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Coming to LA/Pasadena (mainly Pasadena), could use some recs

Hi all:

We (two of us) are flying into LAX from Philadelphia this Friday, flying out the following Thursday. We''ll be staying at the Sheraton in Pasadena most of the time, though I was planning on spending Wednesday night at a hotel near LAX so we don't have to drive there during morning rush hour for an early flight the following day. We'll also be visiting family in Sunland quite a few of those days, so feel free to mention any places around there, though from what I understand so far Pasadena is probably where the better restaurants are. I'm looking at Google Earth and it looks like Pasadena is pretty walkable. We're used to walking around Philly, walking would be preferable to driving if possible. We'll be going to Real Food Daily one day.

Anyway, we'll probably be eating out most of the time we're there, so any recs would be welcome. Places that get their ingredients locally would be nice, cuisine type is less important, though we could do without Italian since we're surrounded by it here in Philly. Neither of us is vegetarian/vegan, though the people we're visiting are vegetarian. We won't be eating with them all the time, though.

- Some decent breakfast places near the Sheraton. A place with great biscuits would be fantastic. I searched a bit and Greene Street Restaurant is not far away, ditto Yaihira, Julienne, and Europane. Are these places still open/good?
- Good, casual lunch. We're not looking for fine dining at lunchtime, my favorite lunch is a $5 plate of tacos al pastor.
- Great dinners in Pasadena/Sunland. As I said, we'll be visiting Real Food Daily once. For dinner, we're looking for more upscale places, nothing that has a dress code though. We are pretty adventurous eaters, our favorite restaurants here in Philly are a place that serves house-made pig-lung sausage and their own charcuterie (among many other delicious things) and another place that serves venison tartare sashimi-style. So don't hold back recommending a place. Ethnic is good, steakhouses are a no-no.
- One dinner for the two of us, within cab ride distance of LAX, for the night before our flight. I have no idea where to go here. It will likely be a long while before we get back to LA, so we'd like to have something memorable. Doesn't have to be expensive or fine-dining.

Thanks!

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  1. Julienne's is fantastic for breakfast! I have never eaten lunch there but have gotten items to go and their chinese chicken salad and lamb sandwich are delightful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tbrown

      Julienne is a MUST DO for breakfast.
      Creme Brulee french toast. It's ridiculous.

    2. Near LAX (Airport)

      To take a sandwich on the plane

      Original Rinaldi's (Italian combo, Meat Ball sandwich, Hot Chicken sandwich or anything they make)
      323 Main St.
      El Segundo, CA 90245
      (310) 647-2860
      From N. Sepulveda Blvd go West on E. Grand to Main St.
      From W. Imperial Ave. Go South on Main
      Right across from the Fire Department

      Big Mike's Philly Steaks and Sub (Best Cheese steak in L.A., Get the 18" – Nuff Said!)
      507 Main St.
      El Segundo, CA 90245
      (310) 726-9638

      Breakfast, lunch dinner

      Pann’s (Fried Chicken wings and waffles, pea soup, Chicken Fried steak, Hash and eggs, Burgers and shakes all in a Googie Dream)
      6710 La Tijera Blvd
      Los Angeles, CA
      90045
      (323) 776-3770
      Cross Street: La Cienega Boulevard
      http://www.panns.com/

      In or near Pasadena....

      Rosco's House of Chicken and Waffles (Chicken and Waffles for Breakfast, lunch, dinner
      )http://www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com/

      "The Dianne" (A Chinese chicken salad) at the Green Street Café in Pasadena. A really big meal that is enough for two but eat it yourself. Also, I like the breakfest here.
      Green Street Café
      http://greenstreetrestaurant.com/

      Auntie Em’s Kitchen (Breakfast, Lunch, Soups, Sandwiches, Cup-Cakes and very good coffee
      )4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90041
      (323) 255-0800
      mon-fri 8am to 7pm & sat-sun 8am to 4pm
      http://www.auntieemskitchen.com/about...

      Steak in Pasadena
      http://www.arroyochophouse.com/experi...

      Clearman's Galley (Aka, The Boat) Chili cheese burger, Boat menu served at North Woods Inn M-F until 4:00 pm, while the boat is rebuilt. Also the North Woods is also a good place for steak dinners, shrimp and fried chicken, try the special platter. Check the link
      7247 Rosemead Blvd.
      San Gabriel, CA
      (626) 286-8284
      http://www.clearmansrestaurants.com/n...

