The Magazine of Artful Living

SB County Unemployment Reaches Lowest Level Since Pandemic Started

San Bernardino County’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since the COVID-19 pandemic began, continuing a jobs recovery that has outpaced the state and reinforces the county’s role as an employment and economic driver for Southern California and beyond. READ MORE  > > >

Where to Find Banh Mi Sandwiches

Meaning “bread” in Vietnamese, banh mi also refers to a sandwich that combines the perfect blend of ingredients. It starts with a baguette that’s crispy on the outside, but airy inside. Fillings vary, but typically include seasoned vegetables and savory meat. For an easy recipe to make the sandwich at home, see the April 2021 issue of Inland Empire Magazine. Or check out these local eateries and stores. >>>

Visit: Temecula

Throughout wine country, miles of trails beckon hikers, cyclists and horseback riders to explore the rolling hills and vineyards the city is famous for. Food and wine lovers will find many culinary and wine tasting gems. Pack a picnic, order take-out, or dine alfresco at one of the restaurants. The area is well known as one of California’s top hot air ballooning sites, offering sunrise and sunset flights over the vineyards.

Reign Reserve Ticket Program

The Ontario Reign, AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, have released the Reign Reserve monthly pass program, providing fans with a new, flexible subscription option, beginning with the 2021-22 season. The program will give Reign fans quick, easy access to tickets. Included is the ability to reserve a seat to all 34 regular-season home games. Reign Reserve subscriptions come in three seating options, and start at $20 per month.

Visit: Idyllwild

If you like the fresh mountain air but want to avoid the crowds at other popular spots, Idyllwild is your new mountain playground. Located in the San Jacinto Mountains, you can hike to Suicide Rock or Tahquitz Peak for great views. For an easier hike, walk along Lake Fulmor or fish for rainbow trout. Idyllwild Regional Park offers five trails, a rock climbing course, and picnic spots. Accommodations include Grand Idyllwild Lodge.

April Is Stress Awareness Month

Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2020 Survey, nearly 67% of Americans say their stress levels have increased over the course of the pandemic. April is Stress Awareness Month, the perfect time to examine your stress level and learn strategies for coping with this silent scourge. Stress relief is within reach. READ MORE >>>

CHARITY PROFILE: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County & the Inland Empire

For years, Jennifer O’Farrell worked with children who were victims of violence, poverty and trafficking. “I always asked, ‘How can we prevent this? What if someone early on in the child’s development could pivot their trajectory?’ I believe Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire is the vehicle to do just that.” CLICK IMAGE

Dining: Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar

Tortillas roll off the tortilla machine at this super popular, family-friendly restaurant. Those to-die-for tortillas are served alongside mesquite-grilled meats and seafood and regional classics, like fajitas and enchiladas. Open since 1989, the secret to the restaurant’s longevity is listening to the customers. “Guests always tell me not to change anything, and that’s what we do,” co-owner Dean Bergstrom says. 10773 Hole Ave., Riverside; (951) 352-0240,

Dining: Devilicious

What started as a popular food truck has become a popular brick and mortar gastropub in Old Town Temecula. Owner Kenneth Danko describes the menu as “twisted comfort food,” meaning the flavor combinations work on many levels. The upscale comfort food menu includes the Devilicious Burger (pictured) and other items, like Truffle Parmesan Fries, Short Rib Melt and Baja Lobster Tacos. 28693 Old Town Front St., Temecula; (951) 506-4024,

Rancho Cucamonga Community & Arts Foundation

Involved in the arts, particularly the performing arts, her entire life, Susan Sluka Kelly jumped at the chance to become the first executive director of the Rancho Cucamonga Community & Arts Foundation (RCCAAF) in 2018. The mission of the RCCAAF is to raise funds to support, expand and advance art and cultural opportunities for school children and the community. CLICK IMAGE

Dining: Pepitos Mexican Restaurant

After pleasing Mexican food aficionados for more than three decades in Riverside’s Magnolia Center, Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant is now located in the Canyon Crest Towne Centre. The festive dining room features bright colors and original paintings, and the menu reflects the various regions of Mexico. Enjoy classic favorites, like sizzling fajitas (pictured), combination plates, seafood and house specialties. Don’t forget flan for dessert. 5225 Canyon Crest Drive, Riverside; (951) 783-9444,

Inspire Life Skills

Growing up in foster care isn’t easy. Often, it doesn’t get much better when foster kids turn 18 and age out of the system. Corona’s Kristi Perez wanted to do something to give those young people the chance to succeed. CLICK IMAGE

