More things that aren’t here anymore

Reader Al Lopez of Victorian Mortgage on E Street, Ontario, compiled a list of businesses and sights that have vanished from the local landscape and faxed them over. “These are a few that I can remember. I’ve lived here since about 1949. My dad was born in Ontario in 1924 and has lived here his whole life,” Lopez wrote.

Unsure immediately what to do with it, I set the list aside, as I’m wont to do. The other day, tidying up my cubicle, I came across the list and made time to type it all up, essentially as Lopez wrote it. Enjoy.

On Holt Boulevard in Ontario: Bamboo Hut (bar, at Campus); Judy’s Past Time (bar and pool hall, between Lemon and Euclid), Tahiti Club (lounge, between Lemon and Euclid), Ford Lunch (restaurant, at Euclid), 1st Trust Bank (at Euclid), Orange Hotel (between Euclid and Sultana), Torley’s Market (at Sultana), Laddies (burgers, across from Torley’s), Sherman Williams (paint, at Sultana), Hoyt Lumber (at Plum), Dairy Queen (by Campus), Taco Lita (at San Antonio), Shady Grove Dairy (at San Antonio), Burger Lane (between San Antonio and Mountain), Citrus Motors (between San Antonio and Mountain), Mark Christopher (between Palm and Fern?), Valley Drive-In (movies, at Central).

On Euclid Avenue in Ontario: Bank of America (at B), California Theater (movies, at B), Fallis (clothing, at B), The Forum Theater (movies, ?), 1st National Bank (at E), Carnegie Library (at D), Walter’s Cafe (between F and G), Bank of Ontario (below overpass), JC Penney (below E), Bocanegra Bakery (at Francis), Donahoo’s Chicken (at G), Jasper the Ant picnic sign (for July 4th celebration).

On Mountain Avenue in Ontario: Market Basket, White Front, House of Pies.

Elsewhere in Ontario: Municipal dump on Mission — highest elevation in Ontario?, Hooker Headers, Drew Carriage, Chaffey College at 5th and Euclid, Daily Report building, Firestone Tires (Lemon and B), Grove School (near Sunkist), Greyhound Bus Station (on Transit Avenue), Ontario Police Station (behind old City Hall), GE Hotpoint plant, Delahoyt (sp?) Auto, radio stations KWOW and KASK, Lockheed Aircraft, National Guard unit with fighter jets.

On Holt Avenue in Pomona: Van de Kamp’s, International House of Pancakes, Standard Brands Paint, Angel’s Lumber, Pomona Valley Datsun, Bekins Storage, Thom McAn’s Shoes, Lloyds Lumber, Tate Cadillac, Catron’s Volkswagen, St. Charles Bar and Grill, Crocker National Bank.

Elsewhere in Pomona: Espiau’s, Orlando’s, Henry’s, Love’s Wood Pit, Xochimilco’s, Boys Market, Zody’s, Sears.

“Just to name a few,” Lopez notes. The understatement of the year.

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Restaurant of the Week: Jicamex

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Jicamex, 604 E. Mission Blvd. (at Linden), Pomona

Jicamex may or may not qualify as home cooking, but it operates from a house, a big old yellow one, a holdover on a busy commercial street. I’d heard good things about this place, which opened in 2009, and checked it out for lunch this week.

Most of the seating is outside on a giant shaded patio; there are a few tables inside. You order from a window outside. Tacos are a mere dollar, burritos $4. A big spender, I got an asada torta for $5 and a jamaica drink for $1.

The sandwich was large, on soft bread, stuffed with meat, beans, onions, lettuce, cheese, tomato, onion and mayo. One of the better tortas I’ve had. The menu also has quesadillas and sopes. After reading the reviews on Yelp, I’ll have to try the costillas, described as a pork sparerib in a taco.

This’ll be a nice place to go for lunch or on a warm summer evening. In another plus, Jicamex is open until midnight. I’d rate Jicamex as one of the best Mexican restaurants downtown.

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Here’s a scoop

As mentioned in print the other day, I’ll be among the scoopers at an ice cream sundae fundraiser in La Verne today to benefit Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society. Come buy a sundae for a good cause. We’ll be at Roberta’s Village Inn,
2326 D St., from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Here are the shifts:

5:30 pm — Dan & Annette Harden, Brian McNerney, Fire Chief John Breaux, me

6:30 pm — Mayor Don Kendrick, Mayor ProTem Donna Redman Nasmyth, Police Chief Scott Pickwith, Captain Darryl Seube

7:30 pm — Former Mayor Jon Blickenstaff, Council Member Robin Carder, Planning Commision Chair Cid Pinedo

Tonight is a Farmers Market night downtown so parking will be more of a chore. Organizers recommend parking behind the Fire Station or at Church of the Brethren.

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The Riverside Fox Theater returns

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The Bulletin puts all the attention on the Pomona Fox, since that’s the one within the bounds of our coverage area, but Riverside recently restored its Fox theater too.

I hadn’t been there since its January reopening until last Friday, when the theater showed the Marx Brothers classic “Duck Soup” and then had the acclaimed Frank Ferrante doing his one-man Groucho show (well, two-man if you include accompanist Jim Furmston on piano). It wasn’t exactly well attended — it looked to me like about 400 people in the audience — but it was a fun show.

Here are a few (rather poor, I’m afraid) photos of the joint: the mezzanine (right), a false opera box with tiled stairway (below left), a light fixture with starburst in the auditorium (below right), and the interior and exterior (further below). I have to say, the $32 million renovation is beautiful.

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Steaming into town


A restored 1927 steam locomotive blew through the Inland Valley on Saturday and again on Sunday, a special run between L.A. and San Bernardino to celebrate the latter’s bicentennial. I got the above photo on Saturday morning in Claremont as the former Santa Fe 3751 headed east, at high speed. Woo-woo!

