The Cuisine Scene
Wing's Garden Cafe
One of my favorite childhood memories is getting all dressed up and going with my mother to a downtown movie theater.
How well I remember the lobby
with the multi-colored lights, the aroma and sounds of popping corn,
the hushed excitement of the carpeted auditorium graced with glistening
Sitting in the balcony, wed
gaze down at the stage and wait for that special moment when the lights
faded, the music swelled and the drapes parted to reveal the giant
screen. Oh, what wonders to a child in the fifties.
I still love movies, at home
and at the theaters, and I make the quick trip to Redlands to see
something special. While I love the luxury of the spacious seats in
modern theaters, I occasionally head east to the old Fox Theater in
Banning. They show some darn good movies and the price of admittance is
much lower than other theaters.
Walking to and from the
theater, Ive often passed Wings Garden Café on the west side. Friday
night I finally tried it and now I wonder why I waited so long. Sheila,
my sons future mother in law as well as my friend, accompanied me.
Inside, the café is clean and cozy, with plenty of comfortable booths.
Wing, the owner, greets
newcomers and regular customers with a welcoming smile. With over
twenty-two years experience in the restaurant business, including
working for the Hilton Corporation in Las Vegas, he loves to please his
customers and proves it by serving food freshly made to order. Both of
his grandfathers had restaurants, and his daughter, Lillian, works with
him and plans to one day take over the business. His son, Harvey, is
working toward a medical degree, but when they were growing up, Wing
insisted they learn responsibility by working at the restaurant.
(Wing, his daughter LIllian, and wife Ming)
Although Wings offers a
varied menu including sandwiches, salads, American food and Chinese, he
takes particular pleasure in catering to his customers with health
concerns. For those with high blood pressure, he cuts the sodium, and
for those with diabetes, he omits sugar. One customer had to lose a
significant amount of weight, so Wing worked with him and served a
variety of healthy dishes. Before long, his customer dropped the pounds
Im not sure I could do it,
though. His menu offers such a variety of good things that it seems
difficult to limit choices. And his cooks are great.
Breakfast is served until 2pm
and offers eggs with bacon or sausage for $5.25, 3 egg omelettes from
$5.25 to $7.25 for their shrimp. They offer hot cakes, French toast,
and one of my favorites, cinnamon toast for $1.75. If you arrive early,
between 6am-11am, they offer great specials such as 2 eggs, 2 bacon,
hash browns and toast for $4.50, pancakes, eggs & bacon for $4.25.
For lunch, they offer a range
of sandwiches, from egg salad for $4.75, to BBQ beef or pork with fries
for $7.95. Wing assured me he makes his own barbeque in house and I bet
its delicious. Hot sandwiches include turkey, beef, grilled chicken,
NY steak with fries for $8.95, grilled cheese, BLT, patty and tuna
melts on rye with fries for $7.95. Some of the cold sandwiches are tuna
salad, beef, turkey and ham for around seven dollars.
Salads are mixed vegetable,
chicken salad bowl for $5.95, chefs salad for $7.75, and regular
dinner salad and cottage cheese with fruit.
Dinner is served daily from
11am and includes soup, salad, and dessert for $8.75. Some of the
choices are honey fried chicken, hamburger steak with gravy, roast
beef, roast pork, and teriyaki chicken.
They also offer steaks, ribeye for $14.95, an 8oz New York for $$11.95 and grilled pork chops with applesauce for $9.95.
Seafood includes halibut steak
for $11.75, jumbo shrimp or deep fried scallops for $9.95, and a
Captains plate of shrimp, scallops and fish for $10.95.
Their Chinese selections
include about twenty of their house specialties ranging from moo goo
guy pan for $8.85, Kung Po chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp for $9.95,
walnut shrimp for $11.95, orange or walnut chicken for $9.95, almond
shrimp for $9.95, cashew chicken for $8.95 and shrimp in lobster sauce
for $9.95. Steamed rice is served with the specialties.
They also have a variety of fried rice, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, BBQ pork, and yang chow fried rice.
Sheila and I decided to try
the Chinese dishes, but there were so many to choose from that we
didnt know where to start. Wing asked what we liked, and we named some
of the vegetables, chicken and shrimp, so he said to leave it to him.
Before long, he brought three
of most delightful dishes to our table, each piled high with shrimp or
chicken and fresh, shiny vegetables.
Sheila had mentioned fried rice,
and that dish was piled high and covered with diced green onion, just
the way I love it.
The chow mein was made in the
old Cantonese style and was the best Id had in years. Instead of limp
noodles, the dish was filled with shrimp and crisp bean sprouts and
other vegetables. Ive lived in six states and Ive never had
He also brought his Wings
special, sautéed chicken tenderloins with mixed vegetables in a light
sauce. I loved the delicate flavor and could taste the broccoli, pea
pods, zucchini, and onions. The chicken was especially good, generously
cut and all white meat. He only uses chicken breast tenders, Wing
They also have family dinners,
Number 1, 2 or 3, from $8.25 per person to $9.25, depending on which
one you choose. Some of the selections are almond chicken chow mein,
fried shrimp, fried rice, sweet and sour pork, and egg roll.
When Sheila and I finished
dinner, we had no room for desserts, but Wings has them. Maybe another
time Ill try a sundae or a dish of ice cream or sherbet. I just know
Ill be back. The food is worth it.
Wings Garden Cafe
116 W. Ramsey Street