Column: Remembering when ‘Combat!’ came to Cucamonga

For years I’ve been meaning to write about the filming of an episode of “Combat!” in the 1960s at Cucamonga’s then-abandoned Virginia Dare Winery. A nod to “Combat!” in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” provides an excuse. I write about the winery’s moments of TV glory — including “Rat Patrol” and “The Invaders” — in Friday’s column.

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Restaurant of the Week: Paulie’s Pizza Pub

Paulie’s Pizza Pub, 247 N. 2nd Ave. (at 9th), Upland; open 11 a.m. daily until midnight Monday to Thursday, 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday

Paulie’s took the place of the all-ages music venue The Wire in the heart of downtown Upland after a protracted renovation in early 2016. Needing dinner before a recent council meeting, I headed there to check it out. And there’s a lot to check out.

There’s exposed brick, hardwood floors, vintage signs for such products as Quaker State Motor Oil, a Vote Against Prohibition mural, a miniature fire escape against one brick wall for urban ambiance and B&W framed photos of rock singers, among other things to marvel at.

The front is a bar, with small solo tables facing the bar; after a narrow space with two-person tables and an unused upright piano, there’s a dining room with tables for small groups. You get the impression Paulie’s has been there forever, not four years (albeit in an early 20th century building).

I got a Don Vito sandwich ($11), meatball and sausage with mozzarella, romano and marinara on French bread. It’s all kind of baked inside the bread. That was a good but unusual knife-and-fork sandwich, and big enough that I took some of it home. It fortified me for the council meeting.

I’ve been back twice since, splitting a medium vegetarian pizza ($25) with a friend on one visit. It had tomatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms. The crust was thick and crispy. As my friend put it: “I’m not usually one of those people who say ‘I like the crust.’ But the crust was really good.” The pizza was large enough (as a medium) that there was some to take home.

Third visit, I got the Knuckles Chicken Parm sandwich ($11), with chicken, marinara, provolone and garlic bread. You won’t be surprised to hear that I took some home. A different friend got the Mad Dog hot sub, with ham, turkey, roast beef, provolone and au jus. “It’s really good,” she said, “if you like meat dipped in meat juice.” That was a compliment.

Also, if you go, check out the restrooms. The men’s has celebrity police-booking photos.

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Favorite music of 2019

There being so little popular consensus or even popular awareness of what music is released compared to the more limited number of movies each year, we won’t get much of a debate going here on my annual favorite-CDs list. Still, I’ve been doing these lists since 2012, and they serve as personal markers on what I listened to and liked the previous years.

As I type this I was tempted to juggle titles around on the list, except that I already put them in order for the photo. So, consider the list below a rough guide to my (why not?) Top 13, placed in descending order below and the opposite in the photo above:

13. Bob Dylan: “Travelin’ Thru, 1967 to 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15”

12. Bruce Springsteen: “Western Stars”

11. Adia Victoria: “Silences”

10. Lizzo: “Cuz I Love You”

9. Various Artists: “The Daisy Age”

8. The National: “I Am Easy to Find”

7. L7: “Scatter the Rats”

6. Chuck Cleaver: “Send Aid”

5. Kim Gordon: “No Home Record”

4. Weyes Blood: “Titanic Rising”

3. Sleater-Kinney: “The Center Won’t Hold”

2. Todd Snider: “The Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3”

and my No. 1 pick:

Billie Eilish: “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Your turn: Did you listen to any of the above, or to anything new this year that you liked?

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Column: Psst, Marie Kondo: Books spark more than joy

Every year around this time I write about the books I read last year, illustrated by a photo of all those books, stacked up. Not long after last year’s recap, there was that flap about Marie Kondo, who had said something about how people should own no more than 30 books. (Apparently that’s not exactly what she said.) So I make some comments about that in this year’s look back, which makes up my Sunday column.

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Books read, 2019

In 2019 your ‘umble blogger read 46 books. That’s about my usual pace. Can you believe I’ve been writing these year-end reading posts since 2010? That’s a solid decade. Here’s the list from 2018.

Below are all the titles I read in 2019. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on your own reading in 2019 or, if you have the right combination of ambition and leisure time, to list all your books from the year.

  1. “Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78 rpm Records,” Amanda Petrusich
  2. “Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles,” Jonathan Gold
  3. “After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame,” Lynell George
  4. “Train,” Tom Zoellner
  5. “The Lost Art of Walking,” Geoff Nicholson
  6. “Over the Hills,” David Lamb
  7. “Beyond This Horizon,” Robert A. Heinlein
  8. “Edgeworks Vol. 1,” Harlan Ellison
  9. “Edgeworks Vol. 2,” Harlan Ellison
  10. “An Edge in My Voice,” Harlan Ellison
  11. “The Blood of the Lamb,” Peter De Vries
  12. “A Pleasure to Burn,” Ray Bradbury
  13. “Dreams and Schemes,” Steve Lopez
  14. “The Simulacra,” Philip K. Dick
  15. “Lies Inc.,” Philip K. Dick
  16. “The Unteleported Man,” Philip K. Dick
  17. “Only Apparently Real,” Paul Williams
  18. “The Colour of Memory,” Geoff Dyer
  19. “The Orange and the Dream of California,” David Boulé
  20. “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” William Shakespeare
  21. “Timon of Athens,” William Shakespeare
  22. “Pericles,” William Shakespeare
  23. “Shakespeare: The World as Stage,” Bill Bryson
  24. “Collected Stories,” Willa Cather
  25. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” Robert M. Pirsig
  26. “California Dreamin’ Along Route 66,” Joe Sonderman
  27. “On the Road With Bob Dylan,” Larry “Ratso” Sloman
  28. “The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture and Style,” Nelson George
  29. “What to Eat,” Marion Nestle
  30. “American Fried,” Calvin Trillin
  31. “Alice, Let’s Eat,” Calvin Trillin
  32. “Third Helpings,” Calvin Trillin
  33. “The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan,” Kevin Dettmar, editor
  34. “Counter-Clock World,” Philip K. Dick
  35. “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” Walter M. Miller Jr.
  36. “Can and Can’tankerous,” Harlan Ellison
  37. “Alive in La La Land,” Jack Smith
  38. “How the World Was: A California Childhood,” Emmanuel Guibert
  39. “Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018,” David Kipen, editor
  40. “Panorama: A Picture History of Southern California,” W.W. Robinson
  41. “The Library Book,” Susan Orlean
  42. “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies,” Reyner Banham
  43. “The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum,” Stanley Weinbaum
  44. “Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York Through the Films of Harold Lloyd,” John Bengtson
  45. “J.D. Salinger: A Biography,” Paul Alexander
  46. “2020 Vision”: Jerry Pournelle, editor
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Restaurant of the Week: Haven City Market

