Story courtesy of Claremont Courier

Just over a year ago, when co-owner Madelyn Dillon first went into business with her father Thomas Rohde, she never thought Citrus Grove Distillers (CG Distillers) would pivot to create a different kind of product. But that was before a once in a lifetime pandemic changed the way we all live.

Now, instead of producing spirits in a 300-gallon vat named “Bertha,” Ms. Dillon’s business is focusing on making hand sanitizer for the masses. And back in March when hand sanitizer was in short supply, it became obvious that CG Distillers made exactly the right move.

Like other businesses when the stay at home orders were put in place, CG Distillers closed to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“It was a shock to our system, we weren’t ready to shut down,” she said. Ms. Dillon was not only concerned about remaining in business, but also how she could keep the jobs for her beloved employees.

Finally, one of her customers who happened to be a nurse started talking about the severe shortage of hand sanitizer. She heard that another distillery converted to make it and thought, why not us? Within a couple of weeks they secured permits to make the conversion.

Modifying the equipment was not hard, although they did get help from Coca Cola to provide 275-gallon containers called totes to produce enough fermentation to get the process started. It was a true team effort because the need was so great.

Once word got out they were in the sanitizer business, organizations like San Antonio Regional Hospital, USPS, the Air Force and dozens of nurses came to them needing help. And just like that, “Bertha” was producing thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer.

There are significant added costs involved in producing hand sanitizer. It impacted their electric and water bills significantly. It’s not surprising they have a $900 a month water bill and up to a whopping $2,500 electric bill to keep the equipment running.

But that has not stopped Ms. Dillon, who sells their hand sanitizer just above cost to keep the lights on and employees paid. CG Distillers was also a recipient of Claremont’s small business grant program.

Even now that demand has leveled out, there’s still a need to produce quality hand sanitizer at competitive prices. With a future still murky because of the coronavirus, Ms. Dillon remains happy that her business can contribute to the common good in a time of need.

– by Peter Weinberger 

The Folk Music Center has announced temporary, limited hours. The Center is open for service Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Its repair shop is open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please call 909-624-2928 for more information.

Visit folkmusiccenter.com for information about the Center and its storied history.

California Botanic Garden (CalBG) has partnered with Bert & Rocky’s Cream Company in Claremont to create three unique flavors of ice cream that incorporate California native plants grown and harvested at CalBG. Participants of Freeze Wild will receive three pints, including these specialty flavors:

  • Coyote Mint Chip: breezy coyote mint against the backdrop of chocolate chip ice cream 
  • Coastal Sage Yum: vanilla has never been more daring with this addition of Cleveland sage
  • Cactus Cream: this desert dessert celebrates the hot-pink fruits of prickly pear with melon-like notes

Event registrants will be able to pick up a custom box containing pints of these three flavors. Staff will contact registrants to coordinate pickup reservations for Wednesday, July 29 and Thursday, July 30. Physical distancing guidelines will be followed.

At the virtual event on Thursday, July 30 from 6 pm – 7 pm we will taste each ice cream, introducing the recipe and ingredients. CalBG staff will share the ecological importance of each species and how you can include these plants in your home garden.

More Info: https://www.calbg.org/event/freeze-wild-virtual-native-ice-cream-event

Registration: https://11213.blackbaudhosting.com/11213/tickets?tab=2&txobjid=ac9c23af-26e6-4935-9097-232e7c2b3750

$55 Member | $65 Public | $85 VIP

By Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS.com

Claremont has the area’s most diverse dining scene, no doubt fueled in part by an international student body at The Claremont Colleges. Asia, Italy, Mexico, the Middle East, Peru, and Spain, all play key roles in the city’s restaurant landscape. Learn about some of Claremont’s most inspired global food destinations.

