The Fiscal Response Task Force (such a name!), the budget panel appointed by the City Council, had its first meeting Thursday, and I was there. Sunday’s column has the story. It also has suggestions for better acronyms and some action-movie jokes.
Remember the bird sculptures from Montclair Plaza’s JC Penney atrium? You might if you lived here prior to the mid-1980s, when they were removed. Now they’re back, only this time they’re at City Hall, inside and out. Read all about it in my Friday column.
Above, an undated photo from the book “Images of Montclair.” Below, a view of the west lobby of City Hall, showing five of the 12 birds that are back on display.
A city employee talks about the restoration in a short video. There’s also a hyperlink in the column for (heh heh) a scene from “The Birds.”
Sal’s Pizza, 6773 Carnelian St. (at 19th), Rancho Cucamonga; open daily at 4 p.m.
Someone mentioned the takeout-only Sal’s in Rancho Cucamonga here when I wrote about the unrelated Sal’s in La Verne. I’d never been, and still hadn’t until recently, when the New Diner blogger brought the place up to me. We arranged to meet for dinner.
Sal’s is in the Island Pacific center just below the 210. It’s been in business at various addresses since 1979, not long after Rancho Cucamonga incorporated as a city. We ordered a medium Sal’s Special ($16.25), which has pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Wait time was 15 minutes. But what to do next, as neither of us lives nearby?
If it was warmer, I’d have suggested Beryl Park just above the 210, but it wasn’t. The New Diner said we should walk a few paces across the parking lot to eat inside a fast-food restaurant. Daringly, we did, ordering drinks and then keeping a low profile. Nobody said anything about the two guys sharing pizza inside a place known to make a swell taco. (I say that only as a rhyme with its name.)
We were impressed by the pizza. Toppings were plentiful, tasty and fresh. Cheese was generous, the sauce a good complement. The crust was crunchy and didn’t wilt under the load of toppings. It was a solid, well-made pizza, among the best in town.
Other than pizza, all they have is spaghetti, ravioli, garlic bread, salad and wings. On Yelp, where Sal’s currently has 4 1/2 stars, one commenter says they have a secret pizza menu that includes one called “The Roadkill” that is all meat. Anyone know of others?
The New Diner’s review is here.
The Pomona Center News, published twice a week, was written by and for internees at the Pomona fairgrounds during the summer of 1942. Archived at the Public Library, its news, community notices, sports and gossip offer a window into the day-to-day life in the camp: births, weddings, talent shows and softball scores.
Wednesday’s column tells the story.
Above, a farewell page of staff portraits from the final issue. In this version, in the bound copy at the library, the names are signed in ink.
Stinky’s, a self-deprecatingly named burger stand in Upland popular from 1948 to 1968 (and sometimes spelled Stinkey’s), has been the subject of previous blog posts, which drew many comments here, here and here. Visually, though, all I’d been able to find was an interior photo and a not particularly helpful aerial view.
But then I was invited to join the new-ish Facebook group Growing Up in the Inland Empire by administrator Joe Mannella, and back in April, two cool photos were posted, an interior and, at last, an exterior. Rather than add them to the long-ago posts, I’ve given them their due here. Dig the box fan. And the FB page has even identified the fellow in the back as George Kunde.
* Darin Kuna says the photos were originally on his Growing Up in Pomona FB page.
Books acquired: “The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister,” Chris Nichols.
Books read: “Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic,” Dan Auiler; “Henry Bumstead and the World of Hollywood Art Direction,” Andrew Horton; “The Art of Alfred Hitchcock,” Donald Spoto; “The Films of Alfred Hitchcock,” Robert Harris and Michael Lasky; “Mudd’s Angels,” J.A. Lawrence; “Casablanca,” Richard Anobile.
As a sort of hobby, I’ve been watching Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, in order, from the beginning in the 1920s to the end in the 1970s. It’s taken me roughly three years of intermittent effort, but it’s been worthwhile, as I revisited some old favorites and found some new favorites. Hitch made a bunch of so-so movies too, especially in the early days, but I won’t hold that against him.
As I went along, I read a couple of film-by-film guides, by Harris and Lasky and by Spoto. In November I focused on watching the last four movies and in doing so finally finished those two books. Huzzah! Harris and Lasky’s is okay, more of a coffee table tome, while Spoto’s is more serious.
Along the same lines, I read two other Hitch-related books, one on “Vertigo,” perhaps his greatest movie, and one on Hollywood art director Henry Bumstead, an Ontario native whom I interviewed a decade ago for a feature and who designed sets for four Hitchcock films. Those books were useful for specialists.
