Column: Boys’ Brigade once turned boys to men in Pomona

boysbrigade1

Friday’s column looks back at Boys’ Brigade, an international youth group that had a chapter for decades in Pomona at Pilgrim Church. One of its most popular leaders recently died, with services coming on Saturday, making this a good time to delve into the story of why church boys were camping out and marching around with unloaded rifles.

Above and below, three undated photos from the church’s collection.

boysbrigade2

boysbrigade3

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Restaurant of the Week: Septembers

septs1

Septembers Taproom and Eatery, 6321 Haven Ave. (at Lemon), Rancho Cucamonga

In the old McAlan’s Pub building in the Trader Joe’s and Vons centers, Septembers is a welcome gastropub with local brews and better than average food, concentrating on classic American sandwiches.

Reader Dave Paniagua, who had earlier drawn my attention to Ontario’s Corner Deli, alerted me to Septembers, and since I’m now a regular at Corner Deli, I took his tip seriously.

Septembers is quiet on a lunch hour, with a few people around the bar and only a few diners. They have beer and wine, plus some cocktails. The interior is pleasantly industrial, with high-top and regular tables under an exposed ceiling, distressed wood walls and corrugated steel accents.

septs2

Virtually everything on the menu was potentially of interest to me.

septs10

Well, not nachos, but you get the idea. It’s a a well-designed menu, too, isn’t it?

They have several set lunch specials, all for $8. First time I got one of those, a grilled chicken sandwich with fries. It was good enough that I returned the next week to order off the regular menu. I got a sloppy joe — how often do you see that on a menu? — that was made with chuck and brisket on a long roll ($14, first photo below). An excellent version of the old-school classic. The criss-cut fries, with your choice of seasoning (I got sea salt and vinegar), were addictive.

Next visit I got a shrimp po’boy ($14, second photo below). Served open face, it was overstuffed and strictly knife and fork. Good, yet maybe too much of a good thing. The side of mac and cheese was excellent.

I’ve gone back three times since, making this one of the best-researched Restaurant of the Week posts ever. The Italian panini melt ($14) was a little boring and so big I couldn’t finish it even if I’d wanted to. The classic burger ($11, third photo below) with onion rings was very good; two onion rings don’t sound like much, but they were very large. That time I finally had room for dessert, getting the apple crisp a la mode ($5, bottom); as you can see, they didn’t skimp on the ice cream. And most recently, the fish and chips ($12) were meaty.

I’m not a drinker, so in that sense this may be the most poorly researched Restaurant of the Week ever, but I can tell you they have local brews such as Dale Brothers and Hangar 24. Margaritas are $3 on Mondays, wines are $3 on Wednesdays and you can get a $6 sampler paddle of beers on Thursdays.

If no dish has wowed me, everything has been solid, and my impression of the place is positive. I appreciate that the chefs are using quality ingredients and raising everything up a notch. A sandwich and an iced tea will set you back about $20 with tax and tip. If you can splurge a little, it’s worth it.

septs4

septs5

septs7

septs8

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

A gift of art, Ontario

ccma2

ccma1

Downtown Ontario’s Chaffey Community Museum of Art has received two gifts, both of them as a result of a new parking structure next door.

The structure, on Transit Street (see bottom picture; view is from the structure’s southeast corner), serves the new San Bernardino County Health Department office building on the long-vacant southeast corner of Holt Boulevard and Euclid Avenue. The museum, housed since 2013 in a 1907-built power building at 217 S. Lemon St., is in the same block as the two-level parking structure.

First, a round concrete pad for sculptures near the museum entrance was added at the city’s request during the cement pours for the parking structure and curbing (see photo above).

Second, and more intriguingly, there’s a rock basket, made as a decorative element for the front lawn (see photo up top). How that came about is worth noting.

Fullmer Construction built the structure. Museum staffer Jenelle Lowry struck up a friendship with the work crew, watching over the site for them, while they kept the front of the museum clear of construction dust and debris, and with supervisor Gary Rue. She asked him to save her some scrap rebar for a future art project.

Rue got inspired, recalling the sight of rock baskets in Boulder City, Arizona, during a recent visit. He hit up some colleagues for materials and built the basket and rocks as a present for the museum.

“The entire project was made with scrap material from the construction of the parking structure,” marveled museum president Nancy DeDiemar Jones. “The rebar is fixed in a cement pad that has been partly sunk into the grass. Before the river rocks were added (and I think those came from the construction site too) the rebar and cement pad weighed 400 pounds, so it is unlikely someone will walk off with the rock basket.”

It’s certainly a novel addition to the museum. Rue will be honored June 14 at the museum’s artists reception. He should exchange his hard hat for a beret.

ccma3

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Reading Log: April 2015

booksapril3

Books acquired: none.

Books read: “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “R is for Rocket,” “S is for Space,” “The Vintage Bradbury,” Ray Bradbury; “My Ideal Bookshelf,” Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount.

Greetings, readers! Welcome to the latest installment of my ongoing chronicle of stuff I’ve been reading — and your own ongoing chronicle, if you’re a regular commenter.

April saw me reading four — count ’em, four — books by my main man Ray Bradbury, as well as one unique art book.

