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Help fill my picnic basket in Pasadena ... ?

New to Pasadena, from San Francisco, and have yet to find the mom and pops I loved so much and go to Whole Foods way too much. Good cheeses, wines (I'm thinking dry French Rose' ) . Or any thoughts/ideas would be appreciated. Day off so don't mind a litle drive.

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  1. There's a place in Monrovia on Foothills (near Mrytle) called California Wine & Cheese. I haven't been there myself but maybe you can have some fun checking it out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: crystaw

      hey thanks. I'll check it out and let you know.

      1. Some people on Chowhound recently posted about this place, although I have never been there:

        Roma Italian Deli & Grocery - (626) 797-7748 - 918 N Lake Ave, Pasadena

        Here's the thread where people talk about it: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378178

        I also saw an Italian grocer on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel recently. I think this is it:

        Claro's Italian Market - (626) 288-2026 - 1003 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        Cross Street:
        Near intersection of E Valley Blvd and Delta Ave


        2 Replies
        1. re: katkoupai

          I've been to Roma once and liked it very much. And thanks for Claro's. Heard about it but haven't been yet. What about that Italian deli in Glendale? Is it worth checking out?

          1. re: gofish_99

            I haven't actually been to any of the above places yet, but I've either heard about them on this site or driven by them. I usually shop at Ralph's or Trader Joe's. :)

            Sometimes, I shop at Gelson's, and recently I tried Wild Oats. All are good. I find a bag of groceries can add up very quickly at Gelson's. Trader Joe's is good for picking up a few items. Ralph's I like if I have to do a lot of shopping for everything. The other's (Roma, Claro's, Italian deli, and Farm Fresh Market), I have yet to try.

            Good luck, and if you find anything, anywhere that is really good, please post. I'd love to know what the picnic ends up being, foodwise. :)

        2. Two places come to mind near Pasadena (aside from TJ's of course) for stocking a picnic basket:

          Mario's Italian Deli
          740 E. Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205 (818) 242 4114


          2649 Mission Street San Marino, California 91108 (626) 441 2299
          with a great little market stocked with high end take away... also very good for breakfast (go early on Saturday to avoid the wait, by early I mean before 8:30 am)

          3 Replies
          1. re: chefsson

            Hey thanks, you just answered my question above ..

            1. re: gofish_99

              My pleasure. Mario's is quite good, with a great selection of cold cuts and cheeses plus sandwices, etc... it's a deli after all. Nice service too... gets very busy at lunch. Happy picnicing!

            2. re: chefsson

              If you go to Julienne's definitely get the couscous salad if they have it. It had cinnamon and raisins in it. Was so good I could not stop eating!

            3. There are also a few Trader Joe's, a Wild Oats Market, Gelson's and Farm Fresh Market in Pasadena, if any of those appeal to you.

              You can hit Trader Joe's and Wild Oats in one stop, since they are close to each other on South Lake.

              Gelson's is less than a mile away from those in the Paseo Colorado (parking under the building) at Colorado Blvd. and Los Robles.

              Farm Fresh Market is at 475 E. Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena, near Los Robles.

              9 Replies
              1. re: katkoupai

                Wow, this is great info. My girlfriend and I are driving to Petaluma for friends birthday bash, and we both can't do the fast food thing on the road. And just purchased a nice vintage picnic basket. So thanks for all the help.

                Where do you go for wines.,? I know my wines, and tend toward eclectic and inexpensive. Still haven't found that great store yet. Ideas?

                1. re: gofish_99

                  There are other people on this site who know way more about wine. I'm the kind of person that will basically drink anything, as long as it hasn't gone bad. Trader Joes has wine, I think. Ralphs must have wine. Some people mentioned cheap wine at Costco recently. Come to think of it, there is a recent thread just on this subject. I will find it, and post it for you, gofish_99. :)

                  1. re: katkoupai

                    Thanks, yeah, haven't done the wine search yet, but need to. Trader Joes I do goto a lot.

                    1. re: gofish_99

                      Here's one link, re. wine stores nearby in Hollywood, Glendale, Los Feliz and Silverlake:


                      I couldn't find the other threads that I was looking for (search "wine Pasadena," and you will get over 800 hits on Chowhound), but here's another local option for a variety of beverages:

                      885 S. Arroyo Parkway
                      Pasadena, CA91105US
                      Fax: (626)356-9464

                      I drive by all the time-- have never gone in.

                      Good luck. :)

                      1. re: katkoupai

                        I used to goto BevMo in SF all the time. Thanks for the reminder, because if you know what you like, whata great place.

                        1. re: katkoupai

                          Here's the link that I was looking for, earlier. It is about how different Costcos have different wine selections, but if you read the responses, there are recs for local wine shops too.


                    2. re: gofish_99

                      Try Mission Wines in South Pasadena
                      1114 Mission Street South Pasadena, CA 91030 (626) 403 9463
                      Very friendly and helpful

                      1. re: chefsson

                        for wine only, really. no food.

                      2. re: gofish_99

                        Try Heritage Wine & Spirits on Raymond between Holly and Walnut. They have parking (a few spaces) in the back or you can park for 90 minutes for free in the structure next door. Very friendly and they will help you.

                        Heritage Wine & Spirits
                        155 N. Raymond Av
                        Pasadena, CA 91103
                        (626) 844-9333

                    3. nicole's french gourmet, south pasadena
                      el centro at meridian

                      auntie em's, eagle rock
                      eagle rock blvd.

                      try a picnic in lacey park (you'll need to pay if you're not a san marino resi

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: revets2

                        I'll third that suggestion on Nicloe's... fresh croissants on Saturday mornings a plus... nice cheese selection... small "chef-oriented" market too... weak coffee tho, sadly.

