Column: Larry Wilmore jabs at Trump in post-election talk

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Photo by Jeff Hing/Pomona College

Larry Wilmore’s talk Wednesday night at Claremont’s Bridges Auditorium had a different edge than most had expected when they got their (free) tickets. Rather than celebrate Clinton’s assured victory, he and the audience mourned Trump’s win. The comic, who was raised in Pomona, made some good points, and got off some good lines, as captured in Friday’s column.

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Restaurant of the Week: Oggi’s

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Oggi’s, 1173 E. 19th Ave. (at Campus), Upland; open until 10 p.m. Sundays, 11 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, midnight Fridays and Saturdays

Founded in 1991, Oggi’s (pronounced “OH-jeez,” and meaning “today” in Italian) opened in Upland’s Colonies Crossroads Center earlier in 2016. There are currently 15 locations. Oggi’s is a pizzeria and sports bar with its own line of microbrews.

I had dinner there with a friend recently. There are a lot of screens (it was a Monday, so it was all football), and a large, well-lighted square bar. A radio station was broadcasting and occasionally offering a quiz for customers with prizes. So it was a little loud.

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The menu is mostly pizza, pasta, wraps, salads and burgers. I got a medium pizza with anchovies (!) and mushrooms ($18), she got a calzone with pepperoni ($10), plus a side caesar ($3).

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Our meals were unobjectionable but unmemorable. My pizza was average: bready and bland, a half-step up from Domino’s but nothing that would make me want to return. She found the ricotta in her calzone (alongside the standard mozzarella) unnecessary and fussy. The salad was better. Overall, her meal “was a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5,” she said. We each took some of our food home.

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A friend later told me he’d been unimpressed on his visit: His wings were “ehh,” the sauce on his pizza unappealing.

Oggi’s had offered me a free meal if I made an appointment, which was unacceptable since I would have been identifying myself rather than eating anonymously, but I said I’d accept a gift card that could be presented at the end of the meal.

(That’s only the first or second time that possibility has come up, but it was nice to not be paying for one of these Restaurant of the Week meals entirely out of my own pocket.)

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The service we got as average joes was substandard in one important aspect: friendly enough, competent, but no one ever asked if we wanted refills on our iced tea or Coke. We could have asked but preferred to see how it played out. We were there nearly two hours and no one offered. Hmph.

I can’t judge the microbrews, but if you’re into that sort of thing, and like sports, Oggi’s might be your thing. If you want to watch a game with friends and eat, this would be a better spot than many, but based on what we had, the food isn’t good enough to go there for on its own.

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Vietnam War dead, San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County government recently compiled and released a list of veterans from the county who were killed in action during the Vietnam era, arranged by hometown. That was a worthy effort that struck me as valuable to share here in part.

I’ve pulled names, hometowns and branches of service for those who lived in our core Inland Valley cities. You’ll find them below. Bear in mind the list stops at the county line and thus doesn’t include Pomona, Claremont or La Verne. I can’t vouch for the accuracy or completeness of the county’s list; see Alta Loma entry for an example.

Alta Loma: Gilles David Adams, Army; Stephen Wesley Bowman, Army; Dennis Franklin Fisher, Marines

  • A plaque at Alta Loma High lists Steve Bowman, Dan Carrasco, Jesse Loebach, Jim McGuire, Lenny Nyberg, Tom Teal and Chuck Thomas. Carrasco, McGuire, Nyberg, Teal and Thomas are listed below under Cucamonga; Loebach is not otherwise listed and Adams and Fisher are on the county’s list only.

