Column: Documentary paints picture of Claremont art scene

A documentary, “Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975,” has its world premiere Sunday in Claremont (where else?). Friday’s column gives the details on that and a quick primer on the theme. Also, there are two cultural notes, and an item about an Ontario walking tour Saturday. I’ll be there selling my book.

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Restaurant of the Week: Wahfles

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Wahfles, 1502 Foothill Blvd. (at Wheeler), La Verne; also 5751 N. Pine Ave. (at Butterfield), Chino Hills

My colleague Pete Marshall alerted me to the existence of Wahfles, a dessert and coffee house in La Verne, which opened in February. It turns out the original opened a year ago in Chino Hills. It’s a mom-and-pop. One recent morning I ventured to the La Verne location, which is in the Vons center, for breakfast.

Well, it’s not really a breakfast spot. (It’s no Waffle House.) They have some lunch waffle sandwiches and dessert waffles. Other than a coffee bar, the only thing that works for breakfast is one waffle. I had that: the Breakfast Sammy ($4.45), with ham, Swiss, fried egg, mayo and honey mustard. It was cut in half and could be eaten like a sandwich. And was. Very good.

I liked the vibe of the place: dark wood tables, rugs, some leather chairs, a sofa, a coffee table, magazines to read and locally produced art on the walls. So I returned one afternoon for a dessert waffle, the kind that make up the rest of the menu.

Mine had speculoos (described as “cookie butter” — what’s not to like?), bananas, ice cream, whipped cream and cinnamon sugar ($4.45 for a half, $5.95 for a full; I got the half). Delicious. Rather than get a fancy beverage, I cheaped out with a free water from a dispenser on the counter.

Wahfles (there’s an umlaut over the “a,” incidentally) is a neat addition to the area. Their website has a menu.

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‘Bar Rescue’ now in Upland

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A hookah bar at 1276 W. Seventh St. in Upland is the latest site for a makeover by the “Bar Rescue” reality-TV series. The Palace, which has had several names over the years, is undergoing its “stress test” tonight (Wednesday) before closing under its current look. After the show’s usual blitz remodel, the new look will be unveiled Saturday.

It was just Sunday that the episode aired about Pomona’s Friar Tuck’s, now Stein Haus. But that one was taped last December. Nice to have them back in the 909, and so soon.

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Postcard perfect above Upland

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I was in the northern reaches of Upland on Friday when I decided to eat at Giuseppe’s a little further north in San Antonio Heights. Afterward, at my car, I noticed the church across the street, its white paint and quaint style standing out against the mountain and greenery rising behind it, and had to take a photo.

What sort of church, though: Methodist? Congregational? Nope. A sign identifies it as Elevation of the Holy Cross, Romanian Orthodox Church. Impressive.

Obviously the building predates the current denomination. Nosing around online, I found a copy of the April 2013 issue of the San Antonio Heights community newsletter. It explains that the church began as Community Church in 1906 — although 1916, the date Megan Hutter gives in her “Images of America” history of San Antonio Heights, may be more reliable.

The great-great-grandmother of current resident Barry Turner donated the church to the community. Also, “this was the location of the first stop for trolley cars coming up Euclid Avenue in the early history of San Antonio Heights.”

When the congregation outgrew the building, it served as a chapel and was used for weddings. The building was known as the Chapel of the Wildwood. It was acquired in 2010 by the Romanian Orthodox Church, which was founded in L.A. in 2001. Services apparently began in 2013. They have services Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.

And the church looks lovely 24/7.

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Welcome to San Antonio Heights

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There’s a new welcome sign in San Antonio Heights. It’s at Euclid Avenue and 24th Street, outside the fire station, and as impressed reader Martin Hildreth puts it, the sign gives the corner “presence and impact.” He sent me the above photo and writes:

“Rudy Esparza (Upland) took the photo this morning with the San Antonio Walkers and dogs in force: left to right, Barry Turner (SA Heights), Michael Liu (Ontario), Martin Hildreth (Upland), Stan Dolinski (Upland) and Rusty Cushing (Upland).”

