Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
A true gastropub, The Pub at Chino Hills sits at the intersection of friendly watering hole and upscale restaurant. A crowd often forms around its wooden bar, where the staff pours 20 draft brews and well over that number in bottles and cans?including European-style dark ales. Flat-screen TVs give other patrons something to look at between sips of craft cocktails and wines from around the world. And on special nights, a musician might even show up to perform and then disappear into a puff of rum-scented smoke.
As for food, co-owners and chefs Andrew Faour and Mathew Carpenter rely on ingredients including USDA Prime meat, market-fresh fish, and cheese sourced from around the world. With those edible tools, they create lunch and dinner menus that start with small plates such as fried pork-belly bites. From there, the tour de taste can move on to meatloaf and steak entrees, or perhaps burgers with house-made pickles and patties that can take the form of beef, buffalo, or salmon. There's just one thing missing to complete the meal: one of the pub's signature desserts, such as gelato or homemade cookies.
Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
At Ontario Improv, comics lure laughs from bellies in the hopes of following in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv’s stages. The club's calendar schedules comedians as often as six nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-coming performers. As they take in shows, audience members can munch on savory appetizers such as spinach-and-artichoke dip or fried calamari, and sip cocktails to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table.
Resembling a space ship abandoned by aliens who had recently time-traveled to hang out with Le Corbusier, The Glass House is a portal to rock and dance sounds for music-lovers of all ages. It’s also a cornerstone of downtown Pomona’s close-knit arts district, surrounded by record stores, cafes, and vintage shops. Holiday-themed shows and fundraising concerts join young, on-the-rise bands on the calendar, along with established favorites such as New Found Glory and The Faint.
Oktoberfest at Fairplex celebrates Bavarian culture with authentic German food, music, and plenty of beer. Each night, oom-pah-pah music supplied by The Rheinlanders fills the airwaves as visitors enjoy various German beers from Warsteiner and Beck’s. Domestics such as Bud Light and AmberBock also tickle taste buds, as do Jägerbombs. As fall pairs with colorful leaves and pumpkins that fly south for the winter, so also beer pairs with German cuisine such as bratwursts, black forest cake, and apfelstrudel. King Taco also serves up Mexican cuisine as tribute bands such as Sounds of Santana and Queen Nation rock out on stage.