Saturday, January 16, 2010

Five Things We Like About Pasadena, California

Captions: Laemmle Playhouse 7 (top left), Vroman's Book Store (top right), Yahaira's (right)

Pasadena has many appealing places, restaurants and hotels. It’s home to the Rose Bowl, Julia Child, excellent architecture and Colorado Avenue, the former Route 66.

Fitting Pasadena's best in a single post is a challenge. To give you a sense of the place, I took an unscientific poll of our family. Here is the first of two posts on favorite places. For contact information, scroll to the end of the list.

1. Yahaira’s Restaurant. This intimate, casual restaurant’s menu has a delicious mix of Mexican and America breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Yahaira’s offers fresh food, for vegetarians and omnivores, at reasonable prices with excellent service. On Friday and Saturday nights, Peter Sellers, a local guitar player, adds to the experience with flamenco and American standards as background music.
2. Vroman’s Bookstore. Across the street from Yahaira’s is southern California’s oldest and largest bookstore. On it’s exterior, Vroman’s has one of the best equipped and most delightful outdoor newsstands I have ever seen. Inside is an excellent mix of national and California nonfiction and fiction in hardcover and paperback.
3. Laemmle Playhouse 7. This seven screen movie theater has Art Deco architecture and décor. It has a mix of mainstream and indie films. I had a pleasingly odd film experience here with our friends Joe and Cathy. We walked in from the Pasadena summer into the chilled world of upstate New York, when we came to see the movie Frozen River.
4. The Holiday Inn Express Pasadena and Courtyard Los Angeles/Pasadena. These are two favorite Pasadena hotels. The Holiday Inn Express is east of downtown Pasadena. The Courtyard is located, a few blocks north of Old Pasadena. At the Holiday Inn Express, I was particularly impressed with the hospitality and hard work of Annie Hsu and her team. At the Courtyard, we got a lot of help with special requests. In particular, several of the desk staff helped us, with intelligence and good-nature, to find a safe place to unload a car being shipped cross-country.
5. Cameron’s Seafood. This large restaurant serves delicious salads, steaks and seafood. Thirsty guests will enjoy the bathtub-sized Tanqueray martinis that appear, like a magical mirage, at the end of hot day.

Contact Information:

Yahaira’s Café: 698 E. Colorado Boulevard(Blvd), 626-844-3254

Vroman’s Bookstore: 695 E. Colorado Blvd, 626-449-5320

Laemmle Playhouse 7: 673 E. Colorado Blvd, 626-844-6500

Holiday Inn Express Hotel~Suites Pasadena: 3500 E. Colorado Blvd. 626-792-1363
Courtyard Los Angeles Pasadena/Old Town: 180 N. Fair Oaks Ave. 626-403-7600

Cameron’s Seafood: 1978 E. Colorado, 626-793-3474

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome Aboard: East Coast/West Coast/North Coast, about travel and life in America.

I spend a lot of time on or near these coasts for business, family trips and fun. This blog will help me learn from you about the coasts and in return I will share with you memorable traveling, exploring, shopping and dining experiences.

The definitions of “East Coast” and “West Coast” are easy to understand. The “East Coast” in this blog may some day include places as far south as Key West.

“North Coast” is a phrase I once heard that is useful to describe the country along the Great Lakes. Although, if this blog had reports from Ontario, its title would have to expand to include the “South Coast.” (Sorry for this geography humor).

All along the North Coast are productive cities and beautiful country. In fact, I was born in Buffalo, New York. Also along the North Coast are great sports teams, such as the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Indians.

For now, this blog will have a departments for each coast and the catchall departments, “In-Between” and “Where does it Fit?” As time goes on, the format may change.

These departments will chronicle events that happen - - and provide advance notice of events or trips.

So, whether you like roller blading along the Pacific in Venice Beach, casting for striped bass in the Atlantic at Montauk Point or demolishing a plate full of such Buffalo delicacies as chicken wings or beef on weck, welcome to the coasts!