Restaurant of the Week: B & F Japanese

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B & F Japanese Restaurant, 3495 E. Concours St. (at Haven), Ontario; open for lunch and dinner weekdays, dinner only Saturdays and closed Sundays.

B & F is in a plaza off Fourth and Haven not far from our office, and a colleague had said something nice about it recently. When a friend who once lived in Japan wanted to meet for lunch, I suggested B & F.

The plaza is less visible than before due to the apartments that went up on the southwest corner — it used to be visible from Fourth — but then again, the center suddenly has a few hundred neighbors instead of an empty lot, and that’s gotta be good for business.

The restaurant is medium-sized, sushi bar off to the right, dining room to the left. We sat in the dining room. All the tables have heating elements on the top and range hoods overhead, and they seem like holdovers from a previous restaurant, as nothing on the menu looks like anything you would need to cook yourself, unless you decide your sushi is too raw.

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We got bento box lunches: sashimi and salmon teriyaki for him (top), nigiri sushi and garlic pork shogo yaki for me (above; $10 each). They came with small salads, fried tofu, a scoop of potato salad that was more like mashed potatoes, and orange segments, with a bowl of rice on the side and a bowl of miso soup to start.

What we had was acceptable, but nothing special, and it didn’t live up to the current four-star Yelp rating. The fish was sliced a little thin and wasn’t outstanding. That’s not to say something else on the menu might not be very good; people on Yelp rave about the amount of fish in the chirashi bowl.

The service was attentive and friendly. The restaurant doesn’t seem to be Japanese-run, which didn’t bother me or my friend, but might bother you. So, an okay spot, but unremarkable. You could get sushi just as good or maybe a little better down the street at Benihana.

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Column: Stone rolls into Upland as first woman mayor

Incoming Upland Mayor, Debbie Stone during the oath of office ceremony at the Upland City Council meeting, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Eric Reed/For The Bulletin/SCNG)

Incoming Upland Mayor, Debbie Stone during the oath of office ceremony at the Upland City Council meeting, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (Eric Reed/For The Bulletin/SCNG)

Wednesday’s column is a report from Monday night’s Upland City Council meeting, in which Debbie Stone became the city’s first woman mayor and Janice Elliott’s swearing-in as a councilwoman gave the council a female majority.

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The nighttime parade with Larry Wilmore

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The host of the former Comedy Central talk show “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” was grand marshal of Saturday’s Christmas parade in his hometown of Pomona.

Beforehand he was kept busy as people introduced themselves and asked him to pose for photos. I have to say, people’s photo-taking skills are rather poor, or maybe their celebrity-inconveniencing skills are high; Wilmore would freeze with a smile, arms around a fan or two, and whoever was taking a photo would act like they had all night, opening up their app, touching the screen, etc. One woman who looked as if she were going to take a picture stopped to take a call instead. “Phones are supposed to be faster than cameras,” Wilmore joked at one point. But he was a good sport about it all.

Because I’m not a pushy person, I never actually got to meet him, waiting a couple of times and giving up. (The fans were largely African-American and I felt like it probably meant more to them to meet him, even though I had interviewed him by phone in October.)

After the parade, he was walking away not far from me and I called out “Mr. Wilmore!,” but not with enough force for him to hear me. I decided, oh well. A few minutes later, talking to a friend at the Kiwanis food booth, the man suddenly said, “Bye, Larry,” as Wilmore had walked by behind me to get to his car. It obviously was not meant to be.

I did have the satisfaction later of Wilmore “liking” one of my tweets — so there’s that.

I was in the parade myself, riding in a 1929 Ford Model A roadster pickup driven by its proud owner, Terry Hoefler, as we made the circuit of Second Street, Park Avenue, Mission Boulevard and, briefly Garey Avenue. It’s fun being in a parade: Everyone’s in a good mood, smiling and happy. They wave at you, or will wave back if you wave and make eye contact.

Hoefler was impressed that so many people shouted my name, especially children, and asked if I were a teacher. Heh. I chalk most of it up to my name (“David Allen”) being on signs on both sides of the car. Reading comprehension among Pomona’s youth is outstanding, and my compliments to the Pomona Unified School District. To those who actually did know who I am, my thanks.

And merry Christmas.

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‘Getting Started’ is coming

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Since reader DebB asked, and people who’ve seen the change in my Twitter avatar have noticed, my second book is coming soon. Above is a promotional piece. The book collects the best of my first four years of Daily Bulletin columns, from 1997 to 2000. No, my best isn’t seven pages, but a generous 315. “Getting Started” may not come out precisely on Jan. 15, which is a Sunday, but look for news of a book launch somewhere to be determined.

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Column: Profs: Don’t think twice about Dylan’s Nobel, it’s alright

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As a Dylan fan, I’m excited for his Nobel Prize for Literature, not offended. So are two English professors at Pomona College who are very knowledgeable about his work. In advance of Saturday’s ceremony, we sat for a discussion for Friday’s column. Above, Jonathan Lethem, left, and Kevin Dettmar.

