Sunday’s column begins with the news that an Upland hookah lounge, The Palace, is the subject of a “Bar Rescue” episode airing Sunday. After that, there’s two items from Ontario and one about a Claremont connection to a new album.
July 18 marks the one-year anniversary of publication of my first book, “Pomona A to Z.” Gosh! It’s done quite well, selling more than 500 copies to date. And although events and sales have tapered off, it’s still selling.
Barbara Cheatley’s in Claremont just began stocking it in June; when I dropped off copies, three customers bought it before I could even leave the store. I sold two just this week to a Pomona couple, one for them and one for a friend who’s moving away.
If you’ve bought a copy, especially if you bought one directly from me at a signing or talk, thank you! It’s been gratifying to meet people and take their money. That’s said jocularly, but it’s sincerely true too: To have people like my work enough to show up to an event to meet me, and to pay me for my book (as opposed to simply reading me as part of the newspaper), has been a real boost. The extra income is modest, but for a fella working in newspapers in the 21st century, and under a recessionary wage freeze, it’s been useful, believe me.
Where can you buy a copy if you don’t have one, or want another?
• In Ontario, the Daily Bulletin (perhaps you’ve heard of it? 2041 E. Fourth St.; if I’m here, or if you make an appointment, I’ll sign it for you), Newsboy Books (215 N. Euclid Ave.), Graber Olive House (315 E. Fourth St.), the Museum of History and Art (225 S. Euclid Ave.) and Vince’s Spaghetti (1206 W. Holt Blvd.);
• in Upland, the Cooper Museum (217 A St.);
• in Montclair, Barnes and Noble (Montclair Plaza);
• in Claremont, Rhino Records (235 Yale Ave.), Heirloom (175 N. Indian Hill Blvd.) and Barbara Cheatley Antiques (215 Yale Ave.);
• in Pomona, Magic Door Books (155 W. Second St.), the DPOA office (119 W. Second St.), the Glass House Record Shop (248 W. Second St.), the dA Center for the Arts (252 S. Main St.), Funny Business Comics (896 N. Garey Ave.) and the Ebell Museum of History (585 E. Holt Ave.).
I’ll update this list if new venues are added. As for a second book — a collection of columns is in the works for 2017.
In Friday’s column, I take another swing at exploring and debunking the folklore that Pomona turned down Walt Disney when he approached the city about building Disneyland. There’s no evidence to support it. The park’s 60th anniversary is Friday, by the way. Above, Sleeping Beauty’s castle is seen under construction (in Anaheim). Below is the 1997 Daily Bulletin article that addressed the matter, taken from the Pomona Public Library’s history collection folder labeled “Disneyland Myth.” Thanks to today’s column, they’ve got a fresh piece to fill out the folder.
King’s Fish House, 12427 N. Main St. (Victoria Gardens), Rancho Cucamonga
King’s is one of the original tenants from the launch of Victoria Gardens in 2004. It’s a chain with just 11 locations in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, the nearest one being in Corona. I’ve eaten at the VG one a few times over the years, usually when someone else is buying. (I ate there once with my parents, for instance.)
An editor owed me lunch recently after losing a work bet and, wanting to pinch his wallet a little but not too much, I chose King’s.
It’s in a prominent place, on the corner where many turn for the parking garage, and there’s plenty of seating, including a bar and a covered patio. The interior looks the same as I remember it, vaguely Art Deco. They were having a lobster promotion and a salmon promotion too.
I got lobster bisque ($5.75) and cedar plank salmon ($21). The friend buying my lunch opted for fish and chips ($16.50). He liked his dish. The bisque was a bit sweet, as the server had warned, due to cooking sherry (ooh la la). But it was fine. Ditto with the salmon, rice and veggies. The glaze wasn’t my favorite. But then, the whole lunch was all the sweeter because I wasn’t paying.
Still, maybe I missed my chance by not getting filet mignon and lobster tail ($45) or at least dessert. I am merciful in victory.
Not to be critical, but Monday’s read-a-thon of “To Kill a Mockingbird” at a Rancho Cucamonga bookstore was kind of a disaster. But at least I did my part, as did reader Will Plunkett. Wednesday’s column tells the tale. Photo of me by Will Plunkett; photos of Will Plunkett by me.
