Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mona Sutton, one of the owners of Omelette and Waffle Shop
By Diana L. Chapman

I was sitting at the Omelette and Waffle Shop in San Pedro catching up with a friend and eager to eat a good meal.
Somehow my dish got back-ordered  and my friend’s food arrived first. In her other hand, the waitress carried a bowl of sparkling freshly cut fruit and placed it in front of me that I hadn’t ordered.
“I felt bad that your oatmeal isn’t ready yet,” the waitress announced. “The kitchen was behind and was making another batch.  “So I brought you this so you didn’t have to sit and watch your friend eat.”

Bingo. Shazam! Double dancing up and down. Four star check out of four! Yelping with pleasure all the way home. That’s how I felt after that experience. Over  years of receiving poor service, grumpy sales people or the customer-is-never-right attitudes, I began to sum up what I wanted when visiting retailers and other service industries -- a lot less stress. I despise getting in disagreements over a wrong order or a returned item and had too many of them to count. Who needs that to ruin their day?
So I came up with this simple rule of thumb: Go where people treat me right – and that includes how they treat other people too.
Since then, my life has been more relaxed.
I’ve established a load of local places,  I haunt regularly.  You can send me yours at Here’s my list of favs from restaurants to banks and other retail services.
OMELETTE AND WAFFLE SHOP obviously --  where my son always insist the restaurant should compete in the Guinness Book of World Records  for having the most omelettes! The place is loaded with dishes – so many you can barely count them – from tasty pumpkin waffles to scrumptious delicious chicken tacos. The more than a dozen types of omelettes are great to sink your teeth into and I find the service  repeatedly awesome.  What I really like, however, is that owners Leslie Jones and Mona Sutton, repeatedly give to community, such as helping schools, sitting on the Chamber of Commerce, forging cleanup projects around town and sitting on the Los Angeles Police Department’s advisory board. Open for breakfast and lunch, the OWS is located at 1103 South GaffeyPedro, (310)-831-3277.
William McKenna, Susan's son, helping out at Nosh.
 A great downtown San Pedro eatery run by  Susan McKenna, a former owner of the popular Corner Store.  Susan ventured into the new café diner she calls  Nosh and began to whip up delightful homemade soups – from carrot to lentil – creamy quiches, and salmon sandwiches. The place has an Aussie air about it – since Susan is Australian – and it carries such things as sausage in a blanket, seaweed salad and PG tips, a strong black tea from England. Check out golden syrup on crumpets, bangers and caramelized onions on toast, Aussie meat pie, or date pudding with toffee sauce.  Lattes, cappuccinos and other specialized coffee drinks  are available and the staff is always both warm and friendly. Free Wi-Fi is offered at the long table in the front and at the counter (where you can often see me writing.) Open for lunch and breakfast,  Nosh is at  617 S Centre Street, San Pedro, (310) 514-1121.
A neighborhood eatery and small store where residents can come and hang their hats and chat for awhile. Most days, that’s the common scene at the Corner Store. Cappuccinos, a wide array of peculiarly colorful sodas including one that is bright blue, gourmet desserts and sandwiches are served daily. Drop by to grab a “Walk the Plank,” Albacore tuna on squaw or croissant bread or a “Black Beard’s” beef dip, thinly sliced roast beef on a steak roll with the meat’s juices. Sandwiches range about 4.95 to $5.50 – and you can count on some other delicious goodies, as well, such as an affogato -- two shots of espresso over ice cream. If you didn’t get to the grocery store, you can grab eggs, cheese and milk or buy that last minute gift as the store’s quaint boutique that hosts jewelry  and other charming gifts. How is that for the last minute? You can see me here teaching writing classes on Wednesday afternoons. Check out the store located at 1118, W. 37th Street (310) 832-2424.
THINK CAFÉ/THINK BISTRO/THINK PRIME:   For dinner and sometimes lunch, I enjoy all three of these restaurants – each with its own flair and atmosphere. Once all were owned by Kashi Aghilipour, who recently sold the café to his Chef Sonny Ramirez and wife Carly. The café hasn’t skipped a beat still serving wonders such as Cajun Spiced meatloaf for dinner and shrimp tacos for lunch.  Think Bistro is one of my favorite dinner spots in town due to its fair prices and because it’s around the block from my house and I can get there in five minutes.  The veggies are always cooked perfectly, much too my liking as I’m keen on vegetables. My favorite dish, chicken piccata. Lastly, Think Prime—an upscale and casual steakhouse – can get an array of beef dishes along with sides that include fresh corn on the cob and buttery garlic mashed potatoes. Don’t miss their daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. where the bar menu is half price.
Think Café: 302 w. 5th Street, (310) 519-3662.
Think Bistro: 1420 W. 25th Street , (310) 548-4797
Think Prime:  29601 S Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes (310) 221-0415
An always smiling employee at Dolci Mango serves up the creamy treat.
 Dolci Mango: WOW! Love this place that touts low-fat European yogurt at about 25 to 35 calories an ounce. The staff is always fun – and the yogurt, creamy smooth sliding right down into your tummy! Red Velvet Cake, blueberry cheesecake – chocolate! All those great toppings of fresh fruits, nuts and berries. But be careful of those delicious toppings like Oreo cookies, pecan pralines and M&Ms. Those calories add up. Don’t miss this delectable pleasure at 28901 S. Western Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes, #227.

