On the Town: Pasadena

By Dana Glaser

    One Colorado, the heart of Old Town Pasadena doesn’t look old at all – in fact, it bears a striking resemblance to Beverly Dr. But it does have a few gems of its own. Father Nature’s, a little hole in the wall hidden on a side street, falls into this category. My mom and I picked up a lavash and took our fare walking — good food, bad ambiance. Next door I bought a yogurt at 21 Choices, which had a Sprinkles style line down the sidewalk but beat Pinkberry by a long shot.
Navigating the Pasadena art scene posed a dilemma. Pasadena is home to an impressive list of old master favorites at the Norton Simon (411 W. Colorado Blvd) and Huntington Library (1151 Oxford Road). However, there is a variety of less well-known yet equally interesting options. There is the Pacific Asia Museum (46 N Los Robles Ave) for a gorgeous collection of Oriental prints, ceramics, and traditional apparel. Even further off the beaten path is the Pasadena Museum of California Art (490 East Union Street), which shows contemporary and modern art with an emphasis on vivid water color. 
    I made the Huntington Library, just a few minutes outside of central Pasadena, art stop number one. But I didn’t pick it because of its galleries or even its library, which houses famous texts like the Gutenberg Bible and the Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales. Its claim to fame is really its variety of gardens, from the Garden of Flowing Fragrance to the cactus-filled Desert Garden.
    I had to make a trip to the Norton Simon, one of the best stocked museums in Los Angeles and an all-time classic. When I went in I headed straight to the left, which is chronologically backwards but starts off the visit with some of the 19th century’s best. The entire lower floor is devoted to South Asian art, and I never leave without stopping by Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a Boy.”
Pasadena also draws crowds for its vintage shopping. I made a stop at the massive Rose Bowl Flea Market, the largest of many in the area, which convenes on the second Sunday of the month, On the first Sunday of the month (you  can hit it up  over spring break), there is a more manageable flea market at the Pasadena City College (1570 E. Colorado Blvd.).
    The market looked more like a theme park than anything else, decked out in flags, with carnival music and the faint smell of funnel cake. Vendors’ tents formed walkways cluttered with a mixture of junk and valuable antique finds: beads and glitzy costume jewelry, and old Hollywood movie posters.
    I topped off the day with Thai dinner at Saladang Song (383 S Fair Oaks Ave). I highly recommend the satay, pad-thai noodles, and flavored iced tea.