Foster Army Animal Rescue

“Everyone likes to see an underdog win,” says Michelle Risser, board president of Riverside’s Foster Army Animal Rescue (FAAR), which rescues, treats and rehabilitates vulnerable and special needs companion animals. As such, “we rescue a lot of underdogs,” she says. CLICK IMAGE

Garner Holt Education through Imagination

Garner Holt Productions, Inc. is the world’s largest producer of theme park animatronics. The industry giant, based in Redlands, has launched a unique education company focused on STEM. CLICK IMAGE

Jacob’s House

In October 2006, Shawn and Stephanie Nelson of Temecula got the phone call no parent ever wants to receive. Their 24-year-old son, Jacob, had been in a car accident in San Diego County and was in critical condition at a hospital there. They raced to his side taking nothing with them. They had no idea how long they might be away from home. Sadly, Jacob passed away, but the experience led the Nelsons to take action. CLICK IMAGE

Go Tropical with Tommy Bahama & Disney

Enjoy two of your favorite brands at the same time: Tommy Bahama and Disney. The two companies collaborated on a spring collection that features tropical prints, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and the cool comfort Tommy Bahama is known for. Tees and sweaters, aloha shirts, beach towels and more make up this collection, available at Tommy Bahama stores, fine department stores and select specialty retailers, and online.

Sly & The Family Stone Tribute Concert

The timeless music of Sly & The Family Stone lives on with The Family Stone, performing a free 7 p.m. concert on Friday, May 14 at The Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The current lineup of The Family Stone includes Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Martini (pictured) and Phunne Stone, daughter of Sly Stone and co-founder Cynthia Robinson.

Wingz takes off at Ontario International Airport

Passengers now have another convenient option to reach Ontario International Airport (ONT) with the addition of ride-app Wingz to the airport’s ground transportation program. Ontario airport officials permitted the new service, authorizing Wingz drivers to provide curbside service for departing and arriving passengers at both ONT terminals. FOR MORE OF THE STORY, CLICK IMAGE

Provecho Grill

Provecho Grill in Menifee is known for its vibrant decor and menu. Guests can enjoy their meal on the outdoor patio. The menu includes authentic Mexican dishes, including sizzling fajitas. Provecho Grill is owned by award-winning chef Rosie O’Connor, who has appeared on the Cooking Channel and competed on the Fox television show “Hell’s Kitchen.” Check the website for hours and dining options. 26862 Cherry Hill Blvd., Menifee, (951) 246-3200,

CSUSB launches School of Entrepreneurship first in California

With the start of the 2020 fall semester, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) will launch the School of Entrepreneurship, the first of its kind in California. The unique program, one of less than 15 existing worldwide, will boost the university’s already highly successful entrepreneurship program. For more of the story, click image

COVID-19: The Orange Tier

Southern California counties have transitioned to the less restrictive Orange Tier. Retail businesses may increase capacity to 100% indoors. Restaurants, movie theaters, museums and places of worship may increase indoor capacity to 50%. Gyms, wineries, breweries and distilleries may increase indoor capacity to 25%. And outdoor stadiums can open at 33% capacity. (All with modifications.) READ MORE > > >

Agua Caliente Celebrates Milestone

Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage reached a milestone on April 6, 2021 when it turned 20 years old. The Forbes Four-Star award-winning resort opened its doors on April 6, 2001, and has been a major part of the community, economy and entertainment scene of the Coachella Valley ever since. The resort’s 16-story hotel tower, the third tallest in the Inland Empire, came seven years later in 2008. READ MORE > > >

Teresa Rhyne Writes the Book on Finding a Lost Dog

When she’s not helping clients, Riverside attorney Teresa Rhyne is rescuing dogs. Beagles are her weakness. Which is why she couldn’t say no when adorable beagle Poppy needed a temporary home. Then Poppy escaped into Riverside’s Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park. Not one to give up, Rhyne hiked in 1,500 rugged acres, spent nights outside, and enlisted an intrepid team of dog rescue experts whose motto is “do not chase!” Find out how Poppy found her way home in Rhyne’s book, Poppy in the Wild, out Oct. 6.

