Wednesday’s column (read it here) is a profile of Besse Fogle, the 98-year-old Rancho Cucamonga woman who used to own and run the St. Charles Grill in Pomona. I wrote about the restaurant recently, but Fogle is worth her own column. So, she got one.
The official Set ONTario Free logo is above, designed by Ontario City Hall in support of its campaign to reclaim LA/Ontario International Airport.
Below is a response by Len Talan, who posted it on my Facebook page with the crack, “What the Set ONTario Free campaign is really about.” He’s a Venice resident whose page lists himself as a fan of LAX. I like the rats that replace the bird in flight.
Reader Judy Gallegos writes with a question:
“Hey David — love your site! I grew up in Glendora in the 70s, and now live in the Midwest, so your site is a nice cure for homesickness.
“Wonder if you or your readers might remember the name of a train-themed restaurant in Claremont/Pomona in the 70s. I believe it eventually became a Victoria Station, but was called something else before that (not Carneys…).
“It was off the 10 Freeway and Indian Hill, I think, and consisted of a steam engine, a caboose, and a few cars. My sister and I have been trying to remember the name and we’re stumped.
“Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!!”
I’ve heard vague whispers about this restaurant, said to have been located at Indian Hill and San Jose, but didn’t have a name to attach. By coincidence, I was just accepted as a member of the Facebook page Growing Up in Montclair, Calif. (tingle!) (even though I didn’t grow up in Montclair) and Tim Corvin just posted a photo there of the Railroader, locating it on Indian Hill in Claremont.
Must be the same place. I borrowed the photo for this blog post.
But that’s all I know. Can anyone tell us more about The Railroader?
Sunday’s column (read it here) includes items on a slate of classic piracy films coming to the Ontario library’s movie nights in February, the “Celebrity Wife Swap” episode that featured Ontario and others named David Allen to whom I was alerted by readers.
Above, “Burning Bridges”
Three performance-art pieces by noted artists took place Jan. 21 at Pomona College. I attended the Judy Chicago and James Turrell flares-and/or-fireworks things at Merritt Field and Bridges Auditorium but skipped the John White indoor-football thing, which predictably was cited by the LA Times as the best of the three. Oh well.
You can watch 2-minute videos of the performances here.
Le Bistro, 121 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Euclid), Upland
You can find Italian food anywhere and no one thinks anything of it, but French food remains rare despite decades of work by Julia Child.
Le Bistro, which opened in late 2011, is one of only two French restaurants in the Inland Valley (the other is La Creperie in Chino), but in a way, it’s not all that new. The same family had Cafe Provencal, The Blackboard and La Cheminee, all in Upland, Montclair or Ontario. Now a new generation has launched Le Bistro in the Vons center.
As the bistro name suggests, this is a nice but relatively casual spot. Formerly a budget Italian place where you ordered at the counter, the interior has been classed up with black tablecloths, better furniture, dimmed lighting and servers, but there are flat screen TVs in the corners and the kitchen is still open, with the former occupant’s pizza oven still in service.
The dinner menu has pizzas, pastas, steaks and salads, with sandwiches and crepes at lunch and daily specials at either mealtime.
I ate dinner there recently, opting for the French staple coq au vin ($23), which is two pieces of chicken in wine sauce with sauteed vegetables and croquettes. I liked it. I also ordered a side salad ($6.50), which was fine but hardly worth the money. Overall, though, a very good meal, although the dinner was a splurge for me. (I’m more of a $5-$15 fella.)
I returned for lunch, ordering another staple, the croque monsieur ($9), essentially a hot ham and cheese sandwich, pressed, which comes with either fries or virtually the same salad I ordered at dinner. A satisfying lunch. Entrees at lunch range from $9 to $13, which is more in my price range.
It’s early yet, but Le Bistro is already one of the Inland Valley’s finer restaurants and is well worth a try. The restaurant doesn’t seem to have a website, but the menu is posted in the window. And if you don’t want a crepe or chocolate fondant cake for dessert, there’s a Cold Stone Creamery next door.
Montclair’s Bowlium Lanes opened in 1958 at 4666 Holt Blvd., just west of Monte Vista Avenue, and the oldest surviving bowling alley in the Inland Valley is still setting ’em up.
The 32-lane bowling center recently gained a new, snazzier sign (see above). It’s a far cry from the astonishing sign (see below) that lured motorists from 1958 until its demolition in 1999, but it’s better than the two bland monument signs that filled in in the interim.
Friday’s column (read it here) has more about the signs and also about Shakey’s Pizza down the street, Montclair’s oldest restaurant.
This photo from the Pitzer College archives shows a group of Pitzer students lined up to see a double feature of musicals. Note the “Cooled by Refrigeration” sign. The theater, at Bonita and Harvard avenues, was popular in the 1950s and ’60s is now Harvard Square Cafe and adjoining shops. Photo by Arthur Dubinsky; contributed by Stephanie Estrada.
Here’s a link to the Cinema Treasures page about the Village Theatre.
But only if you want to travel back in time. Reader Eric Scherer found an eBay listing for a Pomona Tile sample kit and case said to date to “1910s/20s.” Fixed price: $661.98.
(Of course, if you’re going to travel back in time after your purchase, why buy it at 2012 prices?)
Pomona Tile used to be a very important business around town. Scherer also found a heavily illustrated blog post about the company’s “Distinguished Designer” series in which Millard Sheets, Saul Bass and other famous names were commissioned to design tiles. Some great images for you midcentury-modern design mavens.
From the Tile Heritage newsletter, 2007:
“Pomona Tile was founded in 1923 by Judson Clark and was acquired within its first year by R.J. Schroeder, who maintained the offices and factory at Third and Reservoir Streets in Pomona, California. The company specialized initially in unglazed ceramic mosaics, but by the end of the decade both ceramic floor and wall tiles were produced.
“The height of production came in the mid-1950s when Drew Schroeder took over the reins from his father. But competition was intense, and despite the broadening of its product lines, the company began losing its grip by the early-sixties.
“American Olean acquired Pomona in 1966 providing the backing and leadership to introduce Pomona Stone and the colorful Caribbean line. AO sold the company to Huntington Tile in 1976, ending over 50 years of Pomona tile production.”
Wednesday’s column (read it here) recounts the high- and lowlights of Monday’s Upland City Council meeting. Example:
When the public comment period began, an unusual thing occurred.
On the big screen there in the Council Chambers, these four commands were projected in giant letters:
“Respectful Treatment of Others”
“Do Not Interrupt”
Sometimes they make it too easy for me. Read the column for more.