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plate Restaurant Week returns June 19-28 Downtown lifestyle: A revival Street Jam seeks new audience A bold walk to fight cancer Chef Leone Palagi at Mario’s Place

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8 FINE TIME TO DINE The tables are set for Restaurant Week — a celebration of all the great dining experiences available in Riverside. David Cohen, our food writer, serves up five places to get you star ted.


Amy Bentley, David Cohen Luanne J. Hunt, George A. Paul

12 LIVING HERE While living in the ’burbs may be nice, many people say downtown Riverside is where it’s at. The hear t of the city has everything, including jobs, dining and enter tainment options — and a place to call home.

e ditori a l gr a p h ic D E S I G N

Steve Ohnersorgen


Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, James Carbone Micah Escamilla, Frank Perez, Eric Reed

Tom Paradis, Jack Storrusten

20 SOUND OF MUSIC The Summer Street Jam is becoming an increasingly popular event, so to build on that momentum organizers have some fresh ideas for the next edition.



Carla Ford-Brunner Cindy Martin, Willie Merriam Melissa Morse, Adil Zaher S A L E S A S S I S TAN T s

Vikki Contreras, Dixie Mohrhauser Jeannette Ramirez, Maria Rodriguez Victoria Vidana m a r k e ti n g

Veronica Nair, Ginnie Stevens


LANG Custom Publishing Frank Pine EXECUTIVE EDITOR

From the Editor 6 Hot List and Calendar 10 Profile: Virginia M. Blumenthal 24 Seens 30-32 Nonprofit Calendar 34 On the cover Chef Leone Palagi at Mario’s Place Photo by Eric Reed C o n n e ct wit h u s !

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A culinary trip to Spain via Cafe Sevilla 26

33 FASHIONING A CURE Receiving a cancer diagnosis wasn’t about to keep Dianne Callahan down. She fought back and is a survivor. Now, she is working to help others through a Survivor Strut Fashion Show.

Jerry Rice



CONTACT US Editorial: 951-541-1825; fax 909-885-8741 or Advertising: 909-386-3006; or Riverside Magazine is produced by LANG Custom Publishing of The Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Single copy price: $3.95. Subscriptions $14.95 per year. Postmaster: Send address changes to 2041 E. Fourth St., Ontario, CA 91764. Copyright ©2015 Riverside Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. Riverside Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos or artwork even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope.

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from the editor

Developing a taste for local


eone Palagi was into using locally sourced ingredients before it was cool. For him, it started in the late 1980s with herbs, grew in the ’90s with Roma and other types of tomatoes, and today includes a variety of products, from carrots to cucumbers, cheese to chickens. “It wasn’t that I was thinking about it ideologically or doing it to follow a movement,” says the chef at Riverside’s landmark Mario’s Place. “It was more because I could get tomatoes that were still warm to the touch from the sun after being picked and spot-on ripe. The colors and the flavors were awesome.” With top-quality ingredients like that, especially when available from nearby sources, “it makes making good food that much easier,” he adds. Promoting that farm-to-fork culture is one of the goals behind the second

annual Grow Riverside conference, happening June 11-13 at the Riverside Convention Center. (Information: “Last year, we had to convince people to care about the issue, which actually wasn’t that hard,” says Erin Gettis, the city’s historic preservation officer who is helping to plan the event. “This year we want to take it to the next level.” To that end, there will be more community outreach at the downtown farmers market during the event’s final day plus other activities. And instead of a dinner at the convention center that night for the 600 attendees, they will be encouraged dine at restaurants that feature dishes prepared with local ingredients. Places like Mario’s. Not going to Grow Riverside? Another opportunity to cultivate the area food scene is Restaurant Week, June 19-28,

when chefs throughout the city will cook up compelling entrees that incorporate local flavors. This issue’s cover story on Page 8 has details. Says Gettis: “The local food idea cuts across all political parties, segments of society and income levels. There’s a place for everybody. There’s something in it for everybody.”

Jerry Rice 951-541-1825, @JerryRice_IE

1630 spruce street riverside • ca 92507 9 5 1 • 7 8 1 • 8 8 4 0

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Executive Chef Brad Martin - Contestant, ABC’s THE TASTE “This is utterly delicious!” Anthony Bourdain, Judge/Mentor 3637 Fifth Street at Main Riverside, CA 92501 or call 951.346.4700

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out & about

Great tastes Restaurant Week shows off the best in Riverside’s diverse dining scene Written by David Cohen


estaurant Week, June 19-28, is a delicious opportunity to sample classic and creative fare at Riverside’s finest restaurants. Some will be introducing new items, while others will offer special pricing for regular menu offerings. In every case, diners will be in for a treat. For more information and a list of participating restaurants, visit These five restaurants represent some of the best in town; here are some intriguing items from their menus.

Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar Highlights include flour tortillas prepared at the restaurant and a superb ancho chile/coffee barbecue sauce, with all meats and fish grilled over mesquite. Also consider outside skirt steak fajitas, a slow-cooked 2-pound rack of baby back ribs, chile rellenos with cinnamon and clove inflected sauce or ”xmas” sauce (New Mexican red and green versions) and bacon-wrapped shrimp. 10773 Hole Ave., Riverside; 951-352-0240;

Mario’s Place A supper club atmosphere with live jazz and a menu with northern Italian/southern France influences, this Riverside original is known for its crispy squash blossoms with goat cheese and tomato basil sauce, smoked salmon and mascarpone terrine in an herb sauce, porcini mushroom risotto, hamachi crudo and grilled swordfish peperonata. 3646 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; 951-684-7755;

ProAbition A modern-day speakeasy with an array of single malt scotches and aged Irish whiskeys, the restaurant’s menu features several entrees including tomahawk pork chops in a Calvados demi-glaze, basted garlic-gruyere mashed potatoes, flatiron steak with chimichuri sauce and


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Ahi Tuna Crudo at Mario’s Place Photo by Eric Reed

Wild boar tamale at The Salted Pig Photo by K atie Boink

photo Courtesy smokey Canyon bbq

photo Courtesy anchos Southwest Grill & Bar

Pulled pork platter at Smokey Canyon BBQ

Pork ribs at Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar

fingerling potatoes and rosemary garlic lamb chops.

