One last pass at Pasadena

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.

Interior of Cheval Blanc Bistro (image from

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?

Duck confit at Cheval Blanc, Pasadena

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.

Worth the trip just to see Van Gogh's The Mulberry Tree. Photos don't begin to do it justice.

"Portrait of a Peasant" is another Van Gogh highlight at the Norton Simon

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:

"The Chestnut Gatherers" by Georges Lacombe is sizable and splendid!

No, it's not a Hopper. This is "The Butcher Shop" by Alexander Zerdin Kruse.

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.

Modigliani's "Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Jeanne Hebuterne". Tragically, she hurled herself out of a fifth-story window the day after Modigliani's death.

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.

Pond at the Norton Simon Museum (image from

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!

"Art, shmart. Get back here and hand out the pizzles!"

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in Gastronomy, Music/Art/Literature/Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to One last pass at Pasadena

  1. Katherine says:

    Seriously – I just want to live in your wake. I will be the little dinghy to your yacht.

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