I switched from Bank of America – after so many bad experiences, not so much with the staff but the larger organization itself. I had things like checks bounce – despite our overdraft protection – and had to make repeated calls to correct the mess. Switching to Malaga, now on 25th and Western Avenues in the Vons shopping Center, was a godsend. Due to its small size, they are able to call you when something looks amiss – as they did recently when we were in Canada and using our ATMs to the max. In another incident, I left on vacation having made a transfer to the wrong account and overdrawing rapidly in the next few days. Calling right away, the small bank was able to salvage my fiasco and complete the transfer for me. BRAVO MALAGA! 1460 West 25th Street/ 310-732-1100.
Kim Kromas runs San Pedro Health Center
My favorite chiropractor/clinical nutritionist in town by far is Kim Kromas, but what else can you say about the only person who wasn’t afraid to tell you the truth about your  diagnosis. While my doctors were petrified to tell me (having by now lost vision in my right eye and having fierce tingling pains in my arms) Kim began to put the pieces together. When I called her to say my doctors were dancing around, she told me straight out: “I think you have multiple sclerosis. Go back and ask them.” The relieved doctor confirmed Kim’s theory. Today, Kim's focuses on clinical nutrition with a supporting team of chiropractors, acupuncturist and muscle therapists. Other therapies include  ionic/detoxification, physio therapy and orothodic molding. Kim spends most her time counseling patients on nutrition and how to better themselves physically with supplements from Standard Process. Recently, I was coming in with bruises peppered across my body when she finally determined was from my medication. Once again, she turned out right and I remain under her professional care.  The Nutritional Chiropractor Center is located at 302 W. 5th Street, 310-832-5818. Visit her blog at:
Richard "Doc" Wright and his wife,Dagmar Neubauer, treat ailments and stress with alphabiotics.
Don’t ask me how it works or why, I just know it does for me. While you can hear the whole explanation from Richard “Doc” Wright and his wife, Dagmar Neubaurer, or Gene Eramela, all
 alphabiotists, I sum it up as this:  you get a “brain hemisphere balancing” each time you walk in, which helps shake out all those old injuries and years of compressing and jarring your spine, the core that holds our bodies in one piece. This provides your brain the ability to balance itself and help you heal  naturally. Since I’ve undertaken this, I’ve seen improvements I haven’t made in 20 years. Having gone on a myriad of drugs that have helped me, but came with serious side effects, I found more relief from using alphabiotics to tame unpredictable multiple sclerosis than all my drugs put  together. For once in my life in the past two decades, I haven’t had to drop in my bed for hours a day and excuse myself constantly for intense fatigue. For a full detail on how this treatment works, stop by and chat with Richard at 1407 W. 8th Street. Call first to make sure schedule. (310)519-7700.

Sylvia Hudson outside Hair and Nails Salon

I was tired of feeling like just another robot in the pedicure assembly line at so many nail salons. I confess; I wanted to be spoiled. At the Hair and Nails Salon, the staff is amicable, right down to the receptionist Yolanda. At this place, I found mutli-talented Sylvia Lee, who does my hair and my pedicures. What I like best truthfully is that Sylvia spoils me and I always leave feeling like a pampered queen. Everybody deserves to feel like royalty once-in-awhile.  What is most enjoyable here: watching the way the staff care about their clients that come in from young to old. After going to several indifferent salons, I stumbled on this one and haven’t quit going ever since. Sylvia is truly a gem. The salon also does also does waxing, facials and eyelash extensions. It’s located at 2312 S. Western Avenue. (310) 548-3406
Max Beyda, the owner, and Barbara Arizpe make a fabulous team at this clothing store.
A low-priced, clothing boutique, this is probably the only place in town I look for casual and dressy fashions. Between the owner, Ann-Margret (Max) Beyda, who has a fabulous eye for purchasing ever-changing styles, to her store clerk, Barbara Arizpe, you should have a yelping good time finding clothes that suit your moment, from the sporty to elegant. This “mix-and-match” shop has been my lifesaver many times, where I’ve ran in at the last minute looking for something to wear that evening. Somehow, don’t ask me how, they always pull together a stunning outfit off the racks.  Voted South Bay’s Best women’s clothing store for 2010, customers can enjoy an array of colorful scarves to accessories to match their apparel. One tip: if you find something you like, buy it because clothes tend to literally fly off the racks. Max’s is located at  1422 W. 25 Street in the Von’s shopping center. (310) 519-9096.

Talk about going the extra mile, this gas station is it! Owner Mitch Harmatz takes serving his customers to the max, such as having free loaner cars, rides to and from his business and delivering your car home after services are completed. Never in my life have I seen a gas station do any of this. His staff is kind to clients (or they are gone) and having used Mitch’s auto repeatedly, when mistakes are made, they are corrected. This place is so unusual that we don’t go anywhere else. In fact, when we bought our used 1999 Explorer, we took it to Mitch and he gave us the green light. It’s been a good car (knock on wood) ever since. My hats off to a guy who truly cares about his customers. 990 N. Western Avenue (310)-831-1571.