are a couple of places i can think of

there was this great little place in Darjeeling India, we had been there (in India) for nearly amonth this time last year and we stumbled across this place called Keventers in Nehru road
and it didnt look like much, but the view was just magnificent looking out over the 3rd highest mountain in India and we spied bacon and ham on the menu , (it was the first time we had seen/smelt bacon in 5 weeks)pork products arnt very big over there
and so we ordered breakfast which cost us probably around $1us and OMG we just about fell off our chairs when it came out , it had ham , bacon (the very very best airdried bacon we have ever ever tasted and can still taste in our minds today)
sausages, toast 4 pieces on the side, and tomatoes with eggs

it was a truck drivers breakfast if iever saw one it was just huge. We asked for our eggs to be poached ........ they poached them in oil :eek: but the rest of the meal was wicked.
i felt so stuffed i could hardly move.
We thought that was a great place and so decided that we would go there again the next day , Bruce cracked me up i think he was trying to get his months supply of bacon in 2 days :smiles::smiles: he decided he was going to have a smaller breakfast that day and so just ordered bacon and eggs and tomatoes ........ we had told the guys who were working there about the bacon being so good,
Bruce was expecting a smaller plate of food , omg they piled his plate up so high with bacon , basically they had replaced the ham, and sausage and just given him 3 times as much bacon :smiles::smiles::smiles:, i decided on trying the chicken sausages expecting 2 sausages on a plate , the **** plate was full to overflowing of these tiny delicious sausages for like 50cents or so , i couldnt eat them all so ended up sharing them with the local dogs.
i think the staff were a bit shocked:smiles:

there is a place here called the spicy house , its a szechuan restaurant full of lots of very traditional chinese dishes, i have soon learnt not to order anything that has the word HOT in the title:suprise::eek: everytime we go in there we are the only europeans in there its always full ofchinese people, mainly students and its open until 6 am
its such a great place, looks quite run down not much atmosphere but boy oh boy is the food great.

there is another place called the yummy tummy it is very much like its come out of the 70s decor era, and they do the best best custard slices ever tasted and they are super cheap. They are a lunch cafe with ultra cheap food and loads of it
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
post #8 of 27
custard slice?

dives....the tacqueria on California and Chippewa is wonderful. All tables are outside there is a counter with about 15 stools facing the outside wall. There's a flat top griddle usually manned by a couple of guys, which is some of the most entertaining cooking around. A small line for cold prep. A back room for storage/sinks/refrigeration.....
Cabeza tacos, or head tacos....we're unclear about what part of the head the meat is from but it is sooooo tasty. The shrimp Quesadilla is wonderful....spicy shrimp griddled, lettuce, creama, onions, mild cheese in a flour tortilla that's been griddled golden brown.
Sat. late mornings the guys will be cooking beef shanks or what appears to be tougher muscle meat with tendon....large quantities of onions, tendon and then "Cajun Spice"....using a 8" handled flat painting spatula thingy and a very long thin flex knife they flip and hack at the tendoned meat until it's cooked and cut into fine chop. What a dance!

Not divey really, but cheap eats....Pho Long.....incredible pho. I 170 and Olive in STL......They've got a massive pot in back for stock and make incredible pho. $6-9 a huge bowl. The tendon/brisket keep me coming back time after time. Family owned and run, just good people....clear, clean flavored good food.

30 years ago I would have written about Busters in New Orleans in a very very rough part of the French Quarter. Red Beans and Rice with sausage....the waitresses always gave the down and out looking guys a longer link of meat. Now that was a dive in the best sense of the word.
I can remember my fiance at the time taking my mother (designer clothes etc) to the Hummingbird Inn for breakfast....now that was a dive and the food was crap....oily greasy gross food......the kind of place you'd go if alcohol had impaired your judgement and there were no other places open.
A dive in the worst sense of the word.
New Orleans had (probably still has) an amazing amount of diner dives.
St. Louis....hmmmmm.....guess we do, but discerning the gross from the "fine" is alittle more taxing, STL has alot of bars/dives where the food is not from scratch, nor good....add adjectives that are negative....
Just seems like New Orleans' dives usually had scratch decent food....it was unusual to get a dog meal.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
I recall eating in what I can only describe as a "soul food" dive in the Gaslight area before it was redeveloped - back in 1963 or so. Fatty Feldman, Crazy Harold, and I walked into this small, dark rrestaurant - and I use the term loosely - because the sign in the window offered lunch for $1.00. We were pretty scruffy looking, with Fatty looking a lot like Fat Freddy of the Freak Brothers. I don't recall what we were served for that $1.00, but I do recall how good it tasted, and the waitress gave us free seconds. She felt sorry for us ...

Another great dive was a Chinese place in Havre Montana, located on the high line. It was a basement joint, a place you had to walk down into, like descending into hel* - and the food was some of the best Chinese food I'd had until then. It was family owned, and had been there, and in the family, for a few generations, ever since the Chinese worked on building the railroad through Montana.

