Wednesday’s column is on Tony’s French Dips in Pomona. It was the subject of a Restaurant of the Week post here in June, with a writeup and photos, which you can read here. Above, from left, Cedric Elias, Angie Campos, Raymond Gordon and Robert Nabarrete.
The king and queen of Thailand visited the United States in 1960, a vacation that began with a week seeing the sights in Southern California before turning into an official state visit. They flew into Ontario International Airport and stayed, believe it or not, at a private residence in La Verne, with much of their retinue lodging at the Uplander motel in Upland. The story is in my Wednesday column.
Me and the late John Harrelson, May 27, 2011, outside the Press in Claremont. As I wrote in my tribute column last week:
My favorite memory is of an afternoon we spent at the Press, first at lunch, then outside, perched on the window ledge, watching the world go by as he smoked. The Press’ satellite radio was playing rock oldies, and we played “Name That Tune,” competing to guess the artist and title before the other, then trading opinions and trivia about the bands.
A man named John Thomas posted this photo to Harrelson pal John Neiuber’s Facebook page last week, following my column’s appearance, with the notation “Name That Tune.” Neiuber says: “He told me he was outside listening to you guys, enjoying the banter, and just happened to capture the moment.”
I was so surprised and touched, I about fell over when Neiuber walked up to me and told me about the photo’s existence. I have a vague memory of noticing someone had just taken our photo, someone Harrelson knew, but I quickly forgot the whole thing. That someone thought to take this photo and then thought it worth preserving — and knew who I was and connected it to my column two years later, for that matter — blows me away. Thank you, John Thomas.
Now if only I had audio! But that’s okay. I have my memories.
(That’s a copy of a Penguin edition of Mark Twain’s short stories by my side, incidentally.)
City of Eats? July 9 to 16, Tuesday to Tuesday, is the first “Claremont Restaurant Week,” in which 20 participating restaurants will offer two-course lunch and three-course prix fixe dinner menus. The city’s goal, says the Chamber of Commerce, is “to showcase its many pubs, grills, sandwich shops, bakeries and fine dining restaurants.”
The menus will run $10 to $40, depending on the restaurant, and all will have their regular menus too. Participants: Aruffo’s (Italian), Casa de Salsa (Mexican), Casa Moreno (Mexican), The Lounge at Hotel Casa 425 (small plates), Eddie’s New York Pizzeria (Italian), Espiau’s (American and Mexican), Euro Café (Portuguese), Kazama Sushi (Japanese), La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana (Italian), The Last Drop Café (special lunch menu), Loving Hut Claremont (vegan), The Orchard at the DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont (California fusion), Packing House Wine Merchants (American bistro), Pita Pit Claremont (Greek), Pizza ‘N Such (Italian), The Press Restaurant (American), Saca’s Mediterranean Cuisine, Tutti Mangia Italian Grill (Italian), Walters (Mediterranean, American) and Z Pizza (Italian).
For more information, including menus, see www.ClaremontRestaurant.com.
There are some prominent opt-outs (Some Crust, Back Abbey, Union on Yale, Eureka, to name a few), but the list does include some good places.
Above, Harrelson at the Press, 2012.
John Harrelson, a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Ontario, died June 26 at age 62 of heart failure. Harrelson, a Chaffey High graduate, was a fixture at the Press in Claremont (both as a performer and a customer) and performed all over the world. He’s also the subject of a documentary making the film festival rounds, “Dead Man Rockin’,” referring to his near-death experience in 2006.
I’ll have more on him later this week because we were friends and he deserves the ink. In the meantime, a viewing will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Draper Mortuary in Ontario. Harrelson’s Facebook page is one place to check in if you knew him, as is the “Dead Man Rockin’” page.
* Update: I’ve written an obituary about Harrelson. A column will be forthcoming.
** Update: And here’s Wednesday’s column.
Below is a 2007 video from the Press of Harrelson performing one of his catchiest songs, “Evangeline.” Pretty sure I was in the audience that night.
Food Truck Thursdays at Fairplex.
The website The Daily Meal has compiled its picks for the 101 Best Food Trucks in America. The list roams from New York City to Los Angeles, Seattle to Miami. One surprise is how many list-worthy food trucks they found in Nashville, Tenn., and St. Louis, Mo. Even Wichita, Kan., made the list. Food trucks aren’t a California phenomenon.
The No. 1 choice is from the Big Apple, but 16 L.A. trucks are represented. And if you live in the Inland Valley and are diligent about it, you could have eaten at most of them without leaving the 909.
No. 2 is Kogi BBQ, which sends a truck to Pomona nearly every Thursday, where it parks at Temple and Pomona boulevards near Cal Poly Pomona.
I’ve had food from most of the rest, including the Buttermilk Truck (No. 12), the Grilled Cheese Truck (No. 22), Crepes Bonaparte (No. 46) and Ludo Truck (No. 52), which have shown up at Food Truck Thursdays at Fairplex, the L.A. County Fair, the weekly Claremont Craft Ales event and/or the food truck festivals at the arena in Ontario.
Food trucks also show up at local school fundraisers and other such events from time to time. I know I’ve seen India Jones (No. 73) and Nom Nom (No. 51), but haven’t tried them yet. Haven’t seen the Border Grill truck, although I know it’s been to Claremont once. I’ve also had food from the Lobsta Truck (No, 56), but that was in Long Beach. Tasty lobster rolls.
I should lobby some of those St. Louis trucks to rumble out my way.
Have you been to any of the trucks on the list, here or elsewhere?
Above, Jack Mercer reads a farewell during Monday’s Ontario Show Band concert, seen below.
On Monday I attended a concert by the Ontario Show Band, the city’s community band, the last for founding director Jack Mercer, who is retiring (although he swears he’ll still be involved). You can read about it in Wednesday’s column. Feel free to comment here about Jack or the band.
Pieology, a pizza parlor, is coming to Rancho Cucamonga, according to its website. The current locations are Irvine Spectrum and Fullerton. Pieology is a fast-fired pizzeria where the pizzas are done in five minutes. It replaces
Okawa Sushi and Grill Relax the Back on Day Creek Boulevard, just below Foothill Boulevard and Victoria Gardens, in the Sears Grand center.
* In related news, the Slater’s 50/50 coming to Victoria Gardens is slated (har!) to open in July, and Brio Tuscan Grille, a national Italian restaurant chain, will open in the VG’s former Borders space later this year.