On furlocation

Your columnist/blogger is on furlough/vacation from today through March 4. (These are tough times — but you knew that already.)

I’ll have columns this Sunday, next Wednesday and next Sunday, skipping the next two Fridays. Seemed better to space ‘em out. I’ll be back in the office Monday, March 7 and blog posts will resume that day.

Until then, enjoy the break (I will — I’m taking a trip) and feel free to explore the blog, or catch up on past columns here.

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Dining with the bloggers (part 3)

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Mike Tanner, who produces the excellent L.A.-based blog Dinerwood with reviews of coffee shops (especially ones serving pie), and I met up for breakfast in Whittier. The site was Jack’s. Is this Jack’s connected with the one that used to be at 19th and Carnelian in Rancho Cucamonga? I suspect so, although I don’t know.

Mike and I had met up a couple of times before, once at Roady’s in San Dimas, the other time at LeRoy’s in Monrovia. He tossed out a couple of options for a third get-together and I picked Jack’s based primarily on its amazing out-of-the-past sign. Love the Erector-set pole too.

There’s a great, long counter inside with swivel seats in the classic style. We got a booth and hunkered down for what turned out to be an only average meal. The corned beef hash with my eggs was the best part and it was probably out of a can. The country potatoes were mushy, not crisp. Mike wasn’t blown away by his waffle. Service was inattentive. We skipped the pie.

Conversation was the highlight. Well, that and the sign.

Here’s Mike’s take, with lots of photos. He was no more inspired by Jack’s than I was.

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Polynesian in Covina?

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* Postcard image found on eBay by reader Elwood

Reader Glenn White has a question:

“I wondered if you could help me with some information on an old restaurant that I believed was located in West Covina. I believe there was a restaurant in the late 1970s or possibly early 1980s that was located off of Grand Ave. or possibly Barranca Ave. It was on a street that went down into like a ravine and it had a Hawaiian/Polynesian or tropical/island/beach theme.

“I was hoping that you could help me out. Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought there was restaurant like this in that area. Someone told me about Bahooka that was on Francisquito, but I don’t believe that is the restaurant that I was thinking of. Maybe it has been demolished and something else is there now. Any help that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.”

Anyone able to help Glenn?

* Update: A reader named Elwood has suggested, and White has confirmed, that the restaurant was the Warehouse. Read the comments for more details. Success!

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Phoning it in

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As related in Sunday’s column, yours truly finally got a cell phone.

Anyone care to react to this momentous decision?

I’m going to assume that very few people reading this don’t have one, but if you don’t, why not? And if you do, can you imagine waiting until 2011 to get one? And, one and all, what’s your biggest pet peeve about cell phones and the people who use them?

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Restaurant of the Week: King Kong Sushi

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King Kong Sushi, 300 N. Indian Hill Blvd. (at Bonita), Claremont

King Kong Sushi opened last fall in the Village, in the expansive corner slot with the tower-like roof that formerly housed Kinya, another Japanese restaurant. (When it was built in the 1990s, the original tenant was Koo Koo Roo; later came a Chinese restaurant.)

The name King Kong Sushi was not promising, making me think of low-end party sushi. And in truth, the food was merely okay. We had the Super Albacore Roll ($9), which was too spicy, overwhelming the taste of the fish, and acceptable fatty yellowtail ($5) and salmon sushi ($3.50).

The menu does have some creative-sounding items, such as rolls with rice paper or without rice. But it also has Korean food.

Service was friendly and the interior has been freshened up with white paint and tile. The food is less expensive than Kazama Sushi two blocks away and King Kong may become a favorite of the college crowd. (Although a Claremont McKenna review only recommends the alcohol.)

I may go back, but personally, for sushi in Claremont I prefer Kazama and Hayato.

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Dining with the bloggers (part 2)

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I had dinner in Highland Park last weekend with the Bulletin’s RC Now blogger, Wendy Leung. Not only is RC Now your top source for Rancho Cucamonga news and views, it’s often darn funny even if you don’t care about Rancho Cucamonga. Well, I can only imagine it would be — who doesn’t care about Rancho Cucamonga?

Wendy had a coupon from the Good Girl Dinette, a restaurant that is said to meld Vietnamese dishes with American comfort food. I’d been there a couple of times for lunch and liked it. Even better, it’s only a couple of blocks from a Gold Line station.

We had Vietnamese spring rolls, spicy fries with garlic and a soy-based dipping sauce, and two pot pies, one chicken, one vegetarian. The pot pies are one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. They were curry-like, came in a dish and had a biscuit-like top. We liked all our dishes.

Good Girl is on LA Weekly’s LA99 list of great restaurants. We met there early and by the time we left, near 8 p.m., the place was nearly full.

I’ll have a third and final (?) blogging-related meal in L.A. to post about as soon as the other blogger finishes his writeup and I can link to it.

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Borders to close Montclair, Chino stores

Borders Books is closing dozens of stores throughout the U.S. due to bankruptcy, including two of its three Inland Valley locations: Montclair and Chino. Sob! They’ll likely close in April.

The Rancho Cucamonga store at Victoria Gardens will remain open. Here’s the full list of closures.

Speaking as a Borders Rewards cardholder, it’s a darn shame. I visit the Montclair store all the time (it’s on my way home) and have been to the Chino store a few times. The VG store is inconvenient for me so I’m sure I’ll be spending less at Borders.

Any customers want to comment?

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Direction(less) sign

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Rancho Cucamonga has some nifty new-ish directional signs around town (see below). But the other day I was startled to notice one that’s missing all its arrows. Ironically, it’s near Arrow on Archibald. Just drive aimlessly, citizens; you’ll find the Police eventually.

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We (heart) Lucinda Williams

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A group of us single types from the Bulletin newsroom headed for Hollywood on Monday night for dinner at Village Pizzeria and a free (!) weekly show at the Bardot club sponsored by KCRW, dubbed “It’s a School Night” and this time featuring the great Lucinda Williams.

Williams, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, performed for an hour in the small club, which held about 200 people, standing. Nobody was far from the stage but our group was a mere 12 feet from her. She sang a bunch of songs from her new album, “Blessed,” which won’t go on sale until March 1, and a few past songs, including “Out of Touch.”

“This is cool,” she exclaimed at one point. Nobody disagreed.

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