Cal Poly Pomona theater/arts teacher Nancy Kyes played Annie Brackett in the original “Halloween.” If students find out and ask, she’ll talk about it, but she says “I don’t bring it up.” We talk about her role and her current life for my Wednesday, that is, my Oct. 31 column.
I got a tour of Pomona’s onetime First Methodist Church, a weathered but still-grand building that is the subject of interior renovations. The downtown church is two blocks west of the Fox. Read about it and check out my colleague Jennifer Cappuccio Maher’s photo gallery in Sunday’s column. Above, my own photo of the exterior.
Atlantic correspondent James Fallows and his wife, Deborah, visited a tech conference in Ontario on Wednesday to share what they learned from their travels through small-town America. They’ve produced a book, “Our Towns,” that goes into more detail, including chapters about Riverside, Redlands and San Bernardino. I write about their talk for my Friday column, while also including a bunch of Culture Corner items and a Valley Vignette.
Dia de los Puercos, 115 W. 2nd St. (at Garey), Pomona; open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday except until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Monday
You may recall this corner spot as home to Joey’s BBQ, or later The Rookery, which has moved a few storefronts west. Since August it’s been home to Dia de los Puercos, a Mexican restaurant that began as a food truck and added a West Covina restaurant, as well as becoming a vendor at the LA County Fair. Shuttering Covina, owner Rick Garcia has now opened in Pomona and also at the new Riverside Food Lab food hall.
I’d been to the Fair spot and to the Covina location, enjoying both, and was happy to see the restaurant in a permanent spot closer to home. I went in for dinner earlier this month.
It was populated on a Saturday night, but low-key. It can be hard to tell if the dark-windowed restaurant is open but for the open front door. A greeter is right inside when you enter. Here’s the menu; click on the image for a readable view.
For a place whose name translates as Day of the Pigs, pork is obviously a theme, but there are other meats too, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. I got the El Tri ($10), the three-taco plate, with pastor, barbacoa and huitlacoche.
Underneath the cabbage were three very good tacos, and filling too, on handmade tortillas, with some fresh chips on the side.
The dining room has banquettes, a bar and two original Joey’s picnic tables as well as some newer communal tables. The walls have graffiti-style art, street signs for 6th Street and Brooklyn Avenue, and a wall-length photo mural of the 6th Street bridge, all appealing for the Boyle Heights diaspora. Latin and soul oldies such as “Sideshow” and “Ring My Bell” played. The place had a mellow, friendly vibe.
In addition, there’s a front dining room with a bar as well and a patio. As with Joey’s and The Rookery, the space is larger than needed, and a bit awkward, but they’re trying to make use of the entire floor plan.
I went back a week later for lunch on a Sunday. There were some large groups, including extended families with men in buttoned-up flannel Pendletons. A Latina reader saw me and later shared that while I was the only Anglo in the restaurant, “you looked totally comfortable” — which I was.
Anyway, I got the El Sangweesh ($7), a sorta with pork mole as my meat. The result, which I cut in half for easier eating, was flavorful and carried me through the rest of the day.
Eater LA’s Bill Esparza has produced a close look at the restaurant, which he describes as “a shrine to Chicanismo, or Mexican-American street culture” and an exemplar of “pocho cuisine.” Recommended reading, and the photos are great.
A new novel is set here in part, and it’s by the acclaimed Jonathan Lethem, who lives in Claremont. What more inducement did I need to write about it? “The Feral Detective,” and Lethem himself, are the subject of Wednesday’s column.
You can meet him at his Nov. 7 launch party in Claremont — that is, if you’re not attending my author talk the same evening in the same town. Unfortunate timing, that.
Anyone who wants an idea of what George Chaffey, the prime developer of Ontario and Upland, looked like has several options. Upland has a statue outside its city hall and Ontario’s airport has a relief inside Terminal 4. Both are by the late sculptor John Svenson.
Ontario has a new Chaffey image outside the Senior Center, a bust that was dedicated in September. It, too, was by Svenson, who died in 2016. He produced a maquette and plaster cast of Chaffey. It was, coincidentally enough, prominent in a Bulletin portrait of Svenson in his studio in 1998 and reused in his obituary. His son, David, bronzed and finished the bust and spoke at the unveiling about his father’s passion for local history.
Having the piece in the Ontario Civic Center, steps from City Hall, is a welcome reminder to the community of Chaffey’s role in the city’s founding.
Having heard it was there, I made sure to take a look, and a photo, on my most recent visit.
It had been a few months since I’d attended a Chino City Council meeting, and two years (!) since I’d been to a full-fledged Rancho Cucamonga City Council meeting. (Last year I did attend an afternoon workshop, though — as part of my effort to attend a council meeting in all nine of our cities.)
So I hit Chino on Tuesday and Rancho on Wednesday, finding enough material, and commentary, for Sunday’s column.
In Upland, a sports park proposed by a developer has been sidelined. I write about that and offer up cultural notes and a vignette in Friday’s column.
Mimi 5 Bobee, 9799 Base Line Road (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga; open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Tuesday, closed
Sometimes these restaurant visits are planned, sometimes they’re on a whim based on what’s near where I need to be for a story assignment and once in a while they become even more random. Needless to say, this is among the latter.
A friend and I had planned to meet at a Chinese restaurant in Claremont on a certain Wednesday, but when we got there we learned it’s closed on Wednesdays. He suggested a Chinese restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga in the 99 Ranch center that he’d tried and liked. We each drove there and learned that it, too, is closed on Wednesdays. What were the odds? Before that day I knew of only two restaurants that are closed Wednesdays, Vince’s Spaghetti in Ontario and Mariscos Jalisco in Pomona, and suddenly that number doubled on one lunch break.
But I noticed the Taiwanese restaurant Mimi 5 Bobee in the same center, and my friend hadn’t eaten there before either. It’s the only restaurant of four in that center neither of us had tried. So, undeterred by the name, we went in.
It’s a small, but large enough. We examined the menu and selected two items.
First was chili pepper wonton ($7.50), a decent version of a favorite dish, pork dumplings in chili oil.
We also got pork stew dry noodle ($7), wisely upgrading to hand-pulled noodles ($1.50). The ground pork was lightly spiced, the noodles stretchy and chewy. This proved to be our favorite item.
Those two orders weren’t enough for two people, so after some consultation with the server, we got pork in red grain with rice ($9). (They are big on pork here, and I guess we, too, were big on pork here.) It was deep-fried, quickly, and came with cabbage and carrots, jicama (or something like it) and a hard-boiled egg, and rice with a bit more pork. We liked this as we had the others, but the noodles remained our favorites.
We also got milk tea drinks off a specials board, two-for-one.
Mimi 5 has locations in Diamond Bar and Rowland Heights. The Bulletin’s real reviewer, David Cohen, wrote in 2016 that specialties include stinky tofu, marinated pork and oyster pancakes, among other dishes not commonly available in the area.
I’ve been to Red Chilli House, Lotus Cafe and Min’s Dumpling House in that center and have enjoyed them all, with Min’s and Red being the standouts. Still haven’t ventured inside 99 Ranch, which has its own food court. And of course I need to try the new spot that is closed Wednesdays — but obviously should not do so in midweek.
I’ve been squirreling away literary mentions of the Santa Anas for 10 years and figured Monday’s windstorm was a good excuse to finally use them in print, which I do for Wednesday’s column.