Claremont Village. A European-styled village spanning 12 city blocks with more than 150 unique restaurants, shops, bakeries, day spas, art galleries, entertainment venues, hotels, lounges and more. Walking these streets will immediately make you feel you’re no longer in Southern California.
Local dining. American, Afghan, Argentinean, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Persian, Thai and more. There are more than 70 eateries to sample in Claremont, most with local operators, and some with regionally renowned chefs and owners. The variety and abundance makes this a weekend trip you want to make several times a year.
Claremont Packing House. Originally built in 1922, the Packing House was renovated in 2007 to include shops, galleries, dining and night clubs. Home to Packing House Wines, Eureka!, The Whisper House, Gus’s BBQ and other eateries, it also features vintage clothing stores, a cooking academy, and a nationally famous bookstore, Thoreau’s Bookshop, that provides donated books to inmates.
A boutiquing paradise. Claremont is the home to dozens of locally owned boutiques featuring hand-selected merchandise, chic fashions, kitschy collectibles and antiques, gifts from unique corners of the world, and Fair Trade-sourced materials. The Packing House and Old School House also feature additional galleries and artisan shops.
California Botanic Garden. The largest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants, the Garden displays about 2,000 taxa of California plants spread across 86 acres, including plants native to the California Floristic Province as a whole – from southern Oregon to Baja California. In addition to featuring a world-class botanical library and graduate-level education program, the Garden offers horticulture and community education programs to the public to encourage the use of California native plants in home landscapes.
Local baked goods and sweets. From sweets at the Some Crust Bakery and morning treats at Creme Bakery to bagels made fresh all day long at 42nd Street Bagel Café, Claremont Village is a foodie’s delight. Local chocolatier A. Kline’s candy shop is filled with hand-dipped treats, and creamery Bert and Rocky’s features more than 31 unique, homemade ice cream and sherbet flavors, and handmade caramel apples.
Wine and cheese. Packing House Wines wine bar and shop is located on the western end of the Packing House, offering a world of wines by the glass, varietals from growing regions all over the globe, and small plates and dinners from its executive chef. The Cheese Cave, a busy cheese shop on Yale Ave., offers dozens of cheeses from around the world, their own hand-pressed olive oils, and a selection of unique foods.
Bike-friendly streets. Honored as Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, Claremont’s streets are ideal for bicycling. For families, Claremont’s tree-lined streets offer majestic views of historic homes and the town’s college campuses, and easy rides to the Claremont Village to find an ideal eatery. Experienced cyclists can tackle the same route as the Amgen Tour of California from Claremont to Mount Baldy.
Pubs and grub. Befitting a college town, Claremont features several unique pubs that feature good food, live music and televised sports. The Lounge at Casa 425 features small plates and a signature margarita. And from the Back Abbey’s “Best in L.A.” pub burgers and dark ales to Walter’s “secret bar,” Claremont has a after-dark scene that’s all its own.
Dinner Theater and Historic Route 66. The Foothill Blvd. corridor includes the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont and the Candlelight Pavilion dinner theater that is housed within the gymnasium of the Old School House, Claremont’s original 1911 school building. DoubleTree’s popular dueling piano bar, Piano Piano, comes alive nightly with acts straight from the Las Vegas Strip.
Seven world-class colleges. A consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate schools of higher education all within walking distance. Internationally recognized for producing leaders in business, government and the professions.
Public Plaza Village Square. Also in the Claremont Village, the Village Square is surrounded by shops, restaurants and the boutique hotel and lounge Hotel Casa 425, and is home to the Laemmle 5 Claremont A modern public art fountain meanders through the square, providing both soothing water sounds as well as space for outdoor picnicking and music.
The great outdoors. In Claremont’s backyard are hikes at Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, skiing at Mount Baldy, and other adventures in the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.
Free parking. Indeed, there is one place in Los Angeles County where you can keep your quarters and credit cards in your pocket: Claremont offers free parking throughout the city.
The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College will be opening for appointment-based viewing starting Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
One year ago, the Benton was preparing for the fall opening of its new, state-of-the-art building designed by Machado Silvetti and Gensler. When the museum closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Benton staff completed the move of the collection, installed its inaugural slate of exhibitions, debuted its new graphic identity and redesigned website, continued its robust internship and school outreach programs remotely, and hosted online events that drew hundreds of participants.
