A rare (but welcome?) all-Ontario column begins with a Spires restaurant sign now missing a crucial letter, continues with a City Council meeting and concludes with TV filming and a robot. What more would you want in a Sunday column? That’s rhetorical.
I stumbled upon the famous Randy’s Donuts while in Inglewood on Saturday. Naturally I got a doughnut for the drive home, while also reflecting on giant rooftop doughnuts and doughnut names. That tops Friday’s column, followed by a bunch of cultural items of potential interest and a Valley Vignette.
Take Ur Seat, 15871 Pomona Rincon Road (at Soquel Canyon), Chino Hills; open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Sunday, closed
Calling itself “the American classic brunch with an Asian twist,” Take Ur Seat opened in January in a new development, Rincon Plaza, in a booming portion of Chino Hills. The restaurant motto: “You. Me. Brunch.” Note: The official name seems to be Take UR Seat, but I’m going to pretend it’s not.
It’s fairly small and apparently often packed. It certainly was at a recent Saturday lunchtime, when my friends and I put our names in and joined a dozen people waiting outside.
We made jokes about the wait, and the name, to kill time. “Take Ur Seat…Eventually,” one said. Another said, in mock belligerence about his inability to take a seat, “It’s in the name!”
But that gave us time to study the menu. It’s short and focused, with cloud pancakes, french toast, avocado toast and a couple more breakfast items, a half-dozen bowls with pork belly, spam, kimchee or tri-tip, two salads and a variety of coffee and specialty lattes. The chef cooked at Cal Poly Pomona’s international kitchen prior to this.
We were called in after 50 minutes, given a table and allowed to order at the counter, with no one in front of us. There’s lots of natural light, wood tables, pendant lamps and a modern, cheery feel. Our food was delivered in a reasonable amount of time.
In short, we liked what we got. I had the kimchee fried rice omelet ($10), with pork belly, spam, seaweed and fried rice. I actually didn’t notice the spam. Someone else got the spam rice bowl ($8) with steamed rice, fried eggs, spinach and crispy onions, plus fries ($4), which we all devoured.
Our resident vegan had the tofu mushroom bowl ($10), with steamed rice and spinach, forgoing the poached egg. “It was flavorful and satisfying,” she said. She also noted it was the only item on the menu she could have ordered. She also enjoyed a matcha latte ($5).
The fourth member of our merry quartet had the Tip Me Over rice bowl ($12), with charbroiled tri-tip, steamed rice, spinach, spinach and poached egg. “I walked in hungry and I’m walking out satisfied,” he said. For the record, he was projecting, as he was still seated at the time. He’d been here once before and had the Big 5 (eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes and home fries, $12) and said he’d go back to that on his next visit.
I would come back. Take Ur Seat reminds me of Rancho Cucamonga’s Combine Kitchen, which similarly pairs coffee with elevated takes on American and Asian dishes.
A few things worth noting: At night Take Ur Seat had just instituted a “night vibe dinner menu” with items from the owners’ native Indonesia. By 1:30, there were empty tables, so you might want to time a visit to an off-hour for quicker seating. Also: This may be the rare brunch spot that’s closed Sundays. Plan your life accordingly.
I took a day trip to L.A. for my birthday and enjoyed as many favorites as I could: public transit, pizza, the Cinerama Dome, Amoeba Music, Shake Shack and a book. The excursion is the subject of Wednesday’s column.
I had a low-key week away from work, which is pretty much what I had in mind. While improving after my pneumonia, a break for rest, one in which I would not have to think about column topics, was very appealing.
With occasional forays for food or errands, mostly I took it easy around the house. For one thing, I took care of a few long-delayed or -postponed items, the sorts of things that may not take a lot of time but which you can better persuade yourself to do when you have time on your hands as opposed to giving up precious weekend moments for.
Such as? One morning I took all the books off one bookcase, blew the dust off the top of each book, rearranged them and cleared away some clutter at the front of the shelves. The appearance is much improved and the whole thing took under an hour.
By later in the week, I felt more energetic. I took the train to L.A. for my birthday, an outing that will be the subject of Wednesday’s column. I also (gasp) drove to L.A. a couple of days later for lunch with friends.
As with any week off, I went to bed Sunday wishing I had one or two days more to tick a few more items off my pending list. But it was fun returning to work Monday too. While I still have an occasional cough and shortness of breath, I would rate my energy level at about 95 percent of normal.
That week off came at the right time.
As mentioned in Sunday’s column, I’m off all week, returning to work March 18.
I had been wanting to travel, at least in Southern California, but decided I wasn’t quite up to that yet, post-pneumonia.
(I’ve mostly recovered but still have an intermittent cough, and I’ve continued to turn in early to ensure I get a full night’s rest. Hiking or hoofing it around a distant city struck me as too ambitious.)
So it’s a staycation, with some travel to LA amid time at home. The break will be nice, I think.
You may have read that the In-N-Out in La Verne has closed briefly for renovation. My colleague Liset Marquez had that story last month.
I was driving by on Foothill Boulevard Feb. 24 and was greeted by the unusual sight of the restaurant fully wrapped, as if it were being fumigated, or as if Christo had turned it into an art installation. On my way back, I pulled into the lot to take a few photos just for the novelty of it.
“We will be open normal hours on Friday, March 15,” the sign below promises.
This In-N-Out opened in 1977 but is considered Store No. 3 as the chain moved its third store there from Pomona, where it opened circa 1952 (records are scarce). In-N-Out had attempted to open a restaurant in La Verne in 1975 but was, rather astonishingly, turned down, a story told in my column in 2018.
Oh, and Gustavo Arellano caused a stir last November with an essay in which he declared In-N-Out’s burgers “so-so.” Read his take here. Personally, I like one now and then, but as a transplant to California, I’ve always been of the opinion that you had to have grown up eating In-N-Out to love it.
I follow up my column on “the day the music died” with a local angle. A hokey tribute song, “Three Stars,” that was hit a few weeks after the Feb. 3, 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper was written by a disc jockey in San Bernardino. There’s some Culture Corner items and a Vignette too, all in Sunday’s column.
I remember the Claremont civic leader and former mayor, as well as telling the story of the 1987 explosion at an Upland apartment complex recently in the news again, in Friday’s column.