Al Amir

A crown signals your arrival at Al Amir, a Lebanese flatbread bakery in an Auto Center Drive strip mall that spun off from Abdallah Soueidan’s Little Arabia original. Soujouk is a particular standout, a crisp-edged disc sporting ground beef seasoned with crushed pepper and a seven-spice blend from Lebanon. Add egg and savory cow’s milk Akkawi cheese, which six-year Al Amir vet Charif rightly called “the bomb” Other interesting options include za’atar with dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, olive & vegetable oil; lahm-bajeen with ground beef, tomatoes, and onions; and tangy keshek with dried yogurt, onion, tomato, olive oil, spices, and chilies. 426 Auto Center Dr., 909.625.0500, www.alamirbakery.com

 

Elvira’s Grill

Oscar Torres has been in the restaurant business for 36 years and now runs Elvira’s Grill with wife Sandra in Claremont’s Old School House complex after expanding from Upland. They follow in the footsteps of his mom Elvira and father Fermin, who ran restaurants for years in the San Fernando Valley. Elvira’s Grill in Claremont features a peaked roof with exposed wood rafters, elaborate chandeliers, and patio with strings of lights and a water fountain. The menu cover promises the “finest foods of Mexico,” and you’ll find pan-regional crowd pleasers like chicken mole enchiladas, grilled red snapper a la Veracruzana, and silky house-made flan. Camarones a la diabla are a great introduction to their cuisine, with six large shrimp slathered in spicy salsa and served with seasoned rice, pinto beans topped with molten Monterey Jack, and flour or corn tortillas. 415 W. Foothill Blvd., 909.399.3300

 

Hi Family

Four students joined forces on their dream restaurant, a Sichuan-style Chinese restaurant called Hi Family in a northwest Claremont strip mall. The tiny space features grey blue walls lined with small planters, framed photo collages, and paintings of the owners: Liang, Lin, Jinghao, and Yang Wang. Los Chicken is their most popular hot pot, with other bubbling bowls starring beef brisket or duck stewed in beer. Some of their more adventurous dishes include beef lungs in chile sauce and griddled cooked ox tripe. Hot-N-Spicy Pot is a great way to sample a number of different ingredients of your choosing in a single bowl. We opted for shell-on shrimp and sliced pork chops with caramelized cauliflower, king oyster mushrooms, and lotus root slices. Specify mild, medium, or hot. If you choose a dish listed on the menu with a chile pepper, keep steamed white rice and ice water handy. 944 W. Foothill Blvd., 909.625.7494, www.hifamilyclaremont.com

 

Pollos Kikiryki

Enrique Roman Kina originally hails from Lima and opened his Peruvian restaurant in Peppertree Square in 1999. The name refers to the sound a chicken makes, and they do roast some stupendous birds in a wood-burning rotisserie. Kikiryki’s focused menu also includes comfort foods like lomo saltado, beef stir-fried with French fries, onions, and tomatoes; and chaufa, fluffy Chinese-Peruvian fried rice that’s especially good with shrimp. Anticuchos, perhaps Peru’s signature dish, are for more adventurous eaters. Grilled beef hearts are marinated in chilies, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper and served with starchy choclo, potato, and the spicy green hot sauce, aji. Treats reside by the register, including cookie sandwiches alfajores filled with dulce de leche and dusted with powdered sugar, and vanilla custard cups called goloso. 344 S. Indian Hill Blvd., 909.624.1114

 

Sanamluang Thai Cuisine

A Thai Town classic called Sanamluang, one of L.A.’s longest running Thai restaurants, spawned this Claremont spinoff. They’re no longer connected, but this modern, standalone restaurant is still vital, and not just because of the sharp black and white murals of Thailand or elaborate wheel-in-wheel designs. Sanamluang serves several noodle dishes with lofty names, including heaven noodles, emperor’s noodles, and general’s noodles. Emperor’s Noodles are flat rice noodles scrambled with egg, squid, chicken, and shrimp, all blanketed with gravy. General’s noodles – egg noodles served dry or with soup – come piled with shrimp, BBQ pork, ground pork, and roast duck. Humble noodles like pad Thai and pad see iew are also well prepared. No matter what, ratchet up the pungency by spoon on chile flakes, chile sauce, or jalapeño infused vinegar. 710 S. Indian Hill Blvd., 909.621.0904, www.sanamluangclaremont.com

 

Tutti Mangia Italian Grill

Tutti Mangia is a high-end Italian restaurant on a Claremont Village corner with split-level dining room, floral carpet, and convex chandeliers. The family also owns Spaghetti Eddie’s and Eddie’s Eatery in town and has run this place since 1996. Pasta is a mix of imports and house-made pastas, with ravioli and sheet pastas like linguini and tagliatelle made in-house. Specialties from the grill include bistecca alla grigliata, marinated Prime skirt steak drizzled with Castelvetrano olive and pine nut chimichurri and plated with seasonal vegetable farro, which during our visit meant Brussels sprouts, carrots, turnips, and onions. No matter what, each check comes with almond chocolate biscotti. 102 Harvard Ave., 909.625.4669, 909.625.4669, www.tuttimangia.com

