At one time I believed, quite fervently, that the Beatles had spent secret time in the Inland Empire. In fact, they had recorded a portion of their “Magical Mystery Tour” album here.

That’s what I believed.

My evidence was the song “Blue Jay Way,” a song written by George Harrison that easily could have been inspired by the tranquil beauty of the picturesque community of Blue Jay, located near Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains.

That’s how misleading song titles and lyrics can be.

I later learned that there actually is a street called Blue Jay Way in Los Angeles, where George Harrison rented a house in 1968.

Darn. So much for that.

The only account I ever have heard of the Beatles straying into San Bernardino and Riverside counties is an account of their visit with Elvis Presley at his home in Palm Springs. They did a little informal singing in the living room and shared snacks in the kitchen, according to the story, which is told during tours of the house, offered daily year-round.

The house is at 1350 Ladera Circle, Palm Springs. More info: 760-322-1192, www.elvishoneymoon.com.


Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone becomes the latest lawmaker to suggest that California be split into separate states. It’s an idea that has been around for a long time. Here is some information culled from Internet sources:

Throughout California’s history, since statehood in 1850, there have been more than 220 attempts to divide California into two, three, four or even eight separate states, including at least 27 serious proposals that have gained at least some traction among lawmakers. There also have been calls for the secession of California from the United States and restoration of the California Republic.
Even before statehood, the South strongly pushed for a slave state in Southern California. The South reluctantly acceded to a single, free state in the Compromise of 1850.

In 1854, the California State Assembly passed a plan, never approved, to trisect the state with Northern California becoming the state of Shasta and Southern California becoming the state of Colorado (today’s state of Colorado did not come into existence until 1861), with the central state remaining California.

In 1859, still during California’s first decade of statehood, Assemblyman Andrs Pico, a Californio who had commanded the Mexican forces against the U.S. Army in 1846 at the Battle of San Pasqual, introduced a bill that would split California in two. Under Pico’s proposal, the northern part of the state would remain California, while the state’s five southernmost counties — Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo — would secede from the U.S. and be reconstituted as a federally-administered territory called Colorado. (Again, this was before the founding of today’s state of Colorado.)
The legislature and governor approved the Pico Act  but the federal government refused to act on it.
In the late 1800s, there was talk in Sacramento of splitting the state in two at the Tehachapi Mountains because of the difficulty of transportation over the range. The discussion ended when the Ridge Route highway was built, successfully transversing the mountains.

 For years the mountainous region of Northern California and parts of southwestern Oregon intermittantly joined forces to form a new state called Jefferson. In 1941, some counties in the region ceremonially seceded from their respective states to promote the proposal. The movement stalled when America entered World War II.

The California State Senate voted on June 4, 1965, to divide California into two states, with the Tehachapi Mountains as the boundary. Sponsored by State Senator Richard J. Dolwig (D-San Mateo), the resolution  passed 27-12. To be effective, the amendment would have needed approval by the State Assembly, by California voters, and by the United States Congress. The proposal did not get out of committee in the Assembly.

In 1992, State Assemblyman Stan Statham sponsored a bill to allow a referendum in each county on a partition of California into three new states: North, Central, and South California. The proposal passed in the State Assembly but died in the State Senate.

In 2003, during the successful gubernatorial recall campaign, there were unheeded calls for the central and northern regions of California to split into four new states, to be centered in the Bay Area, North Coast, Central Valley and Shasta/Jefferson region.
As recently as 2009, former State Assemblyman Bill Maze lobbied to split off 13 mostly liberal coastal counties into a separate state to be known as Coastal California or Western California. Maze’s rationale was that Los Angeles, San Francisco and other liberal enclaves control the state and “conservatives don’t have a voice.”

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, also concerned about the political alignment of the state, has called for Southern California’s mostly conservative counties to form a new state called South California that would exclude Los Angeles County.


