Column: At 61, he can get down, and still get back up

Sunday’s column is a tribute to Howard Mordoh, a fanatical L.A. concertgoer who can be seen dancing near the stage at shows all over the Southland. He’s not a local for us, but he deserves a writeup anyway, and I’m proud to be the guy who did it. Read it here.

Above is an amateur video of him dancing at LCD Soundsystem’s farewell concert at Madison Square Garden in 2011. I like how another guy starts filming him midway through. Embarrassing title of video: “Old guy dancing before LCD Soundsystem concert at MSG.” Hey, he was 60, not 80!

That was him on the East Coast at a major concert. Below is a video from a situation that’s pretty much the opposite: a relatively obscure L.A. band, Black Crystal Wolf Kids, performing at a Malibu restaurant in 2011. Mordoh, who was in the audience, can be seen starting at :57 (in an orange and brown shirt) and is visible until about 3:20. The song’s pretty good.

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Restaurant of the Week: One Plus One Dumpling House

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One Plus One Dumpling House, 14720 Pipeline Ave. (at Chino Hills Parkway), Chino Hills

Chinese dumplings are rare in Inland Valley restaurants, making One Plus One Dumpling House almost unique. The restaurant opened in Chino a couple of years back, relocating in April 2012 to Chino Hills next to the Lebanese restaurant Mes Amis, taking the place of the Thai restaurant Swasdee. Chino Hills is more of a culinary melting pot than you’d guess.

Three friends and I met there for lunch recently. The space looks almost unchanged from Swasdee’s occupancy, being modern, L-shaped and small (nine tables or booths).

The menu has some 20 varieties of dumplings, most of which can be ordered steamed, boiled or pan fried. Boiled are soup dumplings (xiao long bao), steamed are dry, fried are pot stickers. Noodle dishes and beef, lamb, chicken, pork and vegetarian dishes fill out the menu.

It’s the kind of place where, while they do have sweet and sour pork and orange chicken, they also have the non-Panda Express-approved spicy frog in firepot, spicy intestine and lamb with sour vegetable.

We ordered a lot of food: vegetable boiled dumplings ($7, pictured above), house special noodle ($7), shrimp and pineapple ($13), deep fried chicken with chili and garlic ($9) and a beef wrap ($5, pictured below). The staff threw in pork XLBs ($7), which they seem to do if you order $20 or more in food.

We like Chinese food, but we’re not experts. One at our table said approvingly, “This pork dumpling is really good,” while sampling the beef wrap. Which gave us something to kid him about. I can attest that the beef wrap is a respectable knockoff of 101 Noodle Express’ celebrated beef roll.

We all said we would be willing to come back. One friend said: “I thought the noodles were fantastic” — he really was talking about noodles — “and the deep-fried chicken was especially good.” Service was efficient and they kept our water glasses filled. The number of San Gabriel Valley-style Chinese restaurants in the Inland Valley remains small, but it’s growing, one by one.

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‘Life in Ontario,’ 1947

Reader Pamela Arterburn brings to our attention the above film, “Life in Ontario: You and Your Friends.” The footage was found and uploaded by the Ellingwood Model Colony History Room at Ontario’s Ovitt Library. It’s almost an hour long but makes for interesting viewing.

As Arterburn describes the video, evidently compiled from several sources, it includes “a view of the Daily Report’s office (hard-boiled reporters included) and the printing press at work, newspaper boys (some who look about 10) and city officials doing official-looking things at special functions.

“Other highlights include orange juice being processed, Chaffey High students swimming, milling around and engaging in sports, Euclid Avenue before stop signs and lines to separate lanes of traffic, the good people of Ontario leaving church on a Sunday, and fascinating footage of a train crash that must have happened just before the film was taken — and this is just the highlights.

“The silence makes the viewer imagine what people are saying; it’s eerie, like a visual whisper. Even racism seeps through — the only people smiling are white; citizens of color seem almost physically downcast.”

Arterburn also wonders: “Why the heck did ladies’ Sunday hats go out of style, anyway?”

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Grove Theatre’s Pal Club


For many of us, Saturday matinees were a staple of childhood. At Upland’s Grove Theatre, the ritual was formalized in the 1960s as the Pal Club. Kids got a membership card that would be stamped on the reverse on each visit.

Mike Guerin found his card a while back while cleaning his garage. What an artifact! He’s like the Indiana Jones of Upland. We blurred his address and birthdate as a favor. The photos are presented as thumbnails; click on them for a larger, readable view.

“I remember standing in line on 3rd Avenue queued up for quite a while for some of the more popular movies,” Guerin says. “The Beach Party films were all Pal Club movies and I remember enjoying them. [Manager] Gene Harvey would indeed come on stage and introduce each film.

“Attendance was of course contingent on my having completed my homework, which also included occasionally writing ‘I will not talk in class’ 100 times.”

According to the card (as best I can read it): “In accepting Pals Membership, I promise to conduct myself in an orderly manner and to observe the Grove Theatre Rules.” According to the reverse, to every fourth movie you would be admitted free, and on your birthday “you and Mom & Dad or a pal” would also get in free.

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Big top Rancho


Reader Will Plunkett, who contributed these photos, says: “There’s a house in northern RC that looks like a castle (in the appropriately named Castlegate tract of homes), and I see it often while driving past. The other day, I noticed it was tented for bugs (I guess) and snapped a picture. They finished and now you can see it, sans tent. I liked how they wrapped up the turret part of the roof in a separate tent. Do the termites do a trapeze act?”

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Restaurant of the Week: Union on Yale

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Union on Yale, 232 Yale Ave. (at Bonita), Claremont

Union on Yale is the second restaurant in the Village by John Solana, who opened the gastropub Back Abbey in 2008 (see my writeup here) and kicked the dining scene in the pants.

Union on Yale, which opened in late 2011, takes the place of Casa Flores, a nursery, across from Rhino Records and uses the old nursery area to excellent effect as outdoor dining. The majority of the seating is outdoors on compacted dirt or concrete, some shaded by trees or an overhang, with a fire pit and, of all things, a bocce ball court.

The menu changes seasonally, meaning that any items mentioned below probably aren’t available now — my meals were in the spring, not the summer — but perhaps they will be again, and anyway you’ll get the general idea. I’ve had three meals and have enjoyed them all. (Find the current menu on their website.)

My first visit I had grilled scallops ($12), wood-fired and presented on a bed of arugula, which proved to be more of an appetizer than an entree. So I ordered a roasted pear salad ($8, pictured) on frisee lettuce. My friend had a turkey, avocado and bacon sandwich ($12), stacked high, with tasty fries. A baby beet salad ($9) has oranges and candied walnuts, and even yours truly, who wrinkles his nose at beets, went back for seconds.

They do pizzas ($13 to $16), baked in a wood-burning oven, that come out charred and delicious, in a credible replica of the Pizzeria Mozza style. I’ve had three: an all-mushroom pizza called the forest floor, which beat the CPK version; one with roasted sweet peppers and housemade sausage; and one with asparagus. That was a friend’s idea, but I didn’t mind at all. (They do have a pizza with pepperoni.)

I’ve tried a couple of desserts ($8 each), the poached pear (pictured) and the citrus menage, which arrived in a mason jar and was as delicious as it was adorable.

The idea is that this is locally sourced, European peasant food, good for sharing and presented in a relaxing outdoor atmosphere. They also have cocktails ($10) and wine by the glass, plus tap and bottle beers. Union on Yale is pretty much unique in our area. Like Back Abbey, it’s closed on Sunday, other than for brunch, but that’s how they roll.

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