Visit Pasadena > Blog > Arts & Culture > Experience Pasadena Like a Local (Part 1)

Experience Pasadena Like a Local (Part 1)

May 19, 2016

| Posted in Arts & Culture

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Between chatting with guests in our Visitors Center and responding to messages on our social networks, we encounter a lot of travelers throughout the year. We’ve found that most travelers fall under one of four tribes, the Everything Planner, the Lost Traveler, the Foodie, and the Discoverer. If you’ve traveled around a bit, you already know which tribe you belong to.

Four Tribes of Travel

Some like to cram their itinerary and schedule every waking moment, we call these folks the Everything Planner (our website features an itinerary builder just for them). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lost Traveler does very little planning if any, they let their intuition and the universe dictate their day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but the Lost Traveler lives for serendipitous moments they’ll recite to their future hypothetical grandchildren. Then there’s the Foodie who adventurously eats their way through a destination, allowing their palette to dictate their journey.


Lately, we’ve encountered Discoverers more than any of the others. The Discoverer takes on a little of each of the other tribes but they are distinct in several ways. They seek dive bars where they will find locals who have stopped for an after work drink, and the strip mall restaurant that Jonathan Gold raved about in the paper. They want to “do as the Romans do” and befriend the locals who will lead them off the beaten path. While they crave adventure and local culture, Discoverers needs much more insight before traveling to a new destination than their “Lost” counterpart.

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Meet Our Local Insiders

We chatted with a few Pasadena insiders and came up with a three-part guide for those of us who subscribe to the this tribe — Kimberli, Agustin and Nora all consider themselves Discoverers.

Kimberli is a sophisticated and smart 30-something resident of Northeast Pasadena. She has a toddler, she teaches all over Los Angeles, and she knows all about travel.

Agustin is a 33-year old Creative Services professional; he lives in Silver Lake and works in Pasadena; and he is fanatical about the Gold Line.

Nora is a young spirited 40-something, she has lived everywhere including a long stint in San Francisco, traveled the world and goes to all of the best events in town.

We asked them about food & drinks, arts & culture, their favorite outdoor activities, and the events they look forward to. Here is what they had to say.

Where Locals Eat

Altaeats is a true neighborhood gem. Chef Paul Ragan brings his French-inspired cuisine to this sleepy stretch of North Allen Avenue. There’s no signage out front, locals simply know this place and they come here to find simple flavors treated with French flair. We recommend the bacon wrapped dates, herb crusted lamb, duck hash, and chicken and waffles. Order small plates and dine family style but, if sharing isn’t your thing, order the larger main courses.

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Bacchus’ Kitchen
Chef Claud Beltran — who was mentored by founder of Napa Valley’s French Laundry, Thomas Keller — is shaking up Pasadena’s culinary scene with two unconventional neighborhood restaurants, Bacchus’ Kitchen and Eatery. Bacchus’ Kitchen is located in the up and coming East Washington Village, the New American menu features items like Shrimp and grits, Angus burger and Spanish clam chowder. Beltran sources pastries and bread from local artisans Lark and Seed Bakery. Once a month, the restaurant becomes Bacchus’ Kitchen Live, think dinner club meets jazz club. A series of Musical Director’s with serious musical chops come through the restaurant and occupy a permanently installed stage. More→

Regulars are never bored at Eatery, each month Chef Claud Beltran chooses a new theme to create the menu. The Eatery folks have done a pork-themed menu, Asian fusion, Italian, Mexican, and Nordic. This month, Eatery is featuring a Soul Food menu entitled, Southern Belle. More→

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Seed Bakery
Located near the north end of Bungalow Heaven, Seed Bakery is a welcome new addition to the neighborhood. Splurge-worthy loaves of whole grain bread are baked fresh daily in the old world tradition of milling followed by 12 hours of fermentation. But it’s not just about the bread, Seed Bakery serves breakfast and lunch too featuring items like the ubiquitous avocado toast, brioche French toast and a pulled pork sandwich. More→

Daisy Mint
Friendly wait staff make this cozy Thai-fusion restaurant feel like stepping into a friend’s living room. Fresh and flavorful lunch and dinner options include yellow and green curries, steak salad, pad thai and pad see ew. Gluten free dishes are also available.

Two words: egg salad. This creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, succulent spread is probably what most locals would recommend. It is served as an open-faced sandwich, once you experience it you’ll get it. From there graduate to other Europane delights, like the meatloaf and the BLT. There are two locations in town, both on Colorado Blvd.

This traditional Italian spot is where Pasadenans go for special occasions, take a look around and you’ll see first dates, birthdays, and anniversaries. Gale’s is located just south of Old Pasadena, the culinary staff here throws down solid Northern Italian fare. Starters include scampi fritti, beef carpacio, and proscuitto and melon. Pastas are king here, traditional fettuccine carbonara and pasta al forno. Meats hit the mark too with salmon, lamb chops and steaks a plenty.

Ginger Market
Ginger Market is a favorite of Caltech students and tot-totting moms alike. Sandwiches, soups and salads are freshly prepared, and seasonal specials are marked on a chalk board. Inside the market, find a charming boutique with unique gifts and souvenirs.

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Lincoln Pasadena’s Breakfast Sandwich

Each and every weekend, locals flock here in droves for brunch. Lincoln, owned by Christine Moore of Pasadena’s Little Flower Restaurant, is located in northwest Pasadena near the Rose Bowl Stadium and ArtCenter‘s Hillside Campus. Choose from breakfast selections like the breakfast bowl or their interpretation of huevos rancheros. For lunch try the farro and spice shrimp bowl or choose form their sandwiches and salads. Order at a register and have a seat. Breakfast and lunch is served all day. More→

Monta Factory
Every culture has their version of a dumpling. For the Armenian culture, there’s monta. Monta (or mante) is a chewy dough stuffed with flavorful ground beef and traditionally topped with tomato or garlic yogurt sauce. Monte Factory in East Washington Village is family-owned. The staff takes their time explaining the menu which also includes a salmon sandwich, boreg (layered cheese pastry dish), and vegetarian monta. This is a popular take-out spot but there are two small tables on the patio if you want to dine here.

Porta Via Italian Foods
Porta Via is an Italian deli that serves salads and pasta by the pound. Walk up to the deli counter and order gnocchi, turkey meatballs, chicken parmigiana, balsamic glazed chicken or custom pressed paninis. Order as much or as little as you want. Dine in or dine out with one of their popular picnic baskets and enjoy the outdoors.

Roma Market
Located on North Lake Avenue, in an unassuming strip mall, Roma Market has great sandwiches. Prepared daily by proprietor Rosario Mazzeo, a 70+ year old man who treats each sandwich like a work of art, this simple assemblage of sliced mortadella, capicola, salami, provolone and crusty Italian bread doused with olive oil will leave you feigning for more.

Super Burger
Locals line up for this no frills Pasadena institution. Best known for their hand pressed burgers, a beef patty sandwiched between a squishy white bun, simply dressed with mayo and lettuce. This place is a total throwback.

The Raymond & Bar 1886
Open for lunch, dinner and Saturday brunch, The Raymond features new American cuisine. The restaurant is housed in the former caretaker’s cottage of the Raymond Hotel, the hotel no longer exists but if those walls could talk. Bar 1886 is a good for craft cocktails poured on hand cut chunks of ice.

Continue reading part two→


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