 

Uno Tre Otto

John Solana and Brad Owen, who also own The Back Abbey, replaced longtime Italian standby La Piccoletta with Uno Tre Otto. They raised the stakes by sourcing produce from Amy’s Farm in Ontario, buying sustainable meat and eggs, and using fresh-milled grain from Grist & Toll in Pasadena. “The little place in the alley” is patterned after a rustic Italian country abode, with a fresco on one side, ivy-lined wall on the other side, small covered patio, and homey stone and wood interior. The seasonal menu may include lentils de Puy strewn with crumbled house-made Italian sausage, tangy brightness, and spicy mizuna. During our visit, bucatini with good bite came dressed with a single diver scallop, sweet shrimp, brown butter, finely shredded butternut squash, and chive oil. Secondi include pollo al mattone, chicken cooked under a brick, and bistecca with seasonal veggies. Dessert is another moving target, but could involve chunks of brown butter roasted persimmon sweetened with honey, tart buttermilk ice cream, and shortbread crumble. 114 N. Indian Hill Blvd., 909.624.1373, www.onotreotto.com

 

The Upper House

The Upper House is a Chinese café in Peppertree Square strip mall. Students and locals alike fill 12 light wood tables beneath a word cloud on the white wall that shouts out key dishes, plus beverages like “Coffee” and “Affogato.” The menu combines Sichuan, Taiwanese and Singaporean dishes, but doesn’t practice fusion. Noteworthy cumin lamb comes tossed with scallions, green and red bell peppers. House-made wontons contain with shrimp and pork fillings and come garnished with spicy slurry, cilantro, and scallions and submerged in chile oil. Curry-stained Singapore-style rice vermicelli hosts an array of vegetables and proteins. For dessert, The Upper House sells boba milk tea and milk snow ice topped with red beans, green beans, custard, taro, and fruit. 352 S. Indian Hill Blvd., 909.621.1855

 

Viva Madrid!

Viva Madrid! is a Claremont Village classic that dates to 1998 and serves “Spanish small plates with big flavors.” Find the entrance down the hallway past a jewelry store and three wooden bull statues. The Madrid-inspired design includes a decorative tile bar, wood tables, high ceiling painted with a sky, and large chandelier. Popular dishes are marked with a sunburst, and staff favorites marked with a cross. Choose from more than 50 different tapas, plus paella and larger plates (entradas). Highlights include flaky halibut chunks simmered in herbed carrot sauce with white wine, garlic, and onion. They submerge a whole artichoke in a tangy sherry reduction with olive oil, garlic, and onion that’s thickened with breadcrumbs and sprinkled with crushed chili. They also serve slices of tortilla Española, a layered Spanish frittata baked with eggs, potatoes, onions, and parsley. To drink, Spanish wines from regions like Rioja and Tempranillo are popular. So is house-made sangria. 225 Yale Ave., 909.624.5500, www.vivamadrid.com

By Joshua Lurie, Food GPS.com

The depth of Claremont’s dining scene is earning notice well beyond the (909). Narrowing down the best places to eat in Claremont Village and surrounding neighborhoods can now be a dizzying decision. Learn about some of the key panels in the city’s culinary quilt where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Back Abbey

The Back Abbey is a Belgian-style gastropub in College Heights Lemon Packing House’s former payroll office. A tree slab bar joins a peaked corrugated metal ceiling and welcoming side patio. Burgers and sandwiches star, including a signature Back Abbey Burger with a proprietary dry-aged grind, aged Gouda, mustard aioli, caramelized onion, Niman Ranch bacon, and micro greens on a brioche bun. Popular sandwiches include grilled beef and spicy shrimp po’ boy. This is the rare restaurant where pork schnitzel fried in duck fat qualifies as a “salad,” thanks to a tangy topping of endive, arugula, fries, grapes, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinaigrette. Bonus: they pour 28 Belgian beers on tap and a similar number of bottled beers. 128 N. Oberlin Ave., 909.625.2642, www.thebackabbey.com

