Words to live by

I have a new addition to my newsroom cubicle courtesy of the Go! section’s anti-debt columnist. Her headline Thursday: “Readers are full of wonderful ideas.”

Well, sometimes they are. I’ve clipped the headline and pinned it to the gray felt wall near other inspirational decor. Among them: My “What page are you on?” poster; a 1970s comic book ad in which O.J. Simpson hawks Dingo boots; and a teaser from the Onion that reads “Man Has Derogatory Nickname For Every Neighboring Town.”

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Restaurant of the Week: King’s Teriyaki

CLOSED

This week’s restaurant: King’s Teriyaki, 1175 E. Holt Ave. (at Clark), Pomona

This is a new place near Clark Avenue and across from Minit Man Car Wash. Until recently it was a burrito joint named something like El Amigazo. I looked the address up in a reverse directory at the library recently and learned the building was originally an Arby’s, which makes perfect sense; it’s got the same curved-roof chuckwagon design as the Arby’s on North Garey.

Anyway, King’s has the usual array of chicken, beef and teriyaki bowls and plates, plus shrimp and fried fish teriyaki. For chicken, you could get a small bowl ($3.25), a medium bowl ($3.75), a large bowl ($4.25) or the plate ($5.25), which comes with a small salad and two gyoza. Scanning the menu too hastily, I got the plate, which with a drink cost $7.08 and arrived in a foam container.

Why too hastily? A small or medium bowl would have sufficed. Two people could have split the plate. Decent teriyaki, and I liked the salad and gyoza too. But I got through only half the teriyaki, if that. What was left seemed almost as much as what I started with. Could the teriyaki have been self-replenishing? Well, I took it home, so my $7.08 will have bought the equivalent of two meals, so all’s well that ends well.

Odd fact: The napkin was imprinted with the logo/address from an Upland restaurant, Sho Sushi. I didn’t have a chance to ask why.

My favorite teriyaki place, by the way, is Posh Burgers and Beyond on East Holt Boulevard in Ontario. There the chicken is chargrilled and I like its crispiness. The King’s version is fine, though, and I hope they make a go of it. I’ll give a wave in the direction of King’s and Macho Pollo (see recent review) when my parade car passes by on Saturday. At least now you have some post-parade dining tips. And don’t forget the pho places, or the quite good Chalio Birreria, in an original Denny’s on Holt just west of Indian Hill.

(Incidentally, I won’t be dining anywhere: The parade ends at noon and Sunday’s column, which common sense will tell you has to be about the parade, must be written from scratch and filed by 3 p.m. Yikes! Maybe I can grab a burrito at Juanita’s and eat at my desk.)

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Mental floss

I spent Tuesday afternoon at the Pomona Public Library, giving myself eyestrain over the course of a couple of hours peering at microfilm copies of the Progress-Bulletin from the ’40s to the ’70s as I researched the Pomona Christmas Parade history for Friday’s column.

Found some amusing and startling stuff. For one, the parade is older than the Jaycees (“56th annual”) think it is. For another: the 1976 grand marshal was Donald Duck. I’m following in a grand tradition, folks.

In case you’ve forgotten, the parade is in three days: this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, on East Holt Boulevard from Caswell to East End. Be there or spend the rest of your life regretting it.

On my drive home from the library, I stopped at a red light in Claremont alongside a sportscar presumably driven by a dentist. Its vanity plate: UFLOSS.

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More pastrami

Recently I wrote about Langer’s Deli in L.A., which makes what has been called the best pastrami sandwich in America. Charles Bentley asks:

“What about a ‘best pastrami in the IE’ competition? Personally, The Hat was always a big winner with me, although others love Farmer Boys, Grinder Haven, Burger Town (the one on Archibald in Ontario) and even Togos. And is it just strictly pastrami as in pastrami sandwiches, or is it also pastrami as found on pastrami burgers? One friend tells me its a completely different requirement, like the difference between bacon for breakfast and bacon for a bacon cheeseburger.

“Its just something else to heat up your nights and your readers imaginations — not to mention the heartburn, oy!”

I’m a fan of the Grinder Haven pastrami and I admire The Hat. Haven’t tried the pastrami at the other places and have never tried a pastrami burger. Readers, what are your favorites?

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Jo(h)n Stewart

On Friday I conducted a phone interview with singer/songwriter John Stewart for an upcoming column. Stewart attended Pomona Catholic High School in the 1950s, joined the Kingston Trio and for the past 40 years has had a moderately successful career as a folk singer.

I’ll share one bit from the interview that may not make it into print. I brought up “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart. John Stewart mock-groused: “I’ve got people coming to shows thinking I’m him. They leave after four songs, disappointed. His real name isn’t even Jon Stewart. I had the name first!” (It’s true, Jon Stewart was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.) Stewart added: “I think he’s hysterical.”

The column may run this week, or possibly the next.