Rustico Ristorante and Pizzeria

Rustico Ristorante and Pizzeria in Murrieta is celebrating its 16th anniversary. Owned by chef Francesco Cusimano and his wife, Filippa, the popular restaurant serves authentic Italian dishes—from comforting pasta to delectable entrees like linguine frutti di mare, along with gourmet pizza, sandwiches, and dessert. Cusimano also offers an assortment of healthy dishes, like grilled vegetable penne and salmon and veggies. Enjoy your meal with a selection from the ample wine list. Open for outdoor dining and take-out. Check the website for hours. 29940 Hunter Road, Murrieta. (951) 698-5151,

Red Cross Needs Inland Empire Volunteers

The American Red Cross needs volunteers to help in Riverside and San Bernardino counties during an expected busy wildfire season. “The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers from other parts of the country should an emergency occur. The Red Cross is asking you to be ready to help your community,” says Sean Mahoney, regional CEO of the American Red Cross Southern California Region. Help is needed at evacuation shelters and to assist with blood drives. For more information, please visit

Ontario Adds Museum Website to its Virtual Offerings

From free movies at the airport to a virtual battle of the bands, online exercise classes to a customized new art museum website, the City of Ontario is providing socially-distant entertainment and recreational options for residents. A Virtual Community Life & Culture Resource Center was created online ( providing video tutorials, virtual workouts, library and educational links, and other resources to help residents maintain healthy lives and stay connected while at home. The Ontario Museum of History & Art has now gone virtual, too, with a new website offering a virtual tour, and facts and photos of exhibits past and future.

Temecula Resident Part of ‘The Gathering Table’

Annie Boyd grew up in a family of five Iowa farm women. She recently transplanted to Temecula but still runs the business she and her relatives founded called The Gingham Apron. In October, they release their first book about gatherings throughout the seasons of life—from tailgate parties to ladies’ brunches. Filled with beautiful photography and inspirational writing, ‘The Gathering Table’ follows this Iowa farm family through a year of family gatherings, complete with menus, recipes, devotional readings and plenty of ideas for entertaining and enjoying life—together!

King Kabob

For more than a decade, Haroon Ali and his family have owned Lake Elsinore’s King Kabob, serving an assortment of Middle Eastern dishes. The menu features favorites like the beef shish kabob plate, pictured, as well as lamb chops, burgers, wraps, appetizers and vegetarian items. Many dishes are accompanied by white and saffron-flavored rice. 31712 Casino Dr., Lake Elsinore, (951) 245-5999. For dining options, see

Hawaiian Airlines Launches ONT Service

Hawaiian Airlines has inaugurated five-times-weekly nonstop service to Honolulu from Ontario International Airport, giving IE travelers a local convenience on their way to a Hawaii vacation. The service will be offered daily starting May 24. “Hawaii has always been one of the most requested destinations we hear from our passengers, so we are confident that this will be an extremely popular route,” said Mark Thorpe, CEO of Ontario International Airport Authority.

Stater Bros. Supports Fallen Patriots

Stater Bros. Charities is partnering with PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) to contribute $50,000 to the Fallen Patriots Foundation to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to children who have lost a military parent in the line of duty. The funds will help the families of service members who have died as a result of combat casualties, military training accidents, service related illnesses, and suicide, as well as other duty-related deaths as ruled by the Department of Veterans affairs.

Inland Empire United Way and United Way of the Inland Valleys Merge

Inland Empire United Way and United Way of the Inland Valleys have served neighboring communities for many years, as seen in this 2019 fundraiser photo, but leaders agreed a single organization could have a greater regional impact. The groups joined forces to become Inland Southern California United Way. Partnership between the two United Ways established the Inland SoCal COVID-19 Fund helping those affected by the pandemic through direct assistance payments. The Fund’s successes include a $4 million anonymous donation, and support from local companies.

Dining: Two Guys Pasta and Pizza

Family run for 30-plus years, this comfortable eatery serves all the dishes we associate with a neighborhood Italian-American restaurant. Dishes to try include lasagna, shrimp scampi and cheese ravioli. Pizzas come in two sizes and can be custom tailored or selected from the menu. The Crew’s Favorite, shown, is topped with chicken, spinach, feta cheese, tomatoes and basil. You’ll also find sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. 2566 E. Highland Ave.; (909) 862-7700,

Take A Peek at Sammy’s Mountain Chateau

Sammy “The Red Rocker” Hagar’s Lake Arrowhead home is on the market. The French chateau-style 6,557-sqaure-foot home was built in 2009 from granite-and-limestone boulders cut and carved onsite. Along with stunning views of the water, the eight-bedroom home includes 10 baths and parking for six cars. To see more images of the home by Peter Tran Photography, courtesy of, click image.

