How’s that for a headline? That’s the first of five Upland items in my Friday column. Then come three Culture Corner briefs, including one about the cartoonist of “La Cucaracha,” and an interesting fact about the L.A. County Fair: It’s getting shorter.
Today’s column has tidbits from Upland, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, La Verne, Chino, Chino Hills and Claremont — how about that! — beginning with a driver who plowed into a vacant storefront and shook up the pizzeria next door, and ending with a Powerball item.
Sunday’s column is about Upland’s The Sideboard, a fixture of downtown Upland since the Reagan years but which recently closed for good. Above, from left, owners Evelyn Stauffer, Claire Cushing and Judi Matlock.
Sunday’s column focuses on Rabiaa Albaghdadi, the namesake of Rabi’s Cafe in Upland. She’s about to become a U.S. citizen. I share her story of emigrating from Syria 18 years ago and we talk about the refugee crisis.
Wednesday’s column starts with five items from Upland, followed by three Culture Corner notes and three Valley Vignettes. Other than knowing I like the sign, I don’t know anything about Classy Mart other than that it’s been here quite a while. How about you?
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.
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.)
Sunday’s column has items from Upland, one of which explains the headline, as well as from Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona. The last one’s origin is unknown but it was too weird not to use.
Friday’s column is about the Buffalo Inn, a Route 66 restaurant and tavern that’s been serving the public since 1929. It’s been closed by a bankruptcy trustee, the owners locked out, and with developers hovering, it’s in question whether it will reopen.
Also, I’ve got items from Ontario and Claremont, and about Free Comic Book Day.
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.