Sunday column preview

Well, I was right about the order of which blog posts would show up in which columns — in the sense that in my Friday column preview, after putting them in the exact opposite order, I said “it’s possible they’re reversed.” There’s a reason I’m a pro, folks: I have the good sense to hedge my bets.

So, Sunday look for Clive Cussler and Pei Wei. Just like I said (sort of).

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Restaurant of the Week: Super Sandwich



Super Sandwich, 9885 Central Ave. (at Benito), Suite A, Montclair; closed Sundays.

I learned about Super Sandwich from the Goddess of Pomona blog a couple of weeks back. The place has all sorts of sandwiches but specializes in banh mi, which are Vietnamese and served on thin baguettes. Besides several kinds of meat, they have strips of carrot and cucumber, daikon (a carrot-like root vegetable), cilantro, onion and pate. Also, jalapenos.

Super Sandwich is next to a Domino’s in a small, standalone building. The interior is small, like a yogurt shop, but there are a few tables and chairs in a mod, Space Age style. One wall (bottom) features a large photo mural of the Eiffel tower with a giant sandwich superimposed in the sky. Mmmmm…Eiffel tower.

The menu lists “regular sandwiches,” French baguette sandwiches (i.e., banh mi), kitchen dishes (teriyaki, mostly), tea, coffee, shakes, salads and nonfat yogurt.

I got a 10-inch sandwich combo, the house special, with pork and ham, which came with a salad, chips and a boba milk tea (all for a mere $5.38). It’s only the third time I’ve had banh mi, so I’m still a neophyte, but this was certainly comparable to the others. (I removed the peppers.) The salad was iceberg, nothing special, but fine for the price. There was so much food I couldn’t finish the salad and didn’t even crack open the chips!

They bake their own bread here, by the way. They have a happy hour special in the window: From 2 to 5 p.m., buy two baguettes and get the third free.

(Happy hour specials must be getting more imaginative: I ate Thursday at Classic 66 Burgers in Pomona and noticed their window advertises a happy hour special involving chili cheese fries.)

One thing Super Sandwich doesn’t have is…soup. But they make a mean sandwich.

* Update, February 2014: I returned for a pork banh mi and taro boba tea ($6.27 with tax) one evening to go. Only later did I realize this 2008 blog post didn’t have photos. So I returned a few days later for another meal: a house special sandwich (pork, ham and liver pate) and boba green tea ($6.27, pictured below). Very tasty, and the price is right.




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Friday column preview

Friday and Sunday’s columns are best-of-the-blog compilations. I figured for the newspaper audience, blog repeats were better than no column at all, and it would still be new material for 99 percent of my audience. If the result entices a few more people into checking out this blog, that wouldn’t break my heart either.

If memory serves, Friday has the Clive Cussler and Pei Wei posts, while Sunday has the Lisa’s Gourmet and Jim Frost posts. Although it’s possible they’re reversed. I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow.

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That certain breed of Claremonter

Visitors to Claremont’s downtown Village with its lively pedestrian and cafe scene can’t help but notice the working-age people who can be spotted not working at hours when nearly everyone else is. Who are these under-employed people lounging over endless cups of coffee at late morning or mid-afternoon?

It’s one of the mysteries of Claremont, up there with how some Village stores stay in business, year after year, despite having seemingly no customers, never-changing window displays and, in at least one case I can think of (Kalter’s), virtually never being open.

This week, as noted previously, I’m taking a few days off — while still blogging, obviously. Wednesday morning, after a dental appointment, I took my newspapers to the public square in Village West and sat at a table under an umbrella with a Jamba Juice drink from about 10:30 to 11:30. A very pleasant, sunny day.

At some point, of course, it occurred to me: For one morning, I was one of those Village suspects. So were the dozen or so other people around me.

OK, but all these Village characters can’t be on a staycation, can they?

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Upland and ‘The 27th City’

Five years ago, a reader named Jeremy Heist of Upland wrote me a nice long note, much of it about his connection to St. Louis, after hearing (incorrectly) that I hailed from there, rather than from remote Illinois. But Heist went on to say that he gives copies of Jonathan Franzen’s first novel, “The 27th City,” “which takes place all over St. Louis,” to local friends from there. “Check it out sometime if you haven’t,” Heist urged.

