Restaurant of the week: El Ranchero (19th St.)


El Ranchero, 8697 19th St. (at Carnelian), Rancho Cucamonga

Every week I try at least one new restaurant, usually on my lunch hour, and usually on Monday. This week, delaying my foray until Wednesday, I hit El Ranchero at 19th and Carnelian, in the upper reaches of Rancho Cucamonga. It’s in a standalone building in a small shopping center and, based on the sign out front reading “El Ranchero Fast Food Mexican Restaurant,” my hopes weren’t high.

Inside, though, the place had colorful tile and a mural on one wall. Bright and cheery! At the counter I ordered three carne asada soft tacos and a horchata. They came in the traditional way, small tacos with onions and cilantro, and weren’t bad at all. The booths were full up even at 1 p.m., so it’s a popular place. There’s also a generously sized patio. All in all, it’s one of those restaurants that, like the Transformers, is more than meets the eye.

* Update: I returned in January 2014 for a huarache ($6, below) and horchata — very good — and to take photos. The place, thankfully, hasn’t changed.



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“Is it rolling, Bob?”

Testing, 1, 2 … greetings, and welcome to my blog!

If you’re here, surely you already read my Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columns. (Readers: “Don’t call us Shirley.”) If not, look for those pieces at, where I roam from La Verne to Fontana, Upland to Chino, with lingering stops in Ontario, Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga, looking for silly stuff, quirky stories, culture, charm and character before development drains it all away.

Why do a blog AND three columns a week? Because overkill is underrated. Also, it’s an experiment on my part.

I find more material than I can always get into print in a timely way, I get entertaining comments from readers (especially reminiscences about the recent past) there’s no room for and I notice things around the valley, such as business closures, that I can’t think of much to elaborate on but that ought to be put on the record.

Moreover, I try new restaurants and almost never write about them, and I journey outside the valley to places you might like to read about — for instance, I was at the Rialto Theater in South Pasadena for its closing weekend — but that my column isn’t really set up to chronicle.

Thus, this blog.

My goal is to post daily, so that every time you check in, there will be something new here to read. I can’t promise it will always be scintillating, and it may be just a few lines, but hey, at least it’ll be fresh. Your readership and comments are encouraged and will help this experiment succeed.

Oh, and one more thing: I’ll call you Shirley any darn time I like.

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