The Valley Line

I’ve been enjoying the last couple of days of sunshine. Saturday was certainly a gray day with such a fine mist falling, getting me ready for Ireland, I suppose.

Sunday seemed to be the perfect day for the Los Angeles Marathon. I’m sure that there were a fair amount of valleyites that participated. Last Monday morning I spoke with Mary Pinola and she walked the route in less than seven hours — her personal best. She said that she had only a couple of blisters on her toes at the end — her badge of courage. She was running for the Mary Pinola/Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce Educational Endowment Fund and she garnered sponsor dollars for each mile she trudged along.

On February 20, nearly 250 diners hit the streets of La Cañada, Pasadena and neighboring communities to participate in the Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services’ annual “Dinners from the Heart” event, which raised $50,000 with proceeds benefiting the 9,000 children and families served by the agency every year.

The event, which was made possible by the generosity of nearly 35 participating restaurants including La Cañada’s Dish and Taylor’s Steak House, gave local residents the opportunity to enjoy outstanding meals at top-rated restaurants while, at the same time, helping to raise funds for the Pasadena-headquartered child and family service agency.

La Cañada residents hosting groups were Jack MacKenzie at JJ Steak House, Annsley Strong at Crepe Vine Bistro & Wine Bar, and Mike Galper at Twin Palms, all Hathaway-Sycamores board members. Mary Pinola co-hosted the Crepe Vine Bistro & Wine Bar along with Annsley.

The Bistro is a delightful Parisian-style small restaurant tucked away down a narrow alley in Old Pasadena. The great food was graciously donated and served by the Bistro’s owner, Kate Evans and her friendly staff.

Other participating restaurants included Beckham Grill, Bistro de la Gare, Central Park, El Cholo Café, Elements Kitchen, Firefly Bistro, Five Crowns, Gale’s Restaurant, Gordon Biersch, Green Street Restaurant, Green Street Tavern, Julienne Fine Foods, The Kitchen for Exploring Foods, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Madre’s, Maison Akira, Marston’s Restaurant, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mijares Mexican Restaurant, Mojitos Restaurant & Rum Bar, Panda Inn, Saladang-Song, Sushi Roku, Twin Palms and Vibrato.

The event was co-chaired by Altadena Junior Circle members Sheila Rossi of South Pasadena and Miho Tyszka of Sierra Madre, Renee LaBran, a Hathaway-Sycamores board member, and Bob Smith and Gregg Smith, who co-own five of the participating restaurants — Smitty’s Grill, Arroyo Chop House, Parkway Grill, Crocodile Café and Vibrato — as honorary chairs.

This was a delicious way to raise funds for Hathaway-Sycamores and don’t forget that it will happen again next year. Plan on attending.

JANE NAPIER NEELY has been covering the La Cañada social scene for over 26 years. She can be reached at

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