Bardot

Chef Alain Fournier features French California fusion in a Mid-century modern Harvard Square setting. The patio with ruffled shades is the place to be in warmer weather. You can also slide into a high-backed booth or stool at the three-sided white bar. Share-friendly plates include grilled Bosc pears with burrata and Parma ham; spicy ahi tuna tartare; and goat cheese lollipops with clover honey and roasted almonds. Lunch leans more toward salads and sandwiches, including a textbook Nicoise and standout Baltimore crab burger with cabbage slaw and spicy remoulade. Dinner brings more seasonal specialties, possibly including moules frites steamed in shallots, garlic, white wine, and butter, or spicy seafood couscous loaded with red snapper, shrimp, scallops, and mussels. 206 W. Bonita Ave., 909.621.2255, www.bardotrestaurant.com

Dr. Grubb’s

Go to the doctor when you’re sick, and visit Dr. Grubb’s when you’re hungry. This casual cafe from Greg Burkle and his mom serves “California fresh” food made using “health-yummy” methods. The Claremont Village space features banquette seating, a glossy black bar, and framed patio strung with lights. Their mix-and-match menu features choices of proteins, Grubb’n sides, and sauces. Simply grilled (or blackened) proteins include chicken, salmon, shrimp, and tofu. Flatiron steak is particularly good, especially when paired with herbaceous Moroccan cous cous salad and tangy lemon thyme vinaigrette. 373 W. Bonita Ave., 909.621.6200, www.drgrubbsfresh.com

 

Euro Café

Margarida Medeiros and son Joey hail from the Azores and opened Euro Cafe in 2004. Their fast casual Portuguese and Italian restaurant in Claremont Heights shopping plaza houses burgundy and mustard colored walls lined with paintings. Daily specials include Thursday’s feijoada, a hearty bean stew bursting with linguica, shredded pork, cabbage, carrots and onions, served with Portuguese rice. Choose from several soups of the day; tudo is an “everything” play on feijoada, and Luisa is a fantastic Portuguese chicken noodle soup with shredded chicken breast and carrots, egg drop, mint, and acini di pepe (couscous-like pasta beads). Bifana is a popular sandwich that tucks marinated pork loin in a French roll. A counter bakery sells pastel de nata, Portugal’s famed egg custard tart, and tambour, a big drum-shaped pastry with custard, shaved almonds, cinnamon and sugar. 546 E. Baseline Rd., 909.621.4666, www.eurocafeclaremont.com

Hotel Casa 425 + Lounge

Hotel Casa 425 + Lounge serves small bites, small plates, and sweet plates in Claremont Village’s boutique hotel of record. A small earth-toned lounge and bar is secondary to a courtyard with twin fire pits, wraparound orange couches, sail-like shades hanging between trees, and a wall-mounted fountain triptych. Ahi ceviche combines colorful tiles of sashimi-style tuna, mango, cucumber, raspberry, red onion, and sesame citrus vinaigrette. Other popular choices include pizza Margherita; Wagyu beef sliders with caramelized onions, pancetta, and Fontina; and a California-style carnitas burrito with pork belly packed into a tortilla with French fries, guac, pico de gallo, and spicy aioli. 425 W. 1st St., 866.450.0425, www.casa425.com

The Meat Cellar

Anthony Villegas has been a Premier Meat Company rep for years, and he opened The Meat Cellar with wife Sara. White and orange walls are lined with cartoon diagrams of cow, sheep, pig, and chicken, highlighting popular cuts. Longtime butcher Joe Brunzell is and chef de cuisine Becca Anderson mine display cases for options like Prime dry-aged Manhattan or tomahawk steaks and wild King salmon. Steaks are seasoned with salt, pepper, and a signature spice blend, and served with a choice of sides. Composed plates include pan-seared miso and soy glazed Chilean sea bass and a deluxe Wagyu burger with Beecher’s Cheddar, grilled onions, baby spinach, and truffle aioli on a brioche bun. [Note: This location will shift to more of a burger and beer focus once the new location opens at nearby Wolfe’s Market with a butcher shop, wood grill, and oyster bar.] 665 E. Foothill Blvd., 909.621.2300

