The Magazine of Artful Living

Ontario International Airport reports July passenger traffic reached 97% of pre-COVID level

The number of passengers at Ontario International Airport (ONT) was nearly 478,000 in July, 97% of the total passenger count recorded in July 2019, officials announced today. Last month’s figure was also 171% higher than July last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

Pop Quiz: Santa’s Playground

The whimsical playhouses and gigantic mushrooms that were part of Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead years ago have found a new home in: (A) Seaport Village in San Diego. (B) OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa. (C) The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. (D) Fairplex in Pomona. FOR ANSWER CLICK IMAGE

Pop Quiz: Riverside National Cemetery

Riverside National Cemetery (RNC) is the third-largest cemetery managed by the National Cemetery Administration, and since 2000 has been the most active in the system based on the number of interments. RNC was dedicated on Nov. 11 of what year: (A) 1968. (B) 1978. (C) 1988. FOR ANSWER 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,

Life-Saving Blood Donations Needed

The American Red Cross along with actor James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly, are urging all who are healthy to make this a summer full of life for patients by scheduling an appointment to give blood or platelets. The Van Der Beek family knows firsthand how important blood donations are. In the past year, Kimberly experienced back-to-back pregnancy losses. Each time she needed emergency blood transfusions to save her life.

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,

Do & View: The Living Desert

From June 1–Sept. 30, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The popular giraffe feedings will be available 8 a.m. to noon. Animal chats include pronghorn, cheetah, hornbill, coati, camels, African wild dog, eagles and desert tortoise; guests are encouraged to check the daily schedule for times. Advance admission tickets required.

Music: Summer Concerts at Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series is returning to the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys starting in July 2021. Miranda Lambert, Roger Daltrey and Alabama are among the performers. Offering guests a premier outdoor concert experience, the series makes its highly anticipated return after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 series to be canceled. 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

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.

Do & View: UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

Stroll through the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens for a breath of fresh air and a dose of nature. The 40-acre living plant museum is 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. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

ONT: Summer Travel Takes Off!

Passenger volume at Ontario International Airport (ONT) will approach pre-pandemic levels during the summer travel months, airport officials forecast, as more than 1.4 million air travelers are expected to arrive and depart at the airport. The 10 airlines serving ONT have scheduled 66 departing flights per day on average through Sept. 6. By August, the number of daily departures will have increased to 74.

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,

The IE’s own ‘American Idol’

Chayce Beckham from Apple Valley is heading to Nashville. The 24-year-old winner of season 19 of ABC’s “American Idol” capitalized on his love of country music to clench the title, beating out 24 other top contestants. Beckham was born in Victorville and lived in Hesperia and Apple Valley where he attended Vanguard Preparatory School and Sitting Bull Academy. He is the first winner of “American Idol” from Southern California. Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless

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 > > >

San Manuel Expansion Project Moves Forward

Guests can expect luxury amenities, best in-class service and expanded gaming as San Manuel Casino’s expansion project moves forward. The first phase is scheduled to open soon. When completed, the resort expansion will include a 17-floor hotel tower with rooms and suites; a pool deck with private cabanas; expanded gaming space; new high-limit gaming room; 24-hour restaurant; three new luxury retail stores; and a high-end dining venue. CLICK IMAGE

El Sol Honored for Response Efforts

El Sol Neighborhood Education Center, a pioneer in community health worker and promotores programs in the Inland Empire, received national and state recognition for its crucial work in helping protect the region’s vulnerable populations from the COVID-19 pandemic. Two promotores from El Sol were invited to attend a July 4 White House event with President Joe Biden celebrating the nation’s birthday and progress in fighting COVID-19. READ MORE

Clear The Shelters: ‘Adopt & Donate’

Now is a great time to give a shelter pet a loving, forever home. NBC4 and Telemundo 52’s annual Clear The Shelters “Adopt & Donate” Campaign runs through Sept. 19. More than 70 city and county shelters, as well as nonprofit rescue organizations, are participating, many offering discounted adoption fees and incentives throughout the month-long campaign. For participating shelter and rescue locations, visit the websites.,

Dining: Rok n Fondue

At Rok n Fondue in downtown Redlands, romantics and fun-seekers alike can dip into cheese and chocolate fondues and cook beef, poultry, seafood and vegetarian entrees over a volcanic rock at their table. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the bar is open 5 p.m. to close. Reservations are recommended for both indoor and outdoor dining. 25 E. State St., Redlands; (909) 793-1919,

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.

Wellness: Sensei Porcupine Creek

Wellness brand Sensei plans to open its second retreat in early 2022. Sensei Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage will convert a 230-acre private estate into an ultra-luxury wellness retreat. The setting will feature a small number of hotel rooms and private villas, and will offer similar spa, nutrition, movement and other wellness and sports programs found at its sister property, Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii. Photo: Tanveer Badal

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

SCAG’s new president addresses challenges

Broadening collaboration on key issues like the region’s economic recovery and building greater regional connectivity top Clint Lorimore’s priorities as the newly installed president of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Lorimore, an Eastvale City Councilmember, was sworn in to lead the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization. READ MORE >>>

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;

Pop Quiz: California Theatre

The California Theatre of the Performing Arts in San Bernardino hosts a variety of events, including stage plays, musicals, ballet and concerts. In what year did the theater open? (A) 1928. (B) 1942. (C) 1959. FOR ANSWER 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,

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.

Simone! Jade! MyKayla! Jordan! Grace!

Straight from the world stage, the best gymnasts in the U.S., featuring the most decorated gymnast of all-time, Simone Biles, will headline the Athleta Presents Gold Over America Tour coming to Honda Center on Friday, September 24. Biles will be joined by her teammates Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner, plus many other stars, who not only showcase their athletic brilliance but also share their inspiring championship journeys.

Cycling for others: 2,400-mile anniversary bike ride aids families in crisis

Back in 2001, Dr. Randy Schell’s coast-to-coast bike ride across the northern reaches of the country was intended as a journey of contemplation. It ended up as an opportunity to help those with limited income who suffer life’s darkest moment, the loss of a child. READ MORE>>>

The IE’s Purrfect Cities for Cat Lovers

Where are the best places for felines to call home? A survey by LawnStarter found 2021’s Best Cities for Cat Lovers by ranking the 200 largest U.S. cities across 11 factors, such as vet access, cost of cat sitting, and cat-friendly rental properties. Orlando, Florida came in 1st, with the Inland Empire’s Corona ranking 8th and Rancho Cucamonga 10th. Los Angeles came in near the bottom at 195. Image by Ty Swartz from Pixabay

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.

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