I eventually found a copy of the novel at a used bookstore, bought it and put it on my bookshelf. There it languished, as if the simple act of purchasing it was the achievement, actually reading it being secondary.

Planning a visit to St. Louis, I pulled “27th City” down in late September to read. It’s a 517-page brick with dozens of characters, and a plot that involves a political conspiracy to reunite the city and county, their separation being blamed for the city’s slide into irrelevancy during the 20th century. “Municipal science fiction,” one reviewer called it. I can’t say I loved it, and I’m not even sure I liked it. But it held my interest, perhaps primarily because of the novelty of being set in such an overlooked locale.

I met Heist a couple of times, once in Pomona at an experimental, and fairly awful, traveling film festival called 20,000 Leagues, and once, the last time, in Claremont outside the Folk Music Center, where Dave Alvin would perform. Heist had a degenerative condition that made breathing an effort. He didn’t think his chances were good.

And apparently they weren’t; a database search shows that he died a few months later.

Too bad, for all sorts of reasons that pertain to him and his family, not to me. Personally, though, I’d have liked to sit down with him and talk about the book.

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‘Faded Glory’

Did you see our Page One story yesterday on the Fox Theater, Claremont Packing House and other examples of historic preservation — or, in some cases, pseudo-preservation or outright demolition? Modesty prevents me from mentioning the writer’s name, but if you didn’t read the story Monday, you can do so by clicking here.

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Reefer Bulletin Madness

Reader Dennis Sampson writes, apropos of nothing, but entertainingly:

“Have you ever seen ‘Reefer Madness,’ the campy, corny movie from the early ’30s which deals with the scourge of marijuana smoking and its effect on America’s youth? Recently it was on one of the cable channels and I watched it.

“Near the beginning, there is a part where several front pages of different newspapers, one at a time, come spinning towards the camera. Each one stops briefly, allowing the viewer to read the name of the newspaper and the headline, which is always some shocking news about the evils of marijuana.

“The very first newspaper to be shown is the Daily Bulletin. I know that wasn’t the name of our paper yet, but I did enjoy seeing the name there.”

Correct, we were the Daily Report and the Progress-Bulletin in the 1930s. Haven’t seen the movie, no, but I imagine if I did, I’d have a chuckle, and perhaps even a contact high, from seeing any newspaper named The Daily Bulletin onscreen!

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A little too relaxed

A store named Relax the Back opened in Rancho Cucamonga probably two years ago; I received a press release about it, thought it sounded interesting and jotted down the address on Foothill Boulevard. I did an Internet search to figure out precisely where, Foothill being a loooong street; the store, one of a chain, was in the Foothill Crossings center at Interstate 15, near Sears Grand.

For the next two years, I would periodically remember that I wanted to see what the store sold, yours truly being perpetually tight-shouldered from hunching over a keyboard most of the time. But I rarely go to the Victoria Gardens area, and when I do, it’s usually on a tight schedule. Or the store’s existence wouldn’t cross my mind.

Finally, today, on a day off, I set out on a mission. I drove to the VG for some shopping and then, at last, went across the street to check out Relax the Back.

After some driving around, I found the store. It’s empty. It’s closed for good.

Serves me right for taking such a relaxed approach to the whole thing.

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Robin Williams in Ontario?


Driving past Ontario’s Granada Theater on Friday, I got a shock: The marquee reads “Robin Williams,” with the theater promoter’s phone number.

Surely not THE Robin Williams? But it is. Or at least could be.

Williams is mounting a tour of small comedy clubs. Granada operator Dave Perez read that Williams played at a theater named the Granada in New York. “My wife said, wouldn’t it great if he played here?” Perez said. She phoned Williams’ publicist and he expressed interest.

“Our confirmation meeting is next Wednesday,” Perez said. “They said it’s OK to put his name up there [on the marquee] — just don’t put up a date.”

Caution will tell you that Robin Williams playing the low-budget Granada — a former movie theater now used for church services, punk concerts and open-mic nights — is unlikely. But who knows? And as Perez said, such a show “would put us on the map.”

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