The Orchard Restaurant

The Orchard is a seasonal restaurant in the DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont. Enter the dining room and bar through a big courtyard with water wall, sail-shaped shades, and umbrella-shrouded tables. Since The Orchard services a hotel, food’s available from breakfast through dinner. An all-day menu revolves around sandwiches, large salads, and shared plates. Tweaked comfort foods include deviled eggs with asparagus tips, a romaine heart Caesar salad with organic King salmon, and beef short rib stroganoff pappardelle with goat cheese crumbles and truffle zest. Free-range chicken club is a popular sandwich stacked with smoked Gouda cheese, bitter wild arugula, roasted tomato, applewood smoked bacon, Orchard’s citrus aioli, and avocado on grilled sourdough. Fresh-baked cookies are DoubleTree signatures, and they help form ice cream sandwiches with local Bert & Rocky’s vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and Chantilly cream. 555 W. Foothill Blvd., 909.626.2411, www.doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-claremont-ONTCLDT/dining/index.html

The Press Restaurant

The Press offers live music and eclectic comfort food in former Claremont Village home to College Press Printing, whose sign now hangs in the dining room. An L-shaped bar is located up front, and further back you’ll find exposed rafters and dining room with orange, red and yellow walls. Chef Oscar Alba’s eclectic menu pings across the globe, capturing dishes along the way like potato taquitos with guacamole and salsa; Vietnamese roasted chicken salad with fermented tofu; and pan-seared ahi with shiitake mushrooms, red wine sauce, sautéed spinach, and potato threads. Sunny pesto with sunflower seed, basil and garlic pesto comes on linguine, garnished with basil and Parmesan. The 129 Harvard Ave., 909.625.4808, www.thepressrestaurant.com

Walter’s Restaurant

Walter’s Restaurant dates to 1957 in Claremont Village. Nangy and Fahima Ghafarshad took over in 1973 and added more global influences, plus dishes from their native Afghanistan. A labyrinth of patios with water features, fire pits, and orange drapes complements an art-lined bar, café, and bakery. Kabuli pilaf combines saucy lamb chunks with rice pilaf dressed with carrots and raisins and grilled eggplant dressed with sliced tomato and yogurt sauce. Tandoori salmon has been the top seller for years, though they’re hardly static. A specials menu might include gandana bolawnie, flatbread stuffed with fresh leeks and potatoes, served with cilantro yogurt sauce; or filet mignon medallions with red wine sauce, mushrooms, served atop penne pasta and garnished with crispy onion rings. For dessert, baklava rectangles team crushed walnuts, pistachios, and almonds with honey, and butter-brushed phyllo. The case also houses dacquoise with layers of hazelnut meringue and white chocolate mousse, and Mandel bread with nuts and cinnamon. 310 Yale Ave., 909.624.2779, www.waltersresturant.com

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 some 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

 

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

 

California Botanic Garden has created speciality activity kits that introduce children and families to the world of native butterflies and the native plants they depend on for survival. 

This activity box will help children and their families create a beautiful butterfly garden that supports local species with important nectar and host plants. Registrants will receive three native plant seedlings that attract butterflies and sustain caterpillars, a wildflower seed packet curated with butterfly-friendly species, plant labels to decorate and a box of crayons. Also included in the box is a unique butterfly activity book loaded with native butterfly and plant knowledge, coloring pages, a butterfly identification key, and tips and tricks for how to care for a fledgling butterfly garden. 

People may opt to upgrade to the Mega Box which will include two extra native plant seedlings, a plush swallowtail butterfly finger puppet, a set of dress up butterfly wings (antennae included), and a pollinator-themed jump rope for hours of interactive play.

Pick up will be available starting Wednesday, June 24. 

More Info: https://www.calbg.org/event/my-butterfly-garden-childrens-activity-box

Registration:  https://california-botanic-garden.myshopify.com/collections/activity-boxes 

$55 Original Box | $85 Mega Box

Food GPS editor Josh Lurie looks at nine of Claremont’s popular dining destinations.