Smokey Canyon BBQ

3597 Main St., Riverside; 951-222-2110;

Offering some of the best regional barbecue styles from around the country, the restaurant is known for its Memphisstyle Southern pulled pork or chicken sliders, Kansas City-style beef ribs, St. Louis-style ribs with a North Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce, smoked brisket and Angus tri-tip sandwiches, and Louisiana hot links with grilled onions and peppers.

The Salted Pig Lots of beers, burgers and small plates at this American gastropub. Worth trying: the pig burger with smoked bacon marmalade and popcorn shoots, wild boar tamale with pasilla molĂŠ, lamb stew with crisp lentil, and roasted bone marrow with rooster sauce, fennel pollen and lime. 3700 12th St., Riverside; 951-848-4020;

5225 Canyon Crest Drive, No. 9, Riverside; 951-782-8808;

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hot list

‘THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT’ JUNE 19-28  –  Judas is on trial. The centuries-old betrayal of his friend is being re-examined. A burned-out judge who hanged himself during a civil war PHOTO COURTESY presides over an THE GESTALT THEATRE PROJECT agnostic defense attorney and a lascivi- Aaron Pyle, left, and ous prosecutor as Aaron Niotta star they battle for the in “The Last Days freedom of a cataton- of Judas Iscariot.” ic Judas. An increasingly bizarre list of witnesses help take the story from hilarious to surprisingly moving and poignant. The Box at the Fox Entertainment Plaza, 3635 Market St., Riverside;

OLD-FASHIONED ICE CREAM SOCIAL JUNE 28  –  Celebrate Independence Day much as residents did in Victorian Riverside during the 1890s, with games that were popular during that time, living history reenactments and old-fashioned handcranked ice cream. Book-signings with local authors Joan Hall and Glenn Wenzel. Heritage House, 8193 Magnolia Ave., Riverside; free; noon to 4 p.m.; 951-826-5273; CONCERT FOR HEROES JULY 2  –  Patriotic and popular classics performed by the Riverside County Philharmonic. Seating in the amphitheater and surrounding area; blankets and lawn chairs are recommended. It’s the only symphonic concert presented in a national cemetery. Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd.; 7:30 p.m.; free; 951-787-0251;

LYLE LOVETT AND HIS LARGE BAND JULY 19  –  In concert. Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; 7:30 p.m.; 951-779-9800; Also: Adal Ramones, June 12; Bill Maher, June 20-21; Rob Thomas, July 7; Stephen Stills, July 27; American Idol Live!, with the top five Idols from Season 14, Aug. 28; Lewis Black, Sept. 13; “Menopause the Musical,” Sept. 26; Russian Grand Ballet’s Swan Lake, Oct. 3. ‘COTTON CLUB REVUE’ JULY 25  –  Celebrating music from the 1920s to 1950s, with singers, dancers and musicians performing hits from Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and others. Riverside Women’s Club, 4092 10th St., Riverside; 7:30 p.m.; $25, $50 for VIP; 951-781-9561; Also: “Suor Angelica,” The Box at the Fox Entertainment Plaza, 3635 Market St., Riverside, Sept. 18 and 20.


calendar ‘CALIFORNIA DREAMING’ THROUGH JULY 5  –  Juried exhibition of 50 original works exploring the popular fascination with the celebrated lifestyle, influences and environs of Southern California. Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave.; 951-684-7111; Also: “Cult of the Supreme Being, May 7, 1794,” through June 21; “Lois Sloan: Sculptor,” through Aug. 21; “Happenings: Selections from the Riverside Art Make,” June 28-Oct. 2. LAKE ALICE TRADING CO. THROUGH JULY 31  –  David Paul Band (classic rock), June 5; The Groove (classic rock), June 6 and July 31; Shades of J (original rock), June 10; Hollywood Hasbeens & Casey Jones and the Rail Splitters (original rock), June 11; 10 | | june-july 2015

Factory Tuned Band (classic rock), June 12; Runnin’ on Funk (classic rock, today’s hits), June 13; Little George Acoustic (acoustic covers), June 17; Skunkdub (reggae), June 18, July 2 and 30; Time Bomb (1980s), June 20; DJ Boogie (top 40), June 25; Skatterbrain (classic rock, today’s hits), June 26; All In (classic rock, today’s hits), June 27; Niatic (original rock), July 1; Brewers of Grunge (classic and 1990s rock), July 3; Driven (classic rock), July 10; Band of Brothers (classic rock), July 11; Little George (acoustic covers), July 15; Pac Men (1980s tribute), July 18; Eclipse (classic rock, today’s hits), July 24-25; Cloudship Music (original rock), July 29. Also: Dream Karaoke, Monday nights. 3616 University Ave., Riverside; 951-686-7343; FILM SCREENINGS THROUGH AUG. 1  –  Domestic and foreign films: “Mr. Turner,” June 12-13; “Seymour: An Introduction,” June 19-20; “Timbuktu,”

June 26-27; “Roar,” July 10-11; “Leviathan,” July 17-18; “The Wrecking Crew,” July 24-25; “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” July 31-Aug. 1. Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main St., Riverside; 951-827-4787; MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM THROUGH AUG. 16  –  Yelawolf, Hillbilly Casino, June 11; Steel Panther, June 19; Problem, June 20; Tribute to the Best of the ’90s, June 27; Which One’s Pink (Pink Floyd tribute), July 11. 3485 Mission Inn Ave.; 951-779-9800; ARTS WALK JUNE 6  –  Browse art galleries, studios and museums. Special performances, poetry, theater, hands-on art activities, refreshments and more. Continues the first Thursday of every month. Downtown Riverside; 6-9 p.m.; 951-682-6737;