Haven City Market, 8443 Haven Ave. (at Arrow), Rancho Cucamonga; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

After a couple of years of construction, the former J.C. Penney Outlet store opened in October as Haven City Market, a food hall. It’s like a mall food court without the mall, with (at this writing) 25 vendors selling entrees, desserts and beverages, and no retail or services.

It’s only the second food hall in the Inland Valley, after Cravings by 99 Ranch in Chino, putting us as usual far behind LA and Orange counties. Haven City isn’t far from our newsroom and so I’ve made a point of going multiple times. As with Cravings, it makes more sense to write about the food hall as a whole rather than individual spots.

The developers have done a nice job in making the hall inviting. There’s varied styles of seating throughout rather than the monotony of everything looking alike. One area has two ping-pong tables. Some spaces are Instagram-friendly, because that’s almost a requirement now.

Salted caramel cone from Cauldron with Instagram-friendly background

And there’s a sprawling patio area for warm days with shaded umbrellas and fake turf. I found that a welcome place to eat in October and November.

Most of the food stands are not recognizable names, which is good. Burgerim stands out as a “what is this doing here” chain, but their slider concept at least works from the small-bites angle. The majority of the offerings are Asian, primarily Korean and Japanese, but other cultures are represented too.

Shrimp roll and cajun fries from Shrimp Shack

I’ve enjoyed a shrimp roll ($10) and cajun fries ($4) at Shrimp Shack, a Japanese pancake ($8) at Oko Yummy, the yellowtail and white tuna sushi ($13 combined) at Shokunin, the adobo elote cup ($6.50) at Ibasa, the pork belly grilled cheese ($14 with fries and soda) at Belly & Snout and a shrimp, pork and kimchi rice bowl ($7.40) at On + On. A friend joined me at Ibasa and liked his al pastor, carnitas and tri-tip tacos.

For dessert, I’ve had a nitrogen ice cream salted caramel cone ($6.75) at Cauldron, a blood orange popsicle ($4) at Popbar and a Reese’s churro with ice cream ($9) at Churro Bar.

Reese’s churro and ice cream from Churro Bar

And I’ve had a strawberry fruit tea with boba ($4.50) at It’s Boba Time, which also sells macarons. My friend got a beer at Native Son Alehouse (price not noted) and said it was quite good, “aside from being served in plastic,” like at a ballpark.

It’s possible to combine foods or drinks from three or four places in one meal, besides sharing with friends.

My favorites of the above would be Shrimp Shack, Ibasa and On + On. The other meals were fine to greater or lesser degrees but perhaps not enough to draw me back. Overall the offerings are a little hit or miss, but that’s probably to be expected. The only meal I didn’t like was an under-grilled chicken kabob meal ($11) at Baba K, which came with no tahini and no fork. I was reduced to pulling the chicken apart with my fork and fingers. But to make up for some confusion on their part at the register, they gave me a free falafel, which was better than the meal I’d paid for.

On + On mini-sized bowl

I’d had the idea of eating at every spot, but that proved too ambitious as well as a little nutty. Plus I don’t need Fire Wings or Oke Poke. But I’ve been to 11 vendors out of 25, a fair sampling.

Haven City was packed from Day One, and I’ve been told it’s especially so on weekends. It’s been great to see so many cars in the parking lot of what had been a dead business and so many people of all ages inside. Will the all-food concept sustain itself? We’ll see. Out here in the suburbs, we don’t have enough buzzy hangout spots.

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Restaurant of the Week is BACK

You’ll find a fresh Restaurant of the Week, my first of 2020, here on Thursday morning!

I caught a break Monday. Usually I’d have spent the day starting in on Wednesday’s column (due Tuesday at 1 p.m.). But because I was going to Monday night’s Pomona council meeting, and would be writing that on deadline Tuesday morning, that gave me Monday’s daylight hours free.

So I wrote a somewhat complex ROW on the Rancho Cucamonga food hall, which I scheduled to appear Thursday. With that done by early afternoon, I decided to keep going, starting blog posts for the other four restaurants for which I had notes, by which I mean choosing the category, looking up and writing the info that you see in bold with the address and hours and scheduling them for upcoming Thursdays, bam, bam, bam.

From there, I managed to write two of them, for spots in Upland and Chino, and edited/placed photos for a third, in Ontario. Wednesday afternoon, as I write this, I edited/placed photos for the fourth, in Montclair.

This means three ROWs are in the can and two more are in progress. How long I can stay ahead, I don’t know — I’ve had backlogs before and then caught up — but at least I’m off to a good start for 2020. Now if I can only find time to drive east of the 15…

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