Wednesday’s column begins with news that a favorite former hangout of mine, Borders in Montclair, is set to become a furniture store. (Yawn.) Also, readers school me about the old Convair (not Corvair) plant in Pomona, new Pomona council members are sworn in, and we learn about two new restaurants headed to Claremont.
The one in Montclair opened in 1979, but Southern California’s Don Jose Mexican Restaurant chain (its website is here) is marking its 40th anniversary, its Orange location having opened in 1972.
I’ve only eaten there once or twice, but I enjoyed the experience. It was the first time I ever ordered fajitas.
Montclair reader Anna Hernandez alerted me after the fact to the anniversary, which featured a one-day rollback in price one recent weekend.
“I enjoyed dinner for $2, plus margaritas! As did many, probably hundreds, more,” Hernandez, a regular, told me by email. She lauded the professional staff, tasty food, fun atmosphere and an operation that ran smoothly despite the crush of customers.
She said apologetically: “If you missed it, sorry I didn’t alert you sooner.”
That’s OK, Anna. I probably wouldn’t have wanted a delicious meal from a friendly staff for $2 anyway.
There’s a long wooden bench for customer seating at Toyotech, an auto repair business in Montclair. Where did it come from? From the old courthouse that used to stand at Sixth Street and Mountain Avenue in Ontario, now the site of a shopping center.
Toyotech owner Rick Kaplan used to be a deputy in the sheriff’s substation at the courthouse, which closed in the late 1980s. The hard wooden benches were used as seating in courtrooms. The bench, salvaged prior to its demolition, showed up at Toyotech before Kaplan bought the business in 2004, but he recognized it.
“Everyone thinks it’s a pew from a church,” Kaplan said with a chuckle. “That couldn’t be further from the truth!”
The full-length cushion is a recent addition, a gift from a customer — and much appreciated.
After a photo appeared with my column of the platter of fried worms I had in Mexico City…
…I took my car to my mechanic in Montclair for an oil change. He and his wife welcomed me back from Mexico with a surprise: a bowl of worms. Of the Gummi variety, on a bed of crushed Oreos. I have the weirdest — but nicest — readers.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, heading south on Central Avenue and stopped at the light at Mission Boulevard, I was startled to see two cowpokes also waiting for the light to change. Once across the intersection, I pulled into the gas station and grabbed these two shots.
The pair kept going past a natural stop, Farmer Boys burgers, which even has a drive-thru. One horseman was on a cell phone. Does the no-phone-while-driving law apply if you’re on horseback?
Central Avenue above the 10 Freeway is now nice and smooth, as is Monte Vista Avenue, after recent repaving that narrowed lanes and choked traffic.
However, the lanes are not yet striped, only marked with those Post-It note-like temporary markers. Painting the lanes, whenever that occurs, could mean more inconvenience for motorists.
Thus, your cautious correspondent declines to lift his advisory to avoid Montclair. If you happen to live in Montclair, my advice is to stay below the 10. Repeat, stay below the 10. Thank you.
Passing by the former Tony Roma’s on Montclair’s Monte Vista Avenue, I noticed a banner up on the building promising a new restaurant named Rockin’ Baja. It gives a web address, www.rockinbaja.com. Another banner says “Now Hiring.”
According to its website, Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina specializes in buckets of shellfish, especially lobster tail, crab and shrimp, prepared “baja style.” (I hope this doesn’t mean there’s sand in it.) There are seven California locations: San Diego (2), Newport Beach pier, Oceanside, Burbank, La Quinta and San Jose.
Sounds more promising than Tony Roma’s, “a place for ribs” where I ate a total of one time.
I stopped at Borders in Montclair Thursday on my way back to the office from buying Vampire Weekend tickets in Pomona. Wanted to check a reader-contributed Pomona factoid from, of all things, Rachael Ray’s magazine.
In the new-release section, there’s something really new: a table of cardboard boxes full of $3.99 books. Little of interest, unsurprisingly, but for some reason, perhaps a miscalculation of a Pearl S. Buck revival that never happened, they have something like 20 trade paperback copies of “The Good Earth.”
If you ever wanted to read it, this would seem to be your time. In no rush, I picked up the lone copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night.” At $3.99 for a novel that lists at $15, I couldn’t believe my luck.
Linens ‘n Things at Montclair Plaza is liquidating, part of the closure of one-fourth of the chain’s American stores after a bankruptcy filing. I pass by on Monte Vista Avenue almost daily and see someone standing there with a sign advertising the latest discount. It’s now 20 to 50 percent.
If you want linens, sure, you can go to Linens N Things without guilt. But what if you’re in the market for things?
That gets dicier, because Upland is home to the sublimely named Thoughts N Things, a much smaller operation that would appear to compete directly for the things market.
Discounted things or mom-and-pop things? Gad, what an ethical dilemma.