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Feb 7, 2010 09:14 PM

Foodie Tour of the Gold Line

I just moved to Pasadena, and from my research on this board, I don't see much great eatin' here! Oh, and I don't have a car. Yeah, I know.

So here's the deal. I've got about a month before my new job starts, and I've got some savings, and once I start I'll be making good money, so I'm going to spend the next 26 days eating great food that is within walking distance of Gold Line Metro stops.

I know there are stops in Chinatown and Little Tokyo, though I don't really know what those places are, having literally arrived here an hour ago, and never having been in California in my life before! But I love Chinese and Japanese food, so those stops sound promising. Dumplings? Real ramen? Xiao Long Bao? Etc?

But within (safe) walking distance of Gold Line stops.

Oh, and it doesn't have to be cheap. I mean, cheap is fine, but not necessary. On the other hand, since I'll be doing much of my eating alone (until I start making friends), I am interested in places where I won't feel too awkward eating dinner alone. Sushi at the counter, anyone?

So, let 'er rip! Your favorite eating stops within walking distance of Gold Line Metro stops. Go!

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    1. Awesome, foodies at the Gold Line!!!!

      1. In addition to all of the choices mentioned in the LAT article, here are a few on the Pasadena-Union Station stretch. I tend not to eat in Old Town, but there are a few places worth visiting if you're there (Memorial Park station). Maybe Red, White & Bluezz (this might or might not be closer to the Del Mar station).

        Right AT the Del Mar station is La Grande Orange Cafe. Nothing fancy; decent food (burgers, tacos, a steak, a piece of fish) in a fun atmosphere (a converted 1920s train depot). Basically across the street you'll find Houston's - well executed standard American grub (think steaks, seafood cooked over hardwood; also some good salads, and an excellent bar) in a dark, clubby yet lively atmosphere. At the corner of Arroyo Parkway & Del Mar. Also nearby is Central Park restaurant. Quieter than Grande Orange. I recommend the flatiron steak and the sand dabs.

        Two more stops gets you to the Mission station in South Pas. About 50 yards from the station you'll find Bistro de la Gare (French bistro), and Firefly (really nice patio that's better than the food; brunch is probably the best meal there). Easy and safe walk from the station to Shiro (Franco-Japonais), Briganti (Italian), Mike & Anne's. Thursday afternoon/evening, there is a farmers' market with several food vendors as well.

        Highland Park station gets you close to some tacos. Among others, there's a branch of the La Estrella empire nearby.

        Chinatown: I've had good Pho at a place called Pho Hoa, which is practically underneath the stop. Also, Homegirl Cafe.

        I'm not sure if Philippe's (french dip sandwiches) is closer to the Chinatown or Union Station stop.

        Good luck with your adventures!

        Some of the places I mentioned:

        8 Replies
        1. re: Jack Flash

          Philippe may be closer to Union Station, but from the train stop to the front of the station is an awfully long walk all by itself. The Chinatown stop is where I always get off unless I'm continuing on that or another train; it's just easier to deal with.

          In addition to the sand dabs and flatiron, both very good indeed, in my opinion Central Park's burger, though smaller and simpler than LGO's, is also much better (and cheaper!). I found Grande Orange's meat to be flabby and short on flavor, and the huge bun soaked through and disintegrated halfway through the proceedings.

          1. re: Jack Flash

            A caution about Mike & Anne's: we dropped by there today (Sunday) at about 2:30, expecting a nice patio-sit and a drink or two, only to be told that they were CLOSING until dinner! If this were a white-tablecloth restaurant and/or a weekday I could understand it, but a casual joint with a patio? On a SUNDAY? Are these folks just too damn full of themselves or what?

            So we went to Green Street, and had some lovely cocktails and a nosh. Outside. Okay, it's away from the Gold Line, but a shady patio table is what we wanted...

            Mike & Anne's
            1040 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030

            Green Street Restaurant
            146 S Shopper's Lane, Pasadena, CA 91101

            1. re: Will Owen

              No friend, they are probably just another casualty of the economy and can no longer afford to keep the restaurant up and humming ALLLLLL DAYYYY. Which is something I love about some places, but usually only find it in chains..........

              PS. - I loved Green Street when I lived there......

              1. re: Phurstluv

                So it's better to NOT be available when three thirsty and perhaps hungry people showed up on a Sunday afternoon? And when those people arrived almost all of the patio tables were occupied by people who might very well have ordered another round, had the bar still been open? And should the the folks at M&A not wonder if perhaps one or more of these people might have said, "The hell with this place, anyway; let's just go to Green Street as we should have done to begin with"?

                Green Street Restaurant
                146 S Shopper's Lane, Pasadena, CA 91101

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Oh, I hear ya, and know what you mean. They are paying for overhead anyway, whether they are serving or not, but many places have decided to cut staff during those hours, to save money.

                  Maybe their thinking is that those who REALLY want to eat there will wait in anticipation for the dinner hour to roll around, sort of like those places who won't take reservations even when the line is regularly out the door.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Seems to me these people are compounding their own misery in these tough times, by essentially driving away customers instead of doing everything they can to win them. When the market warms back up and people start spending their money more freely, the surviving merchants will not be the ones who pinched pennies by cutting service. Or so I'm guessing. If I were running one of these places I'd be running leaner, I'm sure, but keeping my hours, maybe even extending them, and offering off-hours specials. Midafternoon happy hours or whatever.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I see where you're coming from, Mr. O, but if this is an establishment that runs late into the night filling dinner orders, it makes sense to me to closed down for a few hours in the afternoon for multiple reasons:

                      shift changes, deliveries, staff meetings, staff meals, and to actually clean the place up a bit after the lunch & before the dinner rush.

                      My MiL talks about a Thai place near her in FLA that is packed full constantly until 2 pm. When she went by @ 2:10 to pick up a bowl of soup, they told her they stopped serving at 2 pm, and she could see that the mats were off the floor, the cleaning crew were working furiously and there was probably a lot more going on behind the closed doors.

                      I have not been to M&A's, but I certainly wouldn't begrudge them, ESP in this economy, to have their doors closed for a few hours in the afternoon, if only to prepare for the dinner hour. Really, how much money are they going to make on a four top or two, from 2-5 pm?? Probably not enough to justify a full staff.

              2. re: Will Owen

                Consider a restaurant may be open for at least 12 hours a day, for scheduling reasons many of the employees work "split" shifts. To keep overtime in control the employee may only work an 8 hour shift, but they may work 4 hours for lunch and 4 hours for dinner. Rather than overlap and have a skeleton crew and scheduling problems (schedule conflicts and hiring more employees than you need), some places choose to have separate lunch and dinner hours. Employees don't like splitting their day anymore than you like being inconvenieced, but that's the restaurant biz.

                Would you like being committed to your employer for 12 hours a day and only get paid for 8 hours?

            2. First, there are a couple of unique spots in Pasadena worth checking out...

              The Nepalese food at TIbet Nepal House and Afghani at Azeen's.

              When you get your car, the San Gabriel Valley is minutes away and with it, it's dizzying array of regional Chinese cuisines. Welcome and enjoy!

              1. We had a terrific meal this weekend at the new Elements Kitchen which is on El Molino just south of Colorado - near the soon-closing Pasadena Playhouse. Very refined food, beautiful setting, great service. Am not sure where you are in Pasadena, but it would be a 15-minute walk from the Old Town Gold Line stop. There's a bar menu too if you're eating alone. Welcome to Pasadena.