Winter will soon be behind us and spring will come. All over town, restaurateurs and mixologists are planning for their spring comeback.
My first choice for a good meal is Café Sole, because the new owners, Salvatore and Alessandra Attanasio are lovely and the new menu is top notch. Salvatore bakes fresh bread several times a day. Sporadic specials include osso buco, Italian meatloaf and wonderful pastas. Great service.
The Flintridge Proper introduced a daily Happy Hour, launched four new spring cocktails and posted most of the recipes online at www.theproper.com. The magic number is $5. There are $5 cocktails, including the Moscow Mule, $5 wine and $5 appetizers. The new spring drinks are The Secret Garden, Felonious Monk, Jalisco Shandy and the London Bow Tie. Did I mention that the recipes are all online? The Proper is unafraid.
Ruth’s Chris’ weekday (Monday through Friday) Happy Hour is in Pasadena. Selected cocktails and appetizers are $7. The drinks include the Classic Cosmo, Pomegranate Martini, Ruth's Manhattan Blueberry Mojito, and Rocks Rita. The recipes are not posted online, but on a clear day you can grab a stool at a cocktail table, next to a trellis, right on Colorado Boulevard.
For another type of Happy Hour, Chego on Broadway (www.eatchego.com) sells charred seasonal veggies, with salsa verde, salsa azul, Parmesan, fried shallots, lemon and toasted sesame for $5. The “$12 Salad” with baby spinach, mizuna and goat cheese, cranberries, candied pecans, seasonal pickles, miso and fried shallots sells for $7. There’s parking under the mall and next door. No cocktails. Lots of noodles.
Porto’s Glendale is open Monday through Saturday until 7 p.m. Their Caesar salad costs $4.85. With chicken, it’s only $6.35. They don’t have a liquor license, but so what? All alcohol turns into sugar anyway. Why not speed up the process with a few Cuban desserts?
And, since all alcohol turns into sugar, it’s always Happy Hour at La Cañada’s Pinkberry. Many of us show up at Pinkberry on a warm night. The spring yogurt lineup includes lychee, peanut butter and peanut butter cup. The latter can be topped with mini peanut butter cups, slivered almonds and chocolate. Another plus: the staff is really nice. Ask them for samples. They don’t mind.
Gelson’s is coming, Gelson’s is coming, Gelson’s is coming. Local anticipation is high. But can they match the samples at Trader Joe’s? The Trader Joe’s staff has free reign to put together the tasting menus of their choice. Pumpkin ravioli, weird cheese, stuff from the freezer — it’s all there. Trader Joe’s will always trump Gelson’s. And if you only want a few sips of coffee, with or without cream, Trader Joe’s is the place to be.
Did I leave anyone out? Dish? Taylors? Sakura? Anthony’s? Gringos Locos? Taco Deli? Sorry, sorry, sorry. Maybe another time.
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @anitabrenner.