Man, the more I write the more great dives I can think of, many literally holes in the ground, or back-alley places like Edsel Ford Fong's place, Sam Wo's, in San Francisco's Chinatown - a narrow, greasy place on four or five levels that served incredible Chow Fun - incredibly bad or incredibly good depending on your point of view. Edsel had the rep as the world's rudest waiter. RIP Edsel - I miss you and your antics, and these new-age Yuppie-Foodies will never understand what made your place so great.

And some of the "roach coaches" in Los Angeles, East Oakland and San Francisco can pump out great Mexican food - you might be surprised.

shel
post #10 of 27
Bubbamom, I've never been to Jake's (except the one in Brookfield)- nor to Solly's. They're on my list! How does Jake's compare to Benji's (either location)?
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #11 of 27
Two blocks from where I live there is a vietnamese noodle house. It would be real nice if it wern't for the red vinyl seats clashing with the natural tones that the rest of the decor.

The food though is what I go for and that is what you definitely get. Noodle bowls, garden rolls, vietnamese subs, and especially their salt and pepper squid which has a coating on it that has a light crackle and beautiful buttery taste. Obviously the food speaks volumes over the decor as the lunch and dinner crowd are everpresent, seven days a week.
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
Reply
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
Reply
post #12 of 27

custard slice

a good custard slice is worth walking to the ends of the earth for, its a layer of either cooked flaky or puff pastry, with a thick filling of a creamy custard/pastrycream/creme anglaise , topped with another layer of cooked pastry then iced with either a vanilla or chocolate icing , very much a kiwi classic. heres a great website to have alook at some of the best custard slices available in nz
Famous DENHEATH DESSERTS - Welcome to the home of New Zealand's Famous Custard Squares
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
post #13 of 27
like a Napolean only more custard goo.....yes I can see the attraction
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #14 of 27
Hi Mezz! Jakes on North (about 16th & North) is in my HO the best of the lot. I think the atmosphere pushes it over the top. I don't know if there's a connection between Jakes Deli (16th & North) and Jakes in Brookfield. Again, just thinking about one of those corned beef sandwiches is making my mouth water even as I type. :p
post #15 of 27
When I was living in the bay area my SF friends would often pile me and my roommates into a tiny car and drive out to this Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall downtown, right about where Market starts getting sketchy. I don't remember the name of it but I only remember thinking to myself "how can food from a restaurant with such a malodorous bathroom taste like this!!".
post #16 of 27
In downtown Detroit, ther is a little Italian grocery named Gonellas. They made the absolute best Italian subs in the world. At lunch time, there would be a line out the door of people waiting to build their own sub. All the best salted/cured meats, fresh baked breads of all varieties, and the best sauce (Italian Vinaigrette) I have ever had. My dad worked about two blocks down the street, and about once every other week, we would get treated to Gonellas for dinner. I can taste them now.
It's Good To Be The King!
Reply
It's Good To Be The King!
Reply
post #17 of 27
I had no idea! I'll have to go to Gonellas this week! My wife and I usually go to Ann Arbor for "rare treats" to places like the Broken Egg which is a slightly usual diner - French toast with kiwi; Belgian waffles with cognac and bananas; omelets with turkey sausage, havarti cheese and spinach….
post #18 of 27
THE DOUBLE EAGLE
Ypsilanti, MI
Eastern Michigan University's No. 1 drunken late-night munchie hangout.

Talk about a dive? This place is dirty with a purpose. Their "famous cheese steak hoagie" is my drunken food of choice. Open 24/7 this family owned establishment has been serving bad, greasy food and reprehensible coffee for my first three years here at college and they d*** well better be here for my last year.

As a freshman I delivered pizzas for a local pizzaria and didn't get off till two in the morning. This was my meal before I went home.

If you attend Easten Michigan University and haven't seen the sun rise while trying to sober up in the Double Eagle, then my friend, you're not taking advantage of the college experience.:beer:
post #19 of 27
The A2 in Dundee when you used to be able to have a smoke after your bacon roll.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
post #20 of 27
Brunswick Grove in Milltown, NJ

White Rose System in NJ

Mastoris Diner in NJ

that little cuban place on 14th street by the 1&9 in NYC for a cuban sandwich.

DeLorenzos Tomato Pie in NJ, I'd be willing to say its in the top 5 places in the US if not the world to get a pizza.......no doubt about that. It's my number 1, but I can understand some folks liking some NY and Chicago places....so I'll just say it's top 5.
post #21 of 27
Here are some faves:

Langer's Deli, MacArthur Park neighborhood (aka Little Salvador), Los
Angeles: Best pastrami on the planet. Best rye bread, ditto. Even the NY Times says so. Deli prices.

Dumpling Master, Monterey Park, strip mall on Atlantic next to Shun Fat market: Some of the best Canton style Chinese food in the SG Valley -- and the SGV is probably the best place for Chinese food outside China. Great kuo tieh, steamed dumplings, best handmade noodles I ever had, best scallion pie, excellent in general. Very much not fancy. Low prices.

Har Lam Kee, Monterey Park, on Garvey: Very Hong Kong. Big selection of juks -- all of them great. Trolley noodles. Aberdeen style fishball soup with roe in the fishballs. Totally unselfconscious interior that looks like it was the set of a Kung Fu movie. Low prices.