      Connal's Burgers, Salads & Subs (Great Boston Shake, B urgers, Salads, Roast Beef, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Turkey Breast, Peanut Butter & Banana Shake)
      1505 E. Washington Blvd.
      Pasadena, CA 91104
      (626) 794-5018
      http://www.connals.com/
      (West of Allen, East of Lake, North of the 210

      )

      Pie 'n Burger (reakfast with very good pancakes, Burgers & Pie)
      913 E. California Blvd.
      Pasadena, CA 91106

      Crocodile Cafe - Pasadena (Good Burgers)
      140 S Lake Ave
      Pasadena, CA 91101
      (626) 449-9900

      Julienne (French Toast Julienne with Pure Maple Syrup, $8.95, Tuna sandwich is very good)
      2651 Mission Street
      San Marino, California 91108
      (626) 441 2299

      Connal's Burgers, Salads & Subs (Avocado sandwich, Egg salad sandwich, Burgers, Salads, Roast Beef, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Turkey Breast, Onion Rings, Boston Shakes)
      1505 E. Washington Blvd.
      Pasadena, CA 91104
      (626) 794-5018
      http://www.connals.com/
      (North of the 210, West of Allen, East of Hill )

      8 Replies
      1. re: JeetJet

        sorry, but i have to object to crocodile cafe on lake - sadly, not for food reasons. one sunday afternoon i was seated outside with some friends & we were the only table consisting of non-white patrons (two asians & one black). not only did we get our orders taken much later than other patrons seated around (and after) us, our food arrived later than food ordered by patrons who ordered after us (some ordering the same thing). and i'm not all that crazy about their menu anyway.

        1. re: JeetJet

          The Boat (Clearman's Galley) is gone! Well, at least the boat is. It's being remodeled to a generic strip mall like building.

          1. re: crystaw

            From the artwork inside the Northwoods it does not look to me that the future home of the Boat will appear like a generic strip mall like building. It will look like an old Wharf with the same old boat docked in front. Judging from the great job the Clearman family did designing the inside / outside of The North Woods Inn, I am sure the Boat will be the best Sports bar / burger place in SGV. For now, at least, we can still enjoy the Boat menu at the North Woods -- IMO, the best cheese burger in SGV. Note, you must specify the Galley menu.

            Clearman's Galley (Aka, "The Boat") Chili cheese burger, salads and cheese bread / toasted. Boat menu served at North Woods Inn M-F until 4:00 pm, while the boat is rebuilt. Also the North Woods is also a good place for steak dinners, shrimp and fried chicken, try the special platter. Check the link
            7247 Rosemead Blvd.
            San Gabriel, CA
            (626) 286-8284
            http://www.clearmansrestaurants.com/n...

            1. re: JeetJet

              Indeed, the plans call for the boat to be moved to a spot on the property south of the North Woods Inn, fronting on Rosemead. They'll have a bigger and more modern kitchen, but the boat itself is still supposed to be an integral part of the place.

              1. re: Jack Flash

                The corner of Huntington and Rosemead is going to be a zoo.

                A new Kohl's, a strip mall, the existing Northwood's Inn, the Boat and don't forget the firestation.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  A “Zoo” says it right. I cannot believe how close the new building has been placed to the North Woods. It actually wraps around the back corner and has such a clash in architecture -- Concrete tilt-up vs. Mountain cabin. I hope they paint a forest scene on the side of the new building.

                  As for the Boats new location between the Fire Department and the old Palm Reader. IMO, those two places will enhance the Wharf-like ambiance of the new Boat. For now, The North Woods does a good job with the Cheese burgers from the Boat menu but they do not offer the fish and chips which I miss.

                  Great pic of the Boat
                  http://www.clearmansrestaurants.com/g...

                2. re: Jack Flash

                  Ah ok- good to know. I just drove by the other day and saw that the boat was gone and jumped to conclusions

                  1. re: crystaw

                    The Boat is being moved to the opposite side of Northwoods in. It will be located on Rosemead south of Northwoods in. This is what I was told by the cashier at The Boat a few years ago, let's see what happens. Since we are talking about these two places, how about the blue cheese dressing and cheese bread? My mouth is salivating just typing about it. My friend told me that for $5.00 you can have the pre-dinner salads and cheese bread. I don't know if this is true, but I will try it out one of these days.

          2. Good list, JeetJet! Also, for good cheap Mexican try Tonny's, on Orange Grove just one door west of North Lake - their birria de chivo and pork dishes are particularly good. Good and pricier Mexican is El Portal, in the arcade on Colorado between El Molino and Oak Knoll - pretty good cochinita pibil.

            And I will double the recommendation for Pann's, a place I always have to visit when I'm near the airport. Breakfast served anytime - my favorite phrase in the English language - includes excellent biscuits and grits (though I get some disagreement there).

