Be my fan on Facebook

As I say in Sunday’s column, my Facebook fan page is up to 168 fans. (What I didn’t say is that it’s down from its peak of 170.) Are you one of them? If so, thank you! If not, here’s the link to the page. Let’s try to get it back up to 170, at least. Remember, it’s free.

The benefit is that you get links to each column and blog post, which show up on your FB home page for ease of clicking. That may not sound like much, and it isn’t. The main benefit of declaring yourself a fan is, of course, the boost to your status among your peers by your display of good taste. You can’t put a price on that.

Still, I don’t blame anyone for not signing up, especially if you’re not already on Facebook. I wouldn’t be on there myself if I didn’t think it might be a useful way to get more people reading me.

One friend who’s also a fan said he’s reading my columns more frequently because he doesn’t have to remember to look for them on the Bulletin’s website. (Incidentally, the Bulletin has a Facebook page too, with 140 fans.)

If you are an official fan, do you use the links? Is there something else you would suggest I do with the page?

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Restaurant of the Week: Page One Cafe

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This week’s restaurant: Page One Cafe, 215 E. C St. (at Lemon), Ontario.

Page One is the cafe at rear of the Ontario City Library and was added in 2006, after the library renovation. There are two entrances from the outside and one from the library itself. It’s operated by SMG, which runs the Ontario Convention Center and has a large food and beverage department to support its events.

There was grand talk in the beginning of a seasonal menu, fresh soups and sandwiches, plus live music out on the enclosed patio. I dropped in a few times before council meetings for a quick bite and the cafe seemed underfunded. I had a chicken pesto pocket that was rubbery and inedible. From that point, I stuck to a fruit cup or yogurt — items impossible to mess up — before gradually forgetting the cafe was there.

Well, it turns out the cafe and its menu are now close to what was originally envisioned. The place was busy Monday at the noon hour and the menu is considerably larger and more ambitious than before. There are a few basic breakfasts, but sandwiches, salads and soups are the main items. They don’t have a grill, but they can do almost anything else.

There’s a Healthy Ontario menu to go along with the local health campaign and even sugar-free cookies, as well as sugary treats, from Sweet Nick’s bakery in Corona. Not to mention Starbucks coffee, the only Starbucks outlet downtown.

You order at the counter and they bring the food to your table, on real plates and with real silverware.

I had a Cuban panini with fries ($6.95) and an iced tea and it wasn’t bad. The crinkle-cut fries are made fresh to order and arrived hot and crispy. The sandwich came on a roll rather than pressed bread, which was unusual, but with ham, cheese and a pickle sliced lengthwise, it was tasty.

A couple of days later, I went back for another meal so I could take photos. (My camera batteries were dead the first time, darn the luck.) This time I got the daily special, a curry chicken wrap with a tomato salad ($6.50). Tucked inside the sundried-tomato wrap were curried chicken, romaine lettuce and, adding a nice crunch, sliced apples. I also got a sugar-free sugar cookie just for the novelty ($1). (Since most of the name cancels itself out, wouldn’t it be simpler to call it simply a “cookie”? But I digress.)

My only quibble would be that the oil and vinegar from the tomato salad spread over the entire plate, including the wrap. But it was close to a restaurant-quality meal. I wouldn’t drive here from Upland or anything, but if you’re near downtown, or visiting the library, Page One is a clean, comfortable spot for lunch or a snack.

The ambience is Starbucks-like, with a two-story ceiling, high tables, free Wi-Fi, a bookcase of cheap books for sale and an enclosed patio with more seating. And, of course, you’ve got a library just steps away. How many restaurants can make that claim?

Page One hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

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Reading log: July 2009

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Books bought this month: “A Deadly Shade of Gold,” John D. MacDonald; “Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A Jaws Companion,” Patrick Jankiewicz.

Books read this month: “Now and Forever,” Ray Bradbury; “In Defense of Food,” Michael Pollan; “3 Times Infinity,” ed. Leo Margulies; “Dave Barry Does Japan,” Dave Barry.

Four books read in July brings me up to 35, although it was a tough month. I’ve been reading “Robinson Crusoe” off and on since June and I’m still not quite halfway in. I like it, but it was written in 1719, and it’s not an easy read.

I read the Bradbury book (bought in 2008) in one gulp on a day-trip by train to L.A. Published in 2007, it’s comprised of two novellas. First one is set in a creepily perfect small town without children. Promising, but to my mind the plot takes a couple of wrong turns. Second one is an SF version of “Moby Dick” in which a spaceship chases a comet. Better than it sounds.

Pollan’s book (bought in May, published in 2008) is subtitled “An Eater’s Manifesto.” Said manifesto is seven words long: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This respected journalist’s slender book, about the perils of the Western diet, argues quietly but persuasively that whole foods are best, nutrition science has made us less healthy, and supermarkets and fast food should be avoided. Easier said than done, but it’s food for thought. Pollan was in the documentary “Food Inc.,” a compressed version of the pro-organic, anti-industrial food argument.
Continue reading “Reading log: July 2009” »

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To park or not to park


…that is the question. Says reader Dennis Sampson of Ontario, who lives in one of the lofts downtown southwest of Holt and Euclid: “I had often wondered why this parking lot on Emporia was always so empty. Then, I took a close look at the sign and it all made sense. Or did it?”

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