El Mercado, East Los: Not exactly a dive, but not exactly not either. It's a huge market with all kinds of other things going on. One of them is a set of stall/restaurants around the mezzanine -- which is the third floor. Market on the second, flea market on the first. The place rocks on weekends with numerous mariachi groups going at the same time. Most of the food is very good -- especially at the mariscos stall. Low prices. Lots of shopping and tourist charm. You won't hear it much, but everybody speaks English. This place is what L.A. is all about: As far away as you can get without going anywhere.

Sunset Thai, Sunset Blvd "East Hollywood", west of Vermont, in Thai Town. Yen ta fo of the Gods. Low prices.

Palms Thai, Hollywood Blvd, "East Hollywood," in Thai Town, Deer curry, dried fish soup, tons of LAPD eat there, home of the Thai Elvis. Need I say more?

Carousel Restaurant, Hollywood Blvd, "East Hollywood," Little Armenia: Great Armenian/Lebanese. Kebab of the Gods. One of the best overall food values in SoCal.

Papa Kristo's, Pico near Normandie, across from the Orthodox Church: LA isn't known for Greek food, this place is a cheap gem attached to a Greek deli/market. Tip: They sell the bread they serve, but you have to ask for it specially.

Tofu Village, Strip mall off Colima, Rowland Heights: Great soon tofu (Korean chile-garlic-tofu soup) great pan-chan, three colors of rice. Awesome.

Young Dong Tofu, (chain) Alhambra, Arcadia, San Gabriel: The one in Arcadia is the most accessible, the friendliest to western tasts, the easiest to park, etc., the other two are better. I especially like the cold spicy noodles at the Alhambra store. The San Gabriel store is verrrrrry spicy. First time for soon tofu? Go to Arcadia. The barbecue dishes and non-tofu menu is better than Tofu Village. The pan chan is different. The soon-tofu, not quite as good.

Jacalito, Valley Blvd., El Monte: If you can handle incredibly spicy food, try the Mojarra frita al diablo. Que ricos! This restaurant runs towards the hot end of Mexican food, but they'll adjust for you. Nice people, good prices, very fresh.

El Salvoderena, Mountain Blvd., Monrovia or maybe Duarte: Just a little El Salvadoran restaurant, nothing special except the quality of the dishes. Great pupusas, and the enchiladas (estilo America-central) are fluffy and awesome. Again, que ricos!

Anyway, that's a few.

BDL
post #22 of 27
A place in SF known as Gary Danko Restaurant in 800 N Point St is the one which I like to visit very often because of its wonderful ambiance.

They offer a really nice cheese selection.
Sumptuous food is a romantic getaway!!!
Reply
Sumptuous food is a romantic getaway!!!
Reply
post #23 of 27
Taylor's Automatic refresher, St Helena. Cool place, great food, high spirits.
post #24 of 27
Definitely! I have a pic of me somewhere.
post #25 of 27

John Boy's Home Style Kitchen, Marietta, Georgia

John Boy's is a small southern style buffet. They have special selections daily, as well as their normal offering of fried/baked chicken, salisbury steak, collard greens, green beans, cabbage, pinto, great northern or butter beans, mac n cheese, candied yams, biscuits, cornbread, salad, and dessert bar. Special daily selections include turkey and dressing, fried/baked pork chops, fried/baked fish, rib tips, meatloaf. fried okra, okra and tomatoes, rutabegas, and fried green tomatoes. I could go on and on listing what they serve! It's great, fresh food, for only $7/person including, coffee, tea, or southern style sweet tea.
post #26 of 27
Reminds me of a place I wanted to visit last summer, Lutz's Drive In, a couple miles north of Dowagiac, Michigan. We did drive by it one weekend last August, but didn't stop, as we had a pretty full schedule that day. The occasion for being back in my birthplace was my father's funeral. Eating at the drive in would have been appropriate, as my father and I helped my uncle Bob Lutz build the place back in 1961, 62 or so. Well, being as I was only 7 or 8 years old at the time, my contribution to the effort was probably minimal In spite of my assistance the place did open up, we ate there many times before moving south to Indiana, ate there a few times during trips back to visit.

Hot dogs, root beer and soft-serv cones, what kid could ask for more?

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
post #27 of 27

Have to agree.....

Have to agree with RPMc............can't beat the WR System in Edison for a fesh Cali Burger, Mastoris for gargantuan proportions of good food too, great cheesesteaks at Giannis Pizza on Plainfield although has run of the mill pizza. Into the city, Veselka for anything home made round the clock......mainly european/polish stuff, killer soups. Also 2 doors down from it on Second Avenue the Ukrainian Rest Home, down a shappy hallway to some of the best fresh food ever, we used to swear they had the old residents making those pierogies by hand to pay for their keep, Down on Mott Street, down a flight of stairs to Hop Kee for Chow fun.............gee I'm missing my old haunts back up east......we have nothing to compare to these places down here in the south, guess I need to jump in the car and go visit sis in NJ or the oldest kid in NY.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Restaurant Reviews