            5 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              HI. I just found the board by doing a search on pho 79
              ! I vote for Tonny's. also. They have really good food. Very affordable. The best waitress's in town. I was eating there twice a week for a while.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Thanks Will, how could I forget Mexican food which is what I eat several times a week. I have included the addresses below but the I found El Portal to be on Green St. That arcade must be two-faced as far as addresses are concerned. Mexican food is a must, if you want to get a taste of L.A. Good fish or shrimp tacos are a must. I included what I think are among the best (based on a day-long taste test drive by three of us) which are at Tacos LA Bufadora. I rate these higher than Tacos Baja in E. LA. Maybe someone might have a rec for something closer but IMO, these are well worth the drive.

                Tony's Restaurant (Mexican food, birria de chivo (Goat), and pork dishes)
                843 E Orange Grove Blvd (West of N. Lake Ave.)
                Pasadena, CA 91104
                (626) 797-0866

                El Portal (Mexican Food, cochinita pibil)
                695 E Green St (between El Molino and Oak Knoll)
                Pasadena, CA 91101
                (626) 795-8553
                http://www.elportalrestaurant.com/

                Tacos LA Bufadora (Fish and shrimp tacos and burritos)
                10990 Lower Azusa Rd
                El Monte, CA 91731-1352
                (626) 575-7174

                1. re: JeetJet

                  The arcade is two-faced - that's what arcades do. El Portal is at the back, and is in fact closer to Green Street - and so is their parking lot, if you don't want to be on the street. However, we almost always come in from the Colorado end, as we're usually coming from Vroman's or the Laemmle Playhouse.

                  I've not really researched the fish-taco scene in depth here - I tend to stick with Señor Fish, especially since they added scallops to their menu. The thought of a scallop taco will make me sigh and weep, and you don't want to know what actually eating one will do ;-) Several locations, the closest/handiest being at the corner of Mission and Grand in South Pas.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I have never been to Señor Fish but have read some good reviews here. I also have a friend who eats at Little Tokyo location and told me to go because of the fish tacos. About that scallop taco, every time I eat at the North Woods Inn I order that Special Platter (Steak chunks, Large deep fried scallops and fried chicken) I focus on those scallops wishing they were in a taco with that cabbage and white sour cream sauce. Now you mention that one exist. I will try these the weekend.

                    I also have never been to El Portal but recall several post about it. I think one post mentioned it has a outside patio, good soup and is the place to go either before, or after, the Laemmle (IMO L.A.'s best movie house that shows some hard to find movies), or Vroman's (my fav book store).

                    Señor Fish (Fish tacos or scallop tacos)
                    618 Mission St. (corner of Mission and Grand)
                    South Pasadena, CA 91030
                    (626) 403-0145

                    1. re: JeetJet

                      I've been to Senor Fish several times based on recommendations here and elsewhere, and I have always been a bit disappointed. It's good simple fare. But it is always overly salted, and pretty expensive (~$10?) for what you get.

              2. -b'fast - green street is great (and walkable) but you won't find good biscuits there. europane is good for their pastries (also walkable). julienne's is not walkable, but worth a visit (think cute, french bistro type place) in a quaint, upscale neighborhood that has cute shops to poke around in. Check out the market adjacent to the restaurant.

                -casual lunches: if you are willing to explore a bit - i'd actually head you towards downtown to check out los angeles eating landmarks (phillipes for a lamb sandwich, langers for pastrami) - will you have a car? if not, the metro can get you there. you can also find amazing chinese food if you take a 15 minute drive east (not metro accessible). Also - if you have a car, you might want to go on a taco truck excursion in Highland Park (about a 10 minute drive) ... do a search for taco's and you'll have a billion recs.

                -great dinners - in pasadena - go to Parkway Grill - I'd recommend the fish (you can search on this board - tons of reviews). In old town - I like Crepe Vine (small, bistro - great crepes). If you Metro it - head on the Gold Line towards downtown, get off at Mission (about 3-4 stops) and head into South Pasadena (again, do some searches) but my rec would be for Bistro de la Gare.

                The only thing I can think of on the way to Sunland - for a casual dining lunch spot is Dish in La Canada ('american' fare) (but that's closer to Pasadena than Sunland).

                Enjoy your visit!

                1. If you want to compare the local philly cheesesteaks with those of Philadelphia, you may want to check out Fredo's Phillys in Pasadena for lunch, which probably offers the best philly cheesesteak in the area. I usually get the "works" cheesesteak. Whatever cheesesteak or hoagie you order, you'll get a footlong sandwich.

                  It's a small, very casual joint where you walk in and sit at some small wooden tables with some old wooden chairs (or you take your sandwich to go), but it might be a nice comparison test for you.

                  It's in Pasadena, but you'll have to drive there from the Sheraton. The storefront is on the east side of Lake Avenue right next to Rosarito #2, and parking is in the rear.

                  -----
                  Fredo's Phillys
                  720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104