Visitors to Claremont are now invited to see the exhibitions installed over the course of this last year: Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe; Alia Ali: Project Series 53; Art, Object, Specimen; CrossBorder Photography: Images of the US and Mexico from the Permanent Collection; In Our Care: Institutional History in Material Form; and Helen Pashgian: Primavera.
Reservations will be accepted for groups of up to 6 people for one-hour visits on the hour at 2, 3, 4, and 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Please visit the Benton’s online reservation system to make a viewing appointment. The museum will be following the safety protocols and practices of Los Angeles County and Pomona College, including required masks, social distancing, a limited number of people in the building at one time, and an online health check to be completed the day of your visit.
Ophelia’s Jump Productions, a critically acclaimed nine-year-old non-profit theatre company, announces a three-play season in the second half of 2021.
The first play will comprise its Midsummer Shakespeare Festival, a co-production with Pomona College. The play will be presented at the College’s Sontag Greek Theatre, an outdoor venue with plenty of space to accommodate social distancing. The play presented will be Twelfth Night, directed by Caitlin Lopez (July 15 through 18, 22 through 25). All performances begin at 8:00 p.m.
Prior to the performance, the venue will be open early to accommodate picnickers, with booths featuring artists and artisanal vendors. There will also be a nightly Green Show (a pre- show entertainment). To make sure all participants can enjoy a fun, safe event, safety protocols will be in place. Visitors will be required to wear masks and maintain social distance, tickets will be sold in advance only, and household groups will be assigned picnicking space and seating. Concessions including craft beer, wine and snacks will be available.
For the uninitiated: Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy. The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her, thinking she is a man.
The Midsummer Shakespeare Festival is sponsored by Discover Claremont. A special “Room and Bard” package from Discover Claremont will include a one-night hotel stay, $50 in gift cards for a picnic dinner from participating Claremont establishments, and two tickets to a “Twelfth Night” performance.
This summer will be especially festive as the city and Festival both reopen. The picturesque City of Claremont with its walkable tree-lined streets, stately college campuses, Botanic Gardens, museums and quaint shops is a popular getaway for Southern Californians.
From Claremont Courier (February 1, 2021)
“Folk music” is tough to pin down.
Most picture a solitary singer/songwriter with a dreadnaught acoustic guitar singing earnest protest songs. The truth is it’s a panoply of styles and instrumentation. Its roots go back much further than the popular American boom of the 1950s and ’60s, to 19th century Europe, and further back still to Africa and the forebears of that big, booming acoustic guitar.
The one commonality is folk music has always been of the people. And most all of the people who helped push the music forward in America in the 1950s and ‘60s owe a debt to the Chase family, and the institution they founded, the iconic Folk Music Center in Claremont.
That rich history, from its 1958 creation to the present day, is chronicled in Ellen Harper’s superb new memoir, Always a Song, out January 26 on Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books.
Ms. Harper is the daughter of the Folk Music Center’s founders, Charles and Dorothy Chase, and the modern-day purveyor of “The Folk.” Her book brings to light the fascinating backstory behind her family’s place in the history of the music, and of course, of the 63-year-old store.
The sweeping story traces the family’s politically and socially active East Coast roots from her parents’ courtship to Ms. Harper’s early childhood, the family’s move to California, and on through her formative years in Claremont, then motherhood, music, and above all, family.
The project began as an exercise in that most fundamental folk tradition: preservation. Ms. Harper had for several years been writing down stories about her parents and grandparents.
“Because, I know as I got older I thought, ‘Why didn’t I ask my parents these questions? Why don’t I know more?’ There are so many stories that are gone and lost,” she said. “And I thought, I’m kind of the last link between a lot of the history and my grandkids and my kids. So I started writing down stories, just little anecdotes and pieces.”
Those bits and more personal stories were transformed into a memoir of Claremont life in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, complete with much idyll, but also overt racism, cross burnings and all.
