A special screening of the classic French film “Contempt” in Claremont on Sunday drew not only cinema lovers, but the owners of the Laemmle theater chain, who reflected on the theater’s fortunes and the film’s star, Brigitte Bardot. That’s the first item in Friday’s column, which also works in items from Montclair, Chino, Chino Hills, Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona.
Clayton Brewing Co., 661 W. Arrow Highway (at Bonita), San Dimas
Clayton was the site of a recent birthday dinner among a group of my friends, which offered the chance to get the opinion of multiple people. It’s a gastropub near the 57 Freeway in a center that also has a Boot Barn and Red Robin.
While they serve beer and wine, and there’s a bar, Clayton is open only until 10 p.m. daily (8 p.m. on Sunday), so it feels more like a restaurant than a bar. Indeed, the brightly lighted interior was sedate on a Friday night last month, most tables filled, sports unfolding silently on the TVs, people enjoying themselves, but not too much, if you know what I mean.
The menu has sandwiches, burgers, salads, flatbread pizzas and pasta. (It also has an unfortunate typo: “South of the Boarder.”)
Among the items we tried: white truffle garlic parmesan cheese fries ($8), addictive; wings ($9.25), scarfed up by a wings connoisseur; seared ahi salad ($13, below), which the foodie whose birthday it was really liked; Santa Fe rolls ($9, bottom), deemed good, but bready; lobster burger ($13), grilled lobster with slaw and bacon, which got a mixed review, great for the sandwich, but poor for the soggy bun; and a half-sandwich (chicken caprese, dull) and soup (lobster bisque, rich; combo $10).
They brew their own beer, with the Mt. Baldy Blonde and Hop Stompin’ IPA said to be pleasant surprises, very tasty; they also offer microbrews.
Service was friendly and patient with our large group and our separate checks. It’s not Back Abbey, but Clayton, discovered through a Yelp search, was a good find.
Reed Herrick and Lydia Clarke, seen at Grand Central Market.
The Cheese Cave, a Claremont gourmet food shop, is opening a second location, this one in downtown LA’s Grand Central Market. It’s a rare example of a business from the 909 expanding to LA rather than vice-versa. Wednesday’s column tells the story.
For careful readers, this is the interview in LA that I combined with a Metrolink trip to LA Opera last Wednesday, as mentioned in last Friday’s column.
Grand Central Market, founded in 1917, is one block north of the Pershing Square subway stop, making it easy to visit for Metrolink riders. The market is well worth a visit.
At the Upland firefighter party last week marking the mustache-growing Movember effort, paste-on mustaches were distributed to anyone who didn’t have the real thing, which almost no one did. I donned one. Councilman Gino Filippi, who did the same, told me: “You kind of have the look of Clouseau.” Flatterer.
Filippi later emailed me a photo he took of me taking a photo. My camera looks absurdly small, like a “fun size” candy car, but it gets the job done (sort of).
Sunday’s column is about another public transit adventure, this time to downtown L.A. and, thankfully, back, although the MTA wasn’t much help in that regard.
Some Upland firefighters sprouted mustaches in November as part of the call to draw attention to “the face of men’s health issues.” The results were variable, so variable that almost everyone became cleanshaven again Dec. 1. Friday’s column is about their effort.
O’Donovan’s Pub, 101 E. Third St. (at Garey), Pomona
Located in the renovated Mayfair Hotel, cater-corner from the Fox Theater, O’Donovan’s has a great setting, a five-story brick hotel, with fire escapes yet, that dates to 1915. It’s now apartments for students at the nearby medical school. The Irish restaurant occupies the first floor, with the pub portion in the basement.
O’Donovan’s opened in September and the pub is said to be a big hit. Besides the bar, there’s pool tables and darts, a couple of cozy nooks to sit in and neat vintage-style beer signs.
The restaurant portion is quieter, but it’s received strong ratings on Yelp, where it currently has 4 1/2 stars. A friend and I met up for a late lunch/early dinner last month; at 4 p.m., it wasn’t a surprise we were the only diners. (By the time we left, another table was occupied.) The interior has a lot of brick, exposed pipes and hipster Edison bulbs. Our server was friendly and assured.
The menu has sandwiches and salads; entrees range from $12 to $32 and include fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, bangers, salmon and a ribeye steak. They have 26 beers on tap and 30 in bottles.
I had fish and chips ($14), he had shepherds pie ($15, pictured below), and we shared beer-battered onion rings ($4). He had a pint of Black Butte ale ($6).
The rings were excellent. The shepherds pie, besides mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, has the traditional lamb. I’m not sure how a shepherd would feel about that, but my friend was impressed. My fish was okay but the batter tasted over-fried. I’ve had worse, but I’ve had better at the Heights in Upland.
Four friends dined there recently and had shrimp pasta, fish and chips, a quesadilla (!) and mac and cheese. None of them were dissatisfied, but none was enthusiastic either.
Well, it’s another option downtown, better than some, and it’s open until 2 a.m. daily, although food service stops earlier than that. They also have brunch on weekends. I expect I’ll go back when I’m downtown. It’s well-situated and pleasant, and they’re trying.
Wednesday’s column explains, if it needed explaining, what’s under construction by the 210 onramp at Carnelian in Rancho Cucamonga, then presents some news from Upland, from the cultural scene and from the Pomona Christmas Parade. Read it here.
Originally this was the Brasilia Bradyo Hotel, opened in 1962, named after Brazil’s capital city and nodding toward Oscar Niemeyer’s designs for same, according to Charles Phoenix’s “Cruising the Pomona Valley.” Dig the glass entry, which looks two stories high, and wavy roof treatment.
The Brasilia’s original motto: “The most spacious and complete luxury hotel in the valley.”
After 1965 the Brasilia became the Pomona Valley Inn. Now it’s a drug rehab center. (The most spacious and complete?) The address is 2180 W. Valley Blvd., just west of the 71 Freeway. The building also rated a mention in Alan Hess’ “Googie Redux.”
The promotional sketch in Phoenix’s book shows a large courtyard with a pool and patio surrounded on four sides by buildings. No doubt it’s all been altered quite a bit. Still, someday I’d love to see the interior — as a visitor, not as a client.
* A July 16, 1962 Progress-Bulletin article touts the amenities of the hotel, at that point nearing completion, at a cost of $1.5 million: “Besides 100 hotel rooms, the Brazilia (sic) will contain conference rooms, a beauty shop, a steam bath, a travel agency, a putting green and men’s and women’s ready to wear shops. Its banquet room will seat 350.” Click on the thumbnail below to read the full story. Thanks to the Pomona Public Library for the find.