Restaurant of the Week: Papachino’s

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Papachino’s Grill and Greens, 14501 Ramona Ave. (at Eucalyptus), Chino

Papachino’s is a locally owned restaurant in the Home Depot center in an industrial area a few blocks east of the 71 Freeway. The casual eatery opened in 2009 and offers salads and seafood items, all priced below $10. Orders are placed at the counter and food is brought to your table. You can eat in the vaguely tropical interior or outside on the expansive patio, which is shaded by large umbrellas.

I visited with three friends last weekend. Our table got two wraps, a salad and a fish plate. The veggie wrap ($5.49) had zucchini, bell peppers, sweet onions and asparagus (!); the shrimp wrap ($6.99) had the same plus shrimp. Each came with fries. The grilled chicken taco salad (price forgotten; it was the daily special, not on the menu) came in a tortilla bowl. I had the grilled mahi-mahi ($8.99), which came with rice pilaf and pineapple cole slaw.

All four of us left satisfied, to a person describing the food as tasty and the portions as filling but not enough to leave us stuffed. But we didn’t leave for a long time, opting to enjoy the warm afternoon on the patio.

I like the concept of a reasonably priced place to get seafood, most of it unfried. If I lived or worked closer to Papachino’s, I’d probably be there often. As it is, Papachino’s is a long haul for me, but I do hope to make it back. Yelpers say the fish and chips are especially good, and many other menu items looked enticing.

You can view the menu here.

* The New Diner visited a few days after we did and reports: “I would go back to Papachino’s any time.”

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All hail Wckr Spgt

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Photo: Carl Schlachte

Wckr Spgt, from left: Mark Givens, Joel Huschle, Kyle Brodie, Dave Carpenter.

Sunday’s column tells the story of this avant-garde local band. If you’d like to know more or listen to the music, the band’s website offers its more than 500 songs for free downloads as well as a full history of the band, its members and its fellow travelers, making for a partial story of local indie rock since the 1980s. You can also peruse song titles and lyrics.

For more about the new CD “Smooth Sounds: Various Artists Play the Future Hits of Wckr Spgt,” visit this page, which has funny questionnaires by each artist of their thoughts about the band.

And here’s a page about the July 24 Wckr Spgt Release Party show at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona.

Interested in that 2007 show mentioned in my column in which the band performed while a box was constructed around them? Here’s a series of photos.

Oh, and since I didn’t go into this in my column: What does the name Wckr Spgt mean? The short answer: Not much. The long answer can be found here.

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Restaurant of the Week: Sakura Ichi

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CLOSED

Sakura Ichi, 101 W. Mission Blvd., Suite 101 (at Garey), Pomona

Pomona is not exactly a hotbed for Japanese food, but Sakura Ichi has occupied a spot in the Mission Promenade center downtown since 2006.

The interior is a large, high-style place, full of modern design touches, making for one of the more impressive restaurant interiors in the Inland Valley. There’s a long, gleaming sushi bar, a lounge that is especially impressive in the evening when the lights behind the bar glow and a series of private tatami rooms for larger groups.

The tatami rooms are great fun. You take off your shoes, put on paper slippers and sit on the floor, dangling your legs into a well below your table. A group of us has done this a couple of times for a birthday or before a concert. There’s no extra charge for the rooms.

The food is pretty good too. This recent visit I had the Sakura sashimi ($18), which came with a small salad, a bowl of rice and 12 pieces of sashimi, three each of tuna, whitefish, salmon and yellowtail, served on a bed of ice. Nice presentation, and tasty too. I’ve been here another half-dozen times over the years and enjoyed my meals.

The main knock that you hear is that service, while friendly, can be spotty. Our previous visit, our group of 10 got our food at various times, with me receiving mine last, maybe 45 minutes later. And I got one of the specials, salmon carapaccio. (On the other hand, I have to admit it was excellent.) This recent visit, we had no problems with the service at all.

Sakura Ichi (the name means “Cherry Blossom No. 1″) is not the best sushi, but it’s good enough, it’s arguably the best restaurant downtown and for groups especially, it offers a fun experience. Sakura Ichi wouldn’t be out of place in Little Tokyo, where a reservation for a tatami room would probably be hard to come by, but here it’s one of the better-kept secrets.

