Thrifty at Seafood City

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On Friday I got a tour of Seafood City, a Filipino supermarket that opened a couple of years ago at 11098 Foothill Blvd. in Rancho Cucamonga in a portion of a former Best Buy. (They invited me to a media open house, I attended.)

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They sell a lot of items any market sells, such as meat and produce, almost all of which is familiar, and many imported products. Then there are Nongshim noodles, made right here in Rancho Cucamonga. The store has a food court area with freshly prepared Filipino barbecue, noodles and other items, two bakeries and a Jollibee.

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At top: I was surprised to see Thrifty ice cream in the freezer case. Above: the seafood area, not surprisingly at a place named Seafood City, has fish on ice on display, as well as live crab, a box of which had one or two feebly waving a claw. The store will clean the fish for you at no charge, according to a sign. The fresh fish usually arrives only a day after being caught.

At least one product name may not have translated well into English. It’s for an “herbal lightening soap.”

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Column: 50 years of gingerbread, ‘Little House’

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The 50th Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable, celebrating the “Little House on the Prairie” books and the unlikely tie between Wilder and the Pomona Public Library, takes place Saturday. That tops Friday’s column. Also: cultural notes from around the valley.

Above, the manuscript of 1932’s “Little House in the Big Woods,” handwritten on a tablet, was donated to the library by Wilder and is on display along with correspondence, foreign editions of the books and more. Click on the photo for a readable view. Same with the letter below, sent by Wilder to be read at the dedication of the library’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Room.

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Restaurant of the Week: Day Day’s BBQ and Waffle House

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Day Day’s BBQ and Waffle House, 994 E. Holt Ave. (at Reservoir), Pomona; closed Mondays

In my world Day Day’s for years was more rumor than fact. It was originally known as Day Day and Duke’s and had limited hours, but despite having a rough idea where it was, I never saw a sign in my occasional drives on Holt and was never entirely sure where it might be. I don’t know if it’s been in continuous operation or not, but the name (despite what the old sign says) is now Day Day’s, and its Duke-less incarnation seems to be more of a going concern, open six days a week and with the recent addition of dinner hours, until 8 p.m.

I still couldn’t find the place without looking it up on Google and noting the address, and without that I might never have found its unassuming storefront and small sign, especially after dark. Next door to the east is East End Liquor (despite the corner being Reservoir, not East End); next door to the west is an auto repair shop that was once the bar where the Mothers of Invention formed. So it’s a neighborhood with character.

Entering requires opening a screen door, a nice touch for a soul food restaurant, and inside it’s a small diner, with six booths and a short counter, everything in shades of brown. A friend and I met there for dinner recently, curious how the chicken and waffles would stack up against Ontario’s Maple House.

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Confronted with the extensive menu, though, we each opted for other things. I got the Aunt Toe’s pork chops, smothered, with greens and mac ‘n cheese ($15), and he got the Big Pimp omelet with shrimp, chicken, jack and cheddar cheese, and mushrooms, plus a chicken wing a la carte ($14 total). Breakfast is served all day.

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The omelet was inexpert, perhaps, but enjoyed despite its lumpiness, and the wing was praised. The pork chops themselves were the weakest part of my plate, with the gravy, rice and two sides the standouts. My friend had a Kool-Aid and, offered a refill, later wished he’d been told he’d be charged a second time. But overall, he liked the experience.

So did I. The place had a friendly, relaxed vibe. A TV in the corner provided the entertainment, “Wheel of Fortune” and a sitcom with a laugh track, rather than music.

There’s barbecue on the menu, but only on weekends. I went back that Sunday about 1 p.m. for lunch, hoping for ribs or brisket. The dining room was busy, but I got a seat and watched as several other tables turned over. Alas, barbecue, which seemed to be prepared at the owner’s whim, would only be available after 2 p.m. So I scanned the menu and got chicken and waffles: the Teasha combo ($12), with two wings, one waffle, an egg and grits.

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This was excellent: a fluffy waffle and prime fried chicken.

It came with three pieces, not two, which made up for the fact that other tables within earshot were told they had all-you-can-eat that day, and my server didn’t mention it. And also for the fact that my waffle arrived five minutes after everything else. Day Day’s is a little haphazard, perhaps, but the food and atmosphere more than compensate.

