R.I.P. Doc & Mz. V's—This unfortunate news tidbit comes courtesy of a reader who, thanks to a review we ran (“Doc & Mz. V's Diner: Southwestern Heart and Southern Soul Food,” Jan. 26-Feb. 1) only recently got turned on to the Southern-style South Valley diner. "Encouraged by our tasty lunch last week, a colleague and I headed back this afternoon," she wrote in an e-mail. "The restaurant was dark, chairs upside down on the tables. ... Another one bites the dust." A call to the restaurant confirmed their sudden and unforeseen closure, where an answering machine delivered Mz. V's heartfelt goodbye. "Doc and I regret that we have closed the business down as of Feb. 3," she explained, " ... due to staffing issues that will not allow Doc and I to ... live, breath, eat and sleep the restaurant." Doc & Mz. V's Diner opened in May of 2005, under the care of Dr. Thomas Strain (Doc) and Vanessa Strain (Mz. V). As a final note on her message, Mz. V says, "This has been a real experience for us, to get to know our neighbors and a lot of people who will be our friends in our future. I'd like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you."
"Look around you—what do you notice about my place?" Ramona Biddle asks as she shows me into the combined dining room, bar and billiard's area. It's difficult to pinpoint where I should start. Ramona, a professional billiards player-cum-restaurateur, has spent the last nine years dreaming up every square inch of the Carom Club, right down to the bathroom countertops (a creamy orange stone in the men's room, semitranslucent blue aventurine for the ladies).
How does it feel to get exactly what you want? Imagine a huge oval platter heaped high with a smokin'-hot cheese enchilada, a moist tamale stuffed tighter than a Christmas goose with shreds of spicy meat, a crisp, beefy taco and refried beans whipped to perfection. Now, imagine everything slathered in a thick, deep red chile sauce and sprinkled with cool bits of lettuce and tomato.