The 1970s and the decade’s prevailing corrosive drug culture are made personal by her lived experiences, as are her moments with rock and folk royalty (not all of them flattering), and the rise of the singer/songwriter as an artist, and in Bob Dylan’s case, deity.
One of Always a Song’s recurring themes is the intolerance of injustice. It’s there in the stories of Ms. Harper’s paternal grandmother’s work to establish the first birth control clinic in New Hampshire, being jailed for being a communist, and her three (!) failed bids for governor of the Granite State. It continues through the family’s entanglements with the McCarthy-era blacklist and anti-communist hysteria in the 1950s, down the line to Ms. Harper bristling at the veiled racism directed at her mixed-race sons Ben, Peter and Joel, while they were growing up in Claremont in the 1980s.
“When I talk about the good things that were imparted to me, particularly by my father, it would be that you stand up for under-represented people, you don’t buckle, you don’t give names, you stand up for what you believe in,” she said. “That was a very clear message.”
Ms. Harper’s parents were literally part of the “don’t give names” generation. Always politically active, her father joined the American Communist Party in 1933, when it promised dignity and work in the midst of the Depression.
“Some of it is the kind of optimism of the left,” Ms. Harper said. “The socialist and old communist parties were truly optimists. They truly did believe that people could be their best selves, and of course were bitterly disappointed for the most part. But my father, he always believed in people, that people would come through and would do the right thing.”
Though he had been deemed an “inadequate member” by the American Communist Party in 1946, McCarthyism was in its destructive, paranoid zenith in 1954, and anyone with a history of past affiliation became a target.
The Massachusetts version of McCarthy’s House Committee on Unamerican Activities harassed Mr. Chase. He lost his job, and his young children endured taunts from schoolmates. And it wasn’t just “red baiting.” Ms. Harper’s mother Dorothy was Jewish, and the epithets were anti-Semitic as well as anti-communist.
The family persisted for a time, but in 1957 her father became convinced California offered a fresh start, and they headed west.
The Folk Music Center opened its doors at its first location on Harvard Avenue in August 1958.
From the very beginning the store was a countercultural hub. All manner of folk musicians, many of them now revered as giants of the genre, passed through the doors. They also bunked at the rambling Chase family home on Seventh Street in between performances at the store, and later The Golden Ring coffee house at 111 Harvard Place (home since 1969 to Village Dance Arts), which her parents opened in 1964.
“Music for them, I think why they were so attracted to it, my mother in particular, was because of the folk music movement that it represented,” Ms. Harper said. “It represented integration, financial equity for peoples of the world, fairness and all the things that music brought to the union movement, the civil rights movement and anti-war movement. They were there for all of that. And I think the power they got from music was the community and building social bridges. And I absorbed that and believed in it.”
Always a Song also gets into the slow-motion disintegration of Ms. Harper’s 1969 marriage to the father of her three sons, Leonard Harper. (She and second husband Jan Verdries have been married since 1984).
“I think I realized the information doesn’t have to be just family secrets,” she said. “I think being able to talk about these things is really important, addiction and the outcomes. I don’t know that I’m right. Maybe secrets are better, for all I know. I’m not credentialed to make that decision.”
Leonard Harper died at 55 in 1984 from complications of alcoholism.
“Also, I don’t think these things stop with us,” Ms. Harper said. “I think we hand some of these things down to our kids who then hand them down to our grandkids. To me it seems like if we can show it and we can talk about it and deal with it generationally, it’s not going to be something that just keeps running through families like a leitmotif” [a short, recurring musical phrase] because it seems like some of the anti-communism, and the effects it had on my family at large, were devastating in a lot of ways. And I think that doesn’t go away. You raise your children with the feeling of caution, if you will, of ‘This could always happen again.’
“At least if you talk about it you know it. You know why you have that feeling of fear, instead of letting it run your life. And also I guess family, the kids and the grandkids, they ought to know about it.”
Always a Song is a must-read for Claremonters. It gives valuable context to the 63 years of memories contained inside The Folk, a store that on closer inspection is actually a life-sized diorama that tells the story of one family’s contribution to a community, to music and the world.