MISSING PERSONS JUNE 6  –  Band featuring Dale Bozzio in concert. Romano’s Concert Lounge, 5225 Canyon Crest Drive, Riverside; 10:30 p.m.; 951-781-7662; ‘THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE’ THROUGH JUNE 14  –  Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera wraps Riverside Rep’s second season. The Box at the Fox Entertainment Plaza, 3635 Market St., Riverside; RAINCROSS CHORALE JUNE 14  –  Concert featuring singers who have earned college scholarships for musical studies. Calvary Presbyterian Church, 4495 Magnolia Ave., Riverside; 3 p.m.; $15; CLASSIC CAR SHOW JUNE 21  –  Monthly car show. Continues the third Sunday of each month. Canyon Crest Towne Centre, 5225 Canyon Crest Drive, Riverside; 1-4 p.m.; 951-686-1222; Also: Cellar Door Books’ “Story Time” for kids, Saturdays at 11 a.m. ASTRONOMY EXPO JUNE 27  –  Jane Houston Jones, an outreach specialist for the Cassini mission to Saturn, will be the featured speaker during a meeting of the Riverside Astronomical Society. Open to nonmembers. La Sierra University, Cossentine Hall, 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside; 6:30 p.m.; free; FIREWORKS JULY 4  –  Aerial fireworks shows, presented by the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department. Mount Rubidoux (in sync with a KOLA 99.9-FM broadcast) and La Sierra Park, 5215 La Sierra Ave.; 9 p.m.; FOUNDERS’ DAY JULY 4  –  “Little Miss Firecracker” pageant, music, family activities, food vendors, guided tours and a great vantage point to enjoy the fireworks at Mount Rubidoux. Bring your own lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, Pine and 14th streets, Riverside; 5-10 p.m.; $5 general, $3 ages 3-12; 951-522-6462;


“Three Boys Behind Barbed Wire,” by Toyo Miyatake ‘INTERROGATING MANZANAR’ THROUGH JULY 18  –  Exhibition of images shot at the Manzanar war relocation center, where Americans of Japanese descent and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II. Photographs were taken by Ansel Adams, Clem Albers, Dorothea Lang and Toyo Miyatake. UCR/California Museum of Photography, 3824 Main St., Riverside; 951-827-4787; Also: “Posing Japan,” through July 3; “Flash: Sharon Lockhart,” through June 20; “CMP Projects: Phil Chang,” through Aug. 8. ‘NUNSENSE’ JULY 10-26  –  Musical comedy about the fictional Little Sisters of Hoboken who stage a variety show to raise some much-needed cash. Riverside Community Players Theater, 4026 14th St., Riverside;





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‘MARY POPPINS’ SEPT. 25-OCT. 4  –  2015-16 season opener for Performance Riverside. Landis Performing Arts Center, 4800 Magnolia Ave., Riverside; 951-222-8100; ‘CAHUILLA CONTINUUM’ ONGOING  –  Exhibit tells the story of a Southern California native people, the Cahuilla, through more than 160 artifacts. Metropolitan Museum, 3580 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; 951-826-5273; Also: Tule Dolls and Doll Cradleboard Workshop, June 14. FARMERS MARKET ONGOING  –  Fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and more. Downtown, Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, Riverside; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

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Downtown Riverside, as it appeared in July 2014 with its high-rise offices, also is home to a growing number of residents.

Living spaces

Not just an area for work and play, downtown Riverside is increasingly becoming a place to call home Written by Amy Bentley


hink downtown Riverside. What comes to mind? The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and Festival of Lights? Concerts and stage shows at the Fox Performing Arts Center? The pedestrian walkway and shops filled with antiques and collectibles? Restaurants, art galleries, museums? What may not come to mind — at least not right away — are places where people actually live. But that appears to be changing. Downtown Riverside has long been home to residents who are happy to walk more and drive less, and soon they may have lots of new neighbors thanks to the development of spaces for living, learning and working. Projects include turning the old Imperial Hardware and Stalder buildings into mixed-use residential and retail properties and construction of the $80 million Centennial Plaza, which the Riverside Community College District hopes to have finished by early next year. Taken together, downtown Riverside is on track to become an even more vibrant place. “I live downtown for a reason,” said Chani Beeman, vice chairman of the Downtown Area Neighborhood Alliance. “I like being close to the amenities — the Fox and the restaurants — and there’s a real sense of neighborliness. A lot of that has to do with the architecture of the homes, with big front porches and very few garages, so you can’t pull your car in then walk into the house. “Oftentimes, the neighbors are friends that you wind up socializing with,” she added. “They take care of one another and look after each other. That’s an especially nice feature.” Like Beeman, who raised two sons in a home that’s less than a 10-minute walk to the heart of downtown, many others we talked to cited similar advantages to living in the area. Additionally, they enjoyed the ability to walk, ride a bike or a Segway to work and easy access to other transportation options, such as Metrolink, that will get them to jobs a greater distance away.

Photo by Steve Jacobs

Drawn to downtown Lonny Huff grew up in the area and never really left. As a child, his family lived in the Wood Streets neighborhood, and he and his brother enjoyed being close to the action. “Downtown was our front yard,” Huff recalled. “As soon as I was old enough to run by myself, I came downtown. We spent a lot of time at Back to the Grind, a great venue for indie music. We were in bands in high school and they would host smaller music concerts.” After attending college in San Francisco and earning a degree in advertising, Huff returned to Riverside and now rents an old grocery store/industrial space built in 1915 that was renovated into a housing unit. Located in an area dotted with old Victorian homes, he’s about five blocks from the Mission Inn and three blocks from the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Photo by Eric Reed

Chani Beeman, right, with her son, Ben Ontko

“It would be nice to have a grocery store and a farmers market more than one day a week. All of that will come when we have more people downtown. It’s kind of a chicken and egg issue. People don’t invest in those kinds of businesses until they know there will be people patronizing them. It’s going to take some time.” Chani Beeman Vice chairman, Downtown Area Neighborhood Alliance


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Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher

Lonny Huff has lived in or near downtown Riverside for most of his life.

