About David Allen

A journalist for nearly 30 years, David Allen has been chronicling the Inland Valley for the Daily Bulletin since 1997 and blogging since 2007. His first book, "Pomona A to Z," was published in 2014. E-mail David here. Read recent columns here.

Remembering Torley’s Market

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Photo courtesy Ontario Library Model Colony History Room

Torley’s was a classic Ontario grocery, located at 416 E. A St., later known as Holt Avenue. According to the city of Ontario’s Facebook page, which has been posting historical photos for the city’s 125th anniversary, Torley’s Big Store opened in 1930.

On Dec. 31, 1935, a fire damaged the building so severely that the remainder was pulled down. The rebuilt structure was larger but did not have the original’s high tower, probably because ostentation didn’t become the depths of the Depression. Says the FB writeup: “Torley’s Big Store appears to be Ontario’s first ‘big box’ retail store.”

Torley’s is often spoken of by longtime residents, along with King Cole and Boney’s, two other locally owned markets. Alas, Torley’s closed its doors for good in 1976 and the building is long gone.

Do you remember Torley’s? What was it like? What did it sell?

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Column: For your reference, RC librarian leaves

Sunday’s column starts with news from Rancho Cucamonga, from the departure of its top librarian for Pasadena to development items and more. Then come five Culture Corner items, one of which involves an Ontario concert with which I’m participating, plus a Valley Vignette.

As a behind-the-scenes tidbit, some of these RC items, just as with some of the Chino Hills items Friday, were written weeks or even months ago. This is a year-end move to take some material that has been bumped from previous columns, or saved for future use, and clear it out.

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Restaurant of the Week: B & F Japanese

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B & F Japanese Restaurant, 3495 E. Concours St. (at Haven), Ontario; open for lunch and dinner weekdays, dinner only Saturdays and closed Sundays.

B & F is in a plaza off Fourth and Haven not far from our office, and a colleague had said something nice about it recently. When a friend who once lived in Japan wanted to meet for lunch, I suggested B & F.

The plaza is less visible than before due to the apartments that went up on the southwest corner — it used to be visible from Fourth — but then again, the center suddenly has a few hundred neighbors instead of an empty lot, and that’s gotta be good for business.

The restaurant is medium-sized, sushi bar off to the right, dining room to the left. We sat in the dining room. All the tables have heating elements on the top and range hoods overhead, and they seem like holdovers from a previous restaurant, as nothing on the menu looks like anything you would need to cook yourself, unless you decide your sushi is too raw.

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We got bento box lunches: sashimi and salmon teriyaki for him (top), nigiri sushi and garlic pork shogo yaki for me (above; $10 each). They came with small salads, fried tofu, a scoop of potato salad that was more like mashed potatoes, and orange segments, with a bowl of rice on the side and a bowl of miso soup to start.

What we had was acceptable, but nothing special, and it didn’t live up to the current four-star Yelp rating. The fish was sliced a little thin and wasn’t outstanding. That’s not to say something else on the menu might not be very good; people on Yelp rave about the amount of fish in the chirashi bowl.

The service was attentive and friendly. The restaurant doesn’t seem to be Japanese-run, which didn’t bother me or my friend, but might bother you. So, an okay spot, but unremarkable. You could get sushi just as good or maybe a little better down the street at Benihana.

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Column: Stone rolls into Upland as first woman mayor

Incoming Upland Mayor, Debbie Stone during the oath of office ceremony at the Upland City Council meeting, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Eric Reed/For The Bulletin/SCNG)

Incoming Upland Mayor, Debbie Stone during the oath of office ceremony at the Upland City Council meeting, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Eric Reed/For The Bulletin/SCNG)

Wednesday’s column is a report from Monday night’s Upland City Council meeting, in which Debbie Stone became the city’s first woman mayor and Janice Elliott’s swearing-in as a councilwoman gave the council a female majority.

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The nighttime parade with Larry Wilmore

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The host of the former Comedy Central talk show “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” was grand marshal of Saturday’s Christmas parade in his hometown of Pomona.