Smokey Canyon BBQ

Since opening Smokey Canyon BBQ in Riverside’s Canyon Crest Towne Centre in 2007, Dan and Pam Nusser have served the best of America’s “Barbecue Belt” through an array of menu options. St. Louis style ribs, tri-tip, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue chicken pizza and homemade desserts are just a few of the items that will satisfy your craving for delicious barbecue. Check out the menu, hours, and dining options at

UC Riverside Botanic Gardens Is Open

Stroll through the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens for a breath of fresh air and a dose of nature. New safety restrictions are in place for the 40-acre living plant museum, located on the UCR campus at 1 Botanic Gardens Drive, Riverside. As a part of the campus, the Botanic Gardens is used for teaching, research and demonstration purposes, as well as for enjoyment and appreciation of nature. Collections include more than 3,500 plant species and thousands of specimens from around the world. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Toby Keith Comes to Town

Country music star Toby Keith brings his “Country Comes to Town Tour” to Spotlight 29 Casino’s new Coachella Crossroads outdoor venue on Saturday, May 15. Special guest Jimmie Allen opens the show. Gates open at 6 p.m., with show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $65–$175.

RMCCF College Scholarship Recipients

Riverside Medical Clinic Charitable Foundation (RMCCF) has awarded ten $500 scholarships to Riverside County high school juniors and seniors who plan to pursue a degree in the health care field. The RMCCF College Scholarship provides recognition and financial support to students entering any health care field within Inland Southern California. Click image

Mill Creek Cattle Co

Mill Creek Cattle Co. in Mentone has been serving barbecued ribs, chicken and steak for more than 30 years. Owners Jim and Maribeth Lotito offer daily specials such as double roast beef, pulled pork, and tri-tip sandwiches, corned beef & cabbage, and prime rib, along with favorites like grilled liver & onions, jumbo gulf shrimp and more. Dine on the patio or take your meal home to enjoy. Call for takeout hours and reservations. 1874 Mentone Blvd., Mentone, (909) 389-0706;

Ontario International Airport adds PPE kiosks in passenger terminals

In its ongoing effort to protect customers, visitors and employees from potential coronavirus infection, while adding a new level of convenience during what can be a particularly stressful time for passengers, Ontario International Airport (ONT) is making personal protective equipment available to those who travel through and visit the Southern California airport. Click image

Home Cooking​

If you’re running out of healthy things to cook at home, the nonprofit Seeds of Life can help. Founded by Temecula’s Vlada Vladic, the organization produces “Cooking and Kids,” a program that teaches kids to help create healthy family meals. “Cooking and Kids” airs in 39 states and can be seen locally on public television stations KOCT, KCAT and KVCR, and on YouTube. For recipes and more information, see

Dining: The Gambling Cowboy

The Gambling Cowboy Chophouse and Saloon is a rustic yet modern restaurant in Old Town Temecula. Expansive views from the third floor deck and the elegant turn-of-the-century decor offer an inviting atmosphere to enjoy appetizers (like Old Town Scampi, shown), Prime and Choice certified Angus beef, fresh seafood and chophouse classics. 42072 5th St., Old Town Temecula; (951) 699-2895,

Help for Stress and Anxiety

A new app developed by Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health provides text support along with referrals to community resources. Riverside County residents experiencing the stress and challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have free access to live support via text chat from peer support specialists and counselors through a new computer and smartphone app called (Note that the URL is a .co and not a .com site.) See for more information.

New Bolero Winery offers Spanish wine experience in Temecula

Bolero Winery in Temecula is now open, part of the Europa Village complex at 33475 La Serena Way. “The next chapter in the Europa Village story has arrived, and it’s a fully immersive experience into Spanish wine,” says Europa Village Owner Dan Stephenson. “Bolero’s stunning private casitas, restaurant, boutique and tasting room will provide our guests and visitors a chance to step into Spain, right here in Temecula Valley, and we look forward to welcoming them to create unique Wine Country moments.”

Inland Empire eateries offering take-out, pick-up or delivery

Enjoy some of your favorite restaurants in the comfort of home. Many Inland Empire eateries are offering take-out, pick-up or delivery. Check their websites and menus for details. Click here for list.

LifeStream Blood Bank goes on appeal for blood donations

LifeStream Blood Bank is going on appeal for blood donations in the wake of a local blood shortage largely resulting from significant increases of scheduled surgeries and other treatments that require blood transfusions. To locate the nearest collection site, including mobile blood drives, go to or call 800-879-4484. Click image

California Botanic Garden Is Open

Claremont’s California Botanic Garden is open to the public with measures in place to protect the health of visitors and staff. Visitors are asked to wear masks, and other protective measures include timed-ticket entry, limited visitation, touchless ticket sales, increased sanitization and social distancing. The 86-acre Garden is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 8 p.m. Hours may vary when the temperature is above 97°F.