For the past three years, he has enjoyed spreading out in 3,000 square feet on the ground floor of the unique structure that has two small bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and two huge front windows. “It’s a really creative space. It’s kind of quirky and it allows me to decorate in my style. It lends itself to vintage style,” said Huff, 25, who favors Mid-century Modern and has picked up some furnishings from estate sales. Single with no children, Huff doesn’t have a yard and doesn’t care. He owns a car but rarely drives it, instead riding a bike to his job as the operations administrator for Fierro Foods, which owns The Salted Pig gastro pub and W. Wolfskill, a cocktail bar on Main Street named for a pioneer in the state’s agricultural industry. “Southern California is so stuck on driving,” Huff said. “People in a professional situation are just stuck in traffic every day. Why go through that?” While downtown Riverside at first glance might not seem kid-friendly, Huff believes it’s actually a great place for families — albeit an area that he feels is noisier than a suburban or residential community. For Girish Balachandran and his wife, Linda Clerkson, living in one of the units at Raincross Promenade — a multi-story

Photo by Frank Perez

Girish Balachandran, right, and his wife, Linda Clerkson

“The plaza is beautiful and it’s a pleasure to walk there in any season. (I would like to see) a few more small restaurants with chefs who get to express their creativity and individual style, using quality local ingredients.” Girish Balachandran General manager, Riverside Public Utilities

residential complex with one-, two- and three-bedroom units at Market and Third streets — came with several advantages. One was a four-block stroll to his job,

as general manager for Riverside Public Utilities. “It was awesome because I could walk past the Riverside Convention Center, which has a great lawn, then through the plaza and the Mission Inn on my way to the office,” he said, adding that he and his wife often would go to Simple Simon’s for breakfast, take classes at Reveille yoga studio or visit the library. “It was extremely convenient. There is something to be said about walking to services,” Balachandran said. While the couple moved in March to a Riverside home they purchased a short distance away, they continue to patronize the yoga studio and several downtown restaurants including Mario’s Place and Sevilla. “We still come here all the time,” he said. Living downtown doesn’t always mean leasing a converted industrial space or an apartment. Just ask Justin Tracy and Rina Gonzales. Tracy lives in circa 1907 duplex behind his business, PIP Printing & Document

Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher

“Trolleys would give people less of a reason to drive a car and also would facilitate getting people to places they may not otherwise go to. I’d also like to see a high-end for-profit art gallery, a street-painting festival, comedy club and a Lucky Strike bowling alley.” Justin Tracy Owner and general manager, PIP Printing Riverside and Corona


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Services at 11th and Market streets. An urban gardener, he grows vegetables and herbs in a small, unfenced yard, and has three citrus and two avocado trees. Since he literally lives steps from his workplace, the daily commute is about as short as they come. He says that he finds it “freeing” not to have to drive his car much, instead opting to get around on a Segway. Tracy, who is single and has adult children, frequents many downtown restaurants and clubs, and believes that downtown is best suited for people without kids. Still, he’s open to more folks living in the area. “Strangely enough, it’s one of the quietest places I’ve ever lived,” he said, admitting that the peace is on occasion interrupted by motorcycles roaring along nearby streets and ambulances rushing to Riverside Community Hospital around the corner. “Other than that, this is a great place to be,” he added. As for Gonzales, a deputy city attorney for Riverside, she has lived for the past 13 years in a 1,600-square-foot home in Mission Village, a development with 46 residences at Market and First streets. Her neighbors are a mix of families,

Photo by Frank Perez

Rina Gonzales enjoys coming to the pedestrian mall, which is a short walk from her home.

seniors and singles, and include several city employees and students who attend UC Riverside. Gonzales’ short, nine-block commute to work means she has more time for other pursuits, such as running a side business called Mothership Scrapbook Gal. She hosts craft events and classes at nearby establishments and has partnered with some of them including The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf,

Project update What’s on tap for downtown Riverside: Centennial Plaza: The Riverside Community College District’s $80 million Centennial Plaza will showcase RCC’s Culinary Ar ts Academy and the Henry W. Coil Sr. and Alice Edna Coil School for the Ar ts. The ar ts school will have instrumental labs, a high-tech digital recording studio and a 450-seat concer t hall. The Culinary Ar ts Academy will offer professional quality demonstration and teaching kitchens, a bakery, classrooms and a restaurant where culinary students will prepare breakfast and lunch for the public. The three-story building also will house district offices and feature a rooftop garden terrace. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2016. 16

Artist rendering of the Imperial Hardware Building after it is renovated for residential and retail use.