“When we used to be able to travel, you might be in Paris and see someone wearing a Folk Music Center T-shirt,” Ms. Harper said. “I’ve had people who have come back, all those hundreds and hundreds of people my mother taught, who went out and taught the same way. I hear from them at the store, and it’s a wonderful feeling that know that her influence, her banjo classes, have had practically a worldwide influence on people who have played and learned from her.”
Extended Now through Memorial Day Weekend
Tuesdays – Sundays | 8 AM – 6 PM
Clay and California go together. Clay has been part of California’s history through every sun-dappled chapter and continues to find beautiful expressions in the hands of contemporary artists who call the Golden State home. The AMOCA Ceramics Studio (American Museum of Ceramic Art) in Pomona enshrines this important legacy and continues the tradition through studio programs that support ceramic artists and their artistic practice.
Clayfornia showcases fourteen AMOCA Ceramics Studio artists and their work at our Garden. We invited these artists to explore and express California’s identity in the quintessential California medium of clay, set amidst the native plants that make our home state superlatively special.
The exhibition has been extended now through Memorial Day Weekend!
FREE with daily admission.
Mary Beierle, Cj Jilek, Beverly Helfer-Grand, David Kiddie, Heidi Kreitchet, Gary Lett, Janell Lewis, Kim Lingo, Brandon Lomax, Mark Muscarello, David
Cal Botanic Garden in Claremont CA
Pacheco, Scott Ross, Maureen Wheeler, and Jonas Wendelin.
Clay and California go together. Clay has been part of California’s history through every sun-dappled chapter and continues to find beautiful expressions in the hands of contemporary artists who call the Golden State home. The AMOCA Ceramics Studio (American Museum of Ceramic Art) in Pomona continues
Clayfornia will showcase fourteen AMOCA Ceramics Studio artists and their work at our Garden. We have invited these artists to explore and express California’s identity in the quintessential California medium of clay, set amidst native plants of California.
The exhibit will be open from November 8, 2020 through April 18, 2021.
FREE with daily admission.
Mary Beierle, Cj Jilek, Beverly Helfer-Grand, David Kiddie, Heidi Kreitchet, Gary Lett, Janell Lewis, Kim Lingo, Brandon Lomax, Mark Muscarello, David Pacheco, Scott Ross, Maureen Wheeler, and Jonas Wendelin.
Seaside sojourn? Wine country escape? Regardless of location, all 17 Four Sisters Inns are offering 50 percent off their published best available rates to travelers seeking Black Friday bargains this year. The deals will be available online to the general public starting Nov. 27, 2020. (Those who sign up for the e-newsletter on foursisters.com will unlock exclusive access to the special one week early, starting Nov. 20, 2020.)
Guests will receive the discount when they book one night or more at most of the inns. (One exception: Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point has a two-night minimum.) Reserve two consecutive nights at any of the Four Sisters Inns and receive the discount plus a welcome bottle of wine. With a Black Friday reservation of three consecutive nights or more, guests will also earn an additional $25 discount off their stay.
The offer is valid for stays Sunday through Thursday, Nov. 29, 2020 to April 1, 2021, with some dates excluded. To receive the discount, guests must book directly online at foursisters.com or by calling the inn at which they wish to stay and mentioning the Black Friday offer. Availability is limited and varies by inn; please view individual websites for more details.
About Four Sisters Inns
Founded in 1975, Four Sisters Inns is comprised of 17 properties throughout California. The collection includes the Blue Lantern Inn (Dana Point), Newport Beach Hotel (Newport Beach), Hotel Casa 425 + Lounge (Claremont), Inn at Playa Del Rey (Los Angeles), Channel Road Inn (Santa Monica), Coachman’s Inn (Carmel-by-the-Sea), Gosby House Inn and Green Gables Inn (Pacific Grove), West Cliff Inn (Santa Cruz), Milliken Creek Inn and Spa (Napa), Maison Fleurie and Lavender (Yountville), Inn at Sonoma (Sonoma), Gaige House + Ryokan (Glen Ellen), Kenwood Inn and Spa (Kenwood), Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza (Healdsburg), and Blue Door Inns (Mendocino). For more information, visit https://www.foursisters.com/
New Site and App for iOS and Android Provides Stay, Dine and Attraction Information
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.
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
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
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
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! 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