At the Big Boy press conference Thursday at Fairplex, the photographer known as Ren snapped a shot of me scribbling notes after an interview. That’s not the Big Boy in the background but rather a 1909 Sunkist locomotive. The woman in the vest has donned sunglasses to shield her eyes from the glare off my head.
The world’s largest steam locomotive, Big Boy No. 4014, on Thursday began its journey out of the Rail Giants train museum at Pomona’s Fairplex, its home since 1962, to Wyoming. But it’s a slow journey, as the locomotive isn’t functional and it’s being towed as track can be laid. Friday’s column has the details. The Big Boy was the subject of a column in August. You can watch a 45-second video from Thursday here.
Roscoe’s Famous Deli, 14700 Pipeline Ave. (at Chino Hills Parkway), Chino Hills
You can’t get chicken and waffles at this Roscoe’s, a sandwich shop and bar in suburban Chino Hills that seems to share DNA with Claremont’s Heroes, at least its original incarnation, and Beer Belly Deli: sports on TV, peanuts on the table, peanut shells on the floor and giant portions of food. It’s one of those places of which people say, “You won’t leave hungry.”
I met three friends there for lunch on a recent Saturday. Mugs of water 8 inches tall were placed before us. “You won’t leave thirsty,” one friend quipped.
I got the meatloaf sandwich ($12, below) with curly fries. It was turkey meatloaf and provolone on a French roll, really good. The others liked their sandwiches too: the Martini ($12), which was chicken and mozzarella on parmesan bread; Your Godfather ($11, bottom), capicolla, prosciutto, salami and pepperoni (“the spiciness was a delicious surprise,” he said) on a French roll; and the veggie ($9), avocado, provolone and more on squaw bread. The latter two diners took home half their meal for later. I could have, and maybe should have. But I didn’t eat dinner, so it all worked out.
“My wife says the portions and prices are too much, but I like it,” declared the Martini orderer. He did not follow up with a belch.
The menu has many more sandwiches, plus burgers, hot dogs, salads and a few dinner entrees.
The walls have funky signs and there’s an attic-like feel to the decor reminiscent of Beer Belly Deli. The restaurant was busy, but our modest needs for service were met. Like Heroes (now Heroes and Legends), the atmosphere is a little amped-up for my taste, but the food’s good and it’s a fun spot to meet friends.
Downtown Pomona’s ticket machines for its parking lots have been controversial since their installation in 2012, as many people don’t notice the signs or realize they have to check in at the machines and thus get a $58 ticket for time that would have cost $1 or $2. Some 1,000 parking tickets per month are being issued. But the system’s perceived failings run much deeper, into unexpected territory: poor spelling.
A recently installed parking lot sign, above, said rules would be “strickly” enforced. A business owner who is a stickler for good English pointed out the mistake and a strict official made sure the error was fixed — but not before a photo could be snapped for posterity.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I have searched for free street parking to avoid parking in the lots because I didn’t want to have to figure out the technology, but on a recent Sunday I resolved to try it out. Shockingly, when I examined my receipt I learned that I had “payed.”
Is it possible that this misspelling of “paid” has been on every receipt since February 2012, probably tens of thousands of them, and nobody — nobody official, at least — has noticed?
Suggestion for City Hall: Use some of the proceeds from your $58 parking tickets to buy spelling primers!
Seats at Monday’s Upland City Council meeting were scarce, but a chair with a view was provided for me. There was plenty to see — and do. Wednesday’s column has the details.
Pop culture entertainer Charles Phoenix showed slides of midcentury bowling alleys, car washes, tiki apartments, ranch houses, dairies, donut shops, laundries and coffee shops Sunday in an event organized by Claremont Heritage. An L.A. resident who grew up in Ontario, he had slides from all around Southern California, with loads from the Inland Valley.
Local sites mentioned were Griswold’s, Betsy Ross, La Paloma, Tugboat Annie’s (“the best restaurant in Claremont,” he quipped), the Folk Music Center, the Chaffey High tiger, the Fair’s monorail and Fine Arts Building, the downtown Pomona mall, Scripps College’s Garrison Theater, the Bowlium (“science fiction style with a little Fred Flintstone thrown in”), Tate Cadillac, White Front, Valley Drive-In, Magic Lamp Inn (“I don’t know who built it, but they were pretty drunk when they did”), Santa’s Village, Northwoods Inn, and the Colby Kai and The Claremont apartments in Claremont.
Above, Phoenix discusses the unusual design of the old Hot Dog Show stand in Ontario. “I want to ask the owner, did you ever step back and see what your designer gave you? It looks like a rather large person wearing red and white tights is squatting over your stand! That makes those halo’d, floating hot dogs especially unappetizing.”
He did have a serious message, of sorts, about the surviving examples of the above and why we ought to save them: “Don’t you guys think people in the future might want to see it?” Indeed.
Sunday’s column is a profile of Upland resident Beverly Hutchinson regarding her backyard garden, started last summer after a panel discussion at the Upland library moderated by yours truly. How could I resist writing about her? A one-minute video of Hutchinson, in which she gives me a tour of her garden, can be seen here.
Two events this next week, part of Pomona’s community read of “Farewell to Manzanar,” relate to Pomona’s own role in the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. That and other items, from Upland, Claremont and Chino Hills, make up Friday’s column.
Pappas Artisanal Sandwiches, 2232 D St. (at Second), La Verne; brunch only on Sundays.
Taking over the former Dillons BBQ and Phoenix Garden spot, Pappas opened in early 2013 in downtown La Verne. I heard good things and checked it out recently with two avowed fans. I was not disappointed.
The interior is brick, open and loft-like, with seating that includes high wooden communal tables. Nice ambience. You order at the counter. The menu, which changes frequently, has sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups and pastas, plus eight beers on tap, more in bottles, and wines, as well as housemade iced teas, cookies and other neat items.
I had the al pastor as a “potato nest,” meaning on crisp potatoes rather than on their housebaked bread ($9.25) and a mint cucumber tea ($2.50). My friends got a tuna melt ($8.45), a burger with egg and bacon ($12) and an ice cream sandwich ($4.75).
The al pastor itself was good, but the nest didn’t work: too many potatoes, not enough vegetables. Could be I should have mixed it. Lesson learned. I wish I’d noticed the tuna melt on that day’s menu, which my friend loved; careful readers may recall tuna melts as my baseline sandwich. The burger and ice cream sandwich were said to be very good. Oh, and I enjoyed an oatmeal cookie with white chocolate and cranberries ($1.50).
I returned another day for lunch, ordering the half-sandwich/soup combo ($8.50): an albacore sandwich, fresh and delicious, and creamy jalapeno chicken soup, like cream of chicken soup with a mild kick. Really good.
Might be a touch pricey for University of La Verne students, but the faculty are among those who’ve adopted Pappas. “It’s very urban. It doesn’t make me feel like I’m in the suburbs,” one friend said approvingly. I’d put it in a rare class of local restaurants where they care about quality, seasonal ingredients.