Imperial Hardware Building: Ratkovich Proper ties is conver ting the former two-story Imperial Hardware Building, built in 1900 at University Avenue and Main Street, into a proper ty with about 8,000 square feet of retail on the ground level and 91 loft apar tment units on the five floors above. While the building’s 1930s ar t deco facade will be preserved, nearly everything

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Sweet Epies bakery cafe and Molinos Coffee, which sells her handmade greeting cards. Last year, Gonzales hosted a booth at the Festival of Lights Artisans Collective. “There’s always something going on downtown,” she said, before singling out concerts in the park during the summer and the Festival of Lights during the holiday season. “It’s always awesome to be able to bring your family to that.”

behind it will be new. Construction is expected to begin early next year with completion expected by summer 2017. Amenities will include a pool and Jacuzzi, an indoor/outdoor kitchen lounge, fire pits and fitness center. “There also will be a Sundowner Lounge on the rooftop so everyone can enjoy fantastic sunset views of Mount Rubidoux and the city skyline,” said Rob Dodman, principal with Ratkovich. The Imperial building at one time housed several hardware stores, but has been vacant since the late 1980s. Stalder Building: Construction may star t this fall on what will eventually become a mixed-use proper ty that will include 22,000 square feet of street-level retail

space and 165 apar tment units. Three structures, collectively known as the Stalder Building, date to the 19th century and at one time housed a fire station with horse-drawn fire apparatus, a livery stable and automobile garage, but in recent years the proper ty has been a victim of neglect. The first order of construction business will be digging a large hole for three levels of subterranean parking and preserving the facade, which went up in the 1920s. Once complete, the complex will stretch along Market Street, from Mission Inn to Fifth Street. “It’s going to be a gorgeous building,” said Mark Rubin of Regional Proper ties, Inc., who is par tnering on the project with Ted Weggeland, CEO of Raincross Hospitality Corp. — Amy Bentley and Jerry Rice

Pedestrian-friendly Riverside is one of a growing number of cities that have either redone their downtowns to make them more livable and walkable, or are in the process of doing so. Nearby examples include Anaheim, Brea, Fullerton and Tustin. That trend likely will continue, according to Juliann Emmons Allison, associate director of UC Riverside’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development. “Many people live in the suburbs because they don’t want to be downtown, but from a social point of view we’re hitting a point where we need more people to prefer living downtown,” she said. “It’s a drain on the environment to commute long distances. In suburban neighborhoods, your house and yard are going to be bigger so you’ll be using more energy and water,” she added. “Services also need to move out to these places. Suburban areas wind up having their own shopping districts, but people could have shared something that was existing if they lived close enough to it.” Living in close proximity to jobs promotes a healthier lifestyle with more walking, says Allison, who recently completed a study focusing on Riverside’s Arlington and Ramona neighborhoods. The goal of the research project was to find ways to encourage residents to walk more and be less reliant on their vehicles for shopping and other activities. “You have to get people to embrace a different way of thinking,” she said. “It’s fighting an attitude of convenience of getting in your car to get a cup of coffee at a Starbucks that’s three miles away. “From a policy position, you can’t wait for people to demand it because they won’t. They don’t like to be uncomfortable. You have to teach people about walkability.” Those lessons likely won’t be necessary for potential residents of two downtown development projects that are in the works — the old Imperial Hardware Building at University Avenue and Main Street and the Stalder Building at the

corner of Mission Inn Avenue and Market Street. Both structures, which have suffered from years of neglect, are being remade into mixed-use properties with street-level retail and dining plus residences on the higher floors. Combined, they will have more than 250 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. With thousands of people working within one mile of City Hall, Rob Dodman, principal at Ratkovich Properties, says his company saw a great opportunity in remaking the Imperial Hardware Building into a complex that will feature 91 loft apartments with floorto-ceiling windows and a rooftop deck for evening get-togethers illuminated by the lights of the city all around. “Downtown needs a residential offering that speaks to the millennial generation, and that’s what we’re aiming to bring,” he said. “We know that our project alone will not change everything,” he added. “But it will be ours plus others that will ultimately be a part of the renaissance

of downtown, bringing more residents to downtown, more eyes on the street that will make it safer, and make it a better living environment for everybody.” When it comes to developing a walkable downtown, Allison, a 17-year resident of the city, believes Riverside is doing many things right. One-way streets, for example, are safer than two-way streets for pedestrians and the pedestrian mall is an open invitation to walk. “The next step is to think about the downtown as a destination for everyone, not just the people who are working or living there,” she said. “We do it on occasion. For six weeks during the Festival of Lights, we see lots of people come out. If you can sustain that somehow it would be good. It needs to be an ongoing sort of thing. “What you want is a lot less getting in your car and driving to Los Angeles, and a lot more let’s go to downtown Riverside and do something there. That’s what you want to see.” — Jerry Rice contributed to this report.

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In a

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loving it Annual outdoor concert is becoming a hit with music fans and downtown business owners

Written by George A. Paul


ive music, food and drink will be in ample supply when the Summer Street Jam returns Aug. 1 to energize downtown Riverside with a fresh focus. Taking its cue from the Coachella music festivals, band bookings will be changed to reflect those genres and crowds. “The first two Street Jams were a nod to Riverside’s roots,” said Janice Penner, executive director of Riverside Downtown Partnership, which oversees Street Jam. “This year, we are going for a 25-45 age demographic with disposable income — one that goes to Coachella and is prepared to make it an evening out, dine and have a good time. “We’re being a little bit more adventurous,” she added. “We think we’ll

have a really good lineup for the show.” As in 2014, a block of University Avenue will be closed between Orange and Lemon streets. Patrons will be able to wander in and out of the establishments, many of them offering special activities, bands, and food and drink price specials before the main stage music starts at 4 p.m. Launched in 2009 as a way to attract more people downtown, the Street Jam featured local and Southern California-based performers like Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Debonaires, Poncho Sanchez, Brenton Wood and Smile Empty Soul for a couple years before going on hiatus. The free event resumed in 2013. According to Penner, headliner Alien Ant Farm drew a little more than 4,000 people last year (up from a previous attendance high of 3,500). “It’s bigger and growing,” she said.


Downtown Riverside becomes an outdoor concert venue for the annual Summer Street Jam, which returns Aug. 1. 20

| | june-july 2015







BECOME A SEASON SUBSCRIBER TODAY! RESERVE YOUR SEATS NOW: (951) 335-3469 SEASON TICKET PACKAGES ON SALE NOW! For Season Tickets Call: 951-335-3469 | Visit: | Email: Fox Performing Arts Center | 3801 Mission Inn Avenue | Riverside, CA 92501



Warren Klure, owner of the Pixels bar downtown, says the Street Jam reaches people who may not know about Riverside’s entertainment offerings.