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Ooh-la-la in Upland

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This banner on an Upland discount store is visible — perhaps too visible — to motorists along the 10 Freeway at Mountain Avenue. (The “Happiness Guaranteed!” slogan is a nice touch.) I don’t know about the prices, but based on the banner, apparel appears to be half off. Doesn’t the store sell tops?

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Kung fu fighting at Ontario Library

Haaaiii-yaaah! July’s movie theme at the Ontario City Library is “Martial Arts Madness.” The films: “Legend of Drunken Master 2″ starring Jackie Chan (Thursday), “Legend of the Black Scorpion” (July 15), “Shaolin Soccer” (July 22) and “Mortal Kombat” (July 29). Films start at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the library, 215 E. C St., and admission is free.

Tell ‘em Bruce Lee sent you.

(I can vouch for the entertainment value of “Drunken Master,” whose stunts are both hilarious and astonishing.)

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Nearing 500

Notice the Facebook box at right? As I write this at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, my FB page records 497 fans.* Who will be the 500th? Who? Who?? (The anticipation is practically unbearable.)

You can sign up right there in the box, as long as you’re already on Facebook.

* 5 p.m. Tuesday: 498.

* 8 a.m. Wednesday: 501! Well, that was easy. Thank you to Kimberly Holiday (497), Robin Gonzalez (498), Darryl Musick (499) and Ms. 500, Nicole Leo. Not to mention No. 501, Ron Scott, for giving me a cushion against defections.

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Reading log: June 2010

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Books bought: “Why Call Them Back From Heaven?” Clifford D. Simak; “The Diaries of Adam & Eve,” Mark Twain; “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” Scott Plagenhoef; “The Farther Shore,” Robert M. Coates; “Bright Orange for the Shroud,” John D. MacDonald; “Booked to Die,” John Dunning.

Books read: “Why Call Them Back From Heaven?” Clifford D. Simak; “The Diaries of Adam & Eve,” Mark Twain; “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” A. Conan Doyle; “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” Scott Plagenhoef; “The ‘Reel’ Benchley,” Robert Benchley; “Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926-1944),” Gordon McClelland; “The Bob Dylan Scrapbook, 1956-1966,” Robert Santelli.

Seven books in June — not bad for a fellow who hadn’t finished even one by June 21, if I do say so myself. I also managed to finish three of the six books I acquired, as well as one acquired the previous month (and one each in 2007 and 2005, and another from, er, 1976 or thereabouts).

To run through this quickly, and in order: the Simak was an intriguing SF novel about cryogenics and faith; the Twain a minor work, unfinished, but perhaps my favorite of the month’s reading; tied with the first collection of Holmes stories, most of them classics; the Plagenhoef, about a Belle and Sebastian album, is padded even at 105 pages; the Benchley is a curio from 1950 of stills and transcripts of six of his comedy shorts; the Millard Sheets reproduces 93 of his paintings, paired with a biography of the Pomona native that is informative, dull and horribly copy-edited, with a minimum of one mistake per page (the man credited as “text editor” was overpaid even if he volunteered); and the Dylan is a basic but gracefully written bio with many photos and inserts of repro’d handbills, handwritten lyrics and the like, a fun collection.

And, for those who like to know such things, I bought Simak used at St. Louis’ Book House, Twain new at the Montclair Borders and Plagenhoef new at St. Louis’ Subterranean Books, all in June; Sheets in the gift shop of the Pasadena Museum of California Art in May; Holmes new somewhere circa ’76 (and read it then as well); Benchley used at Portland’s Powell’s in 2007; and Dylan at Rhino Records upon publication in 2005.

In the latter case, it’s a bit embarrassing that it took me five years to get to a book that took three hours to read, and in the meantime was remaindered for a fraction of its $45 purchase price, but at least I read it now.

Halfway through 2010, I’ve read 30 books — more than expected, since my goal was 50. Either I’ll coast the last half of the year, or I’ll double my total to 60. (Already in July I’ve finished one.)

Whew! Now, what are you reading?

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