Remembering China Gate

Upland’s China Gate for years was considered by many — and certainly by me — the best Chinese restaurant in the area. I enjoyed at least a dozen meals there over the years. Finally in the past decade more exciting and authentic Chinese fare began showing up in cities like Chino Hills, Chino and Rancho Cucamonga. Before that, China Gate was as real as it got out here, and it was popular too.

The restaurant lasted roughly 40 years before closing in March 2018 as part of a shakeup of the Mountain Green shopping center. I’d heard the restaurant’s original owners had sold and that the quality may have slipped. Regardless, I meant to write something here or in my column but it just slipped through the cracks.

I did, however, take some post-closing photos, and what the heck, they may as well be shared here for posterity. Above is the exterior, which faced north.

Through the glass front door and windows I shot what was left of the very 1980s-looking interior.

And posted outside was the menu. A couple of people wrote farewell messages, a sweet touch. If you click on the full menu, you’ll get a larger version of it in case you’d like to scroll through the offerings and reminisce about a favorite.

Former Montclair resident Grace Corcoran remembers. She emailed me in April asking about the restaurant:

“Last year I was in Upland, looking forward to lunch at China Gate on Mountain; I simply can’t explain my deep disappointment to learn it was no longer there. They had a dish on their menu that consisted of steamed fish in a light white sauce with a hint of fresh basil flavor. It was the most refreshing and delicate entrĂ©e I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant. For the past year I have searched the internet — in vain — for a recipe for this dish. I have experimented in my own kitchen trying to replicate it. In all cases I have failed.”

I couldn’t help her, but she reminded me of China Gate, which led to this blog post. If you remember China Gate too, here’s your chance to comment.

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‘Narod Chief’ citrus label

Going through my camera roll, I found, and not for the first time, this shot taken in early 2018 of a citrus crate label reproduction. It’s worth sharing here. At this date I’m not sure where I saw it. But it’s a striking image, and it was cool to see Narod immortalized. Today the community is almost forgotten, but it was situated around Central Avenue and Mission Boulevard. The lore is that the railroad stop was named for a man named Doran, with the spelling flipped. The label was produced for the West Ontario Citrus Association.

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Column: Heavens! 1888 church steeple under repair

Two years ago I wrote about the grand church in downtown Pomona from 1888 that was occupied after a few years of vacancy and was under restoration. The exterior has been completed for a while except for the bell tower and steeple, which still have peeling paint. That work is now underway. I provide an update, which included riding in a construction boom for closer photos (yikes!), in Wednesday’s column.

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