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“We hope to eventually get to the point where we close two blocks.” Several establishments near the action increased contributions for 2015, Penner says. “Some (owners) went from $500 to $750 and said their business doubled or tripled from a normal Saturday. They all want it to come back. I think that’s a measure of how successful it is.” For Worthington’s Tavern on University, the Street Jam means both an increase in patrons and repeat customers. “We absolutely see an uptick in business that day,” said owner Shelby Worthington. “I’ve been downtown for 14 years. Customers do come back downtown and make it a destination instead of going other places.” Worthington finds the overall Street Jam vibe to be an inviting atmosphere. Organizers provide “a safe environment, so people get to enjoy it. Because there are intermissions, they go into the different establishments and still feel safe outside. I think it creates a positive feeling.” Warren Klure, owner of Pixels (also on University), helps book some of the acts. “It reaches out to people who may not know what’s going on

downtown — that there’s an entertainment district here. Hopefully it brings them in from surrounding areas,” he said. The surge of customers throughout the day results in “a little bump in revenue” for Pixels, he says. An additional Street Jam each year would be even better, many believe. “It’s a great event; I would love to have more. The only problem is raising money,” Worthington said, adding that staging a second Street Jam without a larger budget “would probably diminish the impact and also the quality of entertainment. “Having a larger event one time (each year) creates more of a need for people to come see it and brings them downtown,” Worthington said. Klure believes a second event could work, though. “I think it would be good to do twice a year,” he said. “Maybe a summer jam and a fall jam, like every six months — a street festival. That would be interesting, and I would be encouraged to support that, for sure.” Summer Street Jam Where: Downtown Riverside When: Aug. 1 Information: 951-341-6550;



“I love criminal defense law. It is my calling,” says Virginia M. Blumenthal. At one time, she thought about becoming a newscaster.

Getting personal with

Virginia M. Blumenthal Written by Amy Bentley


irginia M. Blumenthal may be known more for her volunteer work than her abilities as a criminal defense attorney, not that the career accolades she’s accumulated during the past 40 years aren’t worth noting. Blumenthal has been named one of the best women litigators and one of the most influential attorneys in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, a newspaper that covers the legal profession. She also has held the highest possible rating from the leading national attorney directory, Martindale-Hubbell, for the past 30 years. And last year, the 24

| | june-july 2015

National Trial Lawyers Association named Blumenthal one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the United States. On the community service front, Blumenthal has been recognized by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce with its ATHENA Award, for top professional women who give back to the community and mentor others, and this spring was named its Citizen of the Year. She also has received the honors from the YWCA of Riverside County and the NAACP Riverside Branch. Blumenthal is a past board president of the Riverside County Philharmonic (she re-joined the board this year) and is the president of the Riverside Community College District Board

of Trustees. Also, she’s co-founder of the Riverside County High School Mock Trial program. Question: Why and how do you do so much? Answer: “I genuinely believe in giving back. The community has been very, very good to me,” Blumenthal said, adding that she feels fortunate to only need five or six hours of sleep per night — so she gets a lot done. Q: What organization or community effort has meant the most to you? A: The Mock Trial program, which has been in existence for more than 30 years at 28-30 Riverside County high schools. “It has nothing to do with kids becoming attorneys. It has to do with kids thinking

and being involved with an academic sport. They learn to think. They learn to analyze. They learn how to work hard.” Q: What hobbies or personal pursuits do you enjoy the most? A: Traveling, attending the theater, listening to music and playing the piano. “I’m not gifted in that area,” she said of the piano. “I keep trying. God gave me a lot of talent as a criminal trial defense attorney. But to balance that he gave me no other talent in any other area.” Q: Tell us something about yourself that few people know about you. A: As a teen, Blumenthal was an intern at the Press-Enterprise newspaper, working what she called the “crud desk,” writing obituaries, wedding and engagement columns, and scanning the news wire for editors. She loved it and wanted to become a newscaster, but instead became a teacher and later an attorney. After graduating from Citrus Belt Law School (now the California Southern Law School in Riverside) and passing the bar exam, she says couldn’t find a job as a lawyer in Riverside because no one would hire a woman. So, Blumenthal opened her own firm in 1975. “I refused to get upset about it. What I did with my career was put one foot in front of the other and gave it my best shot.” Q: Favorite Riverside night out? A: Attending a performance of The Phil, going to Fox Performing Arts Center or Performance Riverside. Q: Name a book everyone should read. A: Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.” “There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Dr. Seuss books.” Q: Who inspires you and why? A: The late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. “She was an amazing woman. She was a brave woman and did what was right, even when she took the hard way and faced severe criticism.” Q: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be? A: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a woman Blumenthal admires and respects even though they belong to different political parties. “She is an amazing leader. She recognizes that most problems don’t have a political label.” june-july 2015 | | 25


Classic gets better

with time Cafe Sevilla’s latest offerings, plus its world tour of Spanish-inspired fare, encourages repeat visits Written by David Cohen


t’s been awhile since I last went to Cafe Sevilla for dinner, and during a recent visit I noticed much of the decor has remained constant. Duct piping criss-crosses the downstairs ceiling and Spanish-style building facades and flower boxes jut out from one wall. Suits of armor grace the upstairs alcoves and the bodega-like setting remains on the second floor, with

Photos by Eric Reed

A statue near the entrance to Sevilla pays homage to the long tradition of bullfighting in Spain.

strains of Spanish guitar music playing in the background. A more recent addition is the pressed metal statue of a bull in the entryway downstairs. The menu includes a number of items which have been introduced since my last visit, and the preparation and the food choices are better than they’ve ever been. Additions include flat breads (cocas) from Barcelona, ceviche, and a selection of empanadas, and the number of paella selections is increased. Ceviches are available in a trio or may be ordered individually.

