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Oct 7, 2008 07:18 AM

Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita

Two fifty-something, broken down, Texas horse players will be attending the Breeders' Cup, the Super Bowl of thoroughbred horse racing, at some faraway place called Santa Anita in Acadia. One of us has dined in the capitals of Europe <loud cough> whilst the other's idea of fine dining is putting on a clean bowling shirt.

All kidding aside, we're staying in Rosemead. Here's what we're looking for:
- Mid-priced dinner places for Friday and Saturday night and maybe an over the top breakfast place.
- Yes to American casual, Asian, steak, seafood but no to Italian and Mexican.
- For one of us, dressing up is a chore but he does enjoy good food. A casual dress code is a MUST.
- Resto must serve whiskey.
- Both racing days at Santa Anita will be long days so we don't want to go to some resto where it will be over crowded and have to endure a long wait for a table.

Extra points will be awarded for any good bar recs in the Pasadena/Arcadia/Rosemead area. We're big bar people.

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  1. The Derby for dinner, just down the street from the track at Huntington Dr. and 5th. A bit pricey, but good with whiskey and a horse player's paradise. A bit less, is Matt Denney's...about a block west of the Derby...where you can get decent food and full bar for a bit less.

    Breakfast...can't think of too much that's "over the top", but Leroy's in Monrovia (on Huntington, about a quarter mile east of the Derby) is good and very popular. I'd imagine you'd be in line there for a bit. I'd also recommend the Peach Cafe in Monrovia (on the corner of Colorado Bl. and Ivy, one block west of Myrtle Ave and about 4 blocks north of Huntington) as having some of the best breakfasts in the area. Great waffles, omelettes, bacon, and especially the pancakes with the OJ in the batter...delicious.

    Other serviceable breakfast places nearby include the Monrovia (corner of Myrtle and Colorado) and the Only Place in Town in Sierra Madre, just north of Arcadia on Sierra Madre Bl., just west of Baldwin Ave.. The original Nano Cafe (with original owners) on Duarte Rd. in Monrovia is also a good breakfast place.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you to think about trying Din Tai Fung, just a couple blocks south of the track on Baldwin Ave., for their great dumplings. Cheap too, but no alcohol.

    1. I agree with a lot of the recommendations mentioned by the post above. The Derby seems to be favorite (naturally) among the racetrack crowd. For Chinese, Din Tai Fung is pretty famous. Chang's Garden in the plaza next to Din Tai Fung also serves up some good food. All the recommendations so far are in Arcadia. Woodranch at the Santa Anita mall (right next to the race track) is actually pretty good for a chain. Peach Cafe would be my recommendation for breakfast as well. They serve dinner on Friday nights! Marston's in Pasadena is also good for breakfast, but it gets pretty crowded on weekends. Bar wise, you might want to check out Lucky Baldwin's with locations in Old Town Pasadena and Sierra Madre. I would opt for Sierra Madre since Old Town can be hectic on the weekends.

      6 Replies
      1. re: crystaw

        I love Lucky B's as well but it's just beer and wine. Very good beer...but no whiskey!

        1. re: crystaw

          Any seafood or steak places in the Pasadena/Arcadia/Rosemead area?

          1. re: Scagnetti

            Not much in terms of steak or seafood in the Pasadena area. There's is a Ruth's Chris steakhouse by the Pasadena Paseo on Colorado, as well as JJ's Steakhouse, but neither are really all that memorable. Plus, why go to a chain steakhouse (Ruth's Chris) if you are visiting Pasadena/Arcadia, right?

            In the Pasadena area, I might also consider places like Smitty's, Parkway Grill, Cafe Verde, Magnolia on Lake and Shiro.


            Parkway Grill:

            Cafe Verde:

            Magnolia on Lake:


              1. re: ipsedixit

                The Arroyo Chop House shares the parking lot with Parkway...her sister restaurant.

                Prime beef, dry-aged and cut on the premisis. Great steak...good bar.

              2. re: Scagnetti

                I think the Derby can count as a steakhouse. Like Ipsedixit mentioned, a lot of the steakhouses are chains. Parkway Grill is a place where you might have to dress up a bit There's Seafood Village in Temple City for some Cantonese style seafood and other dishes. No whiskey there though unless you bring your own

            1. Agree that once you mention whiskey, casual dress code, and Santa Anita, the Derby is the only place. You will love it, especially if the average age of your group is above 60.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Griller141

                Delacey's Club 41 in Pasadena (on Delacey) is an old fashioned steak house with a full bar. I haven't been in a while but I do know they know how to make a drink! They have blue plate specials, specials of the day, Prime Rib and they know how to make a real Caesar Salad right before your eyes. Also, I just thought of Clearmans on Rosemead at Huntington. It is a bit kitschy but it will satisfy all of your prerequisites for a good bar/lounge and a well priced steak. Peanuts are on every table, portions are generous and it is not far from the track. I love the cabbage slaw and iceberg w/bleu cheese combination. I would say you definitely need to dress for Parkway Grill, Arroyo Chop House or JJ's.

                1. re: Fru

                  If you really want steak, I don't think you will be happy with Clearman's. Great prices, lots of peanuts (floor is kind of fun for a while), lots of salad included with the meal but the steaks are less than mediocre.

                  1. re: Fru

                    I've been to Parkway Grill and JJ's in shorts and t-shirt. And I've seen people at Arroyo Chop House in tank tops.

                2. Not sure what kind of bar you are looking for but I wouldn't recommend any in Rosemead. There are a couple of decent dive bars in Arcadia on Huntington just East of the track - 100 to 1 Club and First Cabin. Both are small but have decent drinks and a mixed crowd.
                  There's also the D-HOF (aka Drinkers Hall of Fame) a little farther down Huntington. It's very dive-y but the only bar I know of in the area where you can smoke inside, if that's your thing.

                  Much less dive-y are the previously mentioned Matt Denny's and Derby - again, on Huntington

                  1. We had a grand time at the Breeders Cup. I'd never been to Santa Anita but it is the most beautiful track I've ever been to especially with the San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop.

                    As for the food and drink, here's what happened.

                    Firstly, we went to Tom Bergin's Tavern on Fairfax for some Guinness and corned beef. Excellent choice. Then we toured some famous Hollwood places: Musso & Frank's (talked at length with Manny a bartender of 53 years in various Hollwood joints), Formosa Cafe, and Barney's Beanery.

                    We had reservations at Dana Tana's but we were too hungry to wait on a late reservation so we ate at the Palm which was closeby.

                    On day 2, after a long day at the track, we stopped at The Derby for some drinks. Quite the racing crowd and a good bar. After that, we went to Clearman's (Huntington at Rosemead) and had a very satisfying meal with all of the sides. Perfect.

                    Day 3 was a bit of a fiasco. We tried to go to Delaceys Club 41 but it was closed. Either we were lost or the place is going under a major renovation. After much discussion we went to Barney's Beanery for some bad service and a weak hamburger.

                    All in all, everything worked out fine!

                    Thanks CH'ers for all of your help!