See how many Dylan references you can spot in the column. I doubt too many will find all 24, but even if you don’t recognize the sources, most of them stand out — but hopefully don’t overwhelm the column.

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Restaurant of the Week: Taqueria El Sol

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Taqueria El Sol, 2129 N. Towne Ave. (at La Verne), Pomona; open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

I’ve passed Taqueria El Sol for years; it’s on Towne Avenue a couple of blocks north of the 10 Freeway, and I had wondered if it was any good without ever stopping to investigate. But then someone recommended it, and when a Pomona pal wanted lunch, I chose it.

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It’s small, and fast-food style, but homey; the owner came to our table (we were waiting for a third person who never showed) to chat, and I asked if they had specialties. They do: al pastor, which is marinated pork, and pork leg.

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So my friend got al pastor tacos ($8 as a plate) and I got a pork leg torta ($7). We were both satisfied. “That was really good!” my friend exclaimed. “I would come back here.” Me too. I liked my sandwich and the vibe of the place, and it’s even freeway-close.

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The salsa is too potent for me, but the presentation was nice, with paddles no less, and a side of radishes and limes. The menu is simple, with $6.25 breakfasts and $7.79 plates. It’s family run, open since 2003 and with Guadalajara-style food. To answer my original mused question, yes, it is good.

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Column: Claremont bakery’s story has many layers

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Wednesday’s column begins with a feature on Some Crust Bakery in Claremont. It’s been there 35 years but is part of a baking tradition at that address dating to 1916. After that is an anecdote from another iconic Village business, the Folk Music Center, and a Culture Corner item disguised as a Valley Vignette.

Above, the scene outside the bakery Tuesday morning; below, general manager Scott Feemster takes a look at what’s bakin’ inside the 1940s oven one day last month.

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Reading Log: November 2016

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Books acquired: none

Books read: “Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan,” Howard Sounes; “Positively Fourth Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina and Richard Farina,” David Hajdu; “Positively Main Street: An Unorthodox View of Bob Dylan,” Toby Thompson; “Gentlemen of the Road,” Michael Chabon.

I hit the road in November, reading books with “highway,” “street” (twice) and “road” in the titles. (In real life I didn’t stray far.) Three are biographical studies about Bob Dylan, the much-traveled singer-songwriter, each with titles spun off his songs, while the fourth is a novel.

Let me say from the outset that I’m a major Bob-head who owns all the albums and has read many of the books. I also own a bunch I haven’t read. The Nobel announcement prompted me to read one in October, and that created the momentum that made me want to keep reading. The Sounes bio, published in 2001, has been on my shelves most of that time, and it’s likely the definitive Bob-ography. So if I had an urge, finally, to read it, and others, it was an urge worth pursuing.

It’s light on chin-stroking and guesswork and heavy on facts about his life, including the revelations that he’d married a second time and had a sixth child, and also that he owns a coffeehouse in Santa Monica. Go elsewhere for insights about the music, but come here for a last roundup of childhood friends, Village folkies and ex-lovers. Intriguingly, family members contributed on the sly.

The Hajdu book came out the same year. I went in knowing little about Mimi and Richard Farina, and skeptical they merited equal attention with Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, but this thoroughly researched book (with an interview-by-fax with Richard’s pal Thomas Pynchon!) brings the lesser-known Farinas to life. It also scrubs some gloss off the Dylan legend, offering the novel theory that he didn’t really find himself until ’64 and his fourth album.

Circa 1969, Thompson had the novel idea of visiting Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota to interview people who knew him as a boy before he began obscuring his past. The hard information herein could probably be condensed to one chapter, so the book is more about Thompson and his pilgrimage, and the novelty of learning, say, “this is where Bob got hot dogs with the gang.” It’s naive, lame and self-absorbed — and a little embarrassing as he and Dylan’s high school girlfriend get chummy — but kind of fun anyway.

To get another “road” book in, and one that’s not about His Bobness, I read Chabon’s 2007 novel “Gentlemen of the Road,” a modern, literary attempt at a swords-and-sandals-type adventure novel. I’d say it was a way of leavening this month’s Reading Log, but since Chabon’s working title was “Jews With Swords,” maybe unleavening would be more accurate.

Anyway, and to my dismay, the giddiness of the opening chapters faded for me into a story that I was anxious to have end. Sincerely done, but I don’t think it lives up to its pulp influences.

The Chabon book was bought at Borders; the others were purchased used between 2002 and 2010, although I’ve forgotten the details. At least they’re from this century. They also constitute books 34, 35, 36 and 37 of 2016.

If you’ve read any of mine, chime in, but otherwise, share what you read in November.

Next month: books 38, 39 and 40.

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