Top left: tapas, tortilla Espaùola, datiles rellenos and albondigas al Jerez; top right: Barcelonainspired grilled vegetable flatbread (coca); center left: pork chuleta de Cerdo; center right: exterior of the restaurant; bottom: Sevilla’s dining area starts filling up for dinner.

june-july 2015 | | 27

Bottles of wine and Champagne are part of the décor at Sevilla.

Each month, dishes are featured from a country that formerly belonged to the Spanish Empire. During our visit, Peruvian fare was being showcased, including braised guinea pig! Future months will explore the foods of Cuba and Argentina. We began with a trio of ceviches, including calamari with fried plantain chips, a shrimp and red snapper combo, and very spicy octopus slices blended with mango and habanero chiles. The empanadas are baked until golden brown. We opted for the wild mushroom version containing a blend of shitake, button, crimini and oyster mushrooms which are flambéed with Spanish brandy and finished with butter, then folded into a puff pastry. It’s served with a Rioja wine sauce studded with bacon. Cocas are wildly popular in Barcelona. The grilled vegetable coca with asparagus, red pepper strips and goat cheese was a standout, sprinkled with herbs and micro greens. There’s also a section of classic tapas including such items as tortilla espanola, dates with Cabrales bleu cheese and 28

| | june-july 2015

applewood-smoked bacon, and Spanish meatballs with sherry and garlic. The black seafood paella was superb, tinted with black squid ink and topped with clams, mussels and scallops in their shells along with calamari rings embedded in the rice, plus shrimp and salmon pieces. You can order a large or small paella pan, or a tapas-sized portion. We also chose the six-sausage paella atop saffron bomba rice that used spicy Merguez sausage, Chistorra, two different chorizos, Longaniza and Morcilla (blood sausage). For me, the best part of the classic paella is the “soccorat,” the crusty rice from the bottom of the pan that adds both texture and a nutty flavor to the dish — charred, but never burnt. The last group of dishes were assorted meats that included extremely tender short ribs cooked in a Rioja wine sauce; a brocheta de cordero with chunks of grilled lamb that had been marinated in honey and mint and were brought to the table on a vertical skewer; the chuleta de cerda (a pork chop stuffed with chorizo and pieces of apple, sliced in sections and served with

a sherry and spicy apple glaze). For an additional $9, any meat dish can be turned into a main entree adding saffron rice or delicious manchego garlic mashed potatoes, and a seasonal vegetable — in our case, Spanish ratatouille (pisto manchego). Finish up with a Spanish dessert such as Crema Catalana, bread pudding, or a beautifully done Andalusian apple tart topped with rum-infused raisins and a brandy anglaise. Try a glass of 10-year tawny port as a chaser to complete a very fine Spanish dining experience. Cafe Sevilla Where: 3252 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside Hours: 4:30-10 p.m. Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30-10 p.m. Sunday Prices: $6-$27 for tapas; $12-$58 for paella, tapas-sized, individual and family sizes; $18$22 for brochetas; $17-$31 for main dishes with sides. All major credit cards accepted. Also: Ar t of Flamenco three-course dinner shows on Saturday evenings; full bar; happy hour Sunday-Friday until 7 p.m.; monthly specials from various Spanish-influenced countries. Information: 951-778-0611;

seen The Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center recently presented its 34th annual dinner and auction gala at the Victoria Club in Riverside. Funds raised will benefit the center and its mission to help sexual assault victims and their families, and also provide community outreach in western and southwestern Riverside County. Information:

RARCC Dinner Auction Gala 2














(1) Josh and Nicola Yadon, left, Linda Hicks, Anne Marie and Jason Pieters (2) Amy Harrison and Steve Hovey (3) Cathy Morford, left, and Sandy Schnack (4) Marie Antoinette and David McPhee, left, Brianna Rivera, Donna Staples and Cecilia Bustos (5) Susan Rainey, left, John Collins and Larry McAdara (6) Dinah Minkler, left, Nina Reynolds and Jan Duke (7) Kurt Berchtold, left, Lori Pendergraft and Cherie Curzon (8) Virginia and Charlie Field (9) Don Brower, left, Joe Romine and George Ponce (10) Paul Gill and Colleen Williams (11) Cathy Kienle, left, Lori Hajj and Margo McDonald (12) Kathy and Dwight Tate (13) Steve and Pam Kanouse, left, Irene and Alfonso Salazar, David and Cathy Barnes, Shelby Worthington and Steve Loomis (14) Steve and Jane Smith Ph o t o s by J a m e s C a r b o n e a n d S t e p h a n i e B r owe r


| | june-july 2015

seen It was a fun and exciting “Night in Bollywood!” as the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce presented its 115th Inaugural Celebration recently at the Convention Center. Honorees included attorney Virginia Blumenthal as citizen of the year and Walter’s Automotive Group as business of the year. Information:


115th Inaugural Celebration 2




(1) Steve Kienle, left, general manager, and Walter Kienle, founder and owner of Walter’s Automotive Group (2) Ron Redfern, left, and Bob Stockton (3) Got Bhangra entertained guests. (4) Sue Johnson, left, Joe Tavaglione, Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey, Margaret McTague and Mary Barnett (5) Lathell McKeller, left, and Virginia Blumenthal Ph o t o s by M i c h a e l J . E l d e r m a n Ph o t og r a p hy


june-july 2015 | | 31


Keep Our Gardens Clean & Beautiful 1

UC Riverside’s Botanic Gardens recently hosted its Keep Our Gardens Clean & Beautiful spring event, with about 60 volunteers pulling weeds, raking and otherwise sprucing up parts of the 40-acre natural treasure. Another garden clean-up happens in the fall. Information: 3




