Restaurant of the Week: Arby’s

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CLOSED

Arby’s, 2250 N. Garey Ave. (at Arrow), Pomona

There’s no need to review Arby’s for the food, is there? I had the Arby’s combo ($5.50 including tax), a roast beef sandwich, curly fries and soda. It was fine for what it was. My friends had various combos and were moderately satisfied. Really, we were there for the architecture.

This is the cool Arby’s with the original Conestoga wagon-shaped building and the original ten-gallon hat sign, as recounted in my column (which you can read by clicking the “continue reading” link below). Can you believe there are fewer than 10 such Arby’s left anywhere?

The cramped interior has three booths and one table. I dig the rock walls and giant window. The place to go is the patio out front, just feet from Garey Avenue. The patio tables are original (except for one modern interloper, probably a replacement). The tilted “umbrellas” are awesome. Even the trash receptacles, with a tray holder on top, look vintage.

For a decade, this Arby’s and a companion on East Holt (no longer in business) were the only Arby’s in the Inland Valley. Anyone have a fond, or even not so fond, Arby’s story to share?
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Justin Bieber visits Upland, avoids beef

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Pop singer Justin Bieber visited the Chick-fil-A off the 210 Freeway in Upland’s Colonies Crossroads Center on Wednesday — twice. The chicken purveyor announced the visits on its Facebook page. The relevant postings and comments:

Chick-fil-A Upland, Colonies Crossroads: Justin Bieber sighting at Chick-fil-A Upland last night, the girls went wild!!!

Mary Locke: No Way…well, anything is possible I guess. I met Wayne Brady there one day. He stopped on his way to Vegas. He thought Upland seemed like a nice town. :)

Don Jankiewicz: Well, what did he order?

Cecy Velasco: Hahaha ii work there and yes he was there it was pretty awesome. He went twice, once in the store around 3 and around 9 through the drive thru. Oh and Chad Michael Murry also went through the drive thru and ii helped him ;)

Veronica Beas: I’m so jealous, I work at that PetSmart and I was off at 3. I wanted nuggets when I was off but I was so tired I just went home. I’m so sad.

Samantha Noelle: I saw him at 9:30 at Yogiyo so he must have come after his dinner through the drive thru!

Veronica Beas: This is truly upsetting the 2 places that make the most money off of me LOL!

Jennifer Alonso: Are you seriuos!!!!!! We missed it! My girls are gonna be upset.

Janine Aldana: I smell something fishy @ chick-fil-a…

Chick-fil-A Upland, Colonies Crossroads: Nothing fishy at Chick-fil-A, just Chicken that is so good you have to eat it 2x in one day!!!!

Veronica Beas: Amen, I’ve even had 3x in one day! Mmm…

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One library to bind them all!

The Ontario City Library will screen all three “Lord of the Rings” movies, in their director’s cut versions, on three successive Thursdays. The festival is dubbed “LOTRthon 2.”

(Fans should hope the sequel goes better than “LOTRthon 1,” which was plagued by technical problems and, if memory serves, was unable to be completed.)

“Fellowship of the Ring” is this week, “The Two Towers” is Sept. 16 and “Return of the King” is Sept. 23. Admission is free but, since parental guidance is suggested, is limited to those 13 and up.

The movies screen from 4:15 to 8:45 p.m. The library advises: “Bring a pillow!” (The molded-plastic seats are not soft.)

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No shirts and shoe, no service

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Costco in Montclair thanks customers in advance for wearing multiple shirts and one shoe. Hmm.

“What if this wasn’t a typo?” wonders my colleague Wendy Leung, who took the photo on a recent shopping expedition (in which she, and no doubt everyone else in the store, violated the rule).

She adds: “I guess the good news is, if you break a heel while shopping, you’d be all right. But if you’re not one for wearing layers, you’d better carry an extra shirt in case they enforce this law.”

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The Royal Tahitian, then and now

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The Royal Tahitian operated in Ontario from 1960 to 1967 at Whispering Lakes Golf Course. A history appears in my Sunday column.

At top is an undated postcard image; the reverse gives the address as 2525 E. Riverside Drive, the phone numbers as YUkon 4-4610 and NAtional 9-8487 and says, “Set Amidst 250 Acres of Tropical Plants and Lagoons.” Above left is a 1965 ad from the phone book. Above right is a thumbnail image of the 1967 summer schedule; click on the image for larger view. Below is the James Brown portion of the ad. Ow! Good God. All these images are courtesy of the Ontario City Library’s Model Colony History Room.

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Below are photos shot Aug. 25 on my visit to the fenced-off building, which has been used as the golf course clubhouse since the late 1960s, until being closed and fenced off in April in preparation for demolition, which will occur any day now.

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At top is an exterior view, looking north. Above is an interior view from within the pro shop, looking east. At left is the footbridge, a remnant of the Royal Tahitian days.

