This newest adventure took Michelle and I to Old Town Pasadena. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a bad Angeleno! Old Town Pasadena isn’t very far from where I live in the SGV (It’s only 22 miles away) but I’ve never been before. Old Town spans 22 blocks and features more than 300 businesses. In these 22 blocks you can find a movie theater, nightclubs, shopping, numerous coffee shops, pubs, comedy clubs, and a number of restaurants. There are plenty of parking garages in the area or you can use metered street parking.
Fun fact: since 1993 the revenue from the metered parking is used to finance public improvements in the area, which is pretty cool.
We came here with a plan (sort of). There were places we knew we wanted to visit, some of which we never made it to, and others we ended up stopping at on a whim. We parked at Paseo Colorado which is a pretty neutral location for parking and it also offers shopping and restaurants once you reach the street level.
Is one of my favorite Chicago coffee shops, they have 3 stores in California so it was about time I visited one of them. Intelligentsia introduced the concept of Direct Coffee Trade practices to the coffee industry, they have also joined the refuse the straw movement and have removed all single-use plastic straws from their coffee bars. The Pasadena location is pretty industrial and hipster. The cafe is long with exposed brick, trendy lighting and a long wood bar. They offer plenty of seating inside with a few tables outside for those cool LA fall nights. On this visit, I went with an iced mocha since it was so hot outside. The mocha was just the way I like it, not overly sweet, the espresso was strong and well balanced and played nicely with the mocha. I think it lasted me maybe 5 minutes once we got outside, mainly because it was 91 degrees outside the day we were in Old Town and this iced mocha was the perfect way to cool down.
Is a company that is certified in Coffee Farming, Milling, and Roasting. They have award winning baristas (regional latte art and Barista cup winners) working in their stores and if that wasn’t enough they also have tea experts certified by the World Tea Expo. Their goals are to be approachable, welcoming, authentic, and transparent. They are also a company who focuses on sustainability. When you find a coffee company as awesome as this, you need to pay them a visit. The Pasadena location is casual and hipster with cement floors, exposed brick and loads of natural light. This location is two separate rooms; the front main room and a side room both of which have plenty of seating. I went a little out of my comfort zone here and got a Cortado. For those of you not familiar with a Cortado, it’s a Spanish coffee creation that combines equal parts espresso and steamed milk. Let me tell you, this drink woke me up! You can taste the big bold flavors coming from the espresso, the milk definitely helps cut the acidity from the espresso and the creamy dense foam finished the drink off perfectly. We didn’t stay long because they were BUSY but this would be a great place to hang out and get some work done or catch up with friends. I can’t wait to explore more of the menu options here.
Was our next stop, It wasn’t on our original list of things to do, but we decided to check it out and see about doing a wine tasting. As the name suggests, they do sell a wide variety of olive oils, vinaigrettes, and dips. In the back of the store is the wine bar; you can get wine by the taste, glass or bottle. They unfortunately do not serve wine flights but if you get a few wines by the taste (they are fairly inexpensive) you can make your own. They also have a food menu to go along with your wine. I opted to taste 2 different wines. The first was a White Blend-2016 Mandrake, “Golden Apple”, Paso Robles and the second was a Rosé-2016 Mathis, Sonoma. Both were really good, I like White Blend a little better. Overall, this was a great little find and I’m glad we stopped in.
Offers a raw bar, dinner menu, and dessert menu along with a drink menu that includes: wine flights, an extensive wine list, cocktails, a beer flight and a decent selection of beers as well. The atmosphere was casual, they have a couple of large tv’s on the wall, the decor is simple and fits the space nicely. We got there right when they opened at 5pm so we were the only customers for a while. We came for the purpose of a wine flight and that is exactly what we did. I went with the Totally Organic | Tablas Creek Vineyard | Paso Robles, which consisted of: Patelin de Tablas Blanc (white blend), Dianthus (Rose), and Patelin de Tablas (red blend) The white was my favorite then the Rose and the red blend was my least favorite. Overall, this was a fun experience and we can’t wait to go back and explore some more wine!
Is just one of Danny Trejo’s restaurants. I was excited to sit down and eat after a long day of exploring Old Town and Trejo’s Cantina was the perfect way to end the day. The restaurant is casual, trendy and kind of hipster, I love the art on the walls, along with the turquoise bar. The menu is simple enough; burritos, tacos, quesadillas, bowls, soup & salad, along with shareable items. I went with a simple cheese quesadilla, Baja fish taco, the O.G. margarita and churros for dessert (I was hungry, don’t judge). The cheese quesadilla was simple but exactly what I needed. The Baja fish taco is crispy white fish, mango salsa, and slaw served on a flour tortilla. It was the best fish taco I’ve had to date! The O.G. margarita is el jimador silver, triple sec, agave, and fresh lime, it was delicious and it comes in the cutest margarita glass I’ve ever seen! The Churros were freshly made and came with a Mexican chocolate dipping sauce as well as a strawberry dipping sauce. The churros were delicious and covered in cinnamon and sugar, the strawberry dipping sauce was my favorite as it helped to cut down on the sweetness. I really want to visit his other locations now and explore more of the menu. I highly recommend trying out this restaurant.
So there you have it, our afternoon in Old Town Pasadena! We did do a little window shopping while we were in Old Town but we mainly came for coffee and wine. We really wanted to get to PieHole but we were still full from our Afternoon Tea at the Langham (you can click the link to read about that experience) Trejo’s Cantina was a fun surprise when I was searching for restaurants. A fun little thing we stumbled across was a street sign for Big Bang Theory Way, which was cool for me because I’m a fan of the show and it’s based in Pasadena. Also, sticking with the Big Bang Theory, in case you were wondering yes, there is a Cheesecake Factory up here as well.
Have you been to Old Town Pasadena? What do you like doing when you’re up here? What should we check out next time? Let me know in the comments!