Pasadena, CA: The City Where The Cheeseburger Was Invented

“Cheeseburger!  Cheeseburger!” Pasadena, CA: The City Where The Cheeseburger Was Invented I’m proud to hail from the city that is home to the Rose Parade and the “Granddaddy Of Them All,” the Rose Bowl Game. However, the historic event that solidifies Pasadena, California, as an American treasure, is that my hometown is where an iconic food item, loved by most people around the world who have ever tried it, received its start. Yes, Pasadena is where the cheeseburger was invented! Nearly 100 years ago, in January of 1924, a transient, excited to have come upon 15 cents, visited the Rite-Spot in Pasadena and asked for a “hamburger with everything on it.”  The line cook at his dad’s roadside stand, Lionel … Read more…

Millie’s Cafe – Pasadena, CA

On Call Breakfast! Millie’s Cafe – Pasadena, CA Last Visited: December 2020 • Breakfast Every once in a while, everyone needs a great breakfast fix. Fortunately for Tracy and me, we have a nearby restaurant close by that has served us well for the past couple of years.  Millie’s Cafe has been a Silver Lake staple since 1926 and in late 2018 it opened a location in Pasadena. Millie’s serves breakfast and lunch all day until 3 p.m. and also includes a large vegan menu. In fact, the entire menu is extensive, so you have numerous choices, and believe me they are tough choices to make. From their website: “We use real butter to cook our fresh eggs. We use … Read more…

Luna Trattoria – Mendocino, CA

“Over The Moon Italian Cuisine” Luna Trattoria – Mendocino, CA Visited: October 2020 – Northern Italian On the recommendation of the Sea Foam Lodge in Little River, our foursome had made dinner reservations a few weeks previously at Luna Trattoria in Mendocino. Tracy and Mary scouted it out an hour before our reservation time, and said it looked lovely.                                        It was a glorious October evening in Mendocino, with dining outdoors on the garden patio spilling over with flowers.                       There was even an apple tree that nearly dropped an apple on … Read more…

Salazar – Los Angeles (Frogtown), CA

Fabulous Frogtown Fiesta of Food  Salazar – Los Angeles (Frogtown), CA Sonoran-Stye Mexican – Last Visited: October 2020 Ever since we “discovered” Spoke Bicycle Café in Frogtown (an area located near downtown Los Angeles), we’d been hearing and reading of a Mexican barbecue restaurant named Salazar in the nearby vicinity.  In July 2019, we decided to pop over and see what all the brouhaha was about. Since then we have visited on numerous occasions for both brunch and dinner, and the results have been mostly fantastic.  (Below outdoor photos are pre-pandemic.) Opened in 2016, Salazar is located in a former auto body shop with outdoor seating.  Other than a small bar in one of the former repair bays, all the … Read more…

Bistro 45 – Pasadena, CA

Bistro 45 a Pasadena Icon! Bistro 45 – Pasadena, CA New American/French-Style Cuisine – Last Visit: August 2020 Situated in a charming, retro Art Deco building in Pasadena, Bistro 45 has provided us with many a memorable meal over the past 25 – 30 years and has consistently served delicious dinners. Over the years, in addition to special-occasion meals, we have attended many of their winemaker dinners, almost always resulting in an infusion for our wine cellar.             During the pandemic, Bistro 45 has also pivoted to curb-side pick-up, Rosti (family) dinners, Butcher Shoppe and recently, patio-only dining. We have purchased Cryovac-sealed Nieman Ranch pork chops from the Butcher Shoppe, and they are among the … Read more…

The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA

Beignets & Breakfast By The Beach The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA Last Visited: September 2020 When we get together with intrepid travel companions and friends Kim and Mary, we try to pick some place half way between our homes. Unbeknownst to us, the Beachcomber at Crystal Cove would become one of our favorite breakfast places and we don’t even mind the hour-long drive (well, as long as it is at the crack of dawn before traffic rears its ugly head). The restaurant is located on the beach in Crystal Cove, which we found out is on the National Register of Historic Places. No cars are allowed (except for handicapped parking), so you have to park in … Read more…

Fia – Santa Monica, CA

Mamma Mia … It’s Time For Fia! Fia – Santa Monica, CA California Cuisine (with an Italian Influence) – Last Visit: August 2020 Looking online for L.A. County dining establishments where we could enjoy a meal outdoors, we came upon Fia, a Santa Monica restaurant that seemed to check all the boxes. The photos of its patio looked enticing, and a few reviews stated it was socially-distanced enough to feel comfortable, so on a (plagiarizing Neil Diamond) “hot August night” we headed to Fia, where we would be joined by our temporarily-masked friends Jeff and Cecilia. We had booked an early 6 p.m. time slot to avoid any over-crowding later in the evening. The quaint patio area was surrounded by … Read more…

Union – Pasadena, CA

Forming A More Perfect Union Union – Pasadena, CA Italian – Last Visit: July 2020 In 2015, Union in Pasadena garnered the coveted Mai Tai Tom Restaurant Of The Year Award.  Union’s menu, which features a number of homemade pasta dishes, had been the creation of Chef Bruce Kalman, who departed in 2018. We had not been back since original owner (Marie Petulla) hooked up with a new executive chef (Chris Keyser) in 2019. The day after the city of Pasadena closed some lanes of its streets (including Union Street) to allow restaurants to accommodate outside dining, we scored reservations. This neighborhood gem serves what has been called the “California version of Northern Italian cuisine,” and utilizes “fresh ingredients that … Read more…

Alcove Café & Bakery – Los Feliz (Los Angeles)

A Patio Oasis Alcove Café & Bakery – Los Feliz (Los Angeles) Last Visit: June 2020 Breakfast When outdoor dining was finally allowed again here in California (seems to change by the hour), we decided to meet our friends (and traveling partners) Kim and Mary, along with their daughter Macaire, at Alcove Café & Bakery in Los Feliz (a hillside neighborhood of Los Angeles). Because it was dog friendly, Kim and Mary’s dog Fenway also joined us. The restaurant is located very close to Griffith Park, so you could come here after taking your dog for a walk. We (and the corgis) enjoy the hike at nearby Ferndell Trail, where you can eventually hook up to trails that ascend to … Read more…

Formosa Cafe – West Hollywood, CA

Historic West Hollywood Hangout Formosa Cafe – West Hollywood, CA Last Visited: June 2020 Asian Fusion I’m confident there’s not another restaurant in the world where John Wayne cooked eggs one morning in its kitchen after passing out the night before, Ava Gardner danced in the aisles, Elvis sipped a mai tai or two, Bogie sat at the bar and a couple of notorious mobsters conducted “business dealings” in their own private booths. All that and much, much more transpired through the decades at West Hollywood’s Formosa Cafe. After the shutdown of L.A. restaurants was lifted in June, Tracy and I (along with friends Jeff and Cecilia) knew this was the first dining establishment we wanted to check out.   … Read more…