Hard at work

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Here I am Saturday afternoon at the Archibald Library in Rancho Cucamonga interviewing Laura Trombley, author of “Mark Twain’s Other Woman” and president of Pitzer College in Claremont, after her talk about Twain’s later years. Library staff took the photo and forwarded it. Well, what the heck, here it is. (On a weekday I’d be dressed better, btw.)

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My KPCC-FM interview

My interview with KPCC-FM’s Alex Cohen about Inland Valley dining was bumped Friday for bigger news, in this case, Daryl Gates’ death. Well, being in the news biz, I know how that goes. The Pasadena-based station (89.3) did, however, post the interview online. You can access it here. Focusing on local restaurants heavy on character, I talk about Ramon’s Cactus Patch and Vince’s Spaghetti, both in Ontario, and Centro Basco in Chino.

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Claremont blog debuts

Conscious Claremont actually debuted last November, but an e-mail from the writer last week was the first I’d heard of it. Topics are mostly local politics, especially ones with a financial angle (logical for a writer with a degree in business economics and accounting), and the tone is less hectoring than the Claremont Insider.

The anonymous blogger grew up in Claremont, moved to L.A. for college and returned six years ago, meaning he or she is probably on the sunny side of 30.

The first post, from Nov. 3, titled “raison d’tre,” consists entirely of a quote from Clint Eastwood, presumably about why he ran for mayor of Carmel:

“It’s making sure that the words ‘public servant’ are not forgotten. That’s why I did it. ‘Cause I thought, I don’t need this. The fact that I didn’t need it made me think I could do more. It’s the people who need it that I’m suspect of.”

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Pavement in Pomona

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Two nights, two shows — after Vampire Weekend at the Fox on Wednesday, I returned Thursday to the Fox for Pavement, the ’90s indie rock band that has reunited for a tour. This one also drew 2,000 fans. Pavement performed two long encores for a show nearly two hours long. Here’s a view from the balcony.

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Remembering the Fair’s food court

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The L.A. County Fair’s food court was recently demolished. See Friday’s column for more on that.

The top view of the Food Circle, as it was first known, is said to date to 1939, its debut year. (It’s from a fair calendar, which accounts for the type at the bottom.) Bonnie’s Southern Fried Chicken, Hap’s Cafe, Hamburger King and Brock’s Swiss Steak are among the original stands.

Examine the photo carefully. Did the fair really have a stand devoted to creamed chicken?

The food court was renamed Super Diner in 1985 after a remodel and Sunset Cabana in 2003 after another remodel. The second photo was shot in 2009. Friday’s column is in part about the food court, which was demolished in December.

Anyone have any memories or comments to share about the Food Circle?

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A Vampire weeknight

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The pop band Vampire Weekend drew 2,000 fans to the Fox Theater in Pomona on Wednesday evening. The line to get in wrapped around three-fourths of the block: west along Third, south along Thomas and east along Fourth almost to Garey. The line also folded back into the alley between the Fox and the Prog building. Whew!

The Chino band Abe Vigoda, on a national tour with Vampire Weekend as the opening act, were greeted as hometown heroes, and Vampire Weekend didn’t disappoint with its bouncy, rhythmic pop. The band had played the smaller Glass House two blocks away in September 2008 but now has two albums, and more songs, to choose from. The Fox gig was a great show. Were you there?

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Restaurant of the Week: Young Dong Tofu

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Young Dong Tofu, 3233 Grand Ave. (at Peyton), Chino Hills

Yes, it’s a name that could launch a thousand off-color jokes, but forget the name and concentrate on the food. Young Dong has locations in Arcadia and San Gabriel besides this one in a neighborhood shopping center with an Albertsons. The Young Dong exterior is floor to ceiling glass, exposing the food hall atmosphere inside: rows of tables, bright lighting, minimal decor and lots of customers.

First they bring out the Korean side dishes: a half-dozen small plates with kimchi, fried pancake, seaweed, etc.

Our table of four ordered multiple dishes. Seafood and beef tofu soup, dumpling tofu soup and mushroom tofu soup ($8.83 each) come in bubbling pots, with a stone pot of rice on the side. Once they stopped bubbling, they were quite good, spiced to order (two of us went with medium, one with extra spicy). Spicy pork and BBQ beef ($13.95 each) were plates heaped with the meat in question, sweet and tender.

I’ve had Korean food only a few times, so I’m still a neophyte, but we all liked our meals very much and would go back. People on Yelp are excited too.

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‘My Man Godfrey’

This 1936 William Powell-Carole Lombard screwball comedy is the second movie in my “Down With Depression” series at the Ontario City Library, 215 E. C St. “Godfrey” plays Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the community free. Admission is free.

You can read about the series in my column here. The first movie, “City Lights,” drew a nice-sized crowd of old and young.

Read about “My Man Godfrey” on Wikipedia here.

And here’s the first 10 minutes via YouTube:

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Smudge pot, RC

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With its dozens of fruit trees, the one-acre Quonset hut property in Rancho Cucamonga at Church and Ramona, which I visited a while back for a column, was like a trip back in time. This effect was heightened by the smudge pots scattered about the property, such as this one.

Smudge pots, or orchard heaters, were lighted at nights when a freeze was predicted. They blanketed a grove with warm, oily smoke to ward off a frost. These smudge pots are no longer used, of course, but it was neat to see them in their natural setting.

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From the Prog: The Provosts leave Pomona

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“We hate to leave,” Mrs. Provost told the Pomona Progress-Bulletin for this Sept. 14, 1959 story, which was unearthed, scanned and sent to me by Bruce Guter of the Pomona Public Library’s special collections department.

(Special collections is as good a friend to this blog as Lassie was to Timmy.)

Click on the thumbnail for a larger, readable version of the story.

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