I Heart Pasadena

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It may have topped the America’s Snobbiest City list, but Pasadena is still a gem of a place, filled with some of my favorite things, like Urth Caffe and its beautiful latte art. I think this Twitter logo-like bird is my favorite art to date.

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And how about the Oxtail Chili Cheese Fries from Bachi Burger?  Just pour a glass of wine and order this and you got yourself an amazing dinner.

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Oh, and these mouth-watering spreads from Le Pain Quotidien. My favorites are Noir (Belgian dark chocolate) and Blondie (white chocolate).

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And of course, Color Me Mine.

All these establishments are a chain and you can find them in other, less “snooty” areas, but it’s nice to know that I can find all my favorite places in one corner of this quaint little Old Town.

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Birthday Dinner

The day started out with a run / walk around Rose Bowl with Shannon, Tiffany, and Jesse. Jesse and Tiffany ran, while Shannon and I did a 2:1 (two-minute run, followed by one-minute walk) for a total of 3.1 miles. We also ran up a very steep hill during our 5k run, which felt incredible. Believe it or not, I’m beginning to really enjoy going up hills.  I’m serious about this.  I like how my body feels when I reach the top!

Breakfast (9:30 a.m.): I ate a chocolate brownie bar in the car for breakfast.

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): We went to our usual, Le Pain Quotidien, for lunch. I started out with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar (I was craving a cup of good coffee badly this morning)  …

followed by two pieces of freshly-baked bread, accompanied by Blondie, a white chocolate spread that I’d like to call crack. Blondie was out of season but the staff (probably the store manager) opened one of the merchandises for us, which was incredibly generous. It’s this kind of gesture that makes us come back here again and again.biggrin

For lunch, I ordered my favorite dish, Tuscan bean salad with prosciutto and arugula. I forgot to take a photo of the actual plate but it’s not anything that you haven’t seen here (check out this and this). I’m so in love with this place.  I really look forward to coming here after our weekend Rose Bowl runs.

Dinner (7:00 p.m.): The family went to Ichibankan to celebrate my father’s birthday over good sushi (YAY, happy birthday, dad).surprisedTo start, I ordered a glass of Merlot, and we shared an order of Crunchy Roll. We each had two pieces.

Instead of ordering sushi a la carte, my sister, my mother, and I ordered chirashi bowl, that came with assortment of sashimi on a bed of sushi rice.

The osuimono that came with the meal was amazing.

I had two bites of complimentary green tea ice cream.

Dessert (9:00 p.m.): We sang my father happy birthday over a cup of wonderfully brewed coffee (my mother makes the best coffee) and a homemade chiffon cake (my mother also bakes the best chiffon cake) at home! I had a small piece and she packed me a piece for me to enjoy tomorrow!

What a wonderful Saturday this was! I’m looking forward to a fabulous Sunday!

A Perfect Day

Breakfast (9:30 a.m.): A quick, natto and okra rice for breakfast before heading out the door to go running with Tiffany and Shannon. We ran the streets of Pasadena for a total of six miles, to prepare for the upcoming Pasadena Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. We stopped by Starbucks to get a bottled water and got a sample of its new Blonde roast. I personally like the darker roast, Sumatra being my favorite, but this one was not bad at all! I would have ordered a cup if we didn’t have to keep on running!

Lunch (1:30 p.m.): We went to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch. I inhaled a piece of bread with the heavenly, almost crack-like white chocolate Blondie spread (can this thing be any more delicious?), and downed the Mint Lemonade.

I finally got to try the Tuscan Bean Salad that Tiffany got last time (and wished I had). It really hit the spot, after the run.

There was a guy with a sketchbook sitting near us at a communal table. When I got up to use the restroom, I got the glimpse of what he was drawing. On a paper, I saw a picture of a beautiful woman. When I looked closely, the woman looked very much like Tiffany. Are women supposed to feel flattered by this or be freaked out?  We say it’s creepy.eek

Afterward, we stopped at Paper Source and Sur La Table, two of my favorite shops on Colorado Blvd. I picked up a small vegetable slicer. I already have a large mandoline with all the bells and whistles but I’ve never used it because I’m completely intimidated … but I think I can manage this smaller version. Cucumber sunomono, here I come!

Dinner (7:30 p.m.): I finally got to partake on the birthday celebration that my parents planned for me! I wasn’t able to attend last week because I ended up spending that Saturday in bed (darn cough attack!) so I was happy that I got to finally celebrate it with my family. We had okomomiyaki!  Going to a nice restaurant is wonderful but there is nothing better  than a dinner party at home with the family.

My mother baked an amazing, chiffon cake with strawberries and whipped cream that was out of this world.

(Please excuse my naked face. I came to my parents’ house directly from the workout / lunch and didn’t have the time to do my hair and put on my eyebrows.)

Today was an absolute perfect day, full of so much love. I’m the luckiest person in the world.biggrin Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Saori, for such beautiful celebration.

The Daily Bread: Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien, a super cozy bakery / restaurant, with lovely communal tables, deserves the “I ain’t got a clue how to pronounce your name but I friggin’ love your bread” award. According to its homepage, the name is pronounced, “luh paN koh-ti-dyaN.” I still can’t properly say it without tying my tongue in knot, but I LOVE this place. The breads here are pretty darn amazing.

On one Sunday afternoon after our Rose Bowl run, my friend Tiffany and I went to the Old Town Pasadena location for a quick lunch. We started out with the freshly squeezed mint lemonade (we loved that it wasn’t too sweet)  and shared a bread basket . With a spread like white chocolate and other seasonal jams and butters, it’s not at all difficult to polish off the large basket in one sitting.

To accompany our breads, we each ordered a plate of salad:

Tuscan White Bean and Prosciutto Salad (it was so good, I was kicking myself for not ordering this myself) …

and … Aged Goat Cheese with Arugula.

No wonder the name of the restaurant is translated to “the daily bread” because I can seriously eat here every day. I’m definitely trying its tartines next time.

Le Pain Quotidien
88 W. Colorado Boulevard, #102, Pasadena, CA 91105
★★★★★