(1) Mary Pensante, left, Christina Zavala, Samuel Ulloa, Mirza Wali Baig and Moisas Pensante (2) Zaya Boldsaikhan, left, and Drishti Bhardwaj (3) George Spiliotis, left, Theresa McLemore, manager of the botanic garden; and Peter Stock, Friends of the UCR Botanic Gardens board member (4) Angel Liang, left, Jessica Hsu and Hannah McGarraugh (5) Brandon Sanders, left, Ngau Ho, Alyssa Canova and Ryan Hong Ph o t o s by Fr a n k Pe r e z


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Friends and survivors Dianne Callahan and Martin Gaona at Riverside Plaza

Survivor’s story How a battle against cancer turned into an effort to help others Written by Luanne J. Hunt


ianne callahan refused to believe she was at death’s door after being diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007. Hanging onto a whole lot of hope and faith, she started her intense journey of healing with chemotherapy, radiation and two stem cell transplants. Today, her cancer is in remission, but she is still battling its devastating effects. “The first stem cell transplant I had didn’t work but the second one was effective,” said the 50-year-old Riverside resident. “But now, I’ve developed graftversus-host disease, so I’ve kind of

traded one life-threatening disease for another — although it’s a lot more manageable than the cancer was.” Graft-versus-host disease is a complication from a stem cell or bone

marrow transplant. With GVHD, the newly transplanted donor cells attack the transplant recipient’s body. The disease can be treated successfully with immune suppressing drugs. Despite dealing with GVHD, Callahan says she feels lucky to be alive. Her ordeal also has inspired her to want to give back to others who are afflicted with blood-related cancers. To that end, she will host a Survivor Strut Fashion Show on July 31 at Riverside Plaza. The event will feature fashions from Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Chico’s june-july 2015 | | 33

sav e th e date CHARITABLE EVENTS

June 8 — The 23rd annual A. Gary Anderson Memorial Golf Classic will benefit effor ts by the Children’s Fund to help at-risk and abused children. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $6 million. Red Hill Country Club, 8358 Red Hill Country Club Drive, Rancho Cucamonga; 909-379-0000; July 25 — An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast to benefit Teen Challenge. Benedict Castle, 5445 Chicago Ave., Riverside; 7-10:30 a.m.; 951-683-4241,


Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl, left, former Angels great and Hall of Fame player Rod Carew, Dianne Callahan and Martin Gaona during a Light the Night event at Angel Stadium.

and Joseph A. Bank. All of the models are cancer survivors. “I came up with the idea for Survivor Strut with the hopes of empowering cancer survivors,” Callahan said. “The disease really does take its toll on your appearance, and it can be pretty traumatic to lose your hair. “But those of us who have gone through it are warriors, and walking down the runway is a chance to say to everyone, ‘We’ve survived and we’re confident and feeling good about ourselves.’” Callahan’s first Survivor Strut Fashion Show was in 2008, raising about $3,000. She hopes to exceed that amount this year with the help of her close friend and cancer survivor Martin Gaona, who will walk the runway during the fashion show with 11 other models. The pair met while undergoing stem cell transplants at the City of Hope in early 2013. “I call Martin my ‘transplant twin’ because we had an immediate connection,” Callahan said. “The parallels of our journeys were amazing and the bond between us was strong 34

| | june-july 2015

from the very beginning. Our families also have become very close and have been a wonderful support system for both of us.” Gaona was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2007. He was treated with chemotherapy drugs for five years until they stopped working. Then, his only treatment option was a stem cell transplant, which put his cancer in remission. “I love doing events like the Survivor Strut Fashion Show and seeing all the people who come out to support an amazing cause for cancer,” said Gaona, who is now cancer-free. “I am a product of all the research that has been funded by events like this, and am one of the lucky ones who gets to show all the supporters that their hard work was not in vain.” Survivor Strut Fashion Show Where: Riverside Plaza, 3545 Central Ave. When: July 31 at 7 p.m. Cost: $45 for VIP and $20 for general seating. VIP tickets include preferred seating, access to a pre-show reception and an after-par ty. Information: 909-648-5171

Sept. 18 — 31st annual Women of Achievement, presented by the YWCA of Riverside County. Event honors extraordinary women who exemplify the ideals of the YWCA organizational mission. Riverside Convention Center, 3637 Fifth St.; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; $65 per person, $500 for table of eight; 951-687-9922; Sept. 19 — Inland Empire Hear t & Stroke Walk to benefit the American Hear t Association, with a 3.1-mile walk/run and 1-mile optional survivor route. Rancho Jurupa Park, 4800 Crestmore Road, Jurupa Valley; registration 7 a.m., opening ceremonies 8 a.m., walk star ts at 8:30 a.m.; 310-424-4174; www.iehear Sept. 26 — Paint the Town Pink, Riverside Community Health Foundation’s annual celebration. Location to be announced; 6-10 p.m.; 951-788-3471; Sept. 26 — Walk for Recovery, presented by Teen Challenge. Hunter Hobby Park, Iowa and Columbia avenues, Riverside; 8-11:30 a.m.; $25, $100 for family of four or more; 951-224-8022;; Oct. 2-3 — Rummage Sale to benefit Teen Challenge. Benedict Castle, 5445 Chicago Ave., Riverside; 7-10:30 a.m.; 951-653-7275, Oct. 17 — Light the Night Walk to suppor t effor ts by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to fight cancer. California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia Ave., Riverside; 4 p.m.;




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Riverside Magazine  

Riverside's diverse dining scene is something to be savored – especially during the annual Restaurant Week. Our dining critic serves up his...

Riverside Magazine  

Riverside's diverse dining scene is something to be savored – especially during the annual Restaurant Week. Our dining critic serves up his...