Mes Amis, London

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Photo by Peter Rogers

This shot was taken May 27 in London, England of James Elias in the kitchen of his restaurant, Mes Amis, by Peter Rogers, a Chino Hills councilman and professional photographer who was on vacation. (Thanks, Peter.)

The connection is that Mes Amis is also the name of a restaurant in Chino Hills owned and run by Sammy Elias, James’ brother. Rogers is among the few who have dined at both. More about that in my Friday column.

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‘Safety Last!’

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I saw this silent classic Wednesday night at the Orpheum Theater on Broadway in downtown L.A., the last film in this year’s “Last Remaining Seats” series sponsored by the L.A. Conservancy. Harold Lloyd’s 1923 film in the lovely 1926 theater made for a great combo.

Notes Wikipedia: “It includes one of the most famous images from the silent film era: Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock as he dangles from the outside of a skyscraper above moving traffic.”

The movie is highly recommended, and the clock scene — filmed not far from the theater itself — got an ovation.

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RC facts (and ‘facts’)

A Google search for Looney Tunes references to Cucamonga (how many people can consider something like this part of their job duties?) turned up a “Did You Know?” page about Rancho Cucamonga from a tree service directory, of all places. Here’s the link.

I suspect all the “facts” aren’t 100 percent accurate. The trivia note that Frank Zappa made Cucamonga “his part-time residence for much of the ’60s and ’70s” makes it sound like he had a summer home there, when in reality he lived there about a year circa ’64. So caveat emptor — but much of the other info sounds right.

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The other Walk of Fame

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Ontario’s Volunteer Walk of Fame is modeled on the one in Hollywood, except that after replacement of the sidewalk, the bronze stars have been mounted vertically on a concrete retaining wall. Now you can only walk past them, not on them.

The plaques honoring volunteers with city departments can be found on a pathway between City Hall and the Senior Center. Today’s column is in part about the walk.

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La Loma

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This is La Loma “pure California brandy, 100 proof,” manufactured in December 1930, according to the label, at “U.S. Fruit Distillery No. 400, Guasti, Cal.”

Although the bottle says it’s a full pint, there’s only a smidge left after eight decades of evaporation and leakage.

I was gifted with the brandy, as were my colleagues Liset Marquez and Thomas Cordova, on a visit last week to the stately Latimer house in Ontario. The home at 945 N. Euclid Ave. had just received official recognition for its restoration and we wanted to see it.

The family, which made its money in citrus, has roots going back to the Chaffey family and has an appointed mayor, an elected mayor and a city treasurer in its family tree.

To cap our visit, Maggie and Frank Latimer gave us the brandy from the basement. Maggie’s packrat ancestors had kept seven cases of the stuff and she and her husband hand them out to selected visitors.

I think my colleagues took theirs home, whether for libation or display purposes I know not. I’m keeping mine at my desk. As I don’t drink it’s not of much practical use, but I like the idea of playing old-time newspaperman by keeping some hootch close at hand.

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‘Gimme an Ovitt with everything’

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Back in February I wrote a few lines in my column about the debut of the Ovitt Meatloaf Sandwich, served at the Page One Cafe adjoining Ontario’s Ovitt Family Community Library (215 E. C St). But I didn’t present a photo.

Let me rectify that oversight with this loving photo of the sandwich ($7.50), which consists of sliced meatloaf on a sourdough roll dressed with garlic butter, sliced provolone, shredded parmesan and horseradish mayo. It’s named for Gary Ovitt, the current county supervisor and former mayor for whom meatloaf was a childhood favorite.

Supporting your local library is rarely this delicious — or is this fattening.

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Restaurant of the Week: Oporto

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Closed as Oporto; now known as Feisty Chicken

Oporto, 8220 Haven Ave. (at Foothill), Rancho Cucamonga

Oporto is an Australia-based restaurant chain that opened its first U.S. location in (why not?) Rancho Cucamonga. A quirky way to launch, I suppose, but we would expect no less from the Aussies. The website promises coming locations in Ontario and Glendora. We appreciate their laser-like focus.

The Rancho Cucamonga restaurant is in the former Pei Wei location, much missed by some of us, in the Chaffey Town Square center at the southwest corner of Haven and Foothill. Oporto opened in February. I went in with a friend recently for dinner.

They specialize in Portuguese-style chicken, unbreaded and unfried, served either as whole chickens or in a variety of sandwiches, in which the chicken is pressed and served as one, two or three stacked “patties.” It’s a casual, order-at-the-counter place, with an overhead menu of similar-looking sandwiches whose variations can only be read when standing directly underneath it.

We had a single Bondi meal (one-patty sandwich, fries, drink, $5), which has “chilli” sauce, and a double Otropo meal (ditto, but with two patties, $7), which has pineapple, bacon and “creamy mayo” sauce.

Well, it was no Pei Wei, but the sandwiches were tasty, and served on above-average buns. The crusty fries were different, enjoyable, but salty. I would go back and so would my friend. (*Correction: She says she wouldn’t.) The food is very different from Chick-fil-A but of comparable quality. There’s plenty of seating indoors and a large patio.

Throw another chicken on the…oh, never mind.

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Busy being born

Reader Darlene (Duffy) Melton writes:

“Just wondering if anyone remembers the ‘Stork Station’ maternity hospital located at the south end of Hamilton Street in Pomona. I was the first baby born there, March 4,1932.

“I’ve taken a lot of ribbing over that name over the years.”

When you tell people you were born at Stork Station? I can imagine. Anyone know of the place?

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Putting the blue in blue collar

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Racy but harmless double-entendres on contractors’ trucks are a small fascination of mine. In my Sonoma County days, an electrician memorably vowed, “We look into your shorts,” with the two O’s in “look” having pupils that seemed to peer downward. Meanwhile, a tiler’s fleet promised: “We lay anything.”

I haven’t seen anything quite that funny since, but the slogan of Smitty’s Plumbing, on a truck spotted recently in Upland, is either No. 1 or No. 2 with me.

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