Beforehand he was kept busy as people introduced themselves and asked him to pose for photos. I have to say, people’s photo-taking skills are rather poor, or maybe their celebrity-inconveniencing skills are high; Wilmore would freeze with a smile, arms around a fan or two, and whoever was taking a photo would act like they had all night, opening up their app, touching the screen, etc. One woman who looked as if she were going to take a picture stopped to take a call instead. “Phones are supposed to be faster than cameras,” Wilmore joked at one point. But he was a good sport about it all.

Because I’m not a pushy person, I never actually got to meet him, waiting a couple of times and giving up. (The fans were largely African-American and I felt like it probably meant more to them to meet him, even though I had interviewed him by phone in October.)

After the parade, he was walking away not far from me and I called out “Mr. Wilmore!,” but not with enough force for him to hear me. I decided, oh well. A few minutes later, talking to a friend at the Kiwanis food booth, the man suddenly said, “Bye, Larry,” as Wilmore had walked by behind me to get to his car. It obviously was not meant to be.

I did have the satisfaction later of Wilmore “liking” one of my tweets — so there’s that.

I was in the parade myself, riding in a 1929 Ford Model A roadster pickup driven by its proud owner, Terry Hoefler, as we made the circuit of Second Street, Park Avenue, Mission Boulevard and, briefly Garey Avenue. It’s fun being in a parade: Everyone’s in a good mood, smiling and happy. They wave at you, or will wave back if you wave and make eye contact.

Hoefler was impressed that so many people shouted my name, especially children, and asked if I were a teacher. Heh. I chalk most of it up to my name (“David Allen”) being on signs on both sides of the car. Reading comprehension among Pomona’s youth is outstanding, and my compliments to the Pomona Unified School District. To those who actually did know who I am, my thanks.

And merry Christmas.

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‘Getting Started’ is coming

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Since reader DebB asked, and people who’ve seen the change in my Twitter avatar have noticed, my second book is coming soon. Above is a promotional piece. The book collects the best of my first four years of Daily Bulletin columns, from 1997 to 2000. No, my best isn’t seven pages, but a generous 315. “Getting Started” may not come out precisely on Jan. 15, which is a Sunday, but look for news of a book launch somewhere to be determined.

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Column: Profs: Don’t think twice about Dylan’s Nobel, it’s alright

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As a Dylan fan, I’m excited for his Nobel Prize for Literature, not offended. So are two English professors at Pomona College who are very knowledgeable about his work. In advance of Saturday’s ceremony, we sat for a discussion for Friday’s column. Above, Jonathan Lethem, left, and Kevin Dettmar.

See how many Dylan references you can spot in the column. I doubt too many will find all 24, but even if you don’t recognize the sources, most of them stand out — but hopefully don’t overwhelm the column.

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Restaurant of the Week: Taqueria El Sol

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Taqueria El Sol, 2129 N. Towne Ave. (at La Verne), Pomona; open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

I’ve passed Taqueria El Sol for years; it’s on Towne Avenue a couple of blocks north of the 10 Freeway, and I had wondered if it was any good without ever stopping to investigate. But then someone recommended it, and when a Pomona pal wanted lunch, I chose it.

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It’s small, and fast-food style, but homey; the owner came to our table (we were waiting for a third person who never showed) to chat, and I asked if they had specialties. They do: al pastor, which is marinated pork, and pork leg.

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So my friend got al pastor tacos ($8 as a plate) and I got a pork leg torta ($7). We were both satisfied. “That was really good!” my friend exclaimed. “I would come back here.” Me too. I liked my sandwich and the vibe of the place, and it’s even freeway-close.

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The salsa is too potent for me, but the presentation was nice, with paddles no less, and a side of radishes and limes. The menu is simple, with $6.25 breakfasts and $7.79 plates. It’s family run, open since 2003 and with Guadalajara-style food. To answer my original mused question, yes, it is good.

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