Column: David Sedaris can be offensive, but gleefully so


Sunday’s column reports on humorist David Sedaris’ Thursday night reading in Claremont, which I attended. I had expected only to write an item on it, but he ended up being the whole column. He’s pretty funny, so that’s right in my wheelhouse. Above, a photo of the video feed in the overflow room, where some 60 of us watched. It didn’t feel like a situation where one needed to applaud, since Sedaris wasn’t there to hear it, but people clapped at times anyway in appreciation.

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Column: Patti Smith talks books in LA with Claremont writer

I attended a cultural event in LA on Monday, a public talk by Patti Smith, the rocker, interviewed onstage by Jonathan Lethem. I don’t know if he and I were the only two people from Claremont there, but we may have been. That leads off my Friday column. After that: three Valley Vignette items and two Culture Corner items — one of them about Shakespeare, two of whose plays are being performed locally this weekend.

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Restaurant of the Week: Java Bistro


Java Bistro, 9090 Milliken Ave. (at 7th), Rancho Cucamonga; closed Mondays.

Did you know there’s an Indonesian restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga? It might be the only one in the Inland Valley. Java Bistro opened in February in a small complex that also has Gandolfo’s Deli. Reader Andy Sze drew my attention to Java Bistro’s existence.

It’s a small operation with only a few tables, plus a wall of grocery items on shelves, such as rice, dried shrimp and spices. The other wall has a photo mural of Indonesian scenes, very professionally done. (It was hard to get a photo of the dining room unobtrusively because it’s so small.)


The staff will show you to a table and hand you a glossy menu, which has photos of many of the dishes.

On my first visit, I tried the anchovy fried rice ($9), because I like anchovies. The dish had the saltiness you expect from anchovies, as well as having sator, an edamame-like bean. I took about one-third home for a second meal. I wish I had ordered a second dish for contrast because this one by itself kind of wore out its welcome.


On my second visit, I got mie ayam jamur, or chicken mushroom noodle ($7.50). This was a bowl of noodles with the aforementioned chicken and mushrooms, plus vegetables, and was delicious. A cup of soup — meatballs in broth — came as a side.


Java Bistro is a good spot for the slightly adventurous. I like it and hope they succeed.


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DB on Vacation


Two views of San Antonio, blocked by your blogger and a Daily Bulletin. It’s hard to take a selfie that gets a newspaper into the frame, but I did my best! Above, I’m at the Alamo; below, along the River Walk. I wore my Franklin BBQ T-shirt from my Austin vacation for some Texas flavor.


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On vacation

I’m off this week for a visit to — why not? — San Antonio, Texas. I’ll have a column Wednesday, written last week from items left over that really needed to get in, but otherwise you probably won’t be hearing from me. I’ll check in a time or two to see if anyone commented, though.

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Restaurant of the Week: Butter Cafe and Bakery


Butter Cafe and Bakery, 671 E. Bonita Ave. (at San Dimas Canyon), San Dimas; open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Butter opened in July in the Bonita Canyon Gateway Center in San Dimas and quickly became a hit. I like to imagine that a few people have checked my Restaurant of the Week every week since and exclaimed in frustration regarding my choice, “I can’t believe it’s not Butter!”

Sorry, I had to say it. I’ve eaten at Butter five times so far and have enjoyed each visit to varying degrees, Butter being something the valley is perennially short on: smart, artisanal eateries.

The menu has baked goods, coffee, breakfast dishes, salads and sandwiches.


The display of baked goods — muffins, scones, croissants, cookies and more — is enticing.


On my first visit I had the prosciutto and gruyere croissant ($4), a good knife and fork item. I’ve also taken a cinnamon roll ($2.75) to go; it was icing-free and perhaps not yours, or my, idea of a cinnamon roll, but it was good anyway.


My first sit-down visit, I had a waffle ($6) with fruit ($2), in this case blueberries. Nice, but it took a frustrating 20 minutes to arrive.


Butter can get busy. At high noon on a Sunday, all the tables were filled and so were the two bars with bar stools and the comfy sofas. But I found a spot at the bar (I hesitate to say counter, as it’s just a shelf, not like a diner counter) and by 12:30 there were several open tables. Plan your visit accordingly. The interior is a little stark, but the wooden tables and benches add a natural touch.


That time I had the croque monsieur ($10) with a small salad. Very good. This was off the brunch menu, but it turns out you can order off the regular menu too.


I came in for an early dinner one night — remember, they close at 7 — and was the only customer, other than a couple of people who came in for to-go orders. Plenty of seating. I got the brisket sandwich ($11), one of Butter’s signature items, made with Harris Ranch beef. It didn’t wow me, although it was good enough; the beef’s denseness made it awkward to pick up and eat, and not easy to cut up with a knife and fork either. The fries were bland. I expected better.


On Tuesday I went in for lunch with a friend. I had the meatloaf sandwich ($10), very tasty. The tomato jam spread was a little sweet for my taste. The chips were housemade and no more interesting than the fries. Well, tater tots is the third option as a side. I’ll try them in the future. Why not a little salad or fruit?

Oh, and while my friend’s salad (below) arrived almost immediately, my sandwich took 15 awkward minutes and a worried inquiry from the staff about what I’d ordered. As that’s happened two times in five visits, maybe there’s an issue in the kitchen.


My friend had the Asian salad ($9), said it was good but wished the plum dressing were tangier. He could have added chicken for $3 and thought that would have been a good choice.


Butter seems to be establishing itself and I hope they continue to do well. I’m sorry the Fresh and Easy that anchors the center is closing, but Butter is building a clientele that should keep coming. I’m looking forward to more meals there myself.

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