Can we get an Amen Guy?

Photo by David Thomas at 19th and Carnelian, 2007

He’s sort of a local legend, although his name isn’t widely known. Certainly I don’t know it. He’s the streetcorner evangelist with a van and a megaphone. The Filipino-American has been operating in the Inland Valley for years, probably since the 1990s, often with his wife at his side.

Reader David Thomas saw him most recently last fall. He calls him “the Amen guy…because when we see him holding his religious signs, we’ll give a supportive honk and he’ll reply through the megaphone ‘Amen!'” The man had a 7-foot pole with multiple signs and drives what Thomas called a Jesus van based on its signage.

He saw the Amen Guy at Carnelian and 19th, heard he’s been seen at Haven and Lemon and recalled years ago seeing him at Arrow and Archibald. He asked if the man had ever been profiled in our newspaper, and I said not to my knowledge.

I had tried, in 2003, after a tip that he lived next to a drive-through dairy on Grove Avenue; the operator promised to pass along a message from me, but the man never got in touch. Perhaps he prefers not to have his story out there, or maybe he’s just shy.

I have not seen him in a decade or more, I don’t think, so it was nice to hear he’s still around and shouting. Have any of you seen him? Do you know anything about him?

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Brackett Observatory, Pomona College

I had only an idea of where Brackett Observatory stood, knowing it’s around the southeast part of the Pomona College campus but never having seen it. In fact, during an evening open house of the campus a couple of years ago, I stumbled around past dusk trying to find it and failed. It’s not impossible that I walked right past it.

But on a recent afternoon, I went looking for Brackett Observatory and found it, near the Sontag Greek Theater off East Bonita. The observatory was closed on a Sunday, of course, but the quiet allowed me to admire its classic dome with retractable roof, and its fieldstone walls. It’s a modestly sized place, built in 1908, and named for the same professor whose name adorns La Verne’s municipal airport.

More about it can be found on the observatory webpage, which includes a video of a solar flare.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Column: Chino Hills is getting to be a habit with jazz singer

The first Chino Hills Jazz and Blues Festival takes place April 22. Headliner Barbara Morrison is a noted L.A. jazz singer who’s already performed in Chino Hills once before — or twice, really. I explain, as well as offering up a Pomona mention in the New Yorker, an update on my film series, a couple of Culture Corner items and more, all in Sunday’s column.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Restaurant of the Week: California Fish Grill

California Fish Grill, 1135 E. 19th St. (at Campus), Upland; open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Located in the newest section of the Colonies Crossroads Center, California Fish Grill is next to Oggi’s, on the north side of 19th Street. I was across the street getting a new cell phone recently and thought I’d try out CFG for dinner.

The experience and menu are similar to Pacific Fish Grill, which has a location in the Shoppes at Chino Hills that I’ve visited repeatedly. There’s an array of fresh fish entrees, which you can order with various seasonings and sides, and you order at the counter.

I got a combo of salmon and swai ($11.50), with rice and zucchini as my sides. On a second visit, at lunchtime, I got the serrano lime salmon bowl ($9). I enjoyed both of these meals; they seemed light, fresh and healthy.

A few points of comparison with Pacific Fish Grill: The latter delivers to your table instead of making you pick up your food (on a giant metal tray that holds two or three plates and looks like overkill when you’re eating solo); it doesn’t charge 50 cents more for brown rice; and it offers a side of vegetables, not simply zucchini.

On the other hand, California Fish Grill has more variety in its menu; it has a salsa bar; and its soda dispenser has non-brand names, from Stubborn Soda, with no artificial sweeteners or colors and better flavors (a la The Melt); I had black cherry and vanilla cream. So between the two places, it’s kind of a draw.

The comparison may not be meaningful to you if you live closer to one or the other rather than kind of in between, but I made it anyway. Overall, I liked the Upland chain seafood restaurant slightly more than the Chino Hills chain seafood restaurant, but they’re both worth trying.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Column: Salsbury scooters ended production cycle in Pomona

In the local history category, Wednesday’s column recounts the story of Salsbury scooters, a beloved brand that was briefly made in Pomona, in a factory that was highly touted but, sad to say, quickly failed.

By the way, trying to get a photo in which I was not reflected in the glass of the picture Jeff Hodge is holding was tough! This one, in the shade, was fine, and you can see the scooter art, but you can’t see much of the factory building.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Restaurant of the Week: Below Zero Shaved Ice

Below Zero Shaved Ice, 583 E. Foothill Blvd. (at 5th), Upland; noon to 7 p.m. daily

A friend with Upland knowledge asked if I’d been to Below Zero Shaved Ice, and I had to admit I’d never heard of it. (It opened in 2011.) So we met up on a recent hot afternoon for dessert.

It’s in a strip mall, the same one with Ashirwad vegetarian Indian restaurant. I noted approvingly that Below Zero uses Thrifty ice cream. But wait, isn’t this a shaved ice spot? It is, but it has ice cream too.

The menu board has the ice flavors, and the ice cream is in labeled tubs like at other ice cream parlors. A specials board lists pre-selected combinations. To save the fuss of choosing, which is after all why combinations exist, I went with the No. 1, a root beer float; my friend got one of her usuals, pina colada (small, $3.75).

What arrived were dishes with generous servings spilling out over the top of the bubble top. Mine had vanilla ice cream, root beer and vanilla shaved ice; hers had coconut-pineapple ice cream and pina colada-flavored shaved ice.

From above, you think it’s like a twist, where you get equal servings of two flavors. Or maybe that you would get shorted on the ice cream in favor of the less-expensive ice. But no. “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of ice cream,” my friend said as I dug in. And she was right: The ice cream fills one side but also layers the bottom. Eating them equally, I ran out of shaved ice before I ran out of ice cream.

Anyway, this was a low-cost, delicious treat. After dessert, we parted, and I went out for lunch. As the saying goes, “life is short, eat dessert first.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email