Restaurant of the Week: La Creperie

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La Creperie, 3968 Grand Ave. (at Spectrum East), Chino

Currently the Inland Valley’s only French restaurant, after the demise of La Provencal, Brasserie Astuce and others, La Creperie is — sacre bleu! — a chain, with two locations in Long Beach. Its third and sole other location is in Chino, of all places, where it opened early in 2011 in the Spectrum Marketplace center.

La Creperie Bohemian Bistro and Bar, as it’s called, took over a former Black Angus steakhouse that has street frontage on Grand Avenue. There’s an outdoor patio and copious floor space inside, faux chandeliers, a bar, comfortable booths and French murals. The vibe is casual.

I met three friends there for lunch recently. The menu has savory and sweet crepes, omelets, quiches, soups, salads, paninis, and a half-dozen dinner entrees. You can get escargot as an appetizer. Chino will never be the same.

Three of us had crepes — the Parisian (chicken, spinach, red peppers, mozzarella, basil and feta cream sauce, $11, pictured), the Crepe Monsieur (ham, cheese, bechamel sauce, $11) and the Ratatouille (tomatoes, onion, roasted red peppers, zucchini, pesto and herbs, $10) — and the fourth had an omelet, the Belmont (spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, Feta and ricotta cheese, $10).

Well, we all liked our meals, although the Parisian’s sauce didn’t agree with me, making me the least enthusiastic of our group. The one who added a cup of French onion soup ($7) pronounced it fantastic. (Or perhaps “fantastique.”) Service was fine and water glasses were refilled frequently. The desserts, by the way, sounded delicious (one passed by, bound for another table) but we were too full to try one.

La Creperie isn’t great French cooking, but it’s okay, and far better than no French restaurant at all. It’s a nice, not to mention unexpected, addition to Chino.

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A mural in the bar area.

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Polynesian puzzle solved

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Back in February, reader Glenn White asked for our help in determining the identity of a Polynesian restaurant that once operated in Covina. A bunch of you weighed in and, five months later, someone got it right and White confirmed it: The Warehouse Restaurant on Garvey at Barranca. Read the original post and comments here.

Lesson: This blog can get to the bottom of any mystery…eventually.

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‘Workaholics’ stars spoof RC

A Comedy Central sitcom, “Workaholics,” is set at a fictional telemarketing firm, TelAmeriCorp., in nonfictional Rancho Cucamonga.

The stars, Adam DeVine and Anders Holm, recently produced a short spoof video for Fuel TV in which they mock-tout the attractions of Rancho Cucamonga, described as “conveniently located 38 miles east of Los Angeles.” (The video must contain the single most unattractive angle for Victoria Gardens.)

Proving there’s no hard feelings, the city’s redevelopment agency posted the video on its website, despite the description by the Fuel TV host of Rancho Cucamonga as “an industrial working-class city.” Uh, really?

Watch the video here.

“Rancho Cucamonga? It’s Cucamongo!!” the duo exclaim at the end.

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Restaurant of the Week: Molly’s Souper

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Molly’s Souper, 388 N. 1st Ave. (at D Street), Upland

Is there a more charming restaurant in Upland? Molly’s, located cater-corner from the library, is in a 1912 house with dining inside in one of several first-floor rooms, one of which has a fireplace and all of which look like grandma’s house, or outside on an L-shaped patio surrounded by a white picket fence.

They serve breakfast and lunch daily. Breakfasts include all the staples, plus relatively rare items including apple pancakes and mimosa. You can also get green eggs and ham, but I’ve never dared. Pictured is bacon, eggs and country potatoes.

Lunch is salads, sandwiches and, of course, soup (it’s Molly’s Souper, after all). A half sandwich and cup of soup is $8.50 and comes with a tiny cup of apple crisp. Awww. Pictured is egg salad and tortellini soup, both fine.

On a warm or hot day, the patio is recommended. The wooden tables and chairs are quaint, the umbrellas big enough to shade everyone and keep you reasonably cool.

The house was converted to a restaurant in 1972 named the Souper and has been owned by Molly Brouse since 1990. I’ve been an occasional customer for years. The food is good, the ambience is better and the service is always friendly.

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Reading log: June 2011

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Books acquired: “Surf Beat,” Kent Crowley.

Books read: “The Rough Guide to the Velvet Underground,” Peter Hogan; “Captain Blood,” Rafael Sabatini; “A Touch of Infinity,” Harlan Ellison; “Run for the Stars/Echoes of Thunder,” Harlan Ellison/Jack Dann, Jack C. Haldeman II.

June was a four-book month, with no theme, just a few things I wanted to read. I got off to a slow start, reading “The Velvet Underground Companion” (Albin Zaks, ed.) to page 57 before deciding its collection of mostly amateurish writings about one of my favorite bands was too obscure. First book I’ve abandoned since starting these reading chronicles.

Then I smoothly transitioned to my bookshelves’ third and last unread Velvets tome, “The Rough Guide to the Velvet Underground,” which was a good basic biography and discography. I bought this at Rhino Records in 2009. Didn’t finish it until June 20, which didn’t bode well for June’s reading.

“Captain Blood,” acquired from a friend in May, was timely as I’d just seen the 1935 Errol Flynn-Olivia de Havilland adaptation. The 1922 novel, about an Irish physician in the 17th century who ends up commanding a pirate ship in the New World, is great fun. The movie sensibly compressed the action and is recommended in its own right.

I closed out the month with two Harlan Ellison books. “A Touch of Infinity,” from 1960, was his first science fiction story collection. It’s never been reprinted in full, perhaps because it’s short and only passable. I bought it off eBay in 2008. It’s an Ace Double, with a second Ellison book, also unreprinted, on the other side, but I didn’t read that. (Titled “The Man With 9 Lives,” it seems ripe to be read some month with other books whose titles begin “The Man…,” of which I have four or five.)

Instead, I read “Run for the Stars,” an Ellison novella about a junkie who is implanted with a bomb against his will to thwart, or at least delay, an alien invasion. It’s paired with an unrelated, American Indian-focused SF story by other authors. Neither was all that hot. I bought this maybe five years ago at Bookfellows in Glendale and read it in one day last week.

(There was a minor amount of cheating here. A slightly shorter version of “Run for the Stars” was included in “A Touch of Infinity.” I opted to skip that and read Ellison’s 1985 revision instead, rather than read virtually the same novella twice. Sue me. Life is short and I have too many unread books to observe all the niceties.)

So, four books for June. This puts me at 36 books for the year to date. Getting to 50 by Dec. 31 shouldn’t be a problem. Do I hear 60? Or 70?

July will be devoted to books with traffic-related titles (even though most aren’t really about traffic). It’ll be like taking a road trip from my armchair.

Enough of my reading. What have you folks been reading?

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