Chino: Arthur Diaz Esqueda, Navy; Patrick Shawn Hederman, Army; Larry Herrera, Army; Robert Adam Kaneski, Army; Charlie Lopez Partida, Army; David Gerald Weber, Army

Cucamonga: Daniel Carrasco, Army; David Glenn Kellison, Army; James William McGuire, Army; Leonard Eric Nyberg, Marines; Ronald W. Penn, Army; Fred Thomas Teal, Army; Charles Blake Thomas, Marines

Etiwanda: Allan Lynn Harris, Army

Guasti: Barry Richard Franks, Marines

Montclair: Johnnie Lloyd Daniel, Army; Amedee George Granelle Jr., Army; Ernest Joseph Halvorson, Air Force; James Randall Hottenroth, Air Force; Robert Wayne King, Marines; Donald Lee Kipp, Army; William Frederick Lease, Army; Ronald Paul Petrick, Marines; Frank David Pina, Army; Lavern Leo Salzman, Army; Timothy Patrick Weaver, Army

Ontario: Bruce Wayne Collins, Army; Gilbert Ferrante, Marines; Larry Charles Hopper, Marines; David Jay Huffman, Army; Ervin Lovel, Marines; William Earl McDavid, Army; Antonino Ruggeri, Army; Charles Dudley Short, Army; Michael Joseph Soth, Army; Robert Joseph Staten, Navy; Gridley Barstow Strong, Marines; Kenneth Ben Thomas, Army; Carl Dee Wootten, Navy; Daryel Joe Young, Army

Upland: Wayne Joseph Benes, Army; Arthur Jack Carl, Army; David Andrew Denton, Army; Frederick Lee Dyer, Marine; Apimenio Lara, Army; John Pio Rogone, Marines; Richard Henry Vokes, Army.

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Restaurant of the Week: Dr. Grubb’s

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Dr. Grubb’s, 353 W. Bonita Ave. (at Indian Hill), Claremont; closed Sundays

Dr. Grubb’s opened in the Village in the mid-’00s, taking a spot that had been occupied by a short-lived empanada restaurant that I really liked. Grubb’s, a healthy option where you pick a “protein,” a sauce and a side, didn’t wow me on my one and only visit, pre-blog, and in fact struck me as slightly weird and unsatisfying. Did I want a foam plate with chicken, couscous and a sauce, to be consumed with a plastic knife and fork, for a couple of dollars more than I wanted to pay? I didn’t.

But Dr. Grubb’s has hung in there and became a favorite with the college crowd, and it recently moved into larger quarters two doors west, the former Salad Farm space. Some friends and I gave it a chance for lunch on a warm afternoon recently.

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The interior is impressive, with a long, polished bar at which you can eat taking up most of the length of the storefront. There’s some regular seating too, and patio seating as well.

The menu is larger, but it’s still a protein, sauce and side operation. (They also have four beers on draft.) Proteins include salmon, shrimp, tofu, chicken and steak, with one-side combos ranging from $10 to $14. The idea of selecting a protein, which was an eye-roller for me originally, seems mainstream in the Chipotle era, by the way. We ordered and adjourned to the patio.

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Whereas Dr. Grubb’s had at first seemed somewhat provisional, now they give out plates and actual silverware. I liked my salmon with lemon thyme sauce and white rice ($12) and may have made the best choice of our group.

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One got shrimp with sun-dried tomato pesto and vegetables. The latter were bland, the former “fantastic.” “The sauce kind of makes it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have expected sauce to be a choice. Don’t neglect the sauce.” He smeared leftover sauce on his vegetables and they were improved by the addition.

Another got tofu with lemon thyme and vegetables. Finding them both “tasteless,” she also heaped praise on the sauce for rescuing her meal. “Thank goodness for the sauce,” she said.

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The last, but not least, of our group got chicken with mango sauce and penne pasta. It was good, he said, but he rued his choice of mango sauce: “The guy recommended the garlic aioli and I probably should have done that.” (By contrast, I asked what sauce I should get and followed the advice. I am not bigger than the counterman.)

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Everyone said they would consider going back, even the vegetarian, although I don’t know that anyone would order the vegetables again. I dodged a bullet on that one. At this point I go to Dr. Grubb’s once a decade, but I may pick up the pace. Final thought: Don’t neglect the sauce.

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