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Vineyard and Holt

The Bulletin on Saturday printed a story about construction in Ontario on Holt Boulevard just west of Vineyard Avenue, said to be the first construction there in decades. Perhaps ever?

What I’m curious about is the location of the former Mural House restaurant, which I’m pretty sure I’ve been told was at Holt and Vineyard. Was it where Spires now stands? Or the gas station? Or…?

Mural House always seems to prompt fond comments rating it as one of the better, and more striking, old-time valley restaurants. Share what you remember below of the location, decor and menu so we can all be edified.

* Update: Everyone (see comments) agrees the Mural House was on the south side of Holt just west of Vineyard, and thank you for that. No one has yet explained, though, why the Mural House was named the Mural House. Anyone want to tackle that?

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Restaurant of the Week: Fatburger

Fatburger, 11226 4th St. (at Milliken), Rancho Cucamonga

This week’s restaurant certainly isn’t Lela’s. It could have been Pueblita, a Mexican restaurant apparently in Montclair city limits (although it’s in the Upland Business Center) at Arrow Route and Benson Avenue, where I had lunch early this week. I’d heard good things, but I would rate it only as average. If I worked in the neighborhood, I’d eat there, but since getting there meant driving past several better Mexican restaurants, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to try it.

Instead, I’ll pick a chain operation: Fatburger, in Rancho Cucamonga, across from Ontario Mills.

Fatburger doesn’t make my favorite hamburger. That would probably be Molly’s Charbroiler, a stand on Vine Street a block below Hollywood Boulevard that is a favored stop when I go to the ArcLight. I also like Pie ‘N Burger in Pasadena, which not only makes a fantastic burger but sells you fresh-baked pie afterward.

In the Inland Valley, I’d go for Golden Ox, with three Pomona locations to serve you better. And innumerable small operations make hamburgers far tastier than McDonald’s and its ilk.

But Fatburger, just east down Fourth Street from our office, is a convenient spot, and there’s an attention to quality and freshness that puts it up there with In N Out. Fatburger’s signature item is fat, juicy and cooked to order, and loaded with shredded lettuce.

The skinny fries are pleasantly crispy, the onion rings lightly battered. They even have Cherry Coke in the dispenser. The shakes are a little disappointing and the “fat” fries are mushy for my taste, although friends like them. Fatburger also sells quite good chicken sandwiches and turkey burgers. You can even get a bacon and fried egg sandwich, which I tried once and liked.

The seating is comfortable, moreso than In N Out’s, with actual tables and chairs, plus booths. There’s a nice vibe to the place. One day my food was brought to my table by an employee wearing silk pants, like he was stopping off before hitting the clubs. The jukebox plays great R&B, rock and soul classics. Friday I heard Sly and the Family Stone, the Coasters, the Spinners and Janis Joplin.

This may reflect the clientele. This Fatburger, at least, is popular with the black community. Sometimes half the diners, as well as a majority of the employees, are black. The place opened in October 2005 and feels like it’s made a niche for itself.

If nothing else, it outlasted its next-door neighbor, Mi Tortilla, which closed a few weeks ago.

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Restaurant of the Week: Fatburger, RC

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Fatburger, 11226 4th St. (at Milliken), Rancho Cucamonga

Yes, Fatburger — in Rancho Cucamonga, across from Ontario Mills — is a chain, but as there’s only one in the Inland Valley, I’ll allow it here.

Besides, Fatburger makes my favorite local hamburger. East down Fourth Street from our newspaper, Faburger is a convenient spot, and there’s an attention to quality and freshness that puts it up there with In N Out. Fatburger’s signature item is fat, juicy and cooked to order, and loaded with shredded lettuce.

The skinny fries are pleasantly crispy, the onion rings lightly battered. The shakes are a little disappointing, they stopped carrying Cherry Coke in the dispenser and the “fat” fries are mushy for my taste, although friends like them. Fatburger also sells quite good chicken sandwiches and turkey burgers. You can even get a bacon and fried egg sandwich, which I tried once and liked.

The seating is comfortable, moreso than In N Out’s, with actual tables and chairs, plus booths. There’s a nice vibe to the place. One day my food was brought to my table by an employee wearing silk pants, like he was stopping off before hitting the clubs. The jukebox plays great R&B, rock and soul classics. Friday I heard Sly and the Family Stone, the Coasters, the Spinners and Janis Joplin.

This may reflect the clientele. This Fatburger, at least, is popular with the black community. Sometimes half the diners, as well as a majority of the employees, are black. The place opened in October 2005 and feels like it’s made a niche for itself.

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Fox dream

Continuing my selfless nocturnal work to redevelop downtown Pomona, I dreamed the other night that the Fox Theater was restored and that I, as an impresario, had booked an excellent night of entertainment.

Yes, Boris Karloff was going to perform onstage at the Fox, singing, dancing and telling stories.

I then woke up, and it instantly occurred to me that booking Karloff to play the Fox would be quite an achievement, given that the actor died in 1969. This may be why my career as an impresario never really took off.

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