A couple of dozen people, including families with children, turned out to greet it. Members of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society, which bought, restored and operated the train, waved from the rear platform.

The Chasing Steel blog by Joe Perry of Ontario has some impressive photos of the beast at rest.

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Restaurant of the Week: Fire House Express

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Fire House Express, 121 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Euclid), Upland

Rather than a fire station with express firefighting service, Fire House Express is a casual pizza and pasta restaurant in a shopping center storefront by Vons. Pizza is baked in an open fire oven, probably accounting for the name.

It’s a clean, sharp looking place with modern design and a couple of TVs hanging in the corners. You order at the counter and return to a booth. (A server brings the food to your table.) They sell pizza, sandwiches, fried chicken and pasta. I stopped in for dinner this week and had the lasagna ($7.99) as a dinner with salad and soda ($2.99 more). Later in the week I returned for a pizza slice lunch special with salad and soda ($4.99).

The salad comes in a transparent takeout container but isn’t bad for what it is. The lasagna was made while I waited and was essentially a plate of noodles, sauce, cheese and sausage, rather than a tightly layered concoction. Still, I liked it enough to return for the pizza. It’s not a high-volume slice place. The chef, who was making a pizza as I ordered, asked what I’d like on my slice. What the heck, I requested sausage and mushrooms.

What arrived was a wide but stubby slice, apparently one-fourth of a small pizza. The crust was airy, almost fluffy, the toppings generous, the sausage especially good.

Overall, Fire House Express was a pleasant surprise. I wouldn’t recommend going there for dinner unless you like solitude — over the course of 90 minutes one evening, I was the only customer — but it’s a good lunch spot if you’re anywhere nearby.

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Reading log: April 2010


Books bought: “The Complete Humorous Tales and Sketches,” Mark Twain; “Mark Twain’s Other Woman,” Laura Skandera Trombley; “Earth Abides,” George R. Stewart.

Books read: “Solar Lottery,” Philip K. Dick; “The October Country,” Ray Bradbury; “Roughing It,” Mark Twain; “Endgame,” Samuel Beckett.

Another four-book month, this time comprising sci-fi, fantasy, an American literary classic and a play. Three unread books were added to my groaning shelves. This means that if I maintain this pace of reading/receiving, I’ll be caught up in, oh, 400 months.

“Solar Lottery” was Philip K. Dick’s first novel and involves a future Earth in which everyone on the planet is a player in a lottery that could elevate any of them to the world dictatorship. Dick, of course, is best known for visionary writing that was turned into “Blade Runner,” “Minority Report” and other films. Never popular or well-paid in his lifetime, he cranked out about 50 books, many of which aren’t very good, and “Solar Lottery” is one of them; the plotting is a jumble and the ideas don’t gel. But we all have to start somewhere.

Bradbury’s “The October Country,” from 1955, comprises the best of the out-of-print “Dark Carnival,” plus four “new” stories. Among the half-dozen or so must-read Bradbury books, this collection of his earlier, macabre stories includes “The Small Assassin,” “Skeleton,” “The Lake,” “Homecoming” and “Uncle Einar,” five of his best-loved pieces. Most of the others are no slouch either.

Twain’s travelogue of the Old West is sprawling, episodic, frustrating, padded and brilliant. It’s also partly imagined, which this scholarly edition details in an equally sprawling notes section that is both welcome and beside the point. Marvel at Chapter 16, as fresh as Sedaris, in which Twain picks apart the Book of Mormon. The drunk’s all-digression monologue in Chapter 53 is a hoot. And in Chapter 73, during a visit to Hawaii, young Twain grabs a board and goes “surf-bathing”!

I spent two months reading “Roughing It,” in between other books. I finished it with a couple of days left in April and decided to plow through something short to maintain my four-book pace. So I turned to Beckett’s “Endgame,” which I’ve owned for years but never read, although I once saw the play performed live.

It’s an allegorical four-character play, in which one character is dying, his son is tired of helping him and his parents live with them in side-by-side trash cans. I prefer “Godot,” but “Endgame” is still devastating, not to mention devastatingly funny.

It was satisfying to tackle the 800-page (ooof) “Roughing It,” and to do so without throwing off my schedule (even if it took me two months). I’m back to normal-sized books now, but I’ll try to work in another doorstop or two before the year’s out.

So, what are you reading, and have you read any of the above?

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‘Duck Soup’ at Riverside Fox Theater


I’ve been wanting to see the newly restored 1928 Riverside Fox Theater but so far nothing on the schedule has grabbed me. (Ditto with Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena, although I’ve at least toured that building.)

Well, at 7 p.m. Friday, the Riverside Fox, 3801 Mission Ave., will show the Marx Brothers classic “Duck Soup,” plus Groucho impersonator Frank Ferrante live on stage doing 90 minutes of Marxism. Read about the event here. Tickets are $20 to $49.

I’ll likely be there — “Duck Soup,” a farce about politics and war, is one of my favorite movies and, while I’d rather pay half the money and see only the movie, the Groucho guy might be fun. And I’m looking forward to eyeballing the “other” Fox (as opposed to Pomona’s).

“Hail, hail Freedonia, land of the brave and freeeee!”

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La Verne’s online newspaper

La Verne Online is the name, and it’s run by 25-year resident Peter Bennett, a former LA Times staffer and PR guy. I’ve read a few articles there and it’s pretty well done, with coverage of Monday’s council meeting and long features on such folks as private eye Becky Altringer, Gumby licensee Nick Croce and Taste of Asia chef Virada Khowang. (One flaw: No dates on any of the stories.) Best of luck to them.

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