About David Allen

A journalist for more than 30 years, David Allen has been chronicling the Inland Valley for the Daily Bulletin since 1997 and blogging since 2007. He is the author of two books of columns: "Pomona A to Z" and "Getting Started." E-mail David here.

Restaurant of the Week: The Noodle

The Noodle, 4183 Chino Hills Parkway (at Pipeline), Chino Hills; open 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily

Its name may actually be Mandarin Noodle Deli, if you believe its website (which is chefyangnoodledeli.com, by the way), but all signage and the menu calls it The Noodle. Yelp has listings for both, even though it’s the same place. This spot opened in 2015 in the same center as Chaparral Lanes, I think taking over from Peking Deli. The center has a row of four storefront restaurants, including Japanese, Mexican and Chinese.

A friend and I ate lunch here recently. It was my choice of which spot to try, so after walking the length of them and eyeing menus at the entrances, I used my noodle.

The foyer was busy with takeout orders, hanging chickens and a greeter station. We were seated immediately. The dining room has a modest sense of style, including chandeliers and nicely appointed booths. We took a table, which are set up in rows as in many Chinese restaurants, where there’s a kind of food hall atmosphere.

The menu is nearly endless, page after page, and then there was a lunch menu. Specialties seemed to be barbecue, build your own soups and noodles; someone on Yelp who might know what they’re talking about said the food is from the northern province of Shanxi.

We ordered off the lunch menu: tomato with egg and chicken ($8) and seafood congee ($8.58). You’ll notice neither has noodles, but that wasn’t intentional: In my case, the server arrived and I chose something. We also got milk teas, one hot, one cold ($1.78 each). We should have got an order of rice, but it didn’t occur to us. Eh, nobody’s perfect.

We liked our items, and each other’s. We also liked the farmgirl-style outfits the servers wore, with checked shirts and matching kerchiefs. This post is more of a “this is where I had lunch” write-up than a very knowledgeable one, I’m afraid. Forgive me for kind of slipping on The Noodle.

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Rainbow Gardens, Pomona

Eastside entrance to Rainbow Gardens off Locust Street, Pomona, courtesy Darin Kuna

Rainbow Gardens was a popular dance hall in Pomona from the 1940s to the 1960s. The location was 150 E. Monterey St. (at Garey Avenue), immediately south of the YMCA. I believe the view in the photo is looking east on Monterey from Garey.

Rainbow Gardens opened in 1948, although the building had housed the Palmetto Ballroom from 1945. (Previously the site had held a garage that was turned in 1936 into an athletic club, which hosted wrestling, and then in 1938 into a roller rink, before burning down in 1943 and being rebuilt as the Palmetto.

An impressive number of well-known musicians performed at Rainbow Gardens. Names include western swing star Spade Cooley, crooners Frankie Laine, Perry Como and Nat “King” Cole and band leaders Harry James, Les Brown, Freddy Martin, Lawrence Welk and Count Basie. Capacity was 2,500.

The Gardens is best remembered, though, for the R&B and rock bands who performed there — the club was on what was known as the Chicano circuit, which included the El Monte American Legion Stadium — and attracted large, mixed audiences, especially Latinos. KRLA hosted weekend dance parties.

Acts who performed at the Gardens include Ritchie Valens, Roy Orbison, Chris Montez, Lou Rawls, Little Richard, Frankie Avalon, Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Herb Alpert, the Romancers and, before their first record came out, the Beach Boys.

The Mixtures, a group from Oxnard that served as the Gardens’ house band, released an album titled “Stompin’ at the Gardens,” and Ronnie and the Pomona Casuals put out a single, “Swimming at the Rainbow.” Candelario Mendoza, a radio disc jockey and later a Pomona educator, was an emcee, booker and consultant from 1950 to about 1962.

Interest in the Gardens began to wane in the early 1960s, and it burned to the ground March 25, 1965. Apparently no cause was ever determined and it was not rebuilt. To my knowledge, the lot remained empty until the Monterey Station apartments were built there almost 50 years later.

Most of the above came from “Land of Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock ‘n’ Roll in Southern California,” “A World of Its Own” and the Progress-Bulletin files. I’ve been reading up on Rainbow Gardens for an eventual column or two. If you ever went there or know anything about it, please comment for posterity!

For the record, the original photo with this post, now placed below, is of a Rainbow Gardens nightclub from Los Angeles and was taken from the Inland Empire 50’s, 60’s, 70’s Facebook page. I apologize for the mistake and thank Darin Kuna, Kenny Soper and others from the Growing Up in Pomona in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s page for the correction.

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Restaurant of the Week: Silk Road Garden

Silk Road Garden, 1965 Foothill Blvd. (at Emerald), La Verne; open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. daily except closed Tuesday; also at 18920 Gale Ave., Rowland Heights

Silk Road is the latest Chinese restaurant to take on this shopping center space (most recently held by Far East Gourmet). But Silk Road isn’t your typical Chinese restaurant. Its specialty is the food of northern and western China. You’ll find lamb, but no pork, for instance. An employee described the style as Turkish-Chinese.

A foodie friend had recommended the place, and then the Bulletin’s reviewer also said good things. I had lunch there on a weekend last month with a friend. It was quiet, although another group entered mid-meal.

The dining room is small and nicely appointed. The menu has a stirring motto.

The menu had so many unfamiliar, but intriguing, items that we took a while looking it over and making our choices. The server walked us through it and answered our questions. We got stir-fried broccoli ($9), noodles with lamb and mixed vegetables ($13) and the meat and vegetable pastry ($17).

We liked all three, with the handmade noodles being a particular favorite. “The noodles were really great,” said my friend, who will enjoy being quoted.

The pastry, a plate-filling meat pie, was also good. The broccoli was broccoli, with plenty of garlic, and we felt virtuous eating it.

This was more than enough food for two and we each took home leftovers. Which was good, because the prices were a bit high for Chinese food. We liked the place, though.

If you’re interested in Chinese food beyond sweet and sour pork, consider a journey to Silk Road. See what I did there?

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‘Fathers of the Ontario Airport,’ ONT

You may have passed this mural yourself in Terminal 2, the Southwest Airlines terminal, at Ontario International Airport. It’s at a bend after a couple of restaurants and pays tribute to the credited founders of Ontario’s airport, Archie Mitchell, left, and Waldo Waterman. “Fathers of the Ontario Airport” was installed in 1998 when the terminals opened and was crafted by artist Richard Wyatt from ceramic tiles.

Waterman and Mitchell established the Ontario Aircraft Corporation and Latimer Field, the start of Ontario’s role in aviation, in 1923, a city history says. Waterman’s air shuttle service began operation on June 21, 1924, according to a 2014 column by Joe Blackstock. Waterman was named to the International Aerospace Hall of Fame in 1968. Mitchell was city attorney and later a Superior Court judge, with a story Blackstock explored in 2008.


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