No longer Eating Garey Avenue, now he’s Dining in Pomona

I devoted a column in February to reader and blogger John Clifford’s quest to eat at every Garey Avenue food establishment, just as he neared the finish line. Having now wrapped up his Eating Garey Avenue blog, Clifford now launches Dining in Pomona, a new blog of reviews.

For Eating Garey, he ate at every restaurant, or near-restaurant, on that street in sequence, south to north, with one review each week. For Dining in Pomona, he promises to eat wherever he likes on whatever schedule he likes. Ah, freedom. His first post is about Cachanilla. I’ve added a hyperlink to Dining Garey to the blogroll at right.

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Finding the subway

A reader in Upland (hi, Chris!) who has taken Metrolink to Union Station more than once told me she had no idea how to get to the subway and may not have been totally aware it exists. I described its location to her, but on a recent visit, I thought to take photos. Above is a view in the station, Starbucks to the left, Wetzel’s Pretzels to the right. The subway entrance is between them. A closer view is below.

Despite the sign, both the Red and Purple lines are down there. You take an escalator, stairs or elevator down and there are ticket machines and turnstiles. With your Metrolink ticket, just tap it on the turnstile button; no other ticket is necessary. From there, descend to the subway platform and use the maps to figure out where you should go, paying attention to the train markings for final destinations.

Chris said she thought I’d once promised in print to write all the particulars of taking the train and subway. I don’t recall that, although I did once write a How to Ride post about Metrolink. Walking you through every step in taking a subway or a bus sounds kind of tedious, and probably I’d leave out some crucial step, as in a recipe where an ingredient is missing. But at least you know where the subway entrance is now and you have some guidance once you’re there.

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Column: Visiting remade Nixon Library with 2017 on his mind

I’d idly wanted an excuse to visit the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda since its overhaul in October. With all the comparisons of Trump and Nixon the past week or two, a light bulb went off and I decided now was the time. I visited Wednesday morning and write about the experience in Sunday’s unexpected column. Above, Army One, the helicopter that flew Nixon away from the White House on Aug. 9, 1974.

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Restaurant of the Week: El Patron

El Patron, 9269 Utica Ave. (at Sixth), Rancho Cucamonga; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends

El Patron has spawned a second location, El Patron II, in La Verne. I tried to eat there recently but unfortunately chose a Monday, the only day it’s closed. A few days later, I went to the older one in Rancho Cucamonga. Who can judge the sequel without having seen the original?

It was in a business park and hard to find, but the key is that El Patron faces 6th, not Utica. The facade is biz park bland, but open the door and you’re hit with bright colors, as the walls are painted mustard, maroon and orange. (Your color wheel may differ.)

I took a seat, examined the menu and was delivered chips and salsa. I asked the server about the specialties and he pointed to menu items 6 (chile relleno, taco or enchilada) and 7 (chile relleno, taco AND enchilada). I went for No. 6 ($10), with a hard shell shredded beef taco.

This proved to be a great choice. While I’m not a big fan of chile rellenos, this was a good one, smothered in green sauce, and the taco was freshly fried, something you don’t see all that often. It made me think of Ramon’s Cactus Patch and the Mitla Cafe.

I could see El Patron becoming an occasional lunch stop for me as it’s not that far from our office and the food is very good, with friendly but low-key service. Now I feel prepared for El Patron II. By the way, readers say the same family runs Los Jarritos in Pomona.

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Coming to Montclair

Photo by Liset Marquez

The former Romano’s Macaroni Grill in the Montclair Entertainment Center adjacent to Montclair Plaza, closed since 2014, is being rebuilt as a Buffalo Wild Wings. While I can’t say I’m interested in this chain, it’s still nice to see some activity. The adjacent restaurant, Elephant Bar, closed last November and remains empty.

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Column: These properties are models of preservation

You were probably on pins and needles, you may have had your bets in in Las Vegas, but the wait is over: Ontario’s historic preservation awards were announced recently. I list them and describe them in Sunday’s column, followed by news about a library card catalog, some cultural notes, a plug for this blog and a vignette. Above, the home at 214 E. 4th St., one of the winners. Clearly the awards are not based on size.

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Restaurant of the Week: Bigg Dane and Beale’s Texas BBQ

Bigg Dane and Beale’s Texas BBQ, 7373 East Ave. (at Base Line), Fontana; open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and 8 p.m. weekends; closed Tuesdays

I read about Bigg Dane’s in late 2015 but only recently sought it out, after 1) remembering and then 2) learning it’s on the near side of Fontana, off the 15 at Base Line Road, a stone’s throw from Rancho, rather than a few further miles out of the way. Actually getting to Bigg’s from the freeway is tricky due to the layout of the intersection, but a couple of counter-intuitive left turns and I was in the shopping center.

There’s a smoker out front, a good sign; inside, you order at the counter and take a seat in the adjacent dining room. The menu has plates with two sides, sandwiches with one side and a few lunch specials. My first visit, I ordered brisket with collard greens and cornbread ($15).

My food was delivered on a metal tray lined with paper: two long strips of brisket, sauce on the side, a plate of cornbread and a dish of greens. It was all good.

Wanting to try the ribs, I returned the next week for the three-rib lunch special ($10) with one side, mac and cheese. The mac was dense and cheesy.

As soon as I picked up the first rib, its heft, density and smell let me know these were serious. The meat was tender but firm and came off the bone cleanly; the taste was excellent. I am no barbecue expert, but I’ve eaten at Franklin’s in Austin, Pappy’s in St. Louis and Bludso’s in L.A., and while Biggs’ weren’t at that level, nor would I expect them to be, they were reminiscent of that level. The ribs have a dry rub and don’t need sauce, and yet the thin, slightly sweet sauce on the side was quite good too.

The dining room is clean and new, a little sterile due to minimal decor. I was surprised how unoccupied it was given the quality of the food. Maybe it’s busier on the weekend. Owned by two longtime friends, it’s a family-run operation, and on one visit a young daughter was stationed at a table, coloring. Gotta like a place like that.

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