A playful Claremont tourism video mentioned recently in my column is the subject of a story in AdWeek, which says the company that made it, Wallop, did so in the style of director Wes Anderson (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Life Aquatic,” etc.) Who knew? Thanks to reader Bob House for the link.
A banner in Ontario International Airport behind the Travelers Aid information booth depicts those two bosom chums, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Ontario Mayor Paul Leon. Maybe they if actually met face to face, or side by side, we could get a resolution of the airport ownership issue (our mayor is a charming fellow), but this may be as close as we’ll see them. The previous, pre-Garcetti banner had Antonio Villaraigosa and Leon.
Sunday’s column is about the “Go Set a Watchman” novel by Harper Lee, a sequel of sorts to “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The new book is out Tuesday; the old one will be read aloud in a daylong event Monday at Barnes and Noble stores. If you can get to the Rancho Cucamonga store at 9 a.m., you can set, er, sit and watch me read the first chapter.
Or some of it, at least. I sat down Saturday at the Pomona Public Library to refamiliarize myself with that chapter. In the edition I picked up, it was 15 pages. I got a little tired of reading it silently and am not sure I’ll have the voice to read that much aloud. Also, the second and third pages, about the history of Maycomb, are kind of dull, and I could imagine eyes glazing over. But the chapter ends great, and I’ll see if I can get through the whole thing.
In a foray to a Chino City Council meeting, I cover the news that the city is buying the former Superior Court building across from City Hall. With the entire Civic Center in city hands, this could be the first step in selling the whole thing off and relocating. I tell the story in Friday’s column. Above, what you see when you look through the glassed front entry. I assume the five framed photos show the Board of Supervisors of 2012.
Afters Ice Cream, 13920 City Center Drive (the Shoppes at Chino Hills), Chino Hills
There aren’t many food items the Inland Valley is willing to line up for. Ice cream at Handel’s, especially on $1 cone days (Wednesdays in Upland, Thursdays in Rancho Cucamonga). Menudo on weekends, various locations. Maybe turkey legs at the Fair.
But there’s almost always a line out the door at Afters, a start-up ice cream parlor at the Shoppes. (The first Afters is in Fountain Valley; a third one is coming.) Part of that is demand, part is cleverness. There may always be 20 people in line, give or take, and that’s impressive. But the staff isn’t in a hurry to move them along, which means the line usually stretches outdoors. A well-connected friend says: “The strategy I’ve heard is, they have two cash registers, but they only open one. They know that a line creates buzz. It connotes popularity.”
I’ve been there three times since its opening in January. (Somehow Afters was able to locate across from Pinkberry, which makes me wonder if Pinkberry failed to get a non-compete clause in its lease.)
Afters makes its own ice cream, in creative flavors such as Vietnamese coffee, acai blueberry, milk and cereal, and cookie monster, and it offers some mix-ins. The thing to get is the milky bun. It’s a doughnut-like bun about the size of a hamburger bun, which they’ll cut open and put your ice cream in, then heat briefly. The bun is warm, the ice cream stays cold. A milky bun with one flavor and one mix-in is $5.
I’ve had jasmine milk tea (with mochi, below), mint monster (with Oreos, up top) and churro (with Cinnamon Crunch ice cream). Once I had the unglazed milky bun and switched back to glazed the next time. I ask the staff what mix-in they recommend with my flavor choice and go with that. They do this for a living, after all.
The result is like a soft ice cream sandwich. You can get ice cream sandwiches at Dripp, elsewhere in the Shoppes, and those are excellent, with homemade cookies and ice cream. The milky bun is unique, though, and while it’s not pie, it’s awfully good. If your attitude is, “Isn’t that just a doughnut with ice cream in it?”, my answer would be, “Basically, yes. And it tastes amazing.”
If the milky bun is too much for you, they sell their ice cream by the scoop.
Their spelling could use some work, I regret to say. Let’s hope no one is using this hashtag. *
* It turns out “No Ragrets” is a sly joke that began in the comedy “We’re the Millers.” See comments below.