More than 50 food trucks will roll into Ontario on June 18 for the inaugural Inland Empire Food Truck Fest at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Here’s the list:

Grilled Cheese Truck



White Rabbit



My Kabob Express

Fish Truck 



Greasy Wiener


Greek Gourmet ToGo

Piaggio Gourmet On Wheels




Sushi Van


Boba Truck

Meet N’ Potatoes

Chomp Chomp


Curbside Cravings


Mandoline Grill

Twist Burgers



Che’s Argentine Cuisine

Jodas Kitchen

Tropical Shave Ice




India Jones

Short Rib Taco

Tango Mango

Organic Oasis



Waffles de Liege


Longboards Ice Cream

Lime Truck

Chow Tacos

No Tomatoes


Balls On Tires

Suite 106 Cupcakery

Stella Pierre’s Gourmet Grub

So Hungry

Slammin’ Sliders

Valentino’s Pizza Truck




I worry about the youth of today who will become the leaders of tomorrow.

Most of them, anyway.

But I don’t worry about the kids at Lankershim Elementary School in San Bernardino. They are in good hands.

Gail Shaw is coordinator there of the most awesome career awareness program ever. It’s not just a Career Day, like most schools put on. No, it’s called a Career Awareness Week — a whole week, mind you — and it has been held each June for the past 17 years.

This year’s edition began Monday with an assembly program featuring musical entertainment and a pep talk by San Bernardino Councilwoman Virginia Marquez.

The action then moved to the classrooms where a huge cast of local working people has been taking turns all week visiting with students and talking about their jobs. The schedule includes more than 150 presentations, representing an amazing variety of vocations ranging from chaplain to farmer to engineer to restaurant manager to cop to disc jockey to public relations specialist to fire fighter to professional musician and many more.

I took my turn earlier today, speaking to about 60 third-graders about the news business. They asked good questions, and nobody fell asleep.

Who knows, one of them may grow up to be a journalist. Hey, he or she can take over this blog! I’m sure I’ll be blogged out by then. But I’ll be happy to let one of those sharp kids from Lankershim take over.



Robert Plant, the first of the golden-haired rock gods, who fronted Led Zeppelin, has sold a third of a billion albums, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, performs June 9 at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland.

Plant is no stranger to San Bernardino County. He has made quirky appearances at one of the smallest venues imaginable, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a honkytonk saloon in the desert north of Yucca Valley.

As it turns out, a number of rock ‘n’ rollers have some desert rat in them, and this is one of the places they like to come. Among the faces in the crowd: Eric Burdon, Leon Russell and Johnette Napolitano, lead singer of Concrete Blonde.

Here’s an item on Robert Plant that appeared in February 2006 in Tight But Loose: The Led Zeppelin Magazine (www.tblweb.com.uk):

More on the Robert Plant appearance last week at the small club Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, near Joshua Tree. Robert had been there the previous evening to see Wanda Jackson perform at the venue, and hearing of the loose jam atmosphere the next night, said he would call in. Sunday night features local friends and musicians who go under the name “Thrift Store All Stars.” The band did their first set and was joined at the end by Robert for a run-though of Elvis “Love Me Tender” and “Fever” and closing the first set with Zeppelin’s “Thank You.” After the band took a break they returned for a second set with Robert again joining them at the end for versions of  “Sea Of Love” and “Money,” after which Robert was handed the “tip jar” to pass amongst the hundred or so audience members. “If I Was A Carpenter” was next for the band, followed by “For What It’s Worth” and “Season Of The Witch,” before finishing off with the gospel song “Oh Happy Days.”

Here’s an item from the April 2011 issue of American Way, a magazine published by American Airlines:

About 125 miles east of Los Angeles and 32 miles north of Palm Springs, Calif., there is a cinematic mirage. Here, on the desert floor among the tumbleweeds and Joshua trees, lies an Old West-style town straight out of “Little House on the Prairie.” But one thing is not a hallucination: That long, curly mane of untamed locks that’s slinging sweat onstage at the tiny, little-known roadhouse in the center of “town” does indeed belong to Robert Plant. And, yes, he really is spitting out Zeppelin tunes for a mixed crowd of leather-clad bikers, urban hipsters and cane-wielding retirees.

It’s just another typical night at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. Pappy & Harriet’s mythological evolution from a film set “cantina” in the 1940s and ’50s to an outlaw biker burrito bar called Cantina in the ’70s to the Tex-Mex-flavored Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace during the ’80s might be the stuff of Hollywood legend. But thanks to its latest owners, two ex-New Yorkers from film and music backgrounds, its rising status over the last few years as an intimate, cult-classic venue where some of the world’s most recognizable musicians forget they’re famous and kick back and relax among fans and Santa Maria-style barbecue is approaching mythological.

