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: Carnitas al Estilo Michoacan

Carnitas al Estilo Michoacan, 818 S. Mountain Ave. (at Mission), Ontario; open daily

Ontario doesn’t show up as often in these Restaurant of the Week posts as some cities. So when a friend suggested meeting at a carnitas specialist in south Ontario, I was all for it. Carnitas al Estilo Michoacan is in the shopping plaza on the southwest corner of Mountain and Mission.

You order at the counter, by a steam table of meats. Here’s the menu; click for a larger view. As befits the restaurant’s name, it’s pork-intensive: pork, stomach, skin and the carnitas mix, pork with brains.

But they also have beef. My friend got the two-taco combo: one pork, one birria, which is stewed beef, with rice and beans (about $9, below); I got the same, except both birria. This wasn’t on purpose. I can get a little tongue-tied at unfamiliar and ethnic restaurants.

Their tacos are large and meaty; I ate about half the beef with a fork before picking up the remainder. We both thought the tacos were quite good. She bought a bag of housemade pork rinds for her parents.

A couple of weeks later, I returned for two carnitas tacos, again as a plate. Couldn’t very well write about Carnitas al Estilo Michoacan without trying the carnitas. It was tender and flavorful.

Next door there’s a La Michoacana Ice Cream shop in case you’d like to continue the theme and maybe cool off the spicy salsa.

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Restaurant of the Week: Paris Pastries Cafe

Paris Pastries Cafe, 8220 Haven Ave. (at Foothill), Rancho Cucamonga; open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

I still think of this corner spot in the Chaffey Town Square center as Pei Wei, although it’s been a restaurant or two since the Chinese fusion place left. It’s been Paris Pastries for a couple of years now. I made it in earlier this month for a weekday lunch with a Francophile phriend, er, friend.

My visit was prompted by reader Charlene Comeaux, a regular there, who emailed to tell me the owners moved to Rancho Cucamonga from southern France, are fluent in French and thus serve authentic French cuisine and baked items.

Several of the patio tables were taken, a nice sight, and inside the restaurant was being enjoyed by several more, so maybe Paris Pastries is catching on. Besides the tables and chairs, there’s a sofa, which was occupied and gave a homey touch. The dining room was decorated in pastels, and a long bakery case offered enticements: macaroons, cakes and more. You order at the end.

The menu is short, with a couple of salads, a few sandwiches, quiches, plates and crepes, plus coffee drinks including espresso.

My friend had been here a couple of times before for croissants on weekends but had not had a full meal. He ordered the quiche combo ($11): a spinach and goat cheese quiche, a salad and a drip coffee. He pronounced himself satisfied, if not quite transported to the French countryside.

I got the crispy chicken pasta ($10.49), with fried chicken breast, pasta, cream sauce and mushrooms. This was plenty filling, and the bread pudding I ordered ($4) about finished me off. But I finished it off first.

It’s a cute place and one of the very few spots locally with French cuisine. Mention should also be made of the little corner designed for children, with a small table and chairs, books and play objects. I found it adorable — which I’m mentally saying in the French way.

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50 percent can’t see 71

A view from the 10 Freeway looking east

After my column last summer on the “Corona na” sign on the southbound 57 Freeway approaching the 71 and 10, an anonymous reader wrote me a letter about another oddity in the same area:

“As motorists approach and enter Pomona while driving east on the 10, they observe seven signs announcing Highway 71 (the Corona Freeway) and there is a two-lanes-wide exit/transition to the southbound 71.

“Conversely, motorists driving west through Pomona on the 10 are given no hint at all that Highway 71 exists.”

True. As the saying goes, you can’t get there from here. The 71 North doesn’t connect to the westbound lanes of the 10, nor can you get directly from the 71 North to the 10 East, only to the 10 West.

Because there’s no direct way to reach the 71 South when driving west on the 10, I take the Dudley/Fairplex exit, drive a few blocks south to Holt, hang a right and get on the 71 there. Presumably this will all be taken care of when the 71 becomes a freeway through Pomona — construction of which may start in 2020.

Pomona’s White Avenue only has an exit from the 10 for eastbound travelers too. If you’re headed west, there’s no exit for White, just as I believe the Kellogg Drive exit is only accessible by westbound travelers as well. Pomona has a lot of freeway quirks and this doesn’t even cover them all.

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