I promised a column on Jimmy Breslin a month ago, and Sunday’s is it, shoehorned in on a holiday weekend.
Scripps alumna Catherine Coulson managed to appear in the first two episodes of the “Twin Peaks” revival, which aired last Sunday, as she was dying in 2015. Other items follow: a reader is surprised to see me; cultural items are noted; and a fond anecdote about a departing Claremont official is resurrected. All in Friday’s column.
Rather than a Restaurant of the Week today, let me say goodbye to one of my regular haunts, Rounds Burgers in Claremont, which (sob!) closes Sunday (May 28). It’s previously been subject of a RofW post, in 2013.
The fledgling chain started in Claremont and West Hollywood and expanded to Sherman Oaks and Pasadena, but WeHo and, er, SherO have closed. Is Pasadena closing too? The Claremont location appeared to change hands a couple of years ago, leading to an exodus of employees, some of whom ended up next door at the ill-fated The Rim. But I kept eating there.
I never introduced myself to the staff or sought to learn about the business. I’m writing this simply as a regular. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure why I ate there so often.
It was at the south end of Claremont on Auto Center Drive, not in the Village. The burgers were good, but not my favorite. The custom order sheets could be a pain to fill out. Preferred items were dropped: first pesto mayo, which went great with the Swiss and mushroom burger I assembled, then the whole wheat bun, then the pretzel bun.
Once I had a chicken sandwich that was overcooked and rubbery, which put me off ordering it for a while; not long afterward, they phased out pineapple, a favorite topping for the sandwich.
So Rounds wasn’t perfect. But they offered coupons often, and I liked the place aesthetically. It was spacious, with high ceilings, and generally was at least half-empty. For my purposes, it offered a psychic comfort level, where I could take the Sunday paper or a book, relax for 90 minutes with a buffer zone around me, and not worry about anyone needing my table. At rare times when most of the tables were taken, there were two communal tables, often unoccupied, where I could sit in peace.
The benefits of this kind of semi-public space are not to be taken lightly.
Also, despite the shrinking menu, I belatedly found a sandwich I love: the mucho mushroom (my beloved mushroom and swiss combo), but as a turkey burger. Let me say, generally I don’t order turkey burgers, but this one had a better taste than the beef. Better for me, and better tasting? That’s rare.
Last Sunday I ate lunch at Rounds for what is likely the last time, ordering the sandwich I like, and splurging on chili cheese fries as a last hurrah. Consider this post a tribute to a fallen eatery, one where I spent many an hour. Thanks for feeding me and for the use of the space, Rounds.
I’m finding the Chino City Council to be an interesting group to follow, especially as Eunice Ulloa, mayor again after a long absence, finds herself on the losing end of a string of votes. We sat down for a chat last week that results in Wednesday’s column, a profile of an unusual mayor.
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.
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.
[Update: As reader John Clifford cheekily points out, out of the frame of the photo just to the left of the Starbucks is, what else, a Subway sandwich shop. Subway to the left, subway down below. What a country.]
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.
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.
Tuesday was the last meeting for Chino Councilman Glenn Duncan after 25 years. His farewell was hastily arranged because he kept the news on the down-low, but the comments were fond and heartfelt, not to mention funny. I tell the story in Friday’s column.
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.
In reading a memoir about 1940s newspapermen in LA, an anecdote involving Pomona begged to be shared, even though, or maybe because, it’s in such bad taste. That leads off Wednesday’s column, followed by two Culture Corner items and a follow-up to my Salsbury Scooters column.