Just Another Thursday Night in South Pasadena

After a brutal commute home from a long work day, I can’t think of anything more refreshing than stepping off the Metro at the Mission Street station to find myself smack dab in the middle of the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market.

South Pasadena Farmer's Market

balloon manThe event takes over the center of town every Thursday night with vendors hawking locally grown fruits and vegetables, flowers, and other local products like honey, nuts and beans, and organic roaster chickens. And it seems like the whole town comes out to celebrate.

Even better than the groceries are the food vendors who cook up sidewalk cuisine to rival the best of them. I headed straight for the fresh tamale stand and chased one down with a buttery roasted corn on the cob. If you prefer barbeque tri tip or Peruvian or Korean or Greek or Vegan, they have something for you too.

The kids entertained themselves popping bubbles with our new friend, who we still only know as “the bubble man” (you’ll meet him later on Weekndr). He sets up camp in the grass among throngs of kids and creates giant bubbles, tiny bubbles, and everything in between, while the kids stand at attention ready to pop.

The girls topped off this night by convincing us to pony up for a pair of balloon wands, ordering up one with an alien head and the other sporting a picture of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The five-dollar fee was the well worth the 20 minutes we waited in peace while the girls patiently watched the Balloon Man’s inflatable creations come to life.

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Cereal and Grilled Cheese Cafe. Really?

What will they think of next?

They say most small  businesses fail within the first two years, so I have to wonder about the chance for success of Mix n’ Munch, a cereal and grilled cheese cafe coming soon to the heart of downtown South Pasadena.

If I had to open a cereal and grilled cheese cafe I suppose South Pas would be the place to do it. This is definitely a kid-dominated town, and I have to assume kids are the target audience here. But still, how many bowls of cereal do you have to sell to pay rent on the most popular commercial stretch of Mission Street?

Not to mention, don’t most people go out to eat so they don’t have to go through the trouble of preparing a meal? And aren’t a bowl of cereal and a grilled cheese sandwich two of the easier meals to prepare?

I’ll reserve (anymore) judgement for opening day, but if you happen to see the Mix n’ Munch sign replaced by a for lease sign, remember, you heard it here first.

Daily Commute: Life on the Metro Gold Line

Metro Gold Line at the Mission Station

CLICK IMAGE TO ANIMATE. The Metro Gold Line whizzes across Mission Street in South Pasadena on its way north from downtown Los Angeles.

Welcome to the life of an LA Metro Gold Line commuter. The light rail train you see here zooming across Mission Street in South Pasadena (CLICK IMAGE TO ANIMATE) is the trusty mode of transport that I ride each day to and from work. Every seven minutes during peak hours (and less frequently on weekends)  the Gold Line moves hundreds of commuters, kids, old folk, and homeless day drifters from the San Gabriel suburbs to downtown Los Angeles.

I’ve explored subway systems and trains in most of the major cities around the U.S. and I have to say LA’s Metro ranks up there with the best of them. Yet still, it’s public transportation. And that means it never goes exactly where you want to go without transferring or hoofing it.

My routine goes like this: Walk to station – 3 min. Gold line to Little Tokyo- 20 min. Walk to bus stop – 4 min. Dash A bus to a block away from office – 11 min. Walk to desk – 4 min. That adds up to a 41 min. commute, at best.

Which leads to the question I ponder most morning and afternoons as I make my way to and from the office: Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just drive? Don’t answer that…

Weekndr: LA Edition

Los Angeles

It’s official: The Weekndr Family are now residents of Los Angeles, California. Well South Pasadena to be exact, since we’ve quickly discovered that this massive sprawl is made of up dozens upon dozens of cities and neighborhoods each with distinct personalities, crime rates, school districts, and housing prices, and it’s important to choose one that matches your desired profile.

We chose South Pas for several reasons, listed in no apparent order:

1. A flock of wild parrots flies around town offering daily sightings
2. It’s home to the first-ever Trader Joes
3. The school district is top-notch (and not part of LA Unified)
4. We were persuaded by an exceptional blogger with mad photography skills
5. I can take the Gold Line Metro to work and avoid the LA freeways
6. We scored an amazing rental house with a lime and orange tree in the backyard
7. It’s packed with Greene & Greene style craftsman houses, and the Morris Bed will fit right in

I’m sure we’ll discover more reasons as we settle in, complete with pictures. Stay tuned…