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: Tamsui River

Tamsui River Taiwanese Cuisine, 2855 Foothill Blvd. (at Fulton), La Verne; open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Tamsui River is on the old Person Ford site in La Verne, now apartments with some restaurants and retail facing Foothill Boulevard. The restaurant has gotten high marks, but I hadn’t been there until just before Christmas, when a Chinese food-lovin’ friend was in town and I suggested we try it out.

The L-shaped dining room is moderately sized, with an area separated by glass for a larger party. We were seated in a booth and examined the expansive menu of more than 100 items: soups, dumplings, noodles, seafood, etc.

We got sauteed lamb with scallions ($14, above), smoked duck noodle ($11) and pork soup dumplings ($9).

The lamb, similar to the cumin lamb that I’ve had elsewhere, was my favorite. We liked the XLB dumplings (below), even if they wouldn’t make me forget Din Tai Fung’s. We were surprised that smoked duck noodle came as a soup (bottom), since it wasn’t listed under soups, but there was nothing wrong with it.

The menu didn’t have photos of any dishes, so the names weren’t always a great help for two non-experts. And a few of the names were both puzzling and amusing, like “modeling dessert.”

Kidding aside, we liked the food. I wouldn’t say it’s San Gabriel Valley level, but for local Chinese, it’s in the upper ranks. As a foodie acquaintance who was leaving said as he passed our table, “This is a good place.”

Also, you know a Chinese restaurant is authentic when the menu isn’t online and they can’t be bothered to even have a Facebook page.

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One day, two art exhibits

Saturday afternoon I attended not one but two art openings. The first was at the Ontario Museum of History and Art, which is focusing on the latter for “Diversity and Inclusion.” Over four rooms, it’s got paintings, collages, drawings, sculpture, embroidery and probably something I forgot, all offering a look at the African-American experience.

It was well-attended, and at times the galleries were actually crowded. Probably half the attendees were black, a nice sight in Ontario and at a local art event. That and the strong turnout should be encouragement to do more such shows. Besides, most of the art was really strong.

After that, I headed for Cal Poly Pomona for “Positively 4th Street,” an ode in paintings, drawings, assemblages and text to LA’s 4th Street viaduct. It’s a small show, but likewise evocative. Below is Richard Willson’s “The Approach.” He and Roderick Smith did the art and D.J. Waldie provided text and an essay on the bridge’s history. I introduced myself to Waldie and got his autograph in my copy of “Holy Land.”

Find the exhibit on the 4th floor of the University Library through April 12.

All in all, a pleasant, visually stimulating afternoon across two counties.

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Column: 81 years ago, Upland woman’s parents met Gandhi

Sometimes ideas get stashed away until the time is right: a local woman whom I knew had a connection to Mahatma Gandhi. I had hoped to pursue that last August, the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, but ran out of time. But the 70th anniversary of his assassination was another milestone. The woman behind the Upland angle is the subject of Sunday’s column.

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Restaurant of the Week: The State

The State, 7900 Kew Ave. (in Victoria Gardens), Rancho Cucamonga; open daily

The Redlands gastropub The State (it’s on State Street) has expanded west to Victoria Gardens, where it took over the old Ra Pour space. Three friends and I had lunch there in December.

It’s a large spot with an oblong main dining room and then a patio. (It was a cold afternoon and we didn’t investigate the option when asked “would you like to eat outside?”) There’s a full, elaborate bar with cocktails and more. The motto: Kitchen * Beer * Whisk(e)y.”

Between the concrete floor and the cranked-up music, one friend said: “My first comment: ‘loud.'” We could hear him, though. And as at that point they were playing such soul oldies as “I’m Your Puppet,” “Try a Little Tenderness” and “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” it wasn’t in me to object.

The menu has upscale versions of classic comfort food, but other items too: starters, salads, burgers, sandwiches, main courses and desserts. (One unappealingly named entree is Airline Chicken — although surely it’s a better version.)

Two got the portabella sandwich ($12), one with a salad as the side (free), the other with fries ($1). Both called it “average.” The bread looks great.

Another got steak and egg tacos ($8), which the server cautioned would be small as a main course. The warming proved accurate, although they were enjoyed.

I got the apple harvest salad with chicken ($11 + $4), light and tasty, and some of us shared the poutine ($13), the Canadian comfort food of fries topped with cheese curds, braised short ribs and gravy. That was a real winner. “I would definitely come back” and “delicious” were the comments.

Meanwhile, TVs silently played “Casablanca” — easy enough to fill in the dialogue on that — and other old movies or clips. Nice backdrop. The state of The State is strong.

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Consider subscribing! Here’s why

Significant layoffs, 20 percent or more, will fall in the coming weeks on the newsroom of the Daily Bulletin and the 10 other papers in the Southern California News Group. It’s been widely reported, so I feel comfortable in sharing that. The Times wrote a detailed account last week, which you can read here.

You might be asking: What can I do? Here’s what journalist Luis Gomez wrote:

Ken Doctor, like many journalism experts and practitioners, was recently asked about this conundrum: “What can citizens do?

And like everyone else, he said what people should do is subscribe to a newspaper. It sounds self-serving, but it’s a simple question of economics. People vote with their wallets. If they don’t buy a subscription, they are essentially telling newspapers that they are not worth keeping around.

A lot of people are essentially telling us that, unfortunately. (I’ve lost track of how many people who recognize me then ask me if I still write for the newspaper.) And we’ve made it easy to tell us that by offering our product online largely for free as we, and other newspapers, tried to figure out whether increased readership would pay for itself via increased advertising. Turns out it, er, didn’t.

Now, I’m hesitant to tell people how they should spend their money, and I’m sensitive to the fact that, like other print publications, we’re charging you more for less content.

Still, paying for the news you’re getting seems only fair. We’re not working for free. A print subscription or a digital one is fine with us, whichever you prefer. It’s a relative bargain, in my eyes, and your support may keep us going. Even a reduced level of local news is better than no local news — right?

Home delivery price on our website is $25 for 28 days — that’s under $1 a day, and cheaper than the newsstand price, and comes with unlimited online access.

An online-only subscription is $10 for 28 days — that’s 28 cents a day, daily and Sunday. Why, that’s like 1970s pricing. You get unlimited access to our website and a web facsimile of each day’s paper, with the ability to read recent past issues. And the carrier won’t throw it under your car.

May we sign you up? Operators, as they used to say in the commercials, are standing by.

Above, a (slightly messy) view of a portion of our office; below, art on the wall of another room.

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