On any given weekend night in Pioneertown (the town is best known as the backdrop for classic Western flicks and TV shows like the 1950s “The Cisco Kid”), you can stroll into Pappy & Harriet’s for some ‘cue and a cocktail, and perhaps sit by the fire chatting with the likes of Plant, the Arctic Monkeys, Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins) or Victoria Williams. All without the crowds, bodyguards or Ticketmaster. 53688 Pioneertown Road, 760-365-5956, www.pappyandharriets.com


In my June 8 print column I vowed not to miss the Robert Plant concert at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. It would be the Second Biggest Mistake of My Life, I said. It would be almost as bad, I said, as the Biggest Mistake of My Life, which was missing the Rolling Stones in San Bernardino, way back when. It’s a story I’ve told before, as seen here in a column of mine first published in November 2005. Please remember, as you read it, that it’s a six-year-old column. The Rolling Stones are not really appearing “tonight” at the Hollywood Bowl. But they were in 2005, when this column first appeared:

The British Invasion of the I.E.

   I’m heading to the Hollywood Bowl tonight to see the Rolling

   They probably won’t remember me.

   I sure remember them, though, and how they managed to gain a
prominent, permanent place in the pop history of San

   On the night of June 5, 1964, the Stones began their
first-ever tour of the United States with a performance at San
Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium.

   That’s right, their American debut took place right here in
the Inland Empire. Local promoter Bob Lewis had tried gamely,
but unsuccessfully, to book the Beatles for a San Bernardino
date. His negotiations were with a New York booking agency,
which offered him the Stones instead. He accepted the
consolation prize.

   I vividly remember the day of the concert. San Bernardino
radio station KMEN, sponsor of the event, hyped the Stones all
afternoon as “British bad boys” and “the ugliest band in

   Tickets for the concert, which co-starred the Byrds, were
$5. As it turned out, a less-than-capacity crowd of 3,500 fans
showed up at the Swing, but they were enthusiastic. They rushed
the stage four times as the Stones performed a set of 10 songs,
including the local audience favorite, “Route 66.”

   For me personally, the most amazing thing about the concert,
as I look back on it, is that I wasn’t there. True, I was only
15 at the time, and I had no wheels. Still, I should have been
in that crowd.

   Let me tell you why, and it’s a secret about me that few
know. I was president of the official Loma Linda chapter of the
Rolling Stones Fan Club, probably one of the first chapters in

   I had bought the debut Stones album, “England’s Newest Hit
Makers The Rolling Stones,” the day it came out in April 1964,
two months prior to the band’s appearance in San Bernardino.

   I had responded immediately to an offer, included with the
album, to start a fan club chapter. Soon I received, from
England, a kit that included stickers, posters, flyers and a
proclamation duly authorizing me to form a chapter.

   Which I did. I called it the Loma Linda chapter because
that’s where my family lived at the time. And I named myself

   I must confess, the chapter never amounted to much. I didn’t
do anything with the cool stuff I had received, except plaster
it all over my room. I didn’t muster any recruits, or schedule
any meetings or activities.

   In fact, I not only was the president, I was the sole

   And that’s not the only goofy thing I ever did when it comes
to the Rolling Stones. Let me reveal another little-known
secret about myself.

   The Stones returned three times to Swing Auditorium, in
October 1964, May 1965 and July 1966. And I didn’t make it to
any of those shows, either.

   On one occasion, though, I came close.

   My date and I were torn one night, in May 1965, between
going to the Swing to check out the Stones, or going to see the
new James Bond movie, “Thunderball.”

   Bizarrely, we chose “Thunderball.”

   How stupid was that? We could have seen “Thunderball” any
time. How many chances were we going to get to see the Rolling
Stones in San Bernardino?

   For me, none, as it turned out.

   I still look back on that as one of the dumbest decisions I
ever made.

   Hopefully, I’m making up for it tonight. The Stones are on
their umpteenth American tour, and I’m catching them during
their Southern California swing. They were at Angel Stadium on
Friday night, and they’re at Hollywood Bowl tonight and
Tuesday. Later in the week, on Friday, they perform at Petco
Park in San Diego.