Did you ever visit the Royal Tahitian, or were you there later for golf, a wedding or a banquet? Leave your comments, please. The tiki gods demand it.

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Restaurant of the Week: Wahoo’s Fish Tacos

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Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, 11561 Foothill Blvd. (at Mayten), Rancho Cucamonga

I don’t write about many chains here, but I’m not dogmatic about it; if it’s a chain without many locations around the Inland Valley, I don’t mind. Wahoo’s fits that category. The shop in east Rancho Cucamonga, a block east of Milliken, is the only one near me (the store locator function on the Wahoo’s website is giving me the “can’t connect” message so I can’t check for sure).

Wahoo’s has a beach theme. The decor involves bare wooden booths, a faux grass hut, an “Endless Summer” movie poster and surf-gear stickers affixed to poles, booths and windows. So the vibe is relaxed, but you won’t feel out of place if you’re dressed in chinos instead of board shorts. The food is mostly fish tacos, burritos, bowls and salads.

I’ve eaten there a few times, most recently for lunch with a couple of friends. One had a carnitas burrito, which was loaded with pork and was proclaimed “scrumptious.” The other had Baja rolls, which were like sushi cut rolls, except with a flour tortilla instead of rice, and had chicken, cream cheese and spinach; the verdict was “I’d order that again.” (I didn’t jot down the prices and they’re not online, but you can see the menu here.)

I had a fish taco ($2.35) and a shrimp taco ($2.60). I liked ‘em both. The shrimp taco had a pleasing coconut taste.

We also appreciated the self-serve lineup of four iced teas: plain, tropic green, passion fruit and mango. Service was unusually friendly for a quick-service restaurant; a server paused at our table to chat about the Baja rolls, one of her favorites.

It’s been a while since I’ve tried Senor Baja, but I’d judge the fish tacos here better than Rubio’s or Baja Fresh.

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Mark Twain on…the Iraq war?

With the end of major combat operations in Iraq, many people are weighing in. Why not Mark Twain?

Reading Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger” over the weekend, I was struck by one passage from the circa-1905 story. Speaking is an omniscient character who is mocking mankind’s follies when he turns to the subject of war:

“There has never been a just one, never an honorable one — on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful — as usual — will shout for the war. The pulpit will — warily and cautiously — object — at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, ‘It is unjust and dishonorable, and here is no necessity for it.’

“Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers — as earlier — but do not dare to say so.

“And now the whole nation — pulpit and all — will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

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Reading log: August 2010

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Books bought: none.

Books read: “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” James M. Cain; “No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger,” Mark Twain; “Selected Shorter Writings of Mark Twain,” Walter Blair, ed.; and “The Best Short Stories of Mark Twain,” Lawrence Berkove, ed.

A couple of you thought I was too pokey last month in posting my July books list on Aug. 10. So here’s my August list on Sept. 1. At the David Allen Blog, we aim to please (when it’s convenient).

So: August. One crime noir classic by James M. Cain and three books by Twain, who is on his way to becoming my Ray Bradbury of 2010.

You may remember that I read 24 books by or about Mr. Bradbury last year, out of 58 total books read. This year I’ve read five by Twain and three each by A. Conan Doyle and Samuel Beckett. I suppose that ties Doyle and Beckett as my Edgar Rice Burroughs of 2010; ERB was my No. 2 guy last year (with five books).

Uh, anyway. “Postman,” which has been made into a movie twice, is short, brutal and relentless, well worth reading. Bought that in 2009 used in Scottsdale, Ariz., and read it in one day on a Metrolink trip.

“Selected Shorter Writings,” bought in 1985 for a college class so that we could read one or two stories, includes fiction and nonfiction to show the range of Twain’s talent. It includes the editorially botched 1916 version of “The Mysterious Stranger.”

When I got to that, I stopped and read “No. 44,” a later draft of the same basic idea and almost totally different. Bought this used maybe five years ago somewhere. It’s virtually a fantasy novel involving time travel, dream-selves, duplicate people and sorcery. Good, but strange, and not quite the masterpiece I’d been expecting. I finished that Friday.

Back to “Selected Shorter,” whose hoax version of “Mysterious Stranger” proved more diverting than “No. 44.” Hmm. I read that Saturday, polishing off a book I’d been reading since May.

The “Best Short Stories” collection, bought new in May, was excellent, featuring Twain’s earlier comic tales and his later dark satires on greed and hypocrisy. The latter includes the masterful “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg.” Likewise, I’d been reading this book for weeks and finished on Sunday.

Boom, boom, boom. Twain sets them up and I knock them down. I might even read another one or two by him before the year is out. (And another one or two by Doyle as well.) At this point, by the way, I’m at 38 books for the year, putting my 50-book goal within comfortable reach.

My plan for September: books with a G in the title. Good gravy, man, get a grip.

Now what are the rest of you reading?

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