Restaurant of the Week: Corner Bakery Cafe

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Corner Bakery Cafe, 12375 S. Main St. (at Victoria Gardens), Rancho Cucamonga

Corner Bakery is a chain, but one with only two Inland Valley locations, fewer than some of our mom-and-pop restaurants, so it’s fair game here. I haven’t been to the one in Chino Hills (4517 Chino Hills Parkway) but over the years I’ve been to the Victoria Gardens location many times.

It’s one of the more affordable restaurants there, falling into the fast-casual category. A purveyor of sandwiches, soups, salads and pasta, not to mention fresh bread and other bakery items, Corner Bakery is similar to Panera, except for the pasta, and similarly priced $1 or $2 above what you’d like to pay; a sandwich and drink will run you about $11. Still, it’s a lot cheaper than a sitdown meal at, say, Lucille’s or King’s.

A friend prefers Corner Bakery, I prefer Panera. The Corner Bakery menu (view it here) is awfully complex, with a lot of items (I count 21 sandwiches and 19 salads), and you can stand there like a dope for some minutes figuring out what you want. On the bright side, there’s usually a line, which buys you time.

The pesto cavatappi pasta (about $8, pictured, as a “Corner Combo” as a small portion with a side salad) is a solid choice. One time I got the full-size order with a side salad for $1 that, mistakenly I think, turned out to be a full-sized salad. I ate the salad and two bites of the pasta and took the rest of the pasta home for an entire extra meal. Best dollar I ever spent. That hasn’t happened again.

They also have breakfast, with pastries, oatmeal (including a chilled version), egg paninis and fruit bowls.

A lot of people on Yelp think the VG location is subpar, with indifferent service and crumbs on the seats. That’s never stood out for me but then I’ve never visited other, allegedly better locations. I just take it for what it is.

At the VG, it was easy enough to park in a surface lot nearby, hit Corner Bakery, hit Borders, hit Pinkberry (if desired) and then hit the road. I had three recent meals there during the Borders closeout sale.

I like the VG, but there’s not a lot of interest for me there and there’ll be even less so without a bookstore. But Corner Bakery will be there when I need it.

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Mmmm…sooty

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I saw this restaurant sign in L.A.’s Koreatown neighborhood and can only assume the three words mean something different, and more appetizing, in the Korean language.

* Reader Bob Terry asked a Korean friend for a translation of Soot Bull Jeep, which came back Charcoal Fire House. OK, that makes sense.

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47

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As one who has devoted study to the significance of the number 47 to Pomona College, I was tickled recently to receive that number at a restaurant and place it in a stand to receive my order. As numbers go, 47 has more gravitas than most.

Unaware of the awesome power of 47? You can read about it here, in more detail here and about the new clock-chiming tradition here.

Click below to read my own version of 47.
Continue reading

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Positively 4th anniversary

The David Allen Blog, as it’s dubbed, today marks four years of existence. Huzzah!

(The subject line above is a Dylan reference, for anyone scratching your head.)

I started blogging Sept. 12, 2007, a bit later than some but earlier than many, and I’m glad I did. The immediacy of a blog compared to print, the control over the material that a blog allows me (in print there may be a photo slated but no room to run it), the give and take with an audience, the compilation of a sort of oral history of the valley through your comments, all make this an enjoyable forum.

It’s always a treat, and an honor, really, when a Google search for some old Inland Valley business brings up one of my posts as nearly the only information online on the subject. We get a lot of new readers that way.

How are we doing? Numbers-wise, pretty good. This blog is neck and neck with the IE Courts blog to be No. 1 in readership among the Bulletin and Sun’s blogs: Some months it’s me, some months it’s Courts. (I would do a hyperlink to Courts but why help them beat me?) After that comes Upland Now and RC Now.

Speaking of numbers, we’ve published 1,370 posts and received 6,064 comments.

How are we doing creatively? That’s for you to say. I know this blog could be better. My newspaper column is my primary focus, obviously, and it takes virtually my entire work week to produce it. This blog is shoehorned in as I have time to work on it, an hour here, an hour there. Regrettable, but there you have it. That’s one reason there’s a lot of photos, frankly; time for original research is scarce.

Still, I hope you enjoy what I’m able to provide here. Any suggestions, comments, questions, criticism or other feedback, please post away. This is your forum too and I’m always curious what you think. And thank you for reading.

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Making it all fail

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A name that’s familiar, but a face that’s unfamiliar, although perhaps more pleasing, adorn a book on display at Borders Books in Rancho Cucamonga last Wednesday.

With the local store set to close Tuesday, this is the closest I’ll come to having a book at Borders. (The author is a well-known productivity expert.) The business-failure signs in the background of this optimistic tome are a nice, ironic touch. Seen and shot by my colleague Wendy Leung.

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Restaurant of the Week: Jinza

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Jinza Teriyaki, 3425 Pomona Blvd. (at Temple), Pomona

I called a Cal Poly Pomona friend for lunch and suggested Curry Up, a campus-adjacent fast-food restaurant I’ve wanted to visit based on the name alone. She said Curry Up is nothing special and countered with Jinza. Deferring to the local expert, I met her at Jinza.

Housed in a business center, Jinza’s storefront isn’t much to look at. If you step inside during a lunch hour, as I did, the first thing you notice is lots of people. There was a line to order at the counter and most of the tables were filled.

The restaurant has a kind of food-hall ambience, with plain wooden tables and chairs, cement-block walls, Japanese screens and paper lanterns. Jinza is so popular it expanded into the space next door.

Jinza is beloved by Cal Poly students and Lanterman employees. On Yelp, one student says Jinza is as close to a a college-town gathering spot as Cal Poly has. It’s only open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The specialty is teriyaki bowls and plates, although they also have udon, tempura, yakisoba and a few sushi rolls. I had the vegetable pork bowl with brown rice ($7, pictured); my friend had the spicy chicken bowl.

My humble bowl was actually pretty tasty, my friend loved her spicy chicken, and the portions were large. I wouldn’t drive across the valley to eat here, but it was a good experience.

In a nice touch, Jinza offers free green tea and prominently displays glasses for serve-yourself water, both no doubt aimed at the penny-conscious college crowd (although this journalist appreciated it too).

The New Diner blogger likes Jinza. I don’t know if he’s ever been to Curry Up.

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7-Eleven kicks it old school

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This 7-Eleven, on Towne Center Drive in La Verne, often catches my eye when I drive past on Foothill, a half-block away.

Looks very 1970s, doesn’t it? If there’s an older 7-Eleven sign in the valley, I’m not aware of it. The store itself, seen below, seems to have been remodeled.

Every time I passed by I worried the sign would be changed out before I could document it, so I took the time to snap these photos recently. Here they are, for posterity.

But I hope the sign remains for a long time; at least 7 or 11 more years.

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Welcome (sort of)!

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Claremont, unwelcoming? Ridiculous. We’d love to have you. Just leave by sundown. Seen on Foothill Boulevard at Monte Vista Avenue, but also on other city-limits signs.

(To be fair, there’s a Tree City USA placard below the “No Parking” sign, but that’s not as funny.)

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