   It’s too bad tickets aren’t $5, like in the old days.

   But you know, a lot of things haven’t changed a bit in 41

   Those guys are still the ugliest band in England.

   And to the best of my knowledge, having never officially
relinquished my post, I still am the president of the Loma
Linda chapter of the Rolling Stones Fan Club.


        1. Comedian Robert Orben: “A graduation ceremony is an event where
the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in
identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.”

        2. President Theodore Roosevelt: “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”

        3. Football coach Vince Lombardi: “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”

        4. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau: “Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.”
       5. Comedian Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

       6. Author Oscar Wilde: “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”
       7. Columnist and author Erma Bombeck: “Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries.”

       8. Comedian Woody Allen: “The future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock.”
        9. Bandleader Les Brown: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
        10. Author Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”


Charles Phoenix, Ontario-born and raised entertainer, uses his
immense collection of old photo slides to put on live stage picture
shows that offer hilarious and nostalgic trips back in time to the
Southern California of the 1950s and ’60s.

In addition to stage shows, Phoenix also has put his picture
collection to good use to create several books that are just as fun.
Here’s a look, culled from his website, www.charlesphoenix. com. The books are available at many Southland book shops, museum shops and gift shops, as well as from online booksellers.

The Charles Phoenix website, by the way, is a fun place to browse. You’ll find a “Slide of the Day” feature, plus
information on upcoming shows and tours, plus taped snippets of his many
appearances on TV with the likes of Conan O’Brien and Martha Stewart.


Americana the Beautiful:
Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome

(Angel City Press, 2006)

Charles Phoenix writes: While feverishly putting together Americana the Beautiful: Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome,
I was forced to ask myself the question: What is Americana anyway? Yes,
its baseball and apple pie but we all know there’s a lot more to it
than that! So I took a stab at trying to explain it in the book…

doesn’t discriminate between classic and kitsch, high-tech or homespun,
mass produced or one-of-a-kind, the authentic or make-believe. It draws
no borders between town and country. It embraces Mother Nature and
man-made, the future and the past. Americana is the essence of American


Southern Californialand:
Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome

(Angel City Press, 2004)

More than 170 spectacular images in living color. The best of
Phoenix’s collection of other people’s old slides show off “the land of
plenty” as the locals saw it through the lenses of their cameras in the
1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

Enjoy the stories and images of the Luer Quality Meat Rocket, Jalopy
races, monorails, Disneyland’s House of the Future, and the starfish
entrance at Pacific Ocean Park. See the Vista Dunes Trailer Park in
Indio, The Covina Bowl, Compton Drive-in Theater, Shriner’s Arabian
Bazaar, fast food stands, Muscle Beach, Tiki parties, and Mayor Motor
City Used Car Lot. You’ll even go behind the scenes of Cecil B.
DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” and much, much more.


Southern California in the 50s:
Sun, Fun, and Fantasy

(Angel City Press, 2001)

The mood is up, prosperity rules, and the standard of living is
flying high. With spectacular vintage brochures, postcards, graphics and
incredible never before seen color photos, you’ll see and learn about
Southern California’s golden era.

Experience the car-crazy culture, suburbia, shopping centers,
drive-ins, town & country, and space-age style. Tour Hollywood,
exotic places, animal attractions, mountain, desert and seaside resorts,
fairs, festivals, pageants and parades. Visit Knott’s Berry Farm,
Santa’s Village, Marineland, Pacific Ocean Park and Disneyland when they
were brand new.


Fabulous Las Vegas in the 50s:
Glitz, Glamour, and Games

with co-author Fred E. Basten
(Angel City Press, 1999)

Never-seen before vintage color photos, rare memorabilia, the best of
the old postcards and brochures with inspiring graphics take you on an
action packed, fun-filled tour of the glamorous early days of Las Vegas.

Experience the sex appeal, neon lights and hit the jackpot. See the
casinos, swimming pools, chuckwagon buffets, dining rooms, and showrooms
of all the legendary resort-casinos on Fremont Street and Las Vegas
Strip when they were brand new. Catch performances by Judy Garland,
Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Elvis, Liberace, Frank Sinatra and the Rat


Leis, Luaus, and Alohas:
The Lure of Hawaii in the 50s

with co-author Fred E. Basten
(Island Heritage, 1999)

Travel back in time and see all the famous places in pre-jet age Hawaii, from after World War II until statehood in 1959.