I even liked the grits, a dish I’d had once, in childhood, and didn’t really care for but thought I ought to try again. Since then I’ve had grits at Maple House, and Day Day’s were better; the chicken and waffle battle ended in a draw.

As the dining room slowly cleared out, and nobody needed my booth, I settled back to enjoy my Sunday newspaper in peace.

I would definitely return. If I ever get the barbecue, I’ll update this post. Or maybe I’ll let the barbecue remain as mysterious as the fate of Duke.

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Reading Log: January 2016

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Books acquired: none.

Books read: “Slogging Toward the Millennium,” Bill McClellan; “The Hour After Westerly,” Robert M. Coates; “Long After Midnight,” Ray Bradbury; “The Day After Tomorrow,” Robert M. Heinlein; “Twelfth Night,” William Shakespeare; “Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement,” Rodney Rothman; “Now Wait for Last Year,” Philip K. Dick.

One month into 2016 and I’ve knocked off seven titles. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Great start to the year and all that. I read much of the first three titles above in December, though, which means seven is inflated and likely to be my high for the year. Uh-oh: That means for the next 11 months, it’s all downhill. From optimism to despair, all in one paragraph. This is why I’m a professional, because I’ve got range.

Anyway, my books for the month are, in the order above, a 1990 book of newspaper columns from St. Louis; a book of literary short stories from the 1940s; a 1978 Bradbury collection; a 1940s sci-fi novel; a Shakespeare comedy circa 1602; a 2006 humorous memoir; and a 1960s sci-fi novel.

The Heinlein was problematical as it was quasi-racist, and weak stories outnumbered strong ones in the Bradbury. The Shakespeare play wasn’t among his best, although even so-so Bard is very good. The first line is famous: “If music be the food of love, play on…”

Coates is out of print and neglected, but this was a very good book, with the title story worthy of “The Twilight Zone.” McClellan tells a good story. Dick’s novel was among his best. Rothman’s memoir may be of the most general interest.

Feeling burned out at 28, the TV writer hit upon a neat idea: Why not move to Florida and test out retirement by living in a senior community, playing shuffleboard and eating early dinners? It’s funny, as you’d expect, but he learns to take the retirees seriously as individuals, and there’s an undercurrent of sadness about the end of life.

Did you notice all the titles dealt in some way with time or the calendar? Yes, that was on purpose, a loose way to bring in a variety of books. Oh, and despite the photo, obviously I didn’t read the entirety of “The Riverside Shakespeare,” only one play within.

Where did my books come from? The Shakespeare is my college textbook, collecting all his works in one massive book. My copies of Bradbury and Dick date to the early 1980s. The others are from the past decade. Can’t remember where my Heinlein came from. Coates and Rothman were bought at Powell’s in Portland in 2013. McClellan was bought in St. Louis last year.

How is your reading year beginning? I hope it went well but is all uphill for you.

Next month: maybe only one book. :-(

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Your two cents: The Eagles ‘were great’

In my column on the Eagles after Glenn Frey’s death, honesty compelled me to note that I wasn’t writing as a particular admirer of the band: “(Candidly, I can’t say I’m a fan of the band, although I do still have my 45 of ‘Hotel California,’ bought when I was 12. At six minutes, eight seconds, the song was good value for the money.)”

A reader who didn’t give her name left me a voice mail, which I’ll quote in full:

“Mr. Allen, I happened to read your article in the paper today about Glenn Frey. It’s too bad you feel so badly about the Eagles, because they were great. And I’m sure you’re one of those stupid Beatle fans — ‘I want to hold your hand’ ignorance. I used to read your column all the time. I won’t be reading it EVER AGAIN, because you are that dumb.”

Wow! She did not have a peaceful, easy feeling!

I laughed out loud at least twice while listening to her voice mail and enjoyed playing it again and again to accurately transcribe it. A colleague said dryly, in response to the caller’s sign-off: “Good, who wants you?”

Always interesting what people take from a column or how they interpret it or what they read into it. I do like the Beatles, as most of us do, but I don’t think it’s an either-or, or that I shouldn’t be allowed to not love the Eagles. But correct me if I’m wrong.

(Previous Your Two Cents posts can be read here, by the way.)

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