Pick up and leave

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Occasionally I would eat at the Pick Up Stix at 131 W. Foothill Blvd. in Upland, especially before City Council meetings. On April 28, after bowling nearby, I drove up, hungry, and found this sign: “Temporarily closed due to equipment repairs,” with a note that there’s a new Upland location at the Colonies shopping center.

Turns out the Foothill location is permanently closed. It’s about to become home to a Lebanese restaurant, Mes Amis. Was the sign an example of denial?

I’m reminded of a New Orleans restaurant that used to operate in Montclair. The landlord canceled the lease and sold the property, but the restaurateur claimed to me that he didn’t know anything about it. After the last day, a sign was posted on the door that the restaurant was “closed for remodeling” — not long before the building was demolished.

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President Obama visits Upland — the NYC restaurant, that is

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He hasn’t been to the City of Gracious Living, but President Obama did eat at Upland, the New York restaurant whose chef was born at San Antonio Hospital. Evidently Obama ate brunch there Saturday with daughters Malia and Sasha, reports Eater NY, which opines: “The leader of the free world has great taste in restaurants.” Thanks to readers Ann Lara and Matt Krupnick for the tip. Lara also found an Instagram video of Obama leaving the restaurant; in the still above, he’s in dark blue in the center of the frame.

My blog post about my visit to the restaurant is here, with a link to my column on the chef. Nice to know the president of the United States and I have similar taste in food. (We also both like Pi Pizza in St. Louis.)

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Restaurant of the Week: Noodle World Jr.

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Noodle World Jr., 2440 W. Arrow Route (at Monte Vista), Upland

This small chain opened a location out our way in April 2014. Technically it’s in Upland, but it’s only a couple hundred yards from the Claremont border. In fact, with Claremont McKenna right across nearby Claremont Boulevard, it’s possible Noodle World Jr. is closer to some of the campuses than any other restaurant.

Pay attention, students: Noodle World is a sit-down restaurant with locations in Alhambra, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Marino and Westwood; Noodle World Jr., which is only in Hollywood, Downey and now Upland, is fast-casual (order at the counter) and with a limited menu.

It’s pan-Asian, with items representing China (fried rice), Japan (ramen, udon), Thailand (various noodle dishes) and Vietnam (pho). And they have boba, although not enough to satisfy a boba connoisseur. There’s seating inside as well as outdoors in a covered courtyard with a high dome roof.

I’ve been there three times so far. First time I got garlic chicken ($8.25, pictured below), which is chicken sauteed with garlic flakes, served on rice. I’ve had this at Thai restaurants like Mix Bowl and this was a very good example. I also had a Thai tea with boba ($3).

Next visit I tried the spicy beef ramen ($8.25, bottom), which has tonkotsu broth, noodles, bean sprouts, seaweed and stewed beef. I’m no ramen specialist, but this made for a satisfying meal on a cool evening. (A professor friend at the colleges calls this “an A- rendition of the classic.”) A taro smoothie with boba ($3.75) hit the spot too. Since then I’ve been back for beef steak with rice ($8.75), another winner.

This won’t replace favored Asian spots in the 626 or beyond for those who can parse ramen varieties or know regional Chinese cooking, but for a local option, especially in Asian food-poor Upland and Claremont. Noodle World Jr. is quite welcome. And I suspect it’s practically an unofficial Claremont Colleges dining hall.

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Postcard perfect above Upland

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I was in the northern reaches of Upland on Friday when I decided to eat at Giuseppe’s a little further north in San Antonio Heights. Afterward, at my car, I noticed the church across the street, its white paint and quaint style standing out against the mountain and greenery rising behind it, and had to take a photo.

What sort of church, though: Methodist? Congregational? Nope. A sign identifies it as Elevation of the Holy Cross, Romanian Orthodox Church. Impressive.

Obviously the building predates the current denomination. Nosing around online, I found a copy of the April 2013 issue of the San Antonio Heights community newsletter. It explains that the church began as Community Church in 1906 — although 1916, the date Megan Hutter gives in her “Images of America” history of San Antonio Heights, may be more reliable.

The great-great-grandmother of current resident Barry Turner donated the church to the community. Also, “this was the location of the first stop for trolley cars coming up Euclid Avenue in the early history of San Antonio Heights.”

When the congregation outgrew the building, it served as a chapel and was used for weddings. The building was known as the Chapel of the Wildwood. It was acquired in 2010 by the Romanian Orthodox Church, which was founded in L.A. in 2001. Services apparently began in 2013. They have services Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.

And the church looks lovely 24/7.

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