As careful readers may recall, a few years back I read all the late period Bradbury, much of which was subpar, frankly; this led me to revisit his early classic work, which I hadn’t read since boyhood. That’s been a happier experience.

This time I read his 1962 novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” which proved a pleasant surprise. I had only vague memories of the book and of the lackluster movie version, but the writing is poetic and matters of age are explored in intriguing fashion. The plot concerns two best friends, a father who feels old before his time, a creepy carnival and a merry-go-round that erases years from your age, a year for every turn, but at a price. This is arguably Bradbury’s last fully realized work, with the possible exception of “From the Dust Returned” in 2001.

“R is for Rocket” and “S is for Space” are mid-1960s collections aimed at the young adult market, such as it was back then. They’re grab-bags but worth seeking out for fans, as a few of the stories are otherwise unavailable. “The Vintage Bradbury” is a 1965 best-of that has most of his classic stories, aside from “A Sound of Thunder” — is it possible what’s now his best-known story wasn’t so well-regarded then? — with only a few weaker selections that betray his mainstream aspirations. But the ones that verge on horror (like “The Small Assassin,” about a mother convinced her baby wants to kill her), have a gleefully nasty edge. “Vintage” is fairly easy to find used and is worth the effort. It will suffice until he gets a Library of America collection.

At this point I’ve re-read Bradbury’s work through the mid-’60s, with only three or four books to go after this before I’m back to where I started.

“My Ideal Bookshelf” is a fun book about books. A variety of creative types — writers, artists, chefs, fashion designers, graphic designers, musicians and more — were asked to compile a shelf of books that they particularly like or that define them in some way. An artist painted such a shelf with the real spines of the books, facing a page in which the person is interviewed about their choices or reading life.

I’m using it as an autograph book and, since its 2012 publication, have collected five contributor signatures, from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Kim Gordon, Pico Iyer, Jonathan Lethem and Francine Prose. More to come (I hope)!

That book was purchased at Vroman’s in Pasadena; the others all date to my childhood.

What were you reading in April? Probably a greater variety of authors or subjects than my choices.

Next month: More sf, but not by Bradbury.

booksapril4

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Column: Blocked Wal-Mart means end of Frisella’s in La Verne

frisellas

Sunday’s column begins with news that could be considered ironic: A mom and pop eatery in La Verne for 20 years, Frisella’s Roastery, is closing because a Wal-Mart isn’t going in, at least not soon. There were hopes a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market would help revive an ailing shopping center with no anchor tenant, but with a lawsuit putting the market on ice, Frisella’s decided not to renew its lease.

Also, I’ve got Culture Corner items, more La Verne items and dialogue from an episode of CBS’ “Scorpion” about Pomona.

Above, manager Henry Durazo slices some of the restaurant’s signature tri-tip.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Restaurant of the Week: Noodle World Jr.

noodleworld1

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 twice 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.

noodleworld5

noodleworld2

noodleworld3

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

More Montclair Plaza renderings

montplaza6

The upcoming revamp of Montclair Plaza is the subject of my Wednesday column. The above rendering appears with my column and looks west, showing a cinema, shops and a pedestrian zone called The Avenue. The renderings below depict other views.

montplaza1

This view is looking north, with the 10 Freeway at the bottom edge. Parking lots? Who needs parking lots? The lots are replaced by parking structures and new shops.

montplaza2

This rendering is looking south from Moreno. The entrance to the mall is improved — it was referred to as a “grand entrance” by city planners — with a level parking deck and space for outdoor events.

montplaza3

In Phase 2, which could begin in early 2017 and finish in mid-year, a fashion district would include the two new buildings at lower left, between Macy’s, top, and Nordstrom, upper right. This view is looking north. The vacant Macaroni Grill restaurant building, currently somewhere around the lower left in real life, would be demolished.

montplaza4

Facing east, this view represents The Avenue, a new walkable area that would include shops, left, and a cinema, background right.

montplaza5Kathleen Kim, a CIM Group first vice president, and Jim Suhr, a consultant for CIM, speak briefly at Monday’s Montclair Planning Commission meeting, at which the commission unanimously signed off on the design and environmental study.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Christmas in April

nativitylunch

The artists who in 2014 restored the 64 figures in the Euclid Avenue Nativity display, an Ontario tradition that began in 1959, were feted Monday with lunch at the Ontario Convention Center. Some of the figures were there too for everyone to admire.

Above, from left, Milica Jelisavcic, Jaime Colindres, Kim Healy Pretti, Walt Wilkey and Christian Knox, plus a friend. (I hope he ate light to save room for the Last Supper.) Not pictured: Kristen Burton, Andy Doherty, Chris Cuzzetti, Nick Gavino and Susi Silvertre.

The NOEL (Nativity on Euclid Landmark) Committee is charged with raising funds to restore and preserve the creches and statues, which were carved by Rudolph Vargas from 1959 to 1968.

A $100,000 donation last year from an anonymous Ontario businessman allowed the committee to commission the above artists to bring the statues back to their original colors, repair the damaged fingers, wings, necks, arms and more, and replace the statues that had gone missing over the years. The backdrops were duplicated digitally by John Edwards or repainted by Rick Caughman to match the originals.

More detail about the restoration can be read on the Christmas on Euclid website.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email