No cash accepted

On Sunday I ventured to LA via train to check out the Corporation Food Hall downtown at 724 S. Spring St. It opened last fall. Ordering lunch at South City Fried Chicken, I came across a situation that was brand new to me. As I tried to hand over a 20 and two 1s, the employee said apologetically, “We don’t take cash. We only take cards, sorry.”

They use the Square payment system. (I use the tiny version that connects to a phone to process card payments for my books.) I handed over my credit card and left with just as much cash in my pocket as when I arrived.

Unless I’m forgetting some previous incident, this seems to be the first time my cash was no good somewhere. I don’t know if any of the other half-dozen food vendors at the food hall take greenbacks, as my sandwich and fries were all I needed (for the rest of the day, in fact).

It makes a certain kind of sense: Most of their hip clientele probably routinely pays for everything with plastic, and then there’s no fear of robbery, or the need to run to the bank for a deposit or change. There may be those who don’t have a debit or credit card, for one reason or another, and yet might like a sandwich or cold drink, though.

I still tend to pay with cash for modest purchases. Have you met up with a card-only situation anywhere? How do you feel about it?

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Restaurant of the Week: Luna Grill

Luna Grill, 10877 Foothill Blvd. (at Spruce), Rancho Cucamonga; open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The fairly new Spruce Plaza in Rancho Cucamonga is a mini-restaurant row. I don’t believe the center has anything but restaurants: Cafe Rio, The Habit, Tokyo Joe’s and Luna Grill. (In the old days, there’d have been a Yoshinoya Beef Bowl.)

Luna is a San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain with local-to-us locations in Eastvale, Redlands, Temecula and, said to be coming soon, Chino Hills.

Don’t confuse Luna Grill with Luna Modern Mexican Kitchen a few miles east. Besides the difference in cuisines, that Luna is a sit-down restaurant; this Luna is fast-casual.

The menu has salads, plates, wraps and bowls. No stranger to Mediterranean food, I thought several of the items sounded or looked inviting. I went for the salmon plate ($14), which came with rice, pita bread and a small salad, and got carrots as my side. My friend ordered the lamb plate ($15), ditto.

Of the lamb, which is halal (the Muslim equivalent of kosher), my friend noted from the menu board that it’s the second-most caloric entree — after the veggie plate. Hmm.

We liked our meals. I’m a fan of Mediterranean food, fine versions of which can be had in Rancho Cucamonga at Zait Bistro, Mezzaterranean and Zaky’s, plus a new Saca’s. But Luna Grill, while corporate, and sanding off some of the rough edges, hasn’t compromised too much in bringing that style of food to the masses. (Compare to, say, SpireWorks in Upland, where you can get a kebab sandwich “Philly style.”)

In other words, returning to Luna Grill would not be lunacy.

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RIP, quaint directional sign

This sign stood for decades, probably, on North Towne Avenue just above the 10 Freeway, pointing the way north to Claremont and Route 66, and west to La Verne. I liked seeing it and always meant to pull over at the next corner to walk back for a photo, but never did. “Next time,” I would think, even though my fear was that the sign might not be there the next time I drove past. But it always was.

Sometime in 2017, though, the sign was heavily damaged by graffiti. And when I drove by this spring, it was gone.

Reader Jason, thankfully, had taken a photo and sent it to me by Twitter in June 2017. (It’s the photo above. You can see even at that point that the 66 emblem was painted over or faded and that the bottom strip had been patched.) He asked recently what had happened to the sign.

The city of Pomona took it down, Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba told me.

It’s almost certainly a Caltrans sign, Gluba said, as the directions serve a regional rather than a city purpose, but the sign was old enough that Caltrans had no record of it and denied ownership.

“We decided to remove the sign due to the graffiti and the general condition of the sign,” Gluba said. It wasn’t clear whether the sign is in the City Yard or tossed, but it was so badly defaced that to me it didn’t look salvageable.

Is there another sign denoting the way to Route 66 in the Inland Valley? If so, I’m unaware of it, but would like to know about it. I do like the occasional signs on Holt, Foothill or Mission telling the distance to San Bernardino, Riverside or Pomona, which still serve a purpose but also seem like a throwback to the pre-freeway days.

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