He adds that Supervisor Janet Rutherford is responsible for the sign.

I hope sensitive Heights residents won’t mind that I’ve posted this photo in the “Around Upland” category. After all, the Heights are “around,” i.e., near Upland. Or should I create a new category, “Above Upland”?

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Column: Citrus grove, and way of life, uprooted in Rancho Cucamonga

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Sunday’s column is about the development of the Wilson ranch, a 7-acre property in Alta Loma. A video (with my first attempt at narration) is attached to the online version of my column and can also be seen here.

Above is the view on Friday from Ramona. Below is the nearly identical view from mid-January, when I first visited; below that is the view that same day from Archibald (the “disturbance in the Force” that I mention in the column). Wish I had some “before” pictures.

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Column: ‘Bar Rescue’ storms the Friar Tuck’s castle on Sunday

Friday’s column presents a series of items, starting with word of the long-awaited episode of “Bar Rescue” taped in Pomona. Also: “Criminal Minds” sets an episode in Diamond Bar, a 1920s airliner is in Chino, I’ll be signing my book Sunday in Upland, I made a cameo in a play in Claremont and a birthday will be celebrated (i.e., mine).

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Restaurant of the Week: Hoch-Shanahan, Harvey Mudd

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Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Blvd. (at Dartmouth), Claremont

I’ve dined and dished about the dining halls at Claremont McKenna, Scripps and Pitzer colleges in Claremont, but I’d never been to Mudd’s until last week, when I ventured there for lunch with a friend at the colleges.

Mudd evidently didn’t have a cafeteria until 2005, when Hoch-Shanahan opened. The LEED-certified Dining Commons, as it’s known, is 28,000 square feet and boasts “open exhibition kitchen areas, seating for nearly 500, a state-of-the-art pizza oven and a rotisserie oven,” according to the college; hours, pricing and more are on the same page.

Aesthetically, it’s among the best of the cafeterias, with a high ceiling, big windows and lots of natural light, similar to McKenna’s. Mudd may get the edge because its setup is so user-friendly. For one thing, there’s an electronic menu board above each food station, letting you decide quickly based on the offerings if you want to get in line.

Items this particular day included pizzas, flatbreads, rotisserie chicken and pho, the Vietnamese beef noodle soup. They also had burgers and other sandwiches, a salad bar and more.

I got flatbread, pizza, chicken with sauteed mushrooms, mushroom caps stuffed with spinach, and a salad; my friend had some of the above plus the soup, creamy potato green chile.

“On a consistent basis, the soups are really good,” my friend said. “At Pitzer they have two soups a day; here they have three.”

She pointed out two other features that may be unique to Mudd: an Icee machine and a Karl Benjamin painting. Both classy touches.

For dessert, they had fresh-baked cookies, three kinds of fancy ice cream, strawberry shortcake, chocolate pudding, brownies and more. Cost for lunch: $13 for guests like me. Pretty good for all you can eat, and the food is really good. They even have a rack of newspapers, including the New York Times, to read.

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Column: U.S. Grant’s ‘Personal Memoirs’ made for good reading, generally

Wednesday’s column, promised last week in my Reading Log post, is about General Grant’s autobiography. It’s also kind of about procrastination, obligation and guilt, as the book was assigned for a college class in 1986 but never read until now. And maybe it’s a little bit about favorite teachers.

By the way, for space reasons, I cut a couple of stories despite loving them both. This picks up after the paragraph about some of his asides involving his early schooling and his proposal of marriage:

He tells a funny story on himself at age 8. Following his father’s strict instructions, the future president offers a price for a neighbor’s horse: “Papa says I may offer you $20 for the colt, but if you won’t take that, I am to offer $22.50, and if you won’t take that, to offer $25.”

Politically, Grant asserts that changing circumstances a century after the U.S. Constitution mean that one shouldn’t rely too much on the framers’ intent.

“The instantaneous transmission of messages around the world by means of electricity,” Grant writes concerning the telegraph, “would probably at that day have been attributed to witchcraft or a league with the Devil.”

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