A premiere art exhibit of origami sculptures in bronze, steel and aluminum sculptures is making its Southern California debut at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont on October 20th 2018 and continuing through April 14th, 2019. T he Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden officially welcomes Origami in the Garden², a series of large-scale metal sculptures inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding. Created by Santa Fe-based artists Jennifer and Kevin Box, the exhibition will feature garden installations and gallery works featuring the Boxs’ own compositions as well as collaborative works with some of the world’s top origami artists.

Sixteen original displays will be showcased throughout the Garden including the following:  Flying Peace, Crane Unfolding, Nesting Pair, Conversation Peace, White Bison, Star Unfolding, Paper Navigator, Rising Peace, Botanical Peace, Duo, Painted Ponies, Who Saw Who, Seed Sower/Seed, Hero’s Horse, Emerging Peace and Folding Planes.

Each of the sculptures in the Origami in the Garden² collection originated with a single piece of folded paper created by some of the world’s most noted origami artists, including Tim Armijo, Michael G. LaFosse, Beth Johnson, Robert J. Lang,  and Te Jui Fu. To recreate each piece for Origami in the Garden², Kevin Box pioneered a unique process of lost wax casting and fabrication to capture the delicate details of folded paper in museum-quality metals.

“Origami presents a simple metaphor; we all start with a blank page and what we do with it is up to us,” said Kevin Box, creator of Origami in the Garden. “We created Origami in the Garden to inspire people with the possibilities of what can be created from one simple piece of paper.”

“We are excited to showcase Origami in the Garden², an outdoor sculpture exhibition of larger-than-life origami creations by Jennifer and Kevin Box,”  said David Bryant, Manager of Communications, Design and Exhibitions. “These incredible sculptures, many created in collaboration with world famous Origami artists, will transform our Garden’s landscapes and invite audiences to experience the evocative connections between art and nature. Originating in Japan and celebrated around the world, Origami synthesizes elements of art, science and natural themes in creating expressive works from single sheets of paper. The exhibition brings these concepts to life in the transportive beauty of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.” 

Origami in the Garden² is free with general admission. Related family activities, lectures and workshops will accompany the exhibition, including an opening weekend celebration on October 20th and 21st. For more information including the latest schedule of events please visit www.rsabg.org.

Official Event Schedule:

Friday, October 19: Exhibition Opening at the annual Majestic Oak Dinner. Our major donors will join us for a walking cocktail reception through the pieces of the collection and a seated dessert with a guest speaker to officially open the exhibit. 

Saturday, October 20: Public Opening of Origami in the Garden² with audio and docent led tours available. Public Opening of indoor gallery exhibition, Unfolded, and screening of the movie The Origami Revolution. 

October 2018 – March 2019: K-12 curriculum-consistent field trips led by RSABG’s highly trained Nature Interpreters include education about the Origami in the Garden exhibition. 

Sunday, November 11: First in the series of Second Sundays, sponsored by the City of Claremont’s Community-Based Organization Grant Program. RSABG is collaborating with Scripps College to present a public lecture to the Claremont community and a hands-on workshop with world-renowned origami artist Dr. Robert Lang. http://www.langorigami.com/ 

Friday, November 23: “Green Friday” offers free garden admission to all, encouraging families spending the Thanksgiving holiday together to explore the Origami in the Garden exhibition. 

Sundays, December 9, January 13, February 10 and March 10: Second Sundays series continues with free admission for Claremont residents. In collaboration with First Street Art Gallery, the Claremont Museum of Art and the Origami Folding Society of Los Angeles, RSABG will offer family programming appropriate for all ages. Behind the scenes tours of RSABG’s Seed House, Research areas, Library, Herbarium and Gardens will share RSABG’s rich resources with Garden guests. 

Sunday, March 10: Finale: Visit and public talk by Origami in the Garden² artists Kevin and Jennifer Box. 

Sunday, April 14: Exhibition Closes. 

Origami in the Garden² is a monumental sculpture exhibition created by American artists Jennifer and Kevin Box. Each sculpture is inspired by a blank piece of paper and has been transformed into museum quality metals by Kevin Box at his studio in Santa Fe, N.M. Individually, these enchanting sculptures inspire wonder and create broader connections to life and the world around us. Collectively, the exhibition tells the story of creativity and the art of making something out of nothing. The exhibition comes to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden after successful runs at Tucson Botanical Gardens and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. For more information on artist Kevin Box, visit outsidetheboxstudio.com/about/bio.

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