With amazing colorful and lush vintage photos and memorabilia, you’ll
relive glamour filled trips to the Islands. Enjoy Hawaiian hospitality,
fun in the sun, shopping, tiki gods, eating places, entertainment and
luaus in the days when tourists arrived in style by steamship or 9 1/2
hour flight from the West Coast. $40.


Cruising the Pomona Valley 1930-1970

(Horn of Plenty Press, 1999)
Now in its third printing!

With over 160 sites and 200 vintage photos, advertisements and
illustrations, Charles Phoenix takes you on a personal tour of his “home

Rediscover classic 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s modern and roadside
architecture, art, and attractions in the Southern California cities of
Pomona, Ontario, Claremont, and Rancho Cucamonga. Complete with maps,
this guide book shows you the way to the best of the Pomona Valley’s
landmarks, leftovers, and places that aren’t here anymore. $24.95


God Bless Americana
A Retro Vacation Slide Show Tour of the USA

(Graphics Arts Center Publishing, 2002)

Inspired by Charles Phoenix’s popular live RETRO VACATION TOUR OF THE
USA slide show, this colorful book was created with Kodachrome slides
taken by tourists on vacations and road trips in the 1940s, 50s, and

Time travel by plane, train, ocean liner and automobile. See the
classic sights, hilarious scenes, and bizarre situations that inspired a
generation of camera totin’ tourists to snap and click their way across
town and country. Visit kitschy tourist attractions, classic roadside
attractions, big cities, America’s heartland, national parks, tropical
shores, and “long lost relatives” along the way.


Clint Eastwood, Mickey Rooney, Michael Landon, Julie London, Eartha Kitt and a very young version of the Osmond Brothers were among the headliners at the 49th annual National Orange Show, held March 12-22, 1964, in San Bernardino.

It was my first Orange Show.

My family had moved West and settled in the Inland Empire the previous summer. I was 14. I started high school that fall. And when winter started giving way to spring, I noticed that everyone started buzzing about the Orange Show. That’s what people did back then. They buzzed about it, then they went to it, usually several times, and then they buzzed about it afterward.

The National Orange Show was a very big deal. It was the major event of the year in San Bernardino, and one of the major events of the year in all of Southern California. Visitors from L.A., Orange and San Diego counties joined visitors from all over the Inland Empire to attend.

I had a blast at my first-ever Orange Show. Browsing some old newspapers of the day helped to refresh my fond memories of those days.

Despite the fact that wind and rain disrupted Opening Day, and a major winter storm hammered the region on Closing Day, with drenching rain in the valley and heavy snow in the mountains, the 11-day festival attracted a record 346,343 visitors. It was the third record-setting year in a row. Proud show officials said that without that punishing storm on the final day, the attendance figure easily would have topped the 400,000 mark.

Probably so.

It was an interesting week in history. Jack Ruby was sentenced to death in the slaying of accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got married in Montreal. The swallows returned to Capistrano. On Sunday, March 15, Inland Empire teenagers crowded into San Bernardino’s California Theatre, as did other teens in other theaters all over the nation, to watch a closed-circuit screening of the Beatles performing their first American concert a month earlier at the old Washington D.C. Coliseum.

People weren’t just crowding into the California Theatre that day. They were crowding into the National Orange Show, as well. More than 66,500 people attended that Sunday. An aerial photo that appeared in the newspaper the next day showed every parking lot filled to overflowing. As it would turn out, almost each day of the festival would set a new single-day attendance record.

There was plenty of A-list entertainment to attract the crowds. Clint Eastwood, then a star of TV’s “Rawhide” series, took the Swing Auditorium stage on March 14 and told stories and performed in Western-themed comedy sketches. He even did a little soft shoe.

The Opening Night star, on March 12, was hometown girl Julie London, who grew up in San Bernardino and became one of the great torch singers of the era. She performed her signature song “Cry Me a River” and other hits during her Swing Auditorium set.

