Claremont’s Specialty Food Shops

By Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS.com

Hallmarks of a thriving food community include a diverse set of culinary influences and unique perspectives. Claremont’s breadth and depth has now advanced to the point that shops and cafés are opening with a singular focus. Discover 10 of Claremont’s top places for specific foods and drink experiences.

à la minute

Ryan Berk and wife Cassi, the couple behind Parliament Chocolate, prove they aren’t a one-sweet wonder with à la minute, the ice cream concept where scoops are made to order in a dramatic liquid nitrogen flourish. Creamy, refreshing flavors include fresh mint chip with Parliament Chocolate shavings and lemon custard made with local candied peels. Savory butternut squash black garlic is more experimental, topped with burnt sugar syrup. Fruit-forward sorbets include strawberry topped with strawberry compote and orange spooned with clover honey water. Parliament snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies help form ice cream sandwiches, and they team with adjacent Augie’s Coffee House by serving a toddy float with cold brew coffee and vanilla bean ice cream. 532 W. 1st St., www.alaminuteicecream.com

Augie’s Coffee House

Augie’s is a specialty coffeehouse that joined fellow Redlands import à la minute in the Packing House, a former citrus packing facility. Their shared space involves a sloped corrugated metal roof with skylight, twin counters with yellow metal stools, and a central communal wood table. Business names are branded in black tile on a white backdrop. Baristas utilize Redlands-roasted beans in a snazzy red and blue two-group La Marzocco espresso machine, drip coffee, pourover coffee, and cold brew. Parliament Chocolate, à la minute’s sister company, makes chocolate and caramel for Augie’s espresso drinks. 532 W. 1st St., 909.798.2255, www.augies.coffee

Bert & Rocky’s Cream Company

Bert & Rocky’s is a Claremont Village ice cream parlor and sweets shop that feels much older than the 1998 born on date. Dozens of different ice creams, sorbets, and sherbets fill bins. House-made drumsticks involve sugar cones full of ice cream that are frozen, dipped in chocolate and crushed almonds and wrapped in “Joy” paper. We chose raspberry cheesecake ice cream, though you can also order orange blossom or the Elvis special with banana folded with peanut butter. A hand-written chalkboard touts plenty of other tempting treats, including shakes, malts, ice cream sodas and floats, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, and ice cream sandwiches They also sell marshmallow treats, caramel apples, and candy. 242 Yale Ave., 909.625.1852, www.bertandrockys.com

Cheese Cave

A silver cow wearing a fashionable hat signals your arrival at this cheese store and gourmet market from sisters Lydia Clarke and Marnie Clarke. Cheese plates are of course readily available, along with packaged ingredients and specialty chocolate. They make three different grab-and-go sandwiches daily and generally sell out quickly. Sandwiches come on light buttered French baguettes from a Pomona bakery, served with a choice of corn nuts or cornichons. We opted for Fra’mani mortadella with cornichons and Red Dragon mustard seed and brown ale cheddar from Wales. Other options involved mozzarella with marinated tomatoes and balsamic vinegar; and San Simeon Colby with Mama Lil’s pickled peppers. 325 Yale Ave., 909.625.7560, www.claremontcheese.com

Claremont Craft Ales

Simon Brown and wife Emily Moultrie teamed on Claremont Craft Ales in the Claremont Industrial Complex in 2012 with cousins Brian and Natalie Seffer. Since opening, they’ve dialed in the experience, adding communal wood tables and bar with colorful steel seats and stools and upping their house beer selection to 24 taps. A recent visit yielded creative, flavorful beers like Farm to Foam, summer ale with basil and lemon peel; Raspberry Gose, a tart and salty wheat ale; and Pepper & Peaches, a punchy IPA with peaches and pink peppercorns. 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., 909.625.5350, www.claremontcraftales.com

I Like Pie Bakeshop

Annika Corbin founded I Like Pie Bakeshop in 2012, specializing in individual servings on Claremont Village Square. The selection changes constantly, but includes a wealth of sweet and savory pies. If you’re lucky, they’ll serve apple custard pie with sweet-tart fruit seasoned with cinnamon and brown sugar and a top crust with a swirl of icing. Seasonal selections could include eggnog custard or chicken pot pie. They also sell flaky hand pies loaded with fillings like mixed berry: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, plus cherries. Pair your pie with Intelligentsia coffee or Dr. Bob’s ice cream. 175 N. Indian Hill Blvd., 909.621.5152, www.ilikepiebakeshop.com