Spaggi’s fine dining Italian restaurant in Upland is offering outdoor dining as well as pre-order curbside pick up. Owned by Chef Henry Gonzalez and his wife, Ana, the restaurant serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5 p.m. Enjoy refined cuisine as well as heart-healthy options, like broiled salmon on fresh uncooked spinach with bruschetta and goat cheese, served with toasted bread points. 1651 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland, (909) 579-0497,

Mask Matters

Keep your germs to yourself while supporting a local business and essential workers. When you buy a mask from Riverside’s I Love IE, owner Justin Hudson of Riverside will donate a mask to an essential worker. Hudson launched I Love IE several years ago as an online store that focused on clothing and accessories which promote the Inland Empire. Now in the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside, his shop, like many others, has been closed for walk-in business, but is alive and well online. See Click on photo for more.

Challenge Coins with a Cause

Pin-Ups for Vets, the national nonprofit founded by the Inland Empire's Gina Elise has challenge coins available for pre-order. The coins, $18 each, come in two styles. Pin-Ups For Vets raises funds to improve veterans' healthcare, donates funds to VA hospitals for medical equipment and program expansion, promotes volunteerism at veterans hospitals, and boosts morale for deployed troops through delivery of care packages, according to the group's website.

Oscar’s Mexican Restaurant

For more than 40 years, Oscar’s Mexican Restaurant in Redlands has been serving home-style Mexican food. The menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring dishes that range from Huevos Rancheros with Chile Verde to fish platters, like the salmon shown here. While the menu may vary, Oscar’s accommodates a wide range of tastes, including vegan offerings. Now offering outdoor dining and take-out. 19 N. 5th St., Redlands, (909) 792-8211,

Mario’s Place

Riverside’s Mario’s Place features fine cuisine from Northern Italy. Helmed by chef Leone Palagi, son of one of the original owners, and his brothers, Andrea and Arrigo, the restaurant has also earned Wine Spectator Magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence” every year since 2004 for its wine list. Patio dining and takeout available Tuesday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Call for reservations. 3646 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7755,

Morongo Resort and Casino

Our luxury Resort & Casino invites guests to experience the thrill of gaming alongside revitalizing pursuits in Spa, Fine Dining, & Legendary Entertainment.

Tribute to Courage

Natalie Wilson, Stephanie Bradhurst and Krista Spangler were among the guests at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare’s annual fundraiser, the Tribute to Courage Gala. Held at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, proceeds from the gala benefit under-resourced patients at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare. See more gala photos in the September issue of Inland Empire Magazine.

From the Archives, June 1985:

Inside the Miller Athletic Factory. A special interview with the parents of Reggie, Cheryl and Darrell Miller of Riverside. Click image for full story.

Chris Stewart, an 11-year veteran of Major League Baseball, played at Moreno Valley Canyon Springs High and Riverside City College.

Home Run

How the IE became the Major League’s Talent Pipeline Since the 1900s, around 150 players have come from the Inland Empire.

The Preacher and The Icon

Why a Riverside megachurch pastor went on a biographical journey to discover the untold story of American icon Steve McQueen. Interview: MAKENNA SONES

The New Etiquette

The way we interact with people continues to change in the COVID-19 world. Everything from personal space and petting someone’s dog to tipping and greeting friends and family is all different now and will continue to be different. What are the new social norms we need to abide by? International etiquette and culture expert Sharon Schweitzer, founder of the firm Access to Culture ( shares some ideas. Click photo for more.


A Spy Story

In January 1977, a UC Riverside student was arrested in the Inland Empire for acts of espionage he committed with his childhood friend during the cold war. The subject of books and a hit movie, the pair became known as The Falcon & The Snowman. This is their story. Text: JIM SHORT

Master of the Kitchen

For more than 20 years, Spaggi’s has transported patrons from its strip mall location in Upland to a charming café setting like you would find in Italy. Beautiful paintings and cozy tables draped with white linen create an elegant atmosphere for enjoying fine Italian cuisine.

Tastes of the Day

Seafood isn’t the only thing Chris and Kelly Cusack serve at their Temecula restaurant, Luke’s On Front, but they certainly do it well. The Seafood Pasta, above, is just one example.

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