Other headliners during the festival included Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie, co-stars of TV’s “Dick Van Dyke Show,” who appeared on March 18, legendary accordianist Myron Floren and other popular stars of TV’s “The Lawrence Welk Show” on March 19, blues legend Eartha Kitt on March 20, TV’s “Bonanza” stars Michael Landon and Lorne Greene on March 21, and Mickey Rooney, who appeared on both March 21 and on Closing Day, March 22.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the Osmond Brothers, who performed on March 16. This was a very young Osmond Brothers, which included Alan, 13; Wayne, 11; Merrill, 9; Jay, 7; and Donny, 6.

In addition to showcase entertainment, there also was the usual fun fair stuff. There were four grand parades during the festival, and daily ostrich races. Citrus exhibits included elaborate depictions of historical scenes and famous landmarks including Roman chariot races and the canals of Venice, Italy, all formed out of artfully arranged fruits and flowers.

The midway featured a new ride, The Trabant, imported from Germany, which promised to whip, spin, tip and turn in every possible way all those who dared to strap themselves in. “This thing does everything but talk,” said one show promoter.

Reigning over the entire festival was the 1964 California Citrus Queen, Charlene Jacobs, a resident of the city of Orange, appropriately enough. Prior to winning her title in San Bernardino, she also had won the titles of Miss Orange, Miss Orange County and Miss Southern California. But winning the crown at the National Orange Show, she said, was the “biggest compliment of my life.”

Finally, we must not leave out mention of Mrs. Hazelle Sabatella of Calimesa, whose Orange Velvet Cake won top prize in the show’s baking contest sponsored by Sunkist Growers. Here’s her recipe:


6-ounce package chocolate chips
half cup boiling orange juice
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
half teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup orange juice
2 and a half cups sifted flour
2 tablespoons grated orange rind

Pour boiling orange juice over chocolate chips; let cool. Cream sugar, butter, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat until light and lemon colored. Add chocolate mixture and blend well. Dissolve baking soda in orange juice. Alternately add orange juice and flour to cake mixture and blend well. Lastly, fold in beaten egg whites and grated orange rind. Pour into three 9-inch wax paper lined tins. Bake in 350-degree oven for 35 minutes; allow to cool. This will yield three cake layers. Assemble and frost with orange coconut icing.


1 and a half cups sugar
eighth teaspoon cream of tartar
three-quarters cup orange juice
3 egg whites stiffly beaten
Dash salt
1 can Angel Flake coconut
2 tablespoons grated orange rind

Combine sugar, orange juice, cream of tartar and salt. Boil until syrup spins a thread. Pour over beaten eggs whites and beat until it holds a peak and is glassy. Spread between cake layers while assembling cake and then over top of cake. Sprinkle blended coconut and orange rind over top and sides of cake.


This attractive and refreshing salad is inspired by our region’s many wonderful harvest celebrations. It contains oranges, in honor of San Bernardino’s National Orange Show, and lemon, a nod to Upland’s Lemon Festival, and green olives, in tribute to Ontario’s wonderful Graber Olives, and cherries, a salute to Cherry Valley’s annual Cherry Festival, and dates, in recognition of the Indio Date Festival, and almonds, to commemorate the fact that pioneer San Gorgonio Pass almond growers helped form the 1910 cooperative that became Blue Diamond Growers, world’s largest tree-nut processing and marketing company.


2-ounce bag raw sliced almonds
Handful chopped dates
4 ripe, flavorful navel oranges, each one cut in half, then each half cut into three slices, then each slice sectioned into three or four orange pieces free of pulp. Reserve juice.
6-ounce can green olives, pitted, halved or quartered
16 ounces frozen pitted cherries, thawed but still cold
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
12-ounce bag chopped hearts of romaine lettuce
12-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salad vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 tablespoons reserved orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Empty almonds into a dry frying plan and lightly toast over medium heat,
stirring constantly. When nuts just begin to brown, remove immediately
from heat and continue stirring constantly for 60 seconds. Pour nuts
into a heat-safe bowl or dish and set aside.

Whisk dressing and toss with lettuce, spinach, onion, olives and dates in salad bowl. Add salt and pepper if desired. Drain cherries, if necessary, and scatter on top of greens. Drain orange pieces, if necessary, and scatter on top of cherries. Scatter most or all of the toasted almonds on top of the salad, without overly obscuring the fruit. Serve.