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Jan 21, 2009 02:48 PM

pasadena recs, please?

Hey all,
I'm a Bay area hound meeting 3 friends in pasadena this weekend and hoping for some great recomendations. Here's the parameters:
*I'm in grad school and the other 3 are public school teachers , so $10-$20 each per meal would be great, with or without a glass of wine or dessert to split
*We'll be around the playhouse district/old town mostly and would prefer to walk, though could drive
*We're looking for a saturday lunch, saturday dinner, and sunday brunch or breakfast, maybe coffee/smoothie/some sort of afternoon pick me up
*I've got the most adventurous palate of the 4--I love crawling the Mission/Excelsior/Richmond neighborhoods in SF and discovering hole in the wall places that serve things i've never tried before--octopus balls, charcuterie, Zante's Best Indian Pizza, chicharones pupusas, whatever fruit is in season at farmers' markets. The other three have more mainstream tastes (pastas salads, chicken dishes, nothing too spicy), so anyplace that has a mix of at least some safe and some adventurous choices is ideal
*we're looking forward to spending time catching up with each other, so nothing too loud or too scene-y

thanks so much in advance

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  1. Daisy Mint should be perfect for you, it's a very short drive from the Playhouse district. It's Thai-influenced but not spicy, just different enough to be interesting for them but also tasty for you. Very reasonable prices, pick up a bottle of wine from a store to take with you if you like.
    La Grande Orange would also fill the bill, with a more American menu.
    Many if not most of the restaurants right in Old Town are very touristy, overpriced and corporate, so it's better to get off that part of Colorado blvd. if possible.

    Daisy Mint
    1218 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA

    La Grande Orange - duplicate
    Pasadena, CA, Pasadena, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chowpatty

      Directly across Central Park from La Grande Orange is Central Park, the restaurant. The prices at both places are similar, but the menu at CP has many more offerings over a wider range - LGO is basically a bar with a dining room, à la Dalt's or TGI Friday's. CP's flatiron steak and their sand dabs are big favorites with us.

      Central Park Café
      219 S. Fair Oaks Ave.

    2. If you are in Pasadena, you need to go to Europane Bakery either for breakfast or lunch. It's the best place in Pasadena and maybe the best bakery in LA. You'll find alot of posts on it at chowhound. Get the egg salad and a fruit-containing pastry. It's 2 blocks East of Lake on Colorado. Easy walking distance.

      Daisy Mint is a good choice. Next to the playhouse is a decent coffee shop, Zona Rosa whch has great Mexican chocolate drinks.

      Pasadena is not great for adventuresome eating so your friends will be fine.

      Anything else you'll have to drive to. You and your friends might like Zelo Pizza which is a 15 min drive East of Pasadena on the 210 in Arcadia.

      1. Yep, Daisy Mint will fit that bill nicely, good Thai-influenced fare with a good selection of safer choices (noodle soup, fried rice, pad see ew); Saladang and Saladang Song will also work for that price point if you're looking a heavier Thai hand.

        For breakfast, I have a fondness for Marston's a little north of Old Town, but that place gets packed often on the weekends. If you don't mind a little drive to the South, Mike and Anne's in South Pasadena is pretty spiffy too.

        I also like the CrepeVine (crepes and other French fare), though can be loud if it gets packed.

        Another possibility for a pick-me-up may be the tea houses around Pasadena, where you can get afternoon teas with the scones and finger sandwiches, etc. The cheaper ones are Chado Tea Room and Tea Rose Garden, both costs slightly under $20/pp.

        Euro Pane is good too for lunch and sweets.

        And of course, there's the King Taco :)


        1 Reply
        1. re: AquaW

          You might want to maximize your al fresco dining if the weather is nice. With that in mind you could try Julianne's in San Marino (inches away from Pas) for b'fast and Mike & Anne's in South Pasadena for b'fast or lunch. I also like Cafe Verde on Greene Street just outside Old Town for b'fast. It's a tiny place, charming and not too $$. I've never been for lunch/dinner but others might have an opinion.

        2. If you guys are driving, you might want to go a bit north to Montrose, a little community north of Glendale, about 10 mins. from Pasadena- I would highly recommend the Black Cow Cafe for breakfast or lunch. They make the BEST bean soup- Rockerfeller Bean Soup they call it- on Saturdays. They have a coffee bar attached to it and they can make green tea ice cream shakes as well for dessert!

          1. Elements Kitchen would be a good choice for a Saturday lunch.

            For dinner on Saturday I would suggest Malbec for Argentinian cuisine.