I rounded out the month with two other movie or TV-related books: “Casablanca” presents stills from the movie paired with all the dialogue, an interesting way to experience the movie; the “Star Trek” book is the 13th and last in the series of Bantam paperbacks that adapted all the original episodes. I would call this one a guilty pleasure except it wasn’t all that pleasurable.
I owned all the Trek books as a lad, through No. 12; a year or two ago, I found them through No. 11 at Calico Cat in Ventura, with the same covers I previously owned, and couldn’t resist buying them. I tracked down the other two somewhere since then. So I read the one I hadn’t read before and can scratch that off my reading list.
I bought Bumstead’s book from the man himself (but only read bits of it at the time); bought “The Films of Hitchcock” at the Book House in St. Louis around four years ago; can’t recall where or when I got “Vertigo” or “Casablanca,” but got them in the past decade; and bought Spoto’s book, published in 1976, in ’76 or ’77. As most of his 50-some films were unavailable to me then, only the ones that popped up TV, I read just a few of the analyses originally.
You have no idea how satisfying it is to have now read this book cover to cover after some 36 years of ownership.
I’m up to 72 books read for 2013 and am eyeing three for December. One is 460 pages, but it should be a slam dunk as I’m 380 pages into it already.
How was your November, reading-wise?
Next month: a 460-page book, and a couple more.
Sunday’s column is about the Foothill Philharmonic Committee, a venerable nonprofit that raises money to support the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The committee, a community affiliate of the Phil, was founded in 1958 at the behest of Dorothy Buffum Chandler herself and shows we’re not all a bunch of low-culture slobs out here (although most of us are, admittedly).
At a Coco’s in Rancho Cucamonga the day before Thanksgiving, reader Tony says he and his wife were surprised to see pies stacked up everywhere for pickup, including a couple that he concluded might be for the National Security Administration. “I wondered why there was a black helicopter in the parking lot,” he joked.
(NSA would, of course, really stand for No Sugar Added. At least, that’s what the NSA would like us to believe.)
Friday’s column rounds up a bunch of items, mostly from Pomona and Claremont. Some are fresh, some a little moldy, but all guaranteed. Enjoy!
Brio Tuscan Grille, 12370 S. Main St. (at Monticello), Rancho Cucamonga
Filling the former Borders anchor space at Victoria Gardens, Brio opened in October, “bringing the pleasures of the Tuscan country villa to Rancho Cucamonga,” as their website puts it. (In return, maybe The Deli can bring the pleasures of Rancho Cucamonga to Tuscany?) It’s a national chain, but at 57 locations at this writing, it’s not ubiquitous; this is the first Brio in all of California. This puts the coup in Cucamonga.
Even though it’s not a bookstore, having the space occupied is welcome, and they’ve done a great job on the decor. Outside, protected seating with heat lamps; inside, a circular bar (where the new releases used to be displayed), then a dining room with a high ceiling, drapery and columns. For the Inland Valley, it’s a fairly dramatic dining space.
The evening began on a slightly discordant note when the employee seating us cheerfully declared, “We’re definitely not Olive Garden!,” a comparison that probably shouldn’t be made even jokingly. I would hope that if I were walking into, say, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, they wouldn’t quip, “We’re definitely not Sizzler!”
Anyway, we were seated in the former nonfiction section, probably around computer science or business. Yes, I miss Borders. The menu is less pasta than steaks, seafood, chicken and chops. As Italian goes, this is the anti-Vince’s Spaghetti. Entrees range from $11 to $30. I had a pork chop ($17.50, below), my friend the roasted half-chicken ($16, bottom).
Our entrees were decent: the chicken hormone-free and lemony, the pork chop large, marinated and relatively moist, by pork chop standards. However, my roasted vegetables were desiccated, and they were paired with mashed potatoes. Basically, I had two sides of dry stuff. (And, in the photos, compare the moistness of the veggies on our respective plates.) Oh well. We left full, with no room for dessert, and thankful we hadn’t ordered an appetizer.
I’ll give Brio a mixed review. It’s not bad, and you may want to try it. (In a weird sidenote, a top Google search result was a blog post by Philip K. Dick’s fifth wife about how she wants to go.) But we were hoping for a little better, and for the price, it didn’t knock our socks off. At the VG, I’m more likely to go to Lucille’s or, for a more modest meal, Corner Bakery. It’s possible I’ll return. If I do, in honor of Borders, I’ll bring a book.