Your uncoordinated columnist never learned to ride a bike. This week, with CicLAvia coming, I got a lesson. Spoiler alert: It didn’t go well. I write about the experience in Friday’s slightly (or very?) embarrassing column. But those are the best kind, right? Be sure to watch the video in the same link by my colleague Stan Lim.
Paris Pastries Cafe, 8220 Haven Ave. (at Foothill), Rancho Cucamonga; open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
I still think of this corner spot in the Chaffey Town Square center as Pei Wei, although it’s been a restaurant or two since the Chinese fusion place left. It’s been Paris Pastries for a couple of years now. I made it in earlier this month for a weekday lunch with a Francophile phriend, er, friend.
My visit was prompted by reader Charlene Comeaux, a regular there, who emailed to tell me the owners moved to Rancho Cucamonga from southern France, are fluent in French and thus serve authentic French cuisine and baked items.
Several of the patio tables were taken, a nice sight, and inside the restaurant was being enjoyed by several more, so maybe Paris Pastries is catching on. Besides the tables and chairs, there’s a sofa, which was occupied and gave a homey touch. The dining room was decorated in pastels, and a long bakery case offered enticements: macaroons, cakes and more. You order at the end.
The menu is short, with a couple of salads, a few sandwiches, quiches, plates and crepes, plus coffee drinks including espresso.
My friend had been here a couple of times before for croissants on weekends but had not had a full meal. He ordered the quiche combo ($11): a spinach and goat cheese quiche, a salad and a drip coffee. He pronounced himself satisfied, if not quite transported to the French countryside.
I got the crispy chicken pasta ($10.49), with fried chicken breast, pasta, cream sauce and mushrooms. This was plenty filling, and the bread pudding I ordered ($4) about finished me off. But I finished it off first.
It’s a cute place and one of the very few spots locally with French cuisine. Mention should also be made of the little corner designed for children, with a small table and chairs, books and play objects. I found it adorable — which I’m mentally saying in the French way.
I go to the Rancho Cucamonga DMV to get the Real ID driver’s license. Don’t know what it is? Wednesday’s column explains.
A view from the 10 Freeway looking east
After my column last summer on the “Corona na” sign on the southbound 57 Freeway approaching the 71 and 10, an anonymous reader wrote me a letter about another oddity in the same area:
“As motorists approach and enter Pomona while driving east on the 10, they observe seven signs announcing Highway 71 (the Corona Freeway) and there is a two-lanes-wide exit/transition to the southbound 71.
“Conversely, motorists driving west through Pomona on the 10 are given no hint at all that Highway 71 exists.”
True. As the saying goes, you can’t get there from here. The 71 North doesn’t connect to the westbound lanes of the 10, nor can you get directly from the 71 North to the 10 East, only to the 10 West.
Because there’s no direct way to reach the 71 South when driving west on the 10, I take the Dudley/Fairplex exit, drive a few blocks south to Holt, hang a right and get on the 71 there. Presumably this will all be taken care of when the 71 becomes a freeway through Pomona — construction of which may start in 2020.
Pomona’s White Avenue only has an exit from the 10 for eastbound travelers too. If you’re headed west, there’s no exit for White, just as I believe the Kellogg Drive exit is only accessible by westbound travelers as well. Pomona has a lot of freeway quirks and this doesn’t even cover them all.
Sunday is the 106th anniversary of the Titanic’s demise, an appropriate time to explore the story of Edwina Troutt, who survived and later lived in Pomona. Of course, the drama in her life was in 1912. I tell the story in Sunday’s column.
On Monday I compiled comments I’d solicited on Facebook about the old Broadway store into several usable paragraphs to have ready after Tuesday morning’s demolition ceremony for Wednesday’s column, due a couple of hours after I got into the office. But the ceremony proved lively enough that I didn’t have room for the previously prepared material.
So I set it aside to use in Friday’s column. Very little goes to waste here. I also have some Culture Corner items, an item about some upcoming appearances by yours truly (two of them this weekend) and a Valley Vignette. Above, a view of the store under construction from early 1968.
Grill 8, 7890 Haven Ave. (at Church), Rancho Cucamonga; open daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Grill 8 opened last year in the northern reaches of the Virginia Dare center, near Cake Among Us and the bike shop. A friend and I met there for a weekday lunch recently. Inside there’s reclaimed wood, an array of hanging bulbs and a communal counter, besides booths and tables. The place was tidy and clean.
The menu has burgers, other sandwiches, wings and salads, plus a soup of the day. They also have local beers on tap and a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.
You order at the counter. (The website says they have “full-service dining,” but no.) My friend got the turkey avocado sandwich ($9), with havarti cheese and olive salad spread, plus a side salad; I got a turkey burger ($11), with white cheddar, and garlic fries as my side. (A third choice is onion rings.) I scraped off the avocado; sorry, not a fan.
We liked our meals. My burger was a little dry, which can happen with turkey, but it was fine. “Fun atmosphere, good food,” my friend summarized. Agreed. I would go back. I’d rather eat at the more sedate and comfortable Grill 8 than the Five Guys across the street.
Demolition was already underway, but a public ceremony Tuesday at Montclair Place to mark the end of the old Broadway department store involved a crane with a wrecking ball slamming into the facade. Fun! I was there to witness it and write about it for Wednesday’s column. Above, a view of the store from Central Avenue; below, the south side of the store as the wrecking ball swings.
The Bookworm operated at 229 N. 2nd Ave. in Upland from 1974 to 1996. That means it closed a year before I showed up in the area, alas. Above is the storefront today, which sells antiques and architectural salvage. From 1997 to 2015, it was the Sideboard.
It was launched by nine women who had experience at the hospital auxiliary: Jo Ann Chalfant, Mary Gattas, Marge Melillo, Mary Ann Robinson, Barbara Rusche, Marilee Wake, Georgia Westphal and Robbe Wilcox, according to a Daily Report article about the opening.
What prompts this blog post is a recent article in the LA Times by Thomas Curwen about the closing of Caravan Books in downtown LA after 64 years due to the owner’s retirement. Curwen wrote:
“The landscape of Southern California is littered with memories of lost bookstores: George Sand on Melrose, the Bookworm in Upland, Fahrenheit 451 in Laguna Beach, Papa Bach in Santa Monica — shops that reflected a more idiosyncratic city.”
In an email, Curwen told me he was trying to hit the four points of the compass with those four stores. He never visited the Bookworm, but he said, “I do know that it had a good reputation.” That someone outside the area knew about the store and would think to mention it two decades later is impressive.
Here’s everything I know, or think I know, about the store.
A bookworm was the mascot, the idea of Robinson’s daughter Tricia and rendered by Westphal in images around the store and on employee smocks, according to the Report.
The store sold new rather than used books. Ray Bradbury signed books there at least once, but probably more, part of his mission to support small bookstores and libraries. A friend remembers the store as Jo Ann’s Bookworm, a hint that perhaps Jo Ann Chalfant, one of the founders, became the store’s face.
“We wanted to open a store with soul,” Chalfant said in the 1974 story. And perhaps they did, at least until the soulless chains took over bookselling.
If you remember anything about the store, feel free to chime in in the comments.
A well-known food truck in L.A., Mariscos Jalisco, has just opened its first restaurant — and it’s in Pomona. Why? I interview owner Raul Ortega about his decision for Sunday’s column. Above, Ortega prepares a shrimp ceviche tostada.