                        *Also* I recommend Euro Pane on Colorado Boulevard just east of Mentor for pastry num nums and great sandwiches. The pear tarts are fabulous.

                        1. re: chefsson

                          Euro Pane sounds like a must. Gotta try those pear tarts. Goly gee thanks.

                          1. re: gofish_99

                            closest thing to tartine in the SGV. maybe not quite as good and not as many choices and not as charming.

                            1. re: revets2

                              So true... eating there is not a tranquil experience, better to take away and enjoy in a more comfortable setting. Did I mention the great sandwiches?
                              :¬ )

                          2. re: chefsson

                            newish pasquini espresso machine at nicole's. coffee sitch much better.

                        2. Have you tried Nicole's in South Pasadena? French and Italian cheeses, bread and charcuterie, also a lot of other goodies. Adjacent to the Farmers Market, which happens to be tonight!

                          1 Reply
                          1. Third Nicole's.

                            Wines: Inexpensive, eclectic and/or knowledged selection:
                            Chronicle Wine Cellar in Pasadena, 913 E. California Blvd, just east of Lake, behind the Pie n Burger; phone no. 626-577-2549.

                            Topline Wine & Spirits in Glendale, 4718 San Fernando Road, Glendale, phone 818-500-9670. It off the street in one of the small warehouses that's in a row, so you can't quite see the address from the street. Discount prices, very knowledgable.

                            There are many other great wine shops, but for very good wines at very good prices and not run of the mill stuff, these are the two that comes to mind.
                            The Wine House on Cotner in West L.A. is very large and has a large selection to match, it's the go-to place for a lot of people, including me; generally good prices, and sometimes good sales.

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: slacker

                                nice one slacker. can't wait to go check these out. kinda miss the wine dialogue from the bay area.

                                1. re: slacker

                                  I second the Chronicle Wine Cellar. It's one of those (very) hidden away places that not many people know about, a great find.

                                  I also like Roma Italian Deli. Only been there twice, but it's a fun place packed with goodies. And the ornery old man behind the cheese counter adds great atmosphere.

                                2. Julienne is greeat!! def get there early for breakfast. ive been there for breackfast and lunch and its has been great!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: andu71

                                    Julienne is on the list noiw of must goto's. Thanks again. First time posting and blown away with the great info.

                                  2. I would also suggest the Saturday morning Farmers Market at Pasadena High School. It has a great selection.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

                                      Yes! The cheese guy there has some nice selections. Also, the bread guy (the one near the cheese guy) has the best baguettes. He also has several pastries that go very quickly.

                                    2. Roma's Italian Deli is amazing - the variety and quality of the prosciutto and specht, not to mention the prices! Many salami to choose from and wonderful "Little Italy style" service. I wouldn't buy my grated cheese anywhere else; ditto strawberries in season. They also have unusual shapes of delicious imported pasta over by the produce. Not $$ and you can never go back to supermarket pasta. I swear - I gave their pasta/grated cheese to neighbors for Christmas! They have a small wine selection too and I've been happy w/their recommendations. They get fresh bread daily, but unless you eat it w/in hours - it dries out too fast. I still like LaBrea bread from Vons.

                                      I second the endorsements of Nicoles in SoPas - best cheese in Pasadena although I've never found them very helpful. Wonderful pates. Love Chronicle Wine Cellar and they give great advice. I think they are fantastic if you want a good $15-20 wine that pours like a $50 wine. Get a slice of pie @ Pie & Burger (they own the Chronicle) right next door after you get your wine.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mocro

                                        you can actually drink the wine you purchase at the CHRON in P&B. that's why we love to go there. their pie's too sweet for me.

                                      2. Mini cupcakes from Dots on Arroyo Parkway - regular size a tad too sweet. Worth checking out though.

                                        1. Roma's at Lake and Washington (or is it Mountain?) is good

                                          Family Grocery and Family Produce (Armenian owned) on Washington between Hill & Allen are great. Family Produce in particular is cheap and often their fruit is better tasting than Whole Foods (I like the *idea* of Whole Foods, but the bubbleheaded pricks who actually staff the stores are far too irritating for me to pay the prices they charge). Aladdin Nuthouse is small but can have neat little confections which are not too pricey, and is also along Washington.

                                          Not sure if it's obvious already, but I like to stick up for the locals :-)

                                          The Thursday night farmer's market in South Pas is vastly superior to the one on Saturday at Pasadena High School. I have trouble motivating for the latter even though it's a 10 minute downhill bike ride for me. Whereas I actually try and make the Thursday market part of my commute, which is often by bike, which means I end up sticking 10lbs. of fruit and vegetables in my bag and biking up the hill with it. The attentive reader can figure out how much more worthwhile I find the South Pas market...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ttriche

                                            I prefer the Saturday one, but I prefer sleeping in even more. Seems like at the thursday one, the cooked foods section keeps getting bigger, seems to be edging out the fresh fruits/produce. A year or two ago, during grape season, there was a guy there (Thursday) with great grapes, several varieties. Hope he gets another big harvest and comes back.

                                          2. Check out ''Goudas and Vines'' on Honolulu in Montrose (near where the 2 and 210 meet -- cute little village with shops and restaurants) . . . Great selection of cheeses and I can usually find an interesting wine or two that's pretty reasonably priced. They have some evening events that look fun to try out new things as well.