About David Allen

A journalist since 1987, David Allen has been writing a column for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin since 1997 and blogging since 2007. He's a native of Illinois and lives in Claremont. Otherwise his commute to Ontario would take days. E-mail David here. Read recent columns here

Restaurant of the Week: Pozzetto Italian Dining

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Pozzetto Italian Dining, 114 W. Bonita Ave. (at San Dimas Ave.), San Dimas

A friend recommended Pozzetto, an Italian restaurant in downtown San Dimas. I know and like the main drag of San Dimas, but I didn’t know Pozzetto. So recently I met a different friend there for lunch.

Pozzetto is small but cute, with a couple of outdoor tables along the wooden-sidewalk promenade and a few more inside. There’s also a wine bar and a mural of Venice sprawling across much of a wall. Pozzetto has all sorts of Italian items — salads, sandwiches, a dozen pastas — with only five pizzas.

I got one of the pizzas, whose name I forgot and which I can’t find online. All are Neapolitan style, a more traditionally Italian pizza; mine had tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella and garlic ($10). It was a good lunch-sized pizza and I ate it all.

My friend had a roast beef sandwich ($7.50), served warm on a roll. He liked it and shared a portion with me. I’m not a big roast beef fan but I would consider ordering this sandwich myself.

Service was brisk; the lone server was handling about five tables by himself, but he did the best he could.

All in all, Pozzetto was a pretty decent mid-priced Italian spot. Thanks to my first friend for the recommendation and my second friend for joining me.

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Post-Labor Day post

Hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend, whether you labored or not. I didn’t leave the confines of the Inland Valley; in fact, I think I stuck exclusively to Claremont and La Verne after scratching the idea of a Metrolink day.

Mostly I read, sought air conditioning and watched movies, catching “Boyhood” and “A Most Wanted Man” at the theater and watching 1921′s “The Phantom Carriage” and 2010′s “The Trip” at home. Also, I booked a flight and made reservations for a vacation in November, and cleaned my bathroom.

How was your weekend?

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Restaurant of the Week: Guppy House

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Guppy House, 13065 Peyton Drive (at Rock Springs), Chino Hills

Guppy House is a cute name for a restaurant, reminding me of Cap’n Crunch’s ship, the SS Guppy. Guppy House is an Asian fusion eatery with outlets in Hacienda Heights, Cerritos, Anaheim and Irvine, plus Chino Hills. They were founded by David Li, a Cal Poly Pomona alumnus. He’s Taiwanese and his parents owned a French-Italian restaurant in Taiwan, so he knows a little about cross-cultural cuisine.

Chino Hills’ Guppy House is in a sprawling shopping center just paces from two other Asian eateries, Boiling Point and Green Banana Leaf, and not far from 85 Degrees. Guppy House’s menu melds Filipino, Korean and Taiwanese food and has such items as hot pots, kimchi, noodle and rice dishes, and boba drinks.

A friend and I met there for lunch recently. We had a signature item, popcorn chicken, with strawberry and mango salad ($10). The chicken, reminiscent of popcorn shrimp at Red Lobster, didn’t live up to the hype; the salad was colorful and well-made. We also had a dish named superb meatballs ($10), two enormous meatballs in a hot pot with cabbage and noodles, which was flavorful.

For dessert we shared the brick toast, another signature item, with coconut and pineapple ($6). Thick toast drizzled with chocolate, it was a knife and fork dessert and surprisingly delicious and filling.

The restaurant has a glassed-in patio with comfortable chairs, probably good on a warm evening but not so good on a hot day as there’s no shade. The interior is modern and stylish with lots of glass and natural light, plants, fake parrots and a high ceiling. A mezzanine has a TV and living room-like comfy chairs and coffee tables; it seems to be more for drinks or parties.

Guppy House has unusually late hours: It’s open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Like the name, the hours are adorable too.

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Food phobias

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One of the foods I will not eat is peas. Dates to childhood. I will not give peas a chance. This means there are pastas, fried rices and occasional other dishes that I won’t order at a restaurant or buy in a store. Chicken pot pies almost always have peas, for instance.

Usually I’ll check for suspicious ingredients, but I let my guard down Sunday at Fresh and Easy when I bought the seemingly innocent Lemon Salmon Quinoa and Brown Rice entree. Then I heated it up for dinner and discovered peas. Plenty of them. I began fishing them out with a fork. And kept fishing, and kept fishing. This wasn’t easy, as the dish also had asparagus, which is also green but which I will eat.

Have you ever tried separating an objectionable item from a dish? Just when you think you’ve got them all, you find more. I thought I was done, then found probably 10 more. When I started eating, another pea turned up almost immediately. Eventually three more hidden peas were spotted. All in all, this 9-ounce serving had something like 60 peas. It should have been called Lemon Peas, Etc.

I won’t be buying that entree again, obviously. (The rest was tasty in a healthful way. It might be less work to make the dish from scratch, sans peas.) Your turn: Is there an item, or two or three, you resolutely refuse to eat?

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