Ironbark Ciderworks

Australia native Cat Fleming and husband Jim Coffman run this cider bar across the Claremont Industrial Complex parking lot from Claremont Craft Ales. Their welcoming space features a round pink bar with red stools, copper rounds with pink chairs, white art-lined walls, and small patio. Ironbark is named for an Australian hardwood, but the 10 ciders are easy to drink. The naturally sweet, crisp, and probiotic-rich ciders hover around 7% ABV and may include Earl Grey tea infused Duchess, Citra-hopped Hoppelganger, and beautifully tart black currant Sassy Simpson. Ciders are available in 16-ounce pints, 12-ounce middies, 5-ounce tasters, flights of five 5-ounce pours, and growler fills. 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., 909.292.5384, www.ironbarkcider.com

Packing House Wine Merchants

This wine shop and bar from Sal Medina and wife Ev Sauceda resides at the former College Heights Lemon Packing House. The glass-fronted space contains high-top tables, a worn bar, exposed rafters, and aisles devoted to wines in categories like New Zealand, Rhône Blends, and Spain. Packing House sells 27 wines by the glass and hosts Mid Week Tastings of 1.5-ounce pours organized by themes like Aromatic Whites and Reds, Reds & More Reds. By night, chef Noah Lutz’s food program is fairly ambitious, starting with plates of cheese and cured meats and rising to the level of bigger plates like bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with purple sweet potato puree, charred savoy cabbage, roasted apples, and raisin bourbon sauce. Yes, that’s half of a roasted cauliflower plated with cauliflower puree, tahini, garlic lemon oil, paprika, and chives. Suggested wine pairings are of course readily available. 540 W. 1st St., 909.445.9463, www.packinghousewines.com

The Sweet Swirl

Churro swirly sundaes and waffle sticks are now available near the Auto Center. On white tiles, above a sea of frozen yogurt machines, pink neon reads, “Chill Out Eat Yogurt.” Remaining square footage teams aqua, white, and pink walls with wood bench and stool seating and plenty of potted plants. Frozen yogurt and a counter full of colorful toppings cost 49 cents per ounce at the time of our visit, or order trendy Churro Swirl Sundaes topped with crushed cookies and cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, and Oreos. “Berry Berry” plants strawberry glazed churros coated with Fruity Pebbles in vanilla soft serve yogurt with fresh strawberries. 450 Auto Center Dr., 909.399.3397

Some Crust Bakery

This classic Claremont Village bakery dates to 1916. Sandie Feemster and husband Larry have owned Some Crust since 1997. Their space features pennants for all of the Claremont Colleges on the wall. A fully loaded pastry case and back counter hosts an array of cookies, croissants, muffins, and breads. Chocolate raspberry croissant is particularly good, overflowing with crumbled chocolate and tart raspberry jam. Boysenberry pinwheel fills four quadrants with sweet-tart fruit and comes topped with a drizzle of icing. A second side holds red tables and counter, a full brew bar featuring Monkey & Coffee Company beans, and sandwiches on house-baked bread. 119 Yale Ave., 909.621.9772, www.somecrust.com

Tocaja

Tocaja is a “simply happy” tea parlor in Claremont Village, the collective effort of Tony, wife Caroline, and sister in law Jasmine, who all hail from Taiwan, a country with strong tea culture. Pipe and wood shelves line canary yellow walls, and a back patio touts a fountain and mural of the great outdoors. Specialty tea drinks include a Devil’s Kiss: black tea with hibiscus, lime, orange, and mint; and Angel’s Kiss: caffeine-free ginger pear tea with hibiscus, lime, orange, and mint. Accentuate basic teas like black, jasmine, and oolong with dollops of sea salt cream, a rich blend of whole milk, hand-whipped cream, and sea salt dusted with matcha powder. Get any iced tea drink with boba (tapioca balls). They also sell croissant sandwiches, purple yam and red velvet waffles, Cake Monkey pastries, and Klatch Coffee. 303 Yale Ave., 909.626.8883

VOM FASS

Claremont Village business owners Kim Peeples and Denise Solis franchised VOM FASS, a spirit, balsamic vinegar, oil, and wine store that started in Germany. The name translates to English as “from the barrel,” and you’re encouraged to sample from any container or cask before you buy. Color-coded clay urns contain over a dozen different olive oils, plus more esoteric oils like black cumin, olive oil, and avocado. Suggested pairings include lemon extra virgin olive oil with date balsamic, or argan oil with pomegranate balsamic vinegar. Casks hold spirits like Mortlach Speyside single malt Scotch, Armagnac X.O. 25, and rye whiskey. Distilled spirits include Absinthe Libertine 72, violette liqueur, and chai vodka. Bottles range from 100 ml to 1 liter for oils and vinegars, and 100 ml to 750 ml for spirits and liquors. 101 N. Indian Hill Blvd., 909.399.0256, www.claremont.vomfassusa.com