I know what you’re thinking.
“Three posts on one measly weekend in Pasadena? This woman has no life!”
True, so true, but I just can’t let Pasadena go until I fill you in on a few more reasons to visit there.
One of them would be Cheval Blanc Bistro, an Old Town Pasadena restaurant that should be replicated in your home town and mine.
Like the Parkway Grill, Cheval Blanc is run by the Smith Brothers, one of whom was in-house on a busy Saturday evening (perhaps a reason why this corporate restaurant empire is so successful!) and stopped by our table to chat. He seemed knowledgeable about the restaurant scene in our community – could we hope for a little Smith Brothers magic to come our way?
In addition to the panoply of fine dining options in Pasadena, they have not neglected to provide food for the soul.
A clear stand out in a standout weekend was the Norton Simon Museum, where we feasted our eyes upon room after room of fine 19th and 20th century European paintings.
As I’ve mentioned before, I “take home” a painting to remember each time I visit a museum. This time, there were two that I locked into the memory vault:
Mr. Simon, who parlayed an investment in canning equipment to become a food-branding genius (he put Hunts Foods on the map) applied many of his millions into the acquisition of art treasures from Europe and Asia.
Fresh from our visits to the Musee de l’Orangerie and Musee d’Orsay, our impression was that the Norton Simon held its own. We especially appreciated the low-key architecture and the spaciousness of the galleries. I thought I detected a bit of a riff on the Guggenheim in the central stairway design, and the museum’s lovely pond is a heartfelt homage to Claude Monet’s famed lily pond at Giverny.
We barely scratched the surface at this fine museum, since a pair of spoiled dogs were anxiously awaiting our return home that afternoon. Lucky for them, and us, the Norton Simon is conveniently located a stone